Saturday, September 14, 2013

Inside the Industry: Epic Reads Community Manager

Saturday, September 14, 2013
A look at the book business by the people who know it best.

Many of you probably recognize Margot Wood from Epic Read's weekly live video session, Tea Time. Or maybe you read all of her posts on the Epic Reads blog. (And then there's the Epic Reads Twitter and Tumblr, too, not to mention the YouTube channel.) Through Tea Time and the rest of the Epic Reads platform, Margot and Aubry have gained A LOT of bookish fans and for good reason! Now you can go behind the scenes of Margot's job below!

Describe a typical day as Epic Reads Community Manager. What does your job entail?

There are a lot of components to being the manager of Epic Reads because you have to remember that Epic Reads is also comprised of Pitch Dark and Story Crush and each of these communities has its own: blog, forums, contests, quizzes, Twitter and Facebook. But also, I’m part of the marketing division at HarperChildren’s so the other part of my job is attending meetings, providing feedback on campaigns, brainstorming with other teams and groups. To be honest, it’s quite a lot.

So a typical day for me is a lot of checking, scheduling and responding on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr but also writing and posting on the blogs. I am also in charge of maintaining and updating all the backend data for our titles and author profiles. I also do all the mailings for the giveaways so some of my day is spent mailing out all those beautiful books- but I like to use that time to brainstorm creative projects with Aubry, who is the social media manager for HarperTeen and HarperChildrens.

As with anyone else in publishing, the other parts of my day are pretty much spent answering a gagillion emails. J

What requirements does one need to meet in order to be the head of a publisher’s website?

Before I was managing YA book communities, I was managing other communities such as video game brands and even wine brands the main rule is you should be a fan of the product your community is about. When I was trying to manage the wine community I had a really hard time because I personally don’t drink wine. I know nothing about wine and I’m not really interested in wine so having to “fake it” wasn’t really working out for me. So I think in order to be a great community manager, you have to be part of that community on a personal level. So for running a publisher’s community, you have to be a fan or reading and the types of books in that community. Being the manager of Epic Reads never feels like a job because I am personally a huge fangirl of YA lit.

The other requirement for being a CM (community manager) is marketing expertise. It’s not enough to just be a fan of books because while your job is to interact with the community, the other half of your job is working with the various teams in the marketing department. So while the marketing degree I received at Emerson doesn’t come into play too much when I’m tweeting or book shimmying, it plays a big role in all those meetings and all the stuff the community doesn’t see.

What Epic Reads content tends to be the most popular among the site’s members?

As with most things on the interwebz, the content that is most popular among our members is information. Our members want to read a blog post or watch a tea time video and come away with either some kind of new information or inspiration. So things like The United States of YA, any of our “YA book and [insert noun] pairings” posts and our Tea Time webcasts are definitely the most popular.

What advice would you give to an aspiring site manager? What would you advise them to study in college?

Definitely marketing but don’t let that be the only thing you learn in school. I was a marketing major but throughout my college years I also took classes in graphic design and multi media arts. The internet is EVERYTHING. You should know a little bit about everything. Learn a little Photoshop, learn a little video production, learn a little writing and editing, learn a little journalism. Don’t pigeonhole yourself in college. Just because you’re declaring one major doesn’t mean that’s the only thing you should learn.

Can you give us any hints as to what new features we can expect from Epic Reads in the upcoming months?

Video. More video. We want to expand our popular Tea Times into a highly produced, almost news-like show. We want to continue to do the live format because that is such a new and innovative way to interact with the community and get the community to interact with each other, but we also want to start doing more web show kind of stuff too that isn’t necessarily live. 

Tea Time is one of your most popular features. How do you come up with the topics for each episode? (Also, are Book Shimmy t-shirts going to actually be a thing? Because that was an awesome idea.)

As far as the topics go we mostly pull ideas from Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit and we’ll ask the community outright what they want to talk about. I pay very close attention to what people are chatting about online and if there happens to be a popular topic that week, we like to jump on it and weigh in.  And yes, book shimmy shirts do exist. (See photo below!)

What’s your favorite thing about being Epic Reads Community Manager? Your least favorite?

My favorite thing? Access to all the books I could ever want.

Least favorite thing? Not being able to bring home all those books. (My boyfriend says I have to keep everything on one shelf.)

Just for fun question: Out of all the epic reads you’ve promoted, which is your favorite?

My favorite series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

My favorite standalone: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Want to find out more? Check out Margot's amazing photography blog and, of course, Epic Reads!
If you work in the book business and would like to be featured, send an email to with the subject line “Inside the Industry.” I would love to hear from you!


  1. I LOVE this post of yours! I always watch Teatime when I can and absolutely love it so seeing what Margot's job is all about was SO interesting
    Thank you for sharing,
    New reader - Sophie(

    1. She definitely has one of the coolest, most interesting jobs in the world! Glad you liked the posts and thanks for reading, Sophie! :)

  2. I want to thank you again for requesting the interview! I honestly can't even believe I do this stuff for a living. It still blows my mind that I even have this job and I'm so incredibly grateful to HarperCollins. I feel like a professional fangirl! But most importantly, and I want to really drive this point home is that my job would not exist without the bloggers and readers out there. Honestly, without the support Epic Reads gets from you all, I don't think it would be as popular or as successful as it is. The community isn't just about the books. . . it's about the community and the people who love to read the books. Always has been. Always will be.

    1. Thank you so much for doing the interview!! We're so grateful that communities like Epic Reads exist! <3

  3. This post is made of awesome. It's my goal to work on the marketing end of publishing, so working at Epic Reads honestly sounds like a dream come true. This informative interview provides a beautiful picture of what members of the team do every day, and it gives me serious job envy. Is it bad that "maintaining and updating all the backend data" sounds more like fun than work? I think not.

    Thank you both for sharing!

  4. I love this series that you've been doing! Other than writing, I think this would be my dream job, but I didn't know who to ask or even how to ask these questions. This is super amazing!

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

  5. Great interview, lovelies!! Margot, great advice about studying broadly in college, but related to your interests. Also, your favourite epic reads are spot on! ;)


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