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Day in the Life (Remote): Mimi Rankin

School & Library Marketing Manager, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Day: Thursday, July 15, 2021

Hi! I’m Mimi, the marketing manager on the school & library team at HarperCollins Children’s Books. I’ve been working from home since March 2020. A big part of my job consists of conferences and events for teachers and librarians, so I thought I’d take you on my day during a virtual event. 

Wake Up: I get up around 7:30 even though work doesn’t start until 9:00 officially. While I know many people who have reaped the benefits of a much shorter commute during the pandemic (read: my bed to my window-sill makeshift desk), I like having some time to enjoy my coffee, take a look at my day, and maybe read – or scroll through TikTok. 

8:30: I log in a bit earlier than usual today as I have a virtual event with School Library Journal. As the booth manager, I make sure there’s a welcome message in the chat box, all the links are working, and that my authors are prepped for their panels. In normal circumstances, I go to several national conferences across the country to meet teachers and librarians and tell them about our books. While I certainly miss the in-person events (and exploring new cities!), one of the benefits of all these virtual events is how many more teachers and librarians I get to connect with who may not be able to travel to in person events.  

8:45: I pull up my email and see what’s come in since last night. I had another virtual event yesterday, so I make sure I send a thank you to the wonderful librarians who organized the event. Thank yous are always important!  

9:30: I check our projects management to look at design assets for our virtual events. I work closely with our marketing design team to create all kinds of materials from our virtual booths to educator guides to advertisements.  

10:00: And the event is live! I receive many “good mornings!” and requests for book recommendations from librarians across the country. This is one of the best parts of my job – book talking with people who love books almost more than anyone else, librarians! They are often looking for books that promote diversity and inclusion, and I’m all too happy to talk about one of our newest endeavors, Shake Up Your Shelves, a program that provides practical tips and resources for teachers and librarians to develop up-to-date curricula and collections with diverse and inclusive titles.  

11:00: Time for my first author panel! I log into the Zoom room and listen to my author and the rest of the panel discuss the AAPI experience and their newest books that depict that. It’s definitely inspiring, but I’m also on alert with my email in case anything goes wrong with the tech! The S&L rep acts as liaison between the event organizers and the talent, so there’s lots of back and forth emails to make sure your author is comfortable and ready.  

1:00: Back to back author panels means a later, quick lunch break! With so much screen time in the world of work-from-home, I try to take a break and rest my eyes while I make lunch. I usually put on a podcast or audiobook and give my brain a rest.  

1:45: Back to the “booth!” While I’m listening to my authors, I’m laying out a proposal for an educator to help us create an educational piece for the Fall. We network with leading and influential educators across the country to not only share our great books with, but we often work with them to create educator or discussion guides to help even more teachers and librarians use our books in classrooms and libraries.  

2:30: After my author’s panel, I see that I got an email about the next week’s Acquisitions meeting agenda. Our Acquisitions meeting is one of my favorites of the week; it’s when our editors bring in new projects from authors and we decide if we want to pursue publication. You never know if you’re reading the next Newbery or Caldecott! I peruse the agenda and shoot off an email to my team noting which titles I’ll read and take notes on. Since School & Library marketing covers all ages of children’s books, my team will note which books will work best in an educational market. 

3:00: The last panel of the day for my authors! Thankfully everyone logged in okay and we didn’t have any technical hiccups. As the virtual event slows, I take notes about the day. We do this at in-person conferences too, both to report back to the division as well as note where we can improve upon for the next event. I grab attendance numbers and anecdotal references as well.  

4:00: The booth traffic is slowing down, so I pull up an advertisement I’m working on for a book that has received many starred reviews. I write up the copy doc, outline how we want the ad to look, and pull the best quotes from the reviews. I gather up all the art assets and send off to my designers to get a draft back soon. 

5:00: That’s the end of the day! I thank the librarians in the booth for visiting and drop in my email if they have any follow up questions. I run back through my email to see what all I’ve missed during my event and respond to anything needing answers. I shut down for a bit of a break to workout, eat dinner, and catch up with my roommates. Before I fully go to bed, I usually check email once more. Then, it’s the best part of working in publishing – reading new manuscripts I’m working on!  

Thanks for joining me on my day at my virtual event and I hoped you learned a bit more about school & library marketing! 

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