I don't tend to talk about my day job much on this blog. For the most part, that's because it has nothing to do with writing and getting published. Since that's about to change, I thought you all might like to know about it.
From next Monday (9th January), I'm going to start a new role working at Oxford University Press as a Digital Development Manager. My responsibilities include designing mobile apps and managing app development for the dictionary department. Yes, that's the Oxford English Dictionary plus a whole host of modern English and foreign language dictionaries. It's very exciting to be involved with such an iconic brand and such a wealth of amazing content. OUP has been focusing heavily on digital publishing over the last couple of years, and it's fantastic to join the industry at a time of critical change. There are fringe benefits as well – I get to cycle to work and spend an extra hour in bed every day!
So, ignoring the fact it's a fantastic job, why publishing? Why leave a booming market sector like telecoms to work in a world that some pundits would tell you is doomed? Ever since I joined SCBWI and started to meet publishing people, I've been curious about the industry. The more I immersed myself in studying the market, the more curious I became. At first, I considered a job in editorial, but a friend with a wiser head than mine cautioned that I would find it hard to compete with all those new graduates. Besides, entry-level roles in any industry pay very little, and publishing especially. Why not, she suggested, find a job in publishing that used my existing skillset?
It's taken me two years to find the right role, balancing my aspirations with my family's need to eat and have somewhere to sleep at night. In the meantime, my existing day job expanded into new areas and publishing finally caught up with the world of digital - I blogged last month about how the stars have aligned for me.
I guess the final thing that pushed me to make my dream a reality, was an epiphany I had earlier this year. I was sat in a publisher's office (not OUP), discussing how they could work more closely with SCBWI. I looked up at the clock and an hour had passed without me noticing – this was the most interesting meeting I had had in months. I realised that I wasn't just in this business to be a writer – I wanted to be on the other side of the desk as well.
So, how will my new employment change this blog? Probably not that much, although I may have to be less rude about publishing in general ;-) You'll probably also see more posts here about all things digital. But I'm still writing children's books and still hoping to get published. I don't have any commissioning powers at all in my new role, so please don't send me manuscripts! I'm going to be spending 2012 doing battle with the slushpile, exactly the same as many of you. When I'm not sleeping, that is.