Jaime Noven, Celadon’s Marketing Manager, shares her path to a career in publishing – and her advice about taking the road less traveled.
By David Adams
We’re asking book industry experts how they got their jobs in publishing. In this installment, Celadon’s own Jaime Noven describes a typical day in the life of a marketing manager and recalls the moment the imprint’s very first title became a #1 New York Times bestseller.
Where are you from?
I’m from Madison, Wisconsin. I’ve been out here on the east coast for ten years.
Were you a big reader growing up? If so, what were some of your favorite books/authors?
I was. I wanted to be a part of the conversations friends and classmates were having, so I always read what was trending: first Goosebumps and Animorphs, then later Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.
What was your first ever job?
My summer jobs included folding maps at the D.O.T. and working at the library, but then I moved on to publishing internships, including Bleak House Books in Madison, Archipelago Books, and Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group. The latter evolved into my first full time job in publishing.
What drew you to publishing? Did you consider other careers?
Since the first grade, I wanted to be a writer. I thought novelists worked nine to five in cubicles at the publisher’s office and were handed assignments. So, I’ve always wanted to work at a publishing house, but as my understanding of the industry grew, my goals shifted slightly.
Describe a typical day in the life of a marketing manager at Celadon Books.
There is no typical day! Sometimes, I am in back-to-back meetings all day. Other days, I am booking and designing ads, preparing files for the sales team on upcoming books, strategizing next week’s social media posts, running sweepstakes, and brainstorming outside-the-box campaigns for future books. That’s one of the great things about working at Celadon: unique and creative ideas are always welcome.
How does your current role differ from your previous publishing jobs?
I’ve always worked at small indie publishers where I wore both the publicity and marketing hats. This is the first time in ten years that I am not doing publicity, and it has opened the door to explore marketing avenues I otherwise would not have had time to focus on.
For a publisher that released its first book in February 2019 and has published just six titles to date, Celadon has had an astonishing run of success. How has the company gotten off to such a great start? What are some of your favorite moments from the first four months?
I think the secret sauce is the people who work here—in every department and at every level—mixed with the support and encouragement we’ve gotten from Macmillan as a whole.
I’ll always remember the moment that we found out our debut title made #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. We hoped The Silent Patient would be on the list, but we didn’t know it would be #1. There was a lot of screaming and jumping. It’s a great morale boost to know your new publishing division has gotten off on the right foot like that.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in publishing?
I took the cliché route: I studied English and creative writing, went to NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute, moved to New York, and got publishing internships. My journey wasn’t too difficult. However, there’s something to be said about people who come in through the back door, taking an unconventional route, maybe with an unexpected degree or prior career, because those are the people who are going to bring a unique perspective to your team. My advice is don’t make book publishing your whole life—have other interests. You’ll be amazed how often you are able to use your experience in those other areas in your book publishing career.
In your free time, you blog about popular science books. If you could recommend one book to someone (like me) who sees the word “proton” and breaks out in a cold sweat, what would it be?
For someone with no interest or background in science, I would recommend a book with a human interest angle. For biology: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. For physics: Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space by Janna Levin.