Brittany Poulin joined IPR as Account Manager in 2015 when the company was in its infancy. In 2016 she was named as one of The ‘Bookseller Rising Stars’, an annual list that shines a light on forward-thinking individuals from all aspects of the trade whose actions have caught the eye and who have been singled out as possible leaders of the future. She is now Account and Audience Development Manager, working with a large group of rights buyers around the world. We caught up with her recently to find out more about her role.
1) Tell us a bit about your background, where you are from, and how you came to work for IPR.
Two days after my last exam at the University of Victoria in Canada, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to move to London after receiving an editorial internship offer from The Week magazine. What was meant to be a year-long experience abroad turned into a love for London and for the dynamic publishing industry in the UK – five years later, I have never looked back.
Following a series of interesting internships at a wide variety of publishing houses, I was offered the position of Account Manager at IPR License in 2015 – at the time a new publishing technology start-up with a handful of staff and big dreams for the future.
2) You are Account and Audience Development Manager at IPR. Explain what you do in that role and how it has developed over the past few years.
My role at IPR is an interesting mix of working with creative people and researching a fascinating international market. It is a position which I have had the good fortune to develop over the years while seeing IPR through a period of great change. The most exciting part of working in Audience Development is the need for agility to meet the growing demands of the IPR marketplace. We started by growing an audience of engaged rights and permissions buyers by developing campaigns, as well as our products, to ensure IPR provided a streamlined process for an international rights community.
Now, following the launch of our automation tools Instant Rights and Instant Permissions in 2017, my role is to provide our audience with the information they need to make offers and complete deals through the platform. I also work very closely with our members selling rights with IPR to make sure we are acquiring buyers that fit within their target genres and territories, and with our product team to adapt our products according to user activity and feedback.
3) You are working with buyers from all around the world. What are your plans for attracting more buyers?
Automation is still a very new concept for the rights industry, and so our approach changes depending on how familiar a publisher is with rights technology. I find it incredibly valuable to speak with new buyers and learn from their processes, while also keeping them engaged with the content on our platform and with our members.
Aside from our weekly targeted email bulletins and monthly newsletters to our buyer community, my main priority for this year is to showcase our members in a different, more personalised way. Publishers know their books better than we ever will, and so giving our members the opportunity to reach out to specific markets with titles they believe will do well in translation through the IPR Blog, their own Rights Portal, and through social media interaction, will go a long way to attracting a new audience for their titles. I am also working this year to develop relationships with associations, translation funds and other initiatives promoting works in translation. By better understanding the needs of different markets and communities, we can work together to reach an audience interested in expanding their own lists to include new, exciting voices.
4) You are just back from London Book Fair. What was the most unusual thing you saw there?
I was running around so much this year that those three days seem to be a bit of a blur of faces and stands. However, those massive headphones could not be missed, and of course that fantastic presidential desk in honour of The President is Missing by former US President Bill Clinton and James Patterson. My one regret is not slowing down enough to get a photo!
5) There are many different genres of titles represented on the IPR platform. What kinds of books do you enjoy most, and what are you reading now?
We certainly do work with a large selection of genres on the platform. While I can certainly say my knowledge in biology and law has increased (slightly) after working closely with some of our notable academic publishers, I do still love to get lost in a great work of fiction. Any will do! Right now I’m revisiting the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. The books were a favourite of mine growing up, and they were actually the only set of books I brought with me from Canada.
6) Which author would you most like to meet and why?
It is impossible to pick just one. Anyone who knows me well can give likely more than one example of me dashing through malls, bookstores and even book fair halls just to get a glimpse of one of my favourite authors. At the moment, I can say with confidence that if Philip Pullman gave me just five minute to ask him a million-and-one questions, I would be very happy indeed.