Me and My Job: Matt Bugler
1. What is your job title and company? And roughly how many people work for your company?
I am digital editor at Usborne Publishing. There are roughly 250 of us in offices in London, Oxford, Wolverhampton and Regensburg, Germany.
2. What are your qualifications and working background, and when and how did you take on your current job?
I graduated with a degree in English in 2014, then did a post-grad in journalism for a year before focusing on publishing. I did a few work experience placements and some freelance proofreading, before working as an editorial assistant for another independent publisher, Anness Publishing, for eight months. Then I joined Usborne in September 2016.
3. What does your average working day entail?
Most of my day-to-day work is focused on improving the website and planning and carrying out other digital projects. An average day might include creating webpages, testing new technical developments, planning a digital marketing campaign, reporting on analytics and suggesting new ideas. Plus as with most ‘office’ jobs from home, a lot of emails and Zoom meetings!
4. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with other departments and our lovely web developers. People who like books tend to be very friendly! Seeing new titles come in is always exciting too.
5. What achievements are you most proud of?
Launching our beautiful English language website Usborne.com last year, bringing together lots of previously separate websites under one banner. It was an immense project but very rewarding, and we all believe ours is the best website in publishing! I’m also working closely with our foreign editions teams to launch foreign versions of the website, including Spanish, German and Korean.
6. What are your biggest challenges?
Convincing users to buy books on our site instead of Amazon. We’re not complaining if people are buying Usborne books on Amazon, but we feel we can offer more on Usborne.com, including personalised recommendations, a more friendly, curated user experience, and loads of extra content from teachers’ resources to Usborne Quicklinks, our library of more than 40,000 links to the best websites for children.
7. What have you experienced in your job and publishing that you didn’t expect?
I didn’t realise until I started working at Usborne that almost all the books are written in-house. The fact that most of the names on the books I was looking at were of people walking around in the office took some getting used to! It’s also a little-known fact that Usborne writer Fiona Watt is one of the bestselling children’s authors in the UK, up there with the likes of JK Rowling and David Walliams.
8. What is the best thing about working for an independent publisher?
I haven’t worked for a larger company, but one of the best things about working for an independent publisher is feeling more like a family than a corporation. People often stay a long time at Usborne, and everyone knows each other’s’ roles and quirks. Being in a smaller department also means your job can be more varied and cross-departmental rather than sticking to one designated role.
9. How do you switch off from your work
By going for a walk at the end of the working day. When I come back, I’m in my living room rather than my office. And having hobbies outside of work including reading, playing tennis and learning Italian.
10. What advice would you give anyone wanting to start or progress a career in publishing?
Keep on top of the news and trends in the industry. You can gain valuable experience outside of work—for example, by starting a blog or magazine; I ran my tennis club’s website for a couple of years. And often one thing may lead to another in terms of experience, so follow up on things and be alert for opportunities.