Career progression: Interview with Publisher Jeremy Trevathan

Jeremy Trevathan is the Publisher at Pan Macmillan in the UK, responsible for the adult division, which publishes authors as diverse as Ken Follett, Jeffrey Archer, Danielle Steel, Alan Hollinghurst, Cormac McCarthy, Nelson Mandela and Joe Wicks. Here, Norah Myers chats with him about the progression of his career.

1) How did you personally know when you were ready to progress to your next role?

To be honest, every step forward in my career has been a result of someone asking me to do something new that was slightly (sometimes hugely!) beyond my comfort zone. So the fear of the challenge and the confidence of others in me made me realise that these steps (I started in production, moved to subsidiary rights, then to direct mail book clubs, back to rights and finally into editorial) were right for me. It required much support from others (for which I’m hugely grateful) but not too much soul searching.

2) Which qualities do you think help certain people to get to the top of their profession?

There are really good managers and then there are leaders. I think strategic thinking is the quality that defines people who get to the top of their profession. Once you learn the processes of any job and feel that it’s second nature you can start to manage others to do the same thing. But the next step up is to work out the context of what you do and why which should then inform the way forward for your team or your business.

3) What has been the most challenging element of a senior position?

The most challenging aspect of being in a senior position is the diplomacy that is required to manage large groups of people. One imagines that as the leader of a team it’s a matter of just telling them what you want and how you want it done. In fact, it’s about earning their respect first and then they will willingly do what you say and even do it without being asked!

4) Where would you like to be in 5 years?

In 5 years’ time I will be 62 years old. I imagine I will still be at Pan Macmillan working with some of my wonderful authors and hopefully coaching the next generation of budding publishers.

5) What advice would you give your younger self?

The advice I would give my younger self is to really not worry about what others think of you. Just be authentically yourself and your qualities will take you in the right direction for you.

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