'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

London Book Fair Part #2

This is the second part of my London Book Fair posts. In this one I'm going to share with you guys the things I learnt in a few of the seminars which were more focused on getting a career in publishing. These were so, so helpful to me because it's my absolute dream. The people on the panels were absolutely lovely and it's only furthered my need to be a part of that industry!

First up was:

Introduction to Publishing
Panel: Julia Wisdom, Sarah O'Connor, Juliet Mushens, Nick Bottomley & Fiona Marsh
This seminar gave a nice little overview of the key pointers in publishing. It was mainly useful for those wanting to be published but was still really intersting. A few key points covered were:
  • Editors hunt for new talent in the Spring but are limited in time. They have to make sure they're giving 100% attention to their authors.
  • Networking with agents and booksellers is so important within the role.
  • Editors must also be very subjective. They must follow their instincts and question whether the book would work in our market?
  • Important to persuade colleagues from a range of departments to support the book that they want to publish. Without the backing and support of most departments, it's hard to get the book off the ground.
  • Publishers and book sellers must communicate. It's also important for authors and booksellers to build relationships = want people to push your book.
  • For authors: it's worth asking your publisher how it's being marketed to achieve best results.
  • Importance of the spine of a book: important to have your book stand out on a shelf. Clear title and clear author name. Most books are spine out rather than face on.
  • The print on demand route tends to close off going down the bookshop route: impractical.
How to get into Publishing
Panel: Miriam Robinson, Lauren Ace, Anna Faherty & Ellie Pike
Words cannot express how fantastic and helpful this seminar was to me. I learnt so many new tips for getting into publishing and had a lovely chat with Lauren Ace, head of Macmillan's Children Publicity Team (a local Swansea girl!)

  • Publicity: working in bookshops, working in a small press: all good experience
  • Always looking for ways to improve events.
  • Important to be creative and show a passion for books. Be a hard worker. Always ask for more. Be passionate about the industry and show off your knowledge of it in your cover letter.
  • Aim to make a good impression. Show enthusiasm, ask lots of questions!
  • Show off your digital skills and your online profiles.
  • Talked about a book: 'How to get into Publishing'
  • Contacts are important in this industry.
  • Try and get as much practical experience as possible. It shows commitment. Demonstrate what you've learnt in the process.
  • Take note of how companies operate.
  • Develop your professional presentation skills
  • Express how to convert your love of books into a business. It's important to be aware of the industry and to put this across.
  • Reading The Bookseller is brilliant for industry information.
  • Most importantly - DON'T GIVE UP!  
How to get Ahead in Publishing
Panel: Stephanie Milner, James Long, Matt Haslum, Oli Munson
This one wasn't as helpful to me. It was more of a career overview but considering I've yet to get into publishing - I don't think I was the target audience for this one! Still some really interesting stuff though.
  • Get into the industry at the ground and get your hands dirty. Ask for more work and be excited about all of it!
  • Make sure you know the job you're going for but not its limitations. Go above and beyond. You must know your job and the company. Always take the job further.
  • The interviews are all about what you can do in certain situations.
  • Be aware of your weaknesses: be honest with yourself and turn them into strengths.
  • Word of mouth is important in this industry - recommendations. It's a social business. You must always be sociable and professional.
  • Take on more than you can do and get it done. Do it well.
  • Go to as many drinks/ events as possible.
  • Important to know what people want before they know it - marketing.
  • Keep an eye on transferable skills e.g. technology, embrace process (make it work), treat what you do as a service, project management (lead them). Get the best from the context you're in, no matter what role.
  • Marketing: know your reader and what they want. Build a deeper communication with the readers.
  • Working with TV brands can be very influential. It's always good to know how things work from a different medium.
  • No excuse not to know what your audience wants. It surrounds you.
  • Develop outside industry knowledge e.g. how can other campaign ideas work for you?
  • Bring your energy and passion to your job!

I found these seminars so helpful and the speakers were so inspiring. I can't wait to get into this industry! It's perfect :). 


  1. Fab writeup! All these seminars sound really interesting. I must go to LBF next year! Good luck with getting a publishing job :-)

  2. Wow, it sounds like there was SO much stuff to learn and benefit from at these publishing seminars!! Building relationships on every level must be so so important. Good advice! The bit about book-spines is true, you never think about it but that's the part of the book most people will see first! Sounds like there's a lot of instinct and judgement calls that go into publishing too, I like that. Very cool information ^^ Thanks for sharing ♥


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