After graduating from AUP in May 2009, I moved to Zurich and began working as a press agent for a small, non-literary publishing company specialising in medical, current affairs and cultural books. We see our task as publishing books that answer questions; we search for books that discuss a vital question and which then enable the reader not only to gain insight into a specific topic but also to find answers to these questions.
Read more after the jump…
For example, we wouldn’t simply publish a book about the 11 recent women to have won the Nobel Peace Prize. We would, however, publish a book in which the portraits of these women are questioned: how come there are only 11 women? how did it come about that their work was rewarded? which ideals did they stand up for and why? This particular book is one of our few english books, “Peace Women”. If you’re interested in more, then have a look at our website.
My main job at “rüffer & rub” is to make sure that the books get a good amount of positive press coverage in Switzerland. I organise this by setting up press lists sorted into categories of interest, depending what the book is about. I then spend most of my time on the phone with journalists, advertising the book and asking if they’re interested in either writing an article about it, interviewing the author, or, if the journalist is in TV or radio, if they’d like to mention the book in a show. Once the book is out and the journalists have their press copies, they send me the review and I post them on our website and other media, like on our facebook page.
It’s great to work in such close proximity to books and to be able to deal with them every day. It’s also a lot of fun to speak to journalists on the phone, discussing the newest books and organising the occasional book reading or event with the authors. As the company is so small – we’re only 8 people – and it’s situated in Zurich, I learn everything first hand and usually in 3 languages! It’s a challenge every day to be confronted by so many different types of people all working in the area of culture and to try to organise meetings between myself, the publishing company, authors, journalists and event organisers, but it’s a huge reward when you get a great review in a renown newspaper or popular TV show.
My next plan is to leave Zurich, and Europe, and move to America… Watch this space!