Wednesday, 20 September 2017

MY PUBLISHING LIFE with Hannah Robinson

Welcome to MY PUBLISHING LIFE, an interview with a literary agent, publisher, publicist or editor about their publishing career to date. Some serious questions, and some just for fun!

Today I'm delighted to welcome 


Publicity Director

at Quercus Books

What and when was your first job in publishing?
My first job was PA to the MD at the independent publisher Michael O’Mara, where I worked for almost four years. It was a very varied role which touched on rights, special sales, PR and office management as well as PA duties. I enjoyed all of it but felt that my skills and personality suited publicity best and was lucky enough that a publicity job came up there and I successfully got the role.

How long have you been working in your current job/role?
I’ve been at Quercus for coming up to four years. I joined just before the company was sold to Hachette so I’ve seen lots of changes but we are having a great year and have lots of amazing books coming in 2018.  

Which books have you worked on recently/are you working on?
We publish a wide range of books at Quercus but I tend to focus on non-fiction and crime fiction. On the fiction side I’m heading into autumn with our biggest crime book of the year The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz, the next in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series and the new Elly Griffiths The Vanishing Box. On the non-fiction side I’m working with one of our biggest non-fiction authors Damien Lewis on a fantastic WW2 book SAS Ghost Patrol and I’m super excited about the new lifestyle book The Little Book of Ikigai by Ken Mogi which I know is going to be a popular gift purchase this Christmas.   

Which qualifications/life skills/experience have helped you get to where you are today?
I’ve got a degree in Art and English but I didn’t go straight into publishing from university and I think that helped. I also think working in a small publisher at the start of my publishing career was really helpful because I got to see and understand how different of areas of the business worked. Those entry level office assistant roles might seem unglamorous but they can allow you the time to learn before choosing what you’d like to specialise in. 

How do you relax after a busy working day?
I love interior design and sewing and am planning to set up a blog later this year. For now, you can see what I’m up to on Instagram: @Hannah_is_sewing

What was the last book you read for pleasure?
I just finished He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly which I thought was excellent. It’s just a bit different from a lot of psychological crime and I finished it the day of the eclipse which if you’ve read the book you’ll know is quite relevant. 

Describe your job in 15 words or less...
I tell people how great our books are and ask them to tell other people.

What have been the highlights of your publishing life so far
Being part of unexpected successes like Norwegian Wood by Lars Mytting winning Book of the Year at the British Book Awards last year, we thought we had something special in that book but none of us expected it to be so big. I used to do a lot of celebrity books and had some amazing (if sometimes stressful) times with huge book tours. It’s one of the few parts of a publicist’s job where you can immediately see the effect of your work in book sales. Also, seeing my team do well, for example Elizabeth Masters winning a PPC Award (publishing publicity campaign award) for our Enid Blyton for Adults series Five Go and Olivia Mead being named one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars this year. 

If you could try out any other job for one day (with no limits on money, travel etc.), what would you choose?
I’d be a house renovator/ interior designer. I’m in the process of renovating and redecorating our new flat which has been hard work but I really enjoy it. If I had lots of money I’d buy old houses and do them up. 

If your publishing life was a book, what would the title be?
Oh God, this is why I’m a publicist and not an editor! Something like: Blagging It: A memoir of white wine and Twitter.
Follow Hannah on Twitter: @Hannah_Robbo

Follow Hannah on Instagram (books): @Hannah_Robbo

Thanks so much for taking part, Hannah!

Look out for more MY PUBLISHING LIFE features coming soon.

Click here to read more MY PUBLISHING LIFE features.

If any literary agents, publishers, publicists or editors would like to take part, please contact me through my blog or Twitter for the full list of questions.

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