Solomon: persistence I n the first of a series of profiles of young talents, Victoria Hunt talks to Headline's Marketing Executive (and Chair of the Society of Young Publishers) Angie Solomon's career thus far illustrates the hoops that people entering publishing today have to jump through to earn their place in the industry. Armed with a good first degree from Warwick, followed by an MA in Literature from Leeds her dissertation was on Margaret Atwood Solomon undertook a couple of months' unpaid work experience in 2006, at Random House and independent publisher Aurum Press. With the work experience on her CV counting for more than any academic qualification, she eventually secured a three-month temporary role in Faber's sales department, before moving on to another temporary position, in Penguin's International Sales department.
She is full of praise for Faber: 'The people and books were great and it was a lovely working environment. But for that very reason, people don't tend to move around much, because they're all so happy there.'
After a round of interviews, her next stepping-stone was a maternity cover in Penguin's Brands and Licensing department, marketing children's titles. Following that, she finally secured a permanent role as Marketing Executive at Headline, where she promotes commercial writers, including the best-selling Simon Scarrow, plus authors on the teen list. Having originally been interested in Editorial, her ambition now is to one day head a marketing department for a literary list.
By the time she joined Headline in early 2008, Solomon had been working in publishing for nearly two years, but considers herself one of the lucky ones. Her advice to those coming up? 'The most important thing is to be persistent; it will pay off. And, although that might mean making compromises along the way towards your ideal role, I'd recommend not adopting a scattergun approach of applying for publishing jobs you don't actually want.'
A huge source of support and inspiration throughout came from the Society of Young Publishers, of which Solomon was elected Chair last month. She began attending SYP speaker meetings during her work experience days, and shortly afterwards volunteered to fill a vacant slot on the committee, as Secretary. In 2007, she was elected Press and Marketing Officer, and in 2008 became Social Secretary: it was a role that realised her already legendary ability to throw a good party turnouts to events last year reached unprecedented levels.
But the best is yet to come: 2009 is dedicated to celebrating the SYP's 60th birthday in a number of ways, one of which will be a 'huge party', promised for the summer. There is fierce loyalty and affection for the Society among its alumni, as demonstrated by the support of former Chairs from previous anniversary years, stretching back decades. But, as ever, it is the new faces who will stamp their own mark on the Society's activities, and Solomon is full of praise for her newly elected committee, which includes Vice Chair Julia Wells, a Publishing MA student at University College London. 'It's a really strong committee this year, brimming with fresh ideas and enthusiasm. They're a sociable bunch too; the 20-strong team all came on to the pub after our first committee meeting '
With the prospect of 'lots more social networking events to cheer people up during the recession', it looks as though Solomon's year as Chair has started just as she means it to go on.
The Society of Young Publishers is a voluntary organisation run by a committee dedicated to educating and helping those new to the industry. For more information, visit www.thesyp.org.uk.