Sunday, May 15, 2011
Making his own ‘luck’ He might be living the dream but Sam Folder knows the real reason he’s gone from student to publisher in just a few short years, and he’s happy to take the credit for it. Amber Vucko reports
“I just couldn’t imagine sitting in an office and crunching numbers all day.”
AKING it big in any industry usually takes a combination of hard work and a bit of luck, but Sam Folder believes the key to success has more to do with making the most of every opportunity. The 26-year-old senior publisher and company director of Red Hill Press said his big break came when he landed a job with Random House Australia, straight out of university. Originally from Hobart in Tasmania, Sam and his family often holidayed in Queensland, which was one reason why he chose to study Communications at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Fresh out of high school, Sam made the move to Sippy Downs, where he spent the next three years studying towards a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in creative writing and public relations. It was during this time that he discovered a true passion for literature, and was mentored by renowned children’s author and university lecturer Gary Crew. “I had a pretty close relationship with Gary, and he was a bit of a mentor to me,” he said. “He saw
SAM FOLDER’S KEYS TO CAREER SUCCESS 1. Self-belief – if you don’t believe in you, no one else will, either. 2. Determination – most careers are hugely competitive so you need to put in the work and be prepared to stick it out. 3. Goal-setting – short and long-term goals are really important for tracking your progress. 4. Education – find out as much as you can about your chosen career and put in the time to learn the necessary skills. 5. Branding – identify your personal brand and what makes you different.
something in my writing and encouraged me to pursue it.” With this in mind, Sam made the decision to make his big ‘break’ happen by trying to score his dream job with Random House Australia. “I rang up the office when I was on the Sunshine Coast, and said I was really interested in working in the publishing industry,” he said The publishing giant was so impressed with his initiative, that they offered him the chance to visit Sydney for an interview with top executives. Not long after he pitched an ingenious marketing proposal to the company director, he was offered a position on the RHA international marketing team. “The reality is I didn’t have the experience to jump straight into a publishing role,” he said. “But I took the opportunity to learn everything I could about the Australian publishing industry.” During his two years with the company, Sam learnt everything from production, to sales and distribution and publicity and marketing, all of which prepared him for a
future in publishing. After leaving RHA, he worked for a while in various sales and marketing roles, but wanted to realise his dream of becoming a publisher. It was only at the end of last year when Sam made the big decision to branch out and become his own boss. “I guess being young, I thought ‘why not’?” he said. “It’s the classic cliché really, but I thought if I didn’t do it that I would regret it later.” With educational literature being the company’s primary focus, Sam hopes that the recently released, Get Your Break! book series, will brand Red Hill Press as an independent, cutting-edge firm. “I just couldn’t imagine sitting in an office and crunching numbers all day,” he said. “I guess that why I’ve had such a passion for writing and publishing this book series.” Sam explained that the Get Your Break! books were created to provide a realistic insight into creative careers such as television presenting, fashion design, and the recording industry. “With the series, readers hear directly from a wide cross-section of successful young people and industry experts working in each creative industry,” he said. A desire to educate and inform young people about the realities of creative careers has inspired Sam to start work on more Get Your Break! titles, set for release later in the year. For someone who got their break early on, Sam said he made his way forward by making every moment count. “It is rarely, if ever, down to blind luck or one ‘get your break’ moment,” he said. “Rather, it is several small ‘breaks’ and the individual’s unyielding self-belief and determination to make the most of every opportunity.” If you are interested in the creative industries and want to know more, visit www.getyourbreak.com.au to downREAD ABOUT IT: Sam Folder’s Get load chapter excerpts. Your Break series is just the start for the young publisher. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED