In conversations about publishing, one hears a lot about authors and editors and agents, but what about all the other jobs, the ones we never hear about? Today, we talk to Andreea Nemes, who works at Random House, UK.
THE BELIEVER: How would you describe your job?
ANDREEA NEMES: My title is Cuttings Assistant, so basically I deal with every author’s press cuttings. On a weekly basis I make PDF documents of the week’s cuttings across print and digital media and email them to the featured authors. I also file the paper versions.
BLVR: What does it mean to gather “clippings” in the digital age? Are you dealing with digital materials, with print materials, or both?
AN: A mix of both, but mostly digital. We use an online service that gathers the cuttings and divides them by publishing imprint, date and title. I suppose I’m not actually gathering myself, but I do collate them to send to authors. The same service also sends us the paper versions of the cuttings, but the majority of my work happens on my laptop.
BLVR: Do you prefer dealing with print or digital matter?
AN: It’s difficult to say. While it is incredibly helpful to have the instant access of the digital cuttings and not have to scour the internet for coverage, I personally prefer physically holding a piece of paper and reading it rather than staring at a screen. So I guess professionally I prefer digital because it lets me work more efficiently, but personally, print all the way. You’ll never catch me with a Kindle!
BLVR: Is there a genre of books that receives more clippings than others?
AN: I work across eight different imprints, which publish autobiographies, cookbooks, graphic novels, fiction, non-fiction, etc. I don’t think there’s a certain genre that receives the most cuttings, though books by new authors that have a buzz about them or those that are published by established, well-known authors receive large amounts of coverage.
BLVR: Is there a physical labour aspect to the job, like bending to file things in file cabinets?
AN: Bending and the dealing with drawers still exists, I’m afraid! However, filing work is split between myself, other assistants and sometimes people doing work experience, so it’s not bad. I’d certainly argue that sitting at a computer can be equally laborious though! My back and neck ached for weeks after I started my first-ever office job.
BLVR: Do you have any feelings, from doing this job, about the state of contemporary publishing?
AN: I’ve only been working in publishing a short while so I’m still gaining a sense of how it works. I suppose the big issues facing the publishing world are the rise of Kindles and e-books and the fact that fewer people are now physically going to bookshops and browsing for the sake of it. I know everyone says that print is dying, but I think there will always be a place for those of us Luddites who love the smell of the pages, the cover art, and the way the way a book feels. I want to think that because the economy is poor and because people aren’t buying as many books, publishers are aiming to publish high quality work that makes the reader feel something or speaks some truth about life. Does that sound terribly cheesy? I’m afraid it does!
BLVR: It doesn’t! Do you have any other jobs?
AN: Ah, an easy question! I’m currently studying for a masters from the London School of Economics in culture and society, which is part of the sociology department, and interning at a PR company as well.
BLVR: How old are you and when did you move to London?
AN: I’m 23. I’m Romanian and was born there but moved to the United States when I was young, then to Switzerland as a teenager. I spent four years in Scotland for my undergraduate degree and now I’m in London figuring out what my life is and where it’s going!