Maya Whatton joined the company 4 months ago as Junior Account and Marketing Manager. We caught up with her this week to chat to her about her background, why she wanted to work for IPR and what kind of books we’d find on her bedside table.
1) Please tell us a little bit about your background
I graduated from The University of Birmingham with First Class Honours back in 2015. Since then I worked in Community Arts Management with Staffordshire County Council working to develop and support arts projects across the County, including a lot of work around the Poet Laureateship. I loved Staffordshire but I knew I really wanted to live and work in London, so in 2017 I made a complete leap of faith and moved here without even having a job lined up beforehand. I was lucky though, I’ve done a lot of different jobs following that! I was an actor for a while and got to work with Joe Mawle from Game of Thrones on a short film based on Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale; I worked behind the scenes for a few different documentary film companies across the city – I even found myself chatting to David Attenborough on the phone once while working at one of them, very surreal! — I actually came across IPR whilst hosting at London Book Fair and was very intrigued to learn more about what they did.
2) Why did you decide to apply to work at IPR and what does your role involve?
I loved the concept and really admired what IPR was achieving as the first fully transactional online marketplace for rights internationally. What they were doing just made total sense! I was at a point in my career when I really wanted a challenge and a project I could commit myself to. I had always been intrigued about working in the publishing industry and IPR sounded like a exactly the kind of company I wanted to work with. I wanted a role that properly utilised my skills and also gave me room to learn and develop myself professionally, and I’m so glad that IPR decided to take me on as they’ve given me the space and support to do just that whilst learning the landscape of a fascinating international marketplace and our role within it as a innovative new transactional rights tool.
My role involves supporting our rights sellers to complete the deals they make on our platform, as well as making sure they’re doing everything they can to attract the right buyers to their titles. I also work very closely with our marketing team to help create more visibility for our clients’ titles, through our magazines, blogs, bulletins and newsletters. I’ve been working at IPR License for 4 months now and I’m loving it so far!
3) Is the publishing industry different from what you expected?
Yes and no and I’m always learning more! I’d heard that getting into the publishing industry was notoriously difficult, which was why I was so elated to get the role! My experience of the industry so far is that publishing folk are an enormously friendly bunch, but that everyone works incredibly hard. At IPR, I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by some enormously qualified people with decades of experience, and it’s meant I’ve been able to learn so much from them in such a short space of time, so I’m looking forward to learning even more as my role develops.
4) What type of books do you like reading for pleasure?
I really love economic but unusual, poetic language. I recently read The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas (translated by Elizabeth Rokkan) and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys that kind of writing. It’s just so impressive how in a few potent words Vesaas can somehow exquisitely capture the naivety of childhood in a really delicate and honest way. Conversely, I also love a good horror now and then! Nocturnes by John Connolly is an exceptional collection of short horror stories I’ve been revisiting for years, I find something new in them every time.
5) If there was one author (dead or alive) that you could meet for lunch, who would it be, and why?
Ooh what a question! Well, myself and another IPR colleague, Brittany both share a birthday with Jane Austen, so I think it would be quite fun to have a cup of tea and a moan with her about how having an advent birthday means you get completely overlooked because of Christmas, and get her honest view on the countess film adaptations of her work! I wonder who she would have cast to play Mr Darcy and what she would think of Colin Firth’s portrayal…
6) If you could use one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
It’s a tricky one, but I think I’m going to have to go with: Creative.