Monthly Archives: October 2012

Life in Publishing

We have fallen in love with this painfully truthful (and funny) blog about what it’s like working in publishing:

An extract from the blog…

When I ask an author if they have a twitter and they say that it confuses them

Afternoon Tea with Persephone Books

For the second event at the Durham Book Festival 2012, Nicola Beauman, the founder of Persephone Books, joined some of her devoted readers for a wonderful afternoon tea at the stunning Bowes Museum.

As the intimate audience of about sixty Persephone Books fans tucked into tea and warm scones (with jam and cream of course!), Nicola Beauman took to the floor to talk about all things publishing, beginning with a question of taste. This big question is what brought Persephone Books into existence, as Nicola Beauman felt there were high quality books, written not so long ago, that had been shelved by publishers and left remarkably difficult for readers to get hold of. Due to producing high quality productions of some such titles, Persephone Books has developed a wide ranging readership. Ashamedly, I have only quite recently discovered the pleasure of Persephone Books, but there are some readers who have taken the twelve year journey alongside this quaint publishing business; one lady in particular has collected every single one of the biannual mail catalogues of Persephone Books. This just goes to show that once you experience one Persephone Book, you are sure to want another!

From a publishing perspective, the most interesting topic discussed was of how Persephone titles are chosen. It is a big undertaking to publish any book (both financially and emotionally) and so the publisher must feel absolutely sure in the decision making process. Persephone Books is able to function because of the copyright law and by choosing books that are still in copyright but are no longer in print. Nicola Beauman said that she checks Amazon for titles before even considering whether to publish, because if a book is available for just pennies (or free as an e-book) it is difficult to breakeven from a reprint that is required to sell in the thousands at a considerably higher price.

When one thinks of beautiful books, one naturally thinks of Persephone, and so design was inevitably another theme of discussion. The love that has been poured into every single Persephone book is evident and this is presumably why the Persephone market for gifts is thriving. It seems odd that such well put together and intricately designed books should be a standard grey colour and the audience at the Afternoon Tea were very amused when Nicola Beauman mentioned a sign next to one bookshop’s collection of Persephone Books stating: ‘one shade of grey’, but it is true that the bland grey colour stands out on any bookshelf.

Although I have admired the endpapers of many a Persephone book, I must admit I never really gave much thought as to how each was chosen. It turns out that a lot of thought and research goes into the selecting of the pattern that will appear as the endpaper, as they are in fact fabrics or textiles that were designed at the same time that the novel in question was written.

If you have never heard of Persephone Books before and are considering which to purchase, the favourite author of many people in the Afternoon Tea audience was Dorothy Whipple, but I don’t recommend her work for the faint hearted! If Whipple doesn’t take your fancy, Persephone Books is sure to have something for you as they are now celebrating the publication of their 100th title, giving readers lots to choose from!

Publishing publicity and networking event!

We’re very excited about our publicity and networking event tomorrow night!

Ruvani de Silva, Publicity Manager for Zed Books will be giving an overview of what it’s like being a publicist and working for a small, niche publisher. Her talk will be followed by a short exercise led by Bobby Nayyar, from Equip, to give members an opportunity to develop their networking skills (and hopefully have some fun). 

That new girl in marketing…

If you’re interested in marketing then this new blog by one of our lovely graduates, Natalie Boon, may be of interest to you:

Natalie has just started a marketing internship (hooray!) at Vertex Solutions so will bring you insights and insider gossip from the world of marketing.

Also, Natalie is keen to keep in contact and help out fellow L’boro students so please do contact her:

Company Twitter: @VertexSolutions
Natalie’s Twitter: @VertexNatalie
Company Linkedin: Vertex Solutions International Ltd

And the winner is…

The majority (62%) of our survey respondents correctly predicted that Hilary Mantel would become the first woman, and the first Briton, to win the Man Booker Prize for the second time. The other two double prize winners are Peter Carey and J M Coetzee. Mantel, who published her first novel twenty-seven years ago, joked upon receiving the prize: “You wait twenty years for a Booker prize and then two come along at once.”

Bring up the bodies is the sequel to the 2009 Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall, which charts the life of Thomas Cromwell. Mantel is currently writing the final installment of the trilogy The Mirror and the Light: can she become the first person to win the prize three times…? If the first two books are anything to go by she is certainly a strong contender…

Who do you think will win the 2012 Man Booker Prize?

What do you think…?

Are Magazines For Me?

This summer I was fortunate enough to be offered a placement with Archant Magazine group. I was there for a week, which was broken up by working on two different magazines: Discover Britain and Wild Travel. ‘Discover Britain’ covers events and locations on Britain, which usually has a historical twist. On the other hand, ‘Wild Travel’ covers wildlife for all of those who love the outdoors and nature.

Based in Cheltenham, the office stood three floors high and was packed to bursting with many of the company’s magazines. ‘Discover Britain’ and ‘Wild Travel’ are produced by the same team, with ‘Wild Travel’ only in its third issue.  Researching new ideas for the magazine took up a large amount of time in the week that I was there. Having recently changed its name from ‘Heritage’ to ‘Discover Britain’ all of their content has a historical element to it and so it was very easy to get side tracked reading all of the information!

Every month they have a section dedicated to events all over Britain and so it was my job to research the upcoming Christmas events. These events tended to range from exhibitions to carol concerts at Salisbury Cathedral. Once found, the magazine required me to contact the chosen organisations for a high resolution image. It was a good chance to practice interaction with others on behalf of an organisation.

Once completed, I moved over onto the ‘Wild Travel’ magazine where I researched top wildlife trips and luxury safari lodges, contacting the organisations for information. Once all the information had been found I had to condense everything into a short paragraph for the magazine. The team alternate each month between the two different magazines, which keeps the job interesting. I noticed how necessary it was to have almost constant interaction amongst the team to keep things flowing quickly and smoothly. Overall, it was a good insight on how a magazine is put together and run and I think it is an industry that I would really be interested in pursuing.