Home Features Publishing Profile—Kate McNamara, Bookseller Rising Star 2022

Publishing Profile—Kate McNamara, Bookseller Rising Star 2022

Publishing Profile—Kate McNamara

Kate McNamara, Bookseller Rising Star 2022

Kate McNamara, Digital and Marketing Manager at Little Island Books

“Since we’re such a small company, we all work very closely together which I love, and all of our roles are quite varied.”

How I started in publishing

My first taste of publishing was actually with Little Island Books, where I did two weeks of work experience before heading into my Masters.

I mastered in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling, and spent several months after graduation doing a mix of things—including freelance editorial work for Pearson, working at WH Smith, and freelance editorial work on novels via Odesk—before I got my first full time role at McGraw-Hill Education as Marketing and Sales Assistant.

It was a great job where I learned a lot. From there I spent time in some brilliant marketing roles at Oxford University Press, Wiley and Elsevier, where I worked with some amazing colleagues. The bulk of my time was in academic journals, where some of my most interesting work was with academic societies.

Where I work now

I’m currently Digital and Marketing Manager at Little Island Books, a very small independent Dublin-based publisher.

We publish for children from babies and toddlers right up to young adults, and have a commitment to publishing powerful books that move young readers and stir the sea within.

My job involves developing, executing and monitoring marketing strategy for new titles and backlist. 

The best thing about my role

Since we’re such a small company, we all work very closely together which I love, and all of our roles are quite varied.

Since we publish for such a wide range of age groups and every book is different, it always feels fresh and exciting, and I get to work with some amazing freelancers which is really fun.

A mistake I made

I was working on an email campaign which included information from a lot of different teams, and due to several last minute changes, it had gone through multiple drafts.

Finally we were there and the team sent me the last test email for approval; I checked it, approved it, and off it went on its way to tens of thousands of subscribers. Then it hit my inbox and my heart stopped.

Two distinct sections were merged, which I hadn’t noticed in my last check. I flagged it to my manager and the impacted marketers, apologised, asked the deployment team if they could halt send as sometimes they staggered it, but it was too late, so I urgently briefed a correction. Ever since, I have a colleague look over eblasts if I’ve been staring at them for a long time!

My proudest moment so far

Being selected as a Rising Star this year is up there! This was such a lovely surprise and it means a lot to be part of this amazing group. Delighted that there are three Irish people on the list this year!

What the future holds

I feel like the past two years have changed some of my attitudes towards planning for the future; I’ve learned there’s only so much you can prepare for!

I want to continue expanding our digital presence, including exploring TikTok further, I’m interested in the impact this is having on sales.

The return of in-person events in a variety of forms is also really exciting. One of the great things about my current role is that there are a lot of opportunities to learn and try new things.

Book recommendation this month 

I recently finished Family of Liars by E. Lockhart which was really gripping. I loved We Were Liars so had been very excited for the prequel, and it exceeded all of my really high hopes!