Spotlight On: Senior Concept Designer, Sue Dani

We’re very proud of our books here at Oxford Australia, and we’re even more proud of the hard work that goes into creating the perfect textbook or digital product. There are a lot of different people involved in getting a book from conception to consumer; today in Spotlight On we introduce you to Sue Dani, a Senior Concept Designer in our Creative Services division.

Name: Sue Dani
Title: Senior Concept Designer*
When did you start at Oxford: mid-2007
Sum up your job in 3 words: conceptual aesthetic problem-solving

What are your day-to-day tasks?
My day-to-day tasks range from creating cover and text designs to meeting briefs (essentially problem-solving – which includes researching subjects, trends, internet, artists, image libraries, visiting galleries and book shops, reading blogs, books, magazines zines etc) through to critiquing and giving/receiving constructive feedback on freelancer and colleagues’ as well as my own designs; working on design layouts (including taking in text corrections and amending/creating technical and other artwork);  liaising with production, permissions, publishers, editors and freelancers and collaborating/brainstorming with, and supporting my colleagues!

What product or project are you most proud of working on?
Working on the Big Ideas Series with the creative Malaysia OUP design team 18 months ago in Kuala Lumpur was a real standout, and I’m very proud to have had the opportunity to work with them to craft their concept designs.  It was challenging to work in a different environment – not only differing systems and processes but also from a cultural perspective. I learnt a great deal during my time there, made many new friends and found it a very rewarding experience.

What is your favourite thing about working in publishing?
My favourite thing about working in publishing is that I feel I am making a difference to children’s lives by making learning interesting and easier – maybe by making maths that little more engaging or making a product easier to navigate, I’m encouraging one child to feel less intimidated and more confident than I did when I was in school!

What advice would you give to someone interested in a role like yours?
A large proportion of my role revolves around conceptual problem-solving.  It’s important to have a strong aesthetic but, it’s just as important, if not more so, to have solid problem-solving skills. In this role you need to be able to work through a problem to present relevant alternatives and it is critical to have a large pool of knowledge, experiences etc. to draw upon for your ideas. My advice to someone interested in this type of role would be to learn as much as they can about everything. From current affairs to connecting and learning from others within/outside your industry – don’t be a static learner but, keep exploring and don’t be afraid to take a risk!

What are you reading right now?
I’m a science fiction tragic – Excession, Ian M. Banks!

*Since completing this post, Sue has become the Design Manager of the Creative Services division.

Spotlight On: Troy Alexander, Territory Manager

We’re very proud of our books here at Oxford Australia, and we’re even more proud of the hard work that goes into creating the perfect textbook or digital product. There are a lot of different people involved in getting a book from conception to consumer; today in Spotlight On we introduce you to Troy Alexander, a Territory Manager with our Higher Education division.

TROY1Name: Troy Alexander
Title: Territory Manager (Higher Education)
When did you start at Oxford: April 2005
Sum up your job in 3 words: Selling university textbooks

What are your day-to-day tasks?  
Meeting with university lecturers to discuss new and forthcoming titles.  Building relationships and growing the Oxford brand at university faculty level.  Working with campus bookshops regarding ordering and the maximising of sales.  Responding to lecturer inquiries and generally sorting out any issues that might arise.

What product or project are you most proud of working on?
Helping to put together a customised text for a Health subject at Curtin University with 2500 students.  Also finally winning the first year Chemistry adoption at Melbourne University with 1200 students – the result of five years’ work.

What is your favourite thing about working in publishing?
Meeting and talking with a wide variety of interesting people who all share a passion for books and education.

What advice would you give to someone interested in a role like yours? 
Make sure you are self-disciplined and enjoy working autonomously.  You can spend a lot of time by yourself in this role – on campus during the day, travelling interstate, and working from home.  Some people enjoy that but it’s not for everyone.

What are you reading right now?
Journal articles on positive psychology and boys’ literacy for a uni assignment.  For fun I’m reading “The Watch Tower” by a great but under-read Australian author, Elizabeth Harrower.

Spotlight on: Amanda Louey, Editor

We’re very proud of our books here at Oxford Australia, and we’re even more proud of the hard work that goes into creating the perfect textbook or digital product. There are a lot of different people involved in getting a book from conception to consumer; today in Spotlight On we introduce you to Amanda Louey, an Editor with our Secondary Education division.

Amanda LoueyName: Amanda Louey
Title: Editor
When did you start at Oxford: 1 April, 2014 (wasn’t an April Fool’s joke!)
Sum up your job in 3 words: Multitasker, grammar-fiend, lolly-addict (I cheated and listed three phrases!)

What are your day-to-day tasks?

I start my day by answering emails; these mostly have to do with my projects and communicating with freelancers, the publishers or Production/Design. I’ll then move onto my projects and my varied, but never-ending to-do list, which is a project in itself to keep track of! (Currently mine is in the form of a bullet journal because colouring in boxes makes me happy.) This may consist of proofreading marketing material, styling manuscripts, checking page layouts, preparing obooks (our digital books) or editing worksheets. In my down-time I’ll work on our team goal of improving our processes and seeing where we could improve efficiency, or cleaning out my inbox because too many unallocated items makes me anxious (slight OCD tendencies are the norm in Editorial, the lollies help with stress).

What product or project are you most proud of working on?

A senior English workbook titled ‘Senior English Skills Builder’ – it was the first project I managed on my own from start to finish!

What is your favourite thing about working in publishing?

Once I began studying my undergrad at uni, I knew the publishing industry was where I wanted to be. From there I tailored my course so that I would end up with skills I felt would be most valuable as an editor (i.e. numerous grammar units). Having recently been promoted from Editorial Assistant to Editor after a year at OUP, I feel like I’ve actually made it and all my hard work has paid off. I’m using the skills and knowledge I practised at uni and actually being a part of the publishing process is amazing, particularly one with such a clear purpose: to create and supply materials that allow the best of student learning. In relation to education publishing in particular, I love being able to dabble in each subject area – except Maths, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed since high school! I hope to have an impressive general knowledge trivia bank in the future!

What advice would you give to someone interested in a role like yours?

Internships are key. There are many independent presses that will often take voluntary interns. Even if it’s just an admin role, it allows you to experience the publishing process first hand and see which aspect might be the best fit for you. Publishing isn’t just about editors; there’s design, production, digital, marketing and business aspects that can each be broken down into individual roles and this isn’t necessary clear whilst you’re studying. Internships also help you kick start your network – everyone knows everyone in publishing – not to mention it’s great to list on your resume! Additionally look out for opportunities to dabble in small scale publishing such as newsletters, blogs and student magazines.

What are you reading right now?

I’m in-between books at the moment, but I just read ‘We are all completely beside ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler. A surprisingly great read centred around family – and I’ll say no more lest I spoil it for someone!

Spotlight on: Christine Fotis, Senior Production Controller

We’re very proud of our books here at Oxford Australia, and we’re even more proud of the hard work that goes into creating the perfect textbook or digital product. There are a lot of different people involved in getting a book from conception to consumer; today in Spotlight On we introduce you to Christine Fotis, a Senior Production Controller with our Secondary Education division.Christine

Name: Christine Fotis
Title: Senior Production Controller – Secondary
When did you start at Oxford: Oct 2011
Sum up your job in 3 words: The Go Between

What are your day-to-day tasks?
It really varies from day to day, basically I’m the organiser and the middle person – a project manager of sorts. I answer all queries from designers, the editorial team, printers, publishers, illustrators etc about anything to do with the production of the book; I look after schedules and costings; I process invoices and manage supplier compliance; I send pages back and forth between the in-house team and external suppliers; I commission and manage artwork; I send off book purchase orders to the printers; I organise the online extras such as worksheets, etc etc etc! Lots of different things that all go together to keep the book moving along from manuscript stage to stock arriving in the warehouse and all of the digital extras being up online when they need to be.

The word ‘controller’ is quite misleading in my job title, I’m like one of those performers with the multiple spinning plates on poles that has to keep them all going and not let them fall, moving back and forth between each one and keeping them spinning, rather than controlling anything!

I’m also a manager of two people in the production team and a member of the Green Committee.

What product or project are you most proud of working on?
Oxford Literacy Independent – the in-house team and our group of freelance designers have been amazing, we’ve refined the workflow and procedures, it’s really quite a smooth process for something that involves 100 plus books on a really tight schedule!

What is your favourite thing about working in publishing?
Holding the finished book in my two little hands, it’s pretty amazing to be able to hold the physical product after about a year’s worth of production! Also working with the designers and illustrators, seeing the amazing creations they come up with.

What advice would you give to someone interested in a role like yours?
There are lists, lots of lists!

What are you reading right now?
Leonard Cohen – Beautiful Losers

Spotlight on: Anita Mullick, Senior Publisher

We’re very proud of our books here at Oxford Australia, and we’re even more proud of the hard work that goes into creating the perfect textbook or digital product. There are a lot of different people involved in getting a book from conception to consumer; today in Spotlight On we introduce you to Anita Mullick, a Senior Publisher with Primary Education.

AnitaName: Anita Mullick
Title: Senior Publisher
When did you start at Oxford: July 2007
Sum up your job in 3 words: Stimulating, fast-paced, collaborative

What are your day-to-day tasks?
It depends what ‘cycle’ of a project I’m in – if I’m working on a publishing idea my tasks will be mainly related to market research. If I’m project-managing an approved project, then tasks could include commissioning content, reviewing content or monitoring budgets and schedules.

What product or project are you most proud of working on?
I’m most proud of Oxford Literacy Assess – a print and digital resource for reading assessment. It was the largest project I have worked on from start to finish and the online component was an opportunity for me to significantly upskill in terms of digital publishing.

What is your favourite thing about working in publishing?
I really enjoy the teamwork and collaboration. My passion is also for primary literacy publishing, so I love seeing books come to life with the beautiful alchemy of words, design and illustrations!

What advice would you give to someone interested in a role like yours?
I suggest finding a mentor who can give you an insight into different aspects of being a publisher. But content creation is a rapidly changing environment, so know that your mentor will be learning too!

What are you reading right now?
The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge – an amazing insight into how natural phenomena such as light and sound can be used to help the brain heal.