How I did it – Fiona Mercer

Fiona Mercer

From trainspotting to having an encyclopaedic knowledge of every Premier League football club, Fiona talks us through the exciting world of being a publisher.

Over the years, I have been a trainspotter, a pre-jet-engine airplane enthusiast, a dog lover and a country pursuits novice. I have had a temporary pet-shop licence and could recite every football team in the Premier League’s ground, nickname and manager. Now, I know you are probably thinking: ‘Wow, she’s bad at sticking to a new hobby.’ But, no, these are all the magazine sectors where I have been lucky enough to be a publisher.

I have worked in publishing for 20 years and been a publisher for over 15, and it is certainly a role that has gone through momentous changes over these years – as the whole industry has – but it is one that I love.

As is quite common with 21-year-olds, after finishing my degree (business law), I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, though I was sure I didn’t want to be lawyer. Fortunately, I found myself working for a magazine distribution company and became fascinated with all the processes involved in getting magazines into consumers’ hands. It wasn’t just the editorial staff, who create the brilliant content, but also the teams who run circulation, subscriptions, advertising, marketing, production and, of course, the person managing the whole thing – the publisher.

Most of my career so far has been spent working at one of the UK’s leading consumer publishers, TI Media, within their Specialist division. There, I worked my way through the many markets mentioned earlier, learning all the facets of the job. It’s a fantastic mix of running a business, managing teams, creatively developing products and building industry relationships.

Now, I have a new sector to add to my portfolio, as I recently joined River as publisher of the German, French and Swiss editions of WW Magazine. River and WW have had a strong working relationship for many years, and I am so excited to join at time when WW are redeveloping their brand to become the market leader in wellness. Working on international titles is an opportunity to add to my publishing skill set, and it’s wonderful to see magazines are loved as much in Europe as they still are in the UK.

The magazine market has been through some tough years, but as long as brands continue to deliver first-rate content to their communities across all platforms, they will remain one of the most trusted forms of media.

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