A Day in the Life of Huda July 25 2012

Thus far, we’ve given you an insight into the workdays of our editors, marketing managers, and interns. However, behind every successful publishing house, there are the quiet heroes, the people who ensure that everything runs smoothly for the rest of the team.  In this installment of our A Day in the Life series, we find out what our new Administrative Executive has to say about her job at Epigram Books!
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I was quite nervous on my first day of work at Epigram Books (barely a month ago). I didn’t want to be late and in the end, I was half an hour early to work. Fortunately, our Studio Manager was around to show me around.

As I came from a bookstore environment, with the ambient music, constant chatter of customers, and ringing of cash registers, the quietness of the Epigram Books office environment took me by surprise. The office is big and white, lined with shelves filled with books and an amazing collection of artwork displayed on the walls. Plus, the pantry is filled with glasses, plates, and cutlery, chopping boards, state-of-the-art coffee maker, and microwave. Also, did I mention that every table comes with an iMac (seriously, how cool is that?).

As it was my first day at work, they decided to take it easy on me. I was given simple administrative duties which gave me the chance to get used to using an iMac. It was a bit of a struggle at first but I can now declare that I am no longer a Mac noob! Yay!

However, it was just the calm before the storm. As the week progressed, I was given more responsibilities, sorting out the accounts and paperwork for our line of NOTBOOKS, organising work flow, and other administrative duties. I’m also in charge of calling our vendors to check on our accounts and payments (this is quite fun, I have to admit). With so many new responsibilities that included meeting with distributors, doing overseas orders, payroll, and doing up sales invoice, my first few weeks passed by swiftly.

It’s been almost a month now since I first joined Epigram Books and here’s some of the things that I’ve done as Administrative Executive:

- Fulfilling a book order from Kinokuniya Dubai (I thought this was my first major responsibility!)
- Replying potential customers on their enquiries about purchasing our titles.
- Learning to post up new titles on our website. My first post was for our new poetry title, The Best of Robert Yeo (part of our Pioneer Poets series) using WordPress, which thankfully is quite idiot proof.
- Scribbling on post-it notes and sticking them onto my iMac so I won’t forget important things.
- Peeling tags of wine glasses with Edmund and our intern, Josephine. (I started reminiscing about the good old times at the bookstore doing returns…). We take our event preparation quite seriously!
- Liaising with our HK distributor (who spoke to me in Cantonese at one point) and rushing to get their last minute orders out on time.
- Segregating box after box and labeling them clearly (By Air or By Sea) for our HK Distributor together with Josephine (a back breaking task, I must say).
- Maintaining our contact database so that Michelle, our Marketing Assistant, can set up a mailing list (let us know if you’d like to join!).
- Getting an Excel spreadsheet ready for Ruth, our Managing Editor, to use as part of her presentation in a meeting.


That, folks, is the life of an Administrative Executive! I can’t say that I miss the retail environment of a bookstore (okay, maybe a little bit), but regardless of where I am, my love for books won’t ever change.