Joel Naoum is the Director of Critical Mass Publishing Consulting.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
I’ve always been interested in books and reading. My mother is also a published author, so I’ve been exposed to the publishing process since I was young. So when the opportunity came up to interview for an editorial assistant job, I jumped at it. At the same time I was always interested in computers and technology, so had become interested in ebooks when I lived in Japan and couldn’t as easily get English-language books. The two interests intersected once I was working in-house for a major publisher as they were in the process of converting their backlist into digital formats and looking for other opportunities in the digital space.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
It’s mostly focused on email. I do a lot of project management in my current business, so it’s largely about making sure all the projects are moving forward and nothing sits on my desk (so to speak) for too long before it gets moved along to the next stage. I also try to carve out time each day to work on longer-term tasks, but I don’t always get to it.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE? (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS, ETC.)
I use Gsuite (what used to be called Google Apps) and I’m a particular fan of Google Inbox, that allows you to use reminders, snooze emails and more easily keep track of where all my projects are at. I use a customised Airtable database for my central title database and metadata, as well as a task tracking system to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET INSPIRED?
I like to read on the topic of digital publishing and writing as well as interact with colleagues around the world on Twitter and Facebook.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING/INNOVATIVE THING YOU HAVE SEEN ON ANOTHER OUTLET OTHER THAN YOUR OWN?
I really like what Canelo is doing in the UK. There are some great digital people who founded that company and they seem to be doing a fantastic job balancing the digital aspects of publishing with the analog.
WHAT’S THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
I’m currently doing some upgrades on the customization of my database to make some of my processes a bit smoother and more automated. It’s a bit of an ongoing process, but in the long term, it saves a lot of time!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT?
Be as curious as you can and ask lots of questions. Curiosity will always lead you to interesting places and teach you everything you need to know.