This is a guest post from Suzanne Collier, who is described as THE person to see if you want to get ahead in book publishing. With over 30 years’ experience of publishing, in both trade and academic, she founded bookcareers.com alongside her sales and marketing role within the business. Fully qualified in Careers Guidance she sees private clients from Managing Director level downwards (@suzannecollier | @bookcareers).
No doubt, like many others, you’ve read the results of the bookcareers.com salary survey and you think now is the time to go in all guns blazing and negotiate a pay rise. Hold on, don’t go blustering in straight away and ask for more money because the ‘survey says so’. The survey figures are only part of the picture, do some research first.
1. Can the company afford to give you a pay rise? Is it doing well? Have you seen quarterly figures, profit warnings or predictions of losses?
2. Is it financially viable to give you a pay rise? Does the company only give inflation-driven pay rises? Be wary of pushing your salary higher than the company can afford as it could put your job at risk. As well as salary there is a financial cost to employing someone, such as national insurance, bonus, benefits, and pension.
3. Why do you deserve a pay rise? What have you done that proves your worth to the company? Have you managed to influence a project or the success of a book? Have you saved the company money? Have you taken on extra responsibilities? Draw as much information together as you can.
4. Be sure of your ground before asking. Publishing is over-subscribed and when the boss mentions the queue of people wanting to do your job, they could be right but the queue of people don’t necessarily have your expertise and are unlikely to come in and do the job in exactly the same successful way you do.
5. Do not be impulsive, act hastily or make rash statements “If you don’t give me a pay rise I am leaving” or bring in life issues “I am looking to buy a house”. These statements whilst deeply affecting your life are irrelevant to whether they pay you the right salary for the role.
6. Remember if your job involves negotiation to use your expert negotiation skills when discussing your salary.
7. Be prepared for the counter-arguments, such as “if I pay you more, then I have to pay the person sitting next to you more”. If the money is not forthcoming or you don’t get the answer you want “let’s see how things go”, then fix a date for a review, maybe in 3 or 6 months or tie it into your appraisal or ask for recompense in other ways, such as extra holiday, training or more flexible hours .
Finally, remember none of us really work in publishing for money; we all do it for love!