A DAY IN THE LIFE OF…. Maddie Allan by SJV
Next up in our series of A Day in the Life of features is @TeamBATC member, Senior Key Account Manager Maddie Allan!
What does a Senior Key Account Manager do?
Sell the books! In particular I sell books into the supermarkets or ‘mass market accounts’. They have a very limited amount of space for books so my job is to present them all the S&S books that will work well for them, and get them to select them for their shelves. This means showing my enthusiasm for our list, but more than just what the book is about, supermarket buyers are interested in everything we are going to do to promote it – so our marketing and publicity plans are incredibly important.
Is there such a thing as a typical day, and if so what does it look like?
I’m writing this on week 8 of lockdown, working from home, but I still wouldn’t say any of this feels ‘typical’ yet. However as a business, and as an industry, I would say we have adapted really well. A ‘typical’ day at the moment for me involves getting up, making a coffee and commuting through to the spare bedroom where I’ve made an office (previously it was probably best described as the clothes horse room). Sell in meetings with customers are currently done over Zoom or Teams, and whilst the purpose of the meetings themselves are exactly the same as before, there’s actually even more potential to explore different ways of presenting our books. For example, we can now get trailers in front of buyers, and recorded messages from authors, which buyers are responding really well to. Likewise all company meetings are now on Zoom. When I’m not pulling together sales presentations or thinking about upcoming books I still spend a lot of time tracking and analysing sales patterns. It’s a really good way to spot any trends, it helps us to forecast accurately and informs our decisions on new books.
For the record, if I was a budding debut author, faced with the dreaded blank first page, what would be your top tip to bestseller success?
Not quite the first page… but I remember listening to an interview with Philip Pullman and he said as he was finishing up writing at the end of each day he would always make sure that the last line he wrote ran over on to the next page. That way he was never faced with a blank page in the morning. That always seemed like very simple but good advice.
We’re obsessed with other peoples TBR piles, how high is yours? And do you have 2, one for work books and one for pleasure books?
I live with my sister and she’s made a one in one out rule for our flat as the TBR piles were getting ridiculous. Even more so now that there’s piles of books and proofs, but also a queue of ebooks and audio books that I’ve downloaded but haven’t started yet.
Have you got a best and worst part of the job?
The absolute best part of the job is the books. I still love getting to read something so early on that it doesn’t even have a jacket or even title in some cases!
The worst part is when a book that you’ve loved (as has everyone in the company) just doesn’t work in quite the way you wanted it to. It’s really disappointing.
Is there an author you’d sell a limb to work with?
Emily Bronte. I would imagine she’d have been quite something, writing at a time when so few women were being published.
What book do you most recommend to others?
Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I think it’s a perfect book, and I’ve never recommended it to someone who hasn’t also loved it.
And lastly our quick fire trivia round…
Thing you’d never leave home without? Not having really left my home in 8 weeks I can’t really remember!
Favourite place to read? In bed, with a coffee.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Ideally, somewhere by the sea. I’d love to be one of those people who starts every day with a swim in the sea, but I doubt that would happen even if I did live by the sea.
What’s the secret to success? Figuring out what makes you happy.
What’s on your current reading pile? I just finished The Five by Hallie Rubenhold – it’s brilliant.
Staying in or Going out? Ha! Right now going out, anywhere. But I think before I would have said staying in. Careful what you wish for!
What’s your Signature dish? Pulled pork with apple slaw.
Beach break or city break? Can I have both? A few days in a new city and then a few days reading on the beach?
Favourite Literary Hero? Fred and George!