Anurima Roy heads up Marketing and Publicity for Bloomsbury India and is responsible for marketing, publicity and social media for the entire list.
She joined Bloomsbury from Hachette Book Publishing India where spent five years and was Publicity Manager. She began her career at Oxford University Press in 2002 where she spent five years starting as an ELT Editor and went on to becoming a Development Editor. Anurima has also gained commercial and marketing experience at the hotel industry where she started a department from scratch as Relationships Manager.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
My early years were spent travelling with my parents and brother to different countries, since my father was with the Foreign Service. I never liked moving around very much and decided very early on that I needed to stay in one place although I was aware that it couldn’t happen.
Having an older brother was mostly a good thing and it was he who got me hooked on reading since I was little. I still consider him as a far bigger reader than I am though. As we grew up, we debated a lot and asserted ourselves more and more, which was healthy for our minds even though conversations inevitably got heated. The good thing today is that have we have a high regard for each other, because of our diverse mind-sets and honest interpretations of one another without any inhibitions. And we read. We read and read and
It was in the mid-90s during my GCE O-levels that my love for literature had reached a level where I couldn’t do without it anymore. I began to read on the sly; under the bed sheet at night with a torch, at the corners of the kitchen, inside the chemistry book that I pretended to study and so on.
I began to contribute to the school magazine in a small way. Unfortunately for me, like most Indian parents those days, Science was always the first option for a child who showed any promise academically. I fell victim to this, having to take both my GCE O and A-levels in Science.
I still wanted to study Literature and I knew that was my forte then but it wasn’t until I returned to India that two of my dreams were finally realized: to live in one country permanently and to study Literature.
From day one of my Bachelors I was certain that I wanted to be a publisher. I became editor of the college magazine for three years straight (since no one else wanted to do it, I’m sure).
I went on to do my Masters in English and was a regular contributor to the magazine but couldn’t edit it full time since time was a constraint. It was during my final year of MA that I got my first big break and began my career as an editor at the Oxford University Press, studying and working at the same time.
I have been a publishing professional for over 14 years now and have worked in editorial and marketing across both Trade and Academic publishing with some of the biggest names known today (Margaret Atwood, Vikas Khanna, Kamila Shamsie, William Dalrymple, Simon Singh, Raj Kamal Jha, Shiv Khera to name a few). It has been an exciting journey so far and I hope to keep the momentum going.
Tell us about what you are doing currently and anything you are looking forward to?
At the moment, I am working at Bloomsbury India where I look after Marketing and Publicity. It has been an exciting and colourful journey so far and it’s really rewarding to work with such fantastic writers.
One of the highest points this year for me has been touring with the literary legend, Margaret Atwood and I can safely die happy now. I am currently working on some fabulous books releasing this year including the massive ‘Utsav’, by Masterchef Vikas Khanna; ‘Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It’ and ‘Eat, Pray, Love Tenth Year Anniversary Edition’, by Elizabeth Gilbert; ‘Half Boyfriend’, by Judy Balan and Kishore Manohar; ‘Tanya Tanya’ by Antara Ganguli; and many others.
I am really looking forward to ‘The Anarchy’, by William Dalrymple and ‘The Song Rising’, by Samantha Shannon, that are releasing early next year.
What is your definition of success?
Success like happiness is a highly overrated term and isn’t something that is achieved once in life and forgotten about. It’s like walking on sand – everyone has to make their own footsteps and remake them as they are washed away again and again. It needs constant work and has to be reset and achieved repeatedly like everything meaningful in life.
Timing is one of the most important things for success: unless you get the right thing at the right time, it doesn’t count. The biggest challenge is mainly what I put out for myself, most of the time, since success is dynamic – it will cease to exist if not sought actively and constantly worked on.
There’s no one real mantra to success and everyone has their own idea of it. Mine is to move on and not brood or gloat over either success or failure too much. In fact, failure means you’re on the right track!
The only real challenge I face is to find enough motivation worth pushing oneself forward and to me the key is to keep giving myself small goals – at work, life, friendships and relations – achieving them and moving on to more.
Professionally, I have no complaints, to be very honest. So far, I have been where I wanted to be at every stage of my life (thank god) and was able to move seamlessly into Marketing and Publicity from Editorial when I felt stagnated and needed the change; it has been the same when I needed a change of industry and thankfully, have been ‘successful’ in having achieved them when I wanted/needed to. Of course, one really needs to take risks – calculated ones if possible but reckless ones are fine too (they teach us a lot and I am thankful to
my recklessness for where I am today) – and I personally feel that it’s imperative to achieving that thing called satisfaction (or, to some, success).
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
I’m sure it’s yet to come, although I have a lot to be thankful for and all of those count as achievements for me. I am thankful for being where I wanted professionally and the fact that this is what I wanted to do. I think being a great mom is important for me and my children keep telling me that I am – even though I spend little time with them. We have so much fun together; it probably does mean something to them.
I am able to live the foodie life and write occasional pieces on food and drink that I like doing very much. I have friends who I go on adventure trips with and I have friends that I go on food jaunts with – both of which I am really thrilled about. All these for me count as being achievements since there isn’t anything really big that I ever wanted to be I guess. I should want to become a billionaire or something, going by my success rate.
Jokes apart, I know that things can always be better and one has to keep working on them to truly keep them enhanced. It doesn’t take much time to lose out on any of these wonderful things if they are not worked on constantly. There was a time when I did change industries for a while but came right back into publishing (since I was brain dead in six months) at a dream position with one of the biggest publishers in the world. When I did switch industries (immediately after I had been promoted), everyone I knew personally and professionally told me that that it was a career suicide, which I did have at the back of my mind! Of course, I went with my gut feeling and took the absolutely crazy risk, which became the turning point for me in my career and I got where I wanted to be. That said, someone would have to put a gun to my head to make me do something like that again!
However, I would say and hope that the best is yet to come and I would like to keep getting that kick out of little things in life that keep me going and they become big and happy as a whole.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I would be a motivational speaker and working a lot more in the education sector with teachers and students. I do feel that there’s a huge gap in our educational system that needs to become far more extensive that what it is today.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I have admired a lot of people whom I have read since I was young, which defines my love for literature. However, I really don’t think I draw an inspiration from anyone yet other than my mother, who is one of the strongest women I have ever known.
Becoming independent at a very young age I had to chalk out a path for myself since when I was in school and have kept at working on my own at every stage of life up to today. If it was not for my mother, who never stopped me from making mistakes and we celebrated so many failures that I was never afraid.
What does the future hold for you?
The future I hope continues in the same strain as the past and I continue to achieve what I want to and when although I think that’ll be very wishful. I do want to try out something new and see how I live up to that but I definitely want to make a small difference to the country in whatever way I can.