Ru Merritt has been with The Quarto Group for a year and a half. She currently works as an Junior Editor at Aurum Press.
Why did you want to get into publishing?
Mostly because I studied History and didn’t want to be a teacher, librarian, or archivist… Only joking (sort of!). More seriously, studying history taught me the importance of books in spreading ideas and the responsibility that publishers have to promote great writing in the world. Books can be a real force for change and I wanted to get involved. I’m not a ‘shout on Twitter’ sort of person, so I like to think that by helping to produce books with a strong concept and purpose, I’m adding my voice to the current conversations going on in society.
What is your publishing ambition?
If we’re talking long-term, then Publisher! To be in a position where you’re able to work with like-minded people, manage an imprint that creates books that champion new talent and modern values, and have an impact on readers’ lives, would be amazing. In the short-term, trying to get through processing the invoices piled up on my desk would be a good start!
What’s your favorite Quarto book?
Nørth by Bronte Aurell, published by Aurum Press, This book is visually stunning on the outside and inside (hello, tracing paper cover!) and I love how it taps into the ‘hygge’ trend. You can see the amount of love that has gone into this book and its focus on Scandinavian culture as a whole makes it really stand out. It’s also written by the owner of ScandiKitchen and she brings a great level of humor to the book – the literal translations of Scandi idioms for example are hilarious. Next time you’re having an argument with someone, try to remember the old Swedish saying: ‘Taste is like your bum, divided’ (i.e. everybody has an opinion).
What do you currently do?
I’m a Junior Editor at Aurum Press. Every day is different and I really love the variety that my job gives me. My role includes the typical administrative tasks like looking after invoices, contracts and schedules, but I also project manage my own books. This involves working closely with the Commissioning Editors and taking their idea from the idea stage to an actual book. To do this, I liaise with authors, designers, freelance editors, picture agencies and more, as well as in-house departments. I am involved with all aspects of the book-making process including cover design meetings, copy writing, image selection, and perhaps most importantly, making sure everyone sticks to the schedule!
What’s been your best publishing experience so far?
Seeing my name in the list of people our author Chris Fitch thanked in his book, Atlas of Untamed Places. This was great – I told my parents immediately! I’d put a lot of time into researching the images for this title when I was Editorial Assistant, so it was very cool to see my name printed in the real thing. It reminds me about how much making a book is a collaborative process and it meant a lot to me that Chris took a moment to remember my name when he was writing his Acknowledgements.
What’s the best thing about working at Quarto?
I love my team at Aurum Press. We work closely together on our projects and it’s great to come into such a supportive environment every morning. As with most aspects of life, things go wrong now and again, so it’s a great comfort to know that when something doesn’t go to plan, I’ve got eight other people to give me advice, help me come up with a solution, and make me a cup of tea.
Behind the scenes