Maleeha Mir is a freelance events representative for Lantana Publishing and a student careers officer for the Society of Young Publishers in London.
For Work in Publishing Week 2019, we asked Maleeha some questions about her career path, publishing and career progression.
Work in Publishing aims to inspire young people aged 14-24 to pursue a career in publishing.
What do you do?
Currently I’m an events representative for Lantana Publishing in a freelancing capacity. I represent Lantana at certain book events, launches, award ceremonies, meetings and post on their social media channels from time to time whilst liaising with Lantana’s authors and illustrators for some events.
Also, I volunteer with SYP London as a Student Career’s Officer, freelance as a social media manager for an author, and dabble in some book reviewing on my blog. However, I would like to think that my full-time job is my degree in BA English Literature and Language at King’s College London.
How did you get into publishing?
I initially found my way into publishing through joining SYP London and slowly attending SYP events and workshops about getting into publishing. But being selected as a mentee for 2018 SYP Into Mentorship Scheme pushed my career in the best direction. Before this, I had no idea that publishing meant more than being an ‘editor’. But this scheme not only introduced me to a network of incredibly supportive mentees, mentors and publishing professionals within the London committee but opened my eyes to opportunities within other departments of the industry. With this amazing amount of guidance, I eventually sent off dozens of internship and work experience applications – some not successful but some very successful, which led me to my current roles in publishing.
How has the industry changed since then?
Being relatively new to the industry and its patterns, I would say, for me personally that I began my journey into publishing during an important shift. This was the push for more diverse and inclusive books and narratives, especially in children’s publishing. This has been the biggest change I’ve experienced in the industry so far.
What is your boldest prediction for publishing in 2030?
My boldest prediction for publishing would be that 85-90% of all children’s books will feature or have a BAME protagonist or fully inclusive cast of characters. As I progress in my career, this prediction would be my main goal to achieve or contribute to within the industry as a children’s book publicist and diverse books advocate. This prediction should become a reality!
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve received?
Use Twitter! I can’t recommend making a publishing based Twitter account more for an aspiring young publisher. The publishing industry lives on Twitter and so many publishing houses, companies, literary services and individuals within the industry use this platform to network, share job advice, promote links to jobs, discuss hot topics and much more. I’ve made many contacts on Twitter and it constantly keeps me up to date on publishing news, trends and topics. Being on Twitter has made such a difference for my career – I constantly feel connected to publishing.
What skills have helped you get ahead?
- An eagerness to learn and jump into work: this skill has enabled me to make the most of every opportunity to learn and grow my publishing knowledge and make contacts for the future.
- Being social media literate: being proficient on social media, especially on all the main online platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram has helped to create lots of different opportunities for me in publishing.
- Positivity: this skill has helped me to grow, to look past the rejections and persevere as I progress in my early career.
Have you been mentored and, if so, how has it supported your career progression?
I was lucky enough to be selected as a mentee for the SYP Into Mentorship Scheme in 2018. This fantastic scheme was a huge stepping stone in starting my career – it helped me to find internships, work experience and to understand the industry in more depth. I genuinely felt a sense of steady career progression, a boost in confidence and an endless amount of guidance and support through my mentor, Georgina Green from HarperCollins UK and through the members of the SYP London committee. Eventually, the grounding of this scheme led me to my current freelancing jobs within the industry and gave me a clearer idea of what I’d like to become after I graduate: a children’s book publicist! I’ve been on the ‘find your way into publishing’ rollercoaster since 2018 and I’ve enjoyed every moment of my career so far!
Why do you love working in publishing?
I absolutely love working in publishing because I have the chance and privilege to champion books that make a difference in the world and meet like-minded people who love books and appreciate the power of stories as much as I do. I can confidently say that I have found my ‘tribe’ by pursuing this career path.
Work in Publishing Week
Work in Publishing Week takes place in November each year. Details of this years campaign can be found here.