From a temp to the top – publishing’s ‘rising star’ triumphs in national awards

    Damian Barr (Presenter), Joshua Brown (How2Become) and Ruth Killick (Award Sponsor)

    A MAN from Hildenborough has been recognised with a national award for his work at a Kent based publisher– despite only joining as a temporary packager three years ago.

    Joshua Brown, 25, scooped the Young Independent Publisher of the Year award at the eponymous awards ceremony in Oxford for his work with How2Become – a careers specialist publisher in Kings Hill.

    He drove a record year of turnover for the company (a 26.9 per cent increase on the previous year) and impressed the judges with his rise from temporary admin assistant to Operations Director in less than three years. At age 25, Mr Brown now has a vast remit including sales, marketing, title management and recruitment.

    The judges said: “Joshua achieved so much in 2016 and did remarkable things in some non-traditional publishing environments. He’s a real rising star.”

    After graduating from the University of Derby in 3D Modelling and Animation, Mr Brown planned to become a computer games artist but couldn’t find any long-term work.

    In September 2013, he applied to How2Become for a part-time temporary role in which he was the sole worker alongside founder and ‘mentor’ Richard McMunn. At the beginning, his job was to pack the company’s first book ‘How To Become a Fire Fighter’ into jiffy bags.

    He quickly ‘fell in love with publishing’ and has risen through the ranks, writing his own book, ‘How To Become a Game Designer’ along the way, which was published in December 2016.

    “I love the whole process, seeing an idea you first had at home one night going into print months later is brilliant. Plus helping people with their careers is really rewarding,” he told the Times.

    How2Become.com was originally launched by Mr McMunn, a former firefighter, when he realised that there was a lack of resources and help for people who were keen to join the Fire Service

    He then started helping applicants find employment in other fields and pass tests used by the Police Service, armed forces, train operating companies and airlines before setting up his career guides publishing arm. To this day How2Become have published 179 books.

    Unlike traditional publishers, most of their sales come from direct orders on their website rather than general online retailers.

    Last year, with Mr Brown as Operations Manager, the company published 48 new books, all written by four in-house writers. He explained that they have a ‘quick turnaround’ with a title taking one to two months to go from idea to publication.

    They also ramped up their YouTube content, receiving more than three million views on their free careers advice videos.

    How2Become have also branched out into educational revision guides, offering schools £300 worth of free material in order to spread awareness of the brand.

    Hayesbrook School in Tonbridge is one of the 130 schools nationally to take them up on the offer.

    “It’s surprising how many turn us down,” said Mr Brown.