Thursday, 14 December 2017

MY PUBLISHING LIFE with Keshini Naidoo

Welcome to my latest MY PUBLISHING LIFE feature, 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 


Associate Publisher

What and when was your first job in publishing?
My first job in publishing was actually on the retail side. Once I had completed my degree, I first worked at Waterstones in Leeds, then moved to London in the early 2000s to work at BCA, the mail order book club, as a buying assistant. I quickly moved to be the buyer for crime and thriller as well as literary fiction (and erotica!) and running The Mystery and Thriller Guild. 

How long have you been working in your current job/role?

I have been working at Bookouture since 2014. 

Which books have you worked on recently/are you working on?
Recently, I have been working on Angela Marsons’ latest instalment in the bestselling D.I. Kim Stone series, Broken Bones, as well as complex, gripping and page-turning psychological thrillers from Barbara Copperthwaite (Her Last Secret), Kathryn Croft (Silent Lies) and Sarah Wray (Her Best Friend). I’m very excited to be publishing Helen Phifer’s authentic, terrifying, police procedural, Dying Breath. It’s been a busy autumn…! 

Which qualifications/life skills/experience have helped you get to where you are today?
It’s somewhat of a cliché for people in publishing, but being a heavy book junkie since childhood has really helped my career. I’m glad that all the time I spent reading instead of climbing trees paid off! I always cite my time as a bookseller as shaping my knowledge of what real people actually choose to pick up – which is often quite at odds with what is given newspaper coverage. 

How do you relax after a busy working day?
I’m a horror movie addict, so I spend my downtime watching scary films and reading horror movie blogs! I love seeing live music and have been lucky enough to see Steely Dan and Robert Glasper (a jazz musician) recently. I also have two children and two kittens, so they definitely keep me busy when I’m not working… 

What was the last book you read for pleasure?
It’s not the last book I read, but I absolutely loved You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott. Her characterisation is just outstanding and always sucks me in wholly. 

Describe your job in 15 words or less...

I help authors get their books out to as wide a readership as possible. 

What have been the highlights of your publishing life so far
I’ve been fortunate enough to work at two publishing juggernauts in their early days – I started at Avon (HarperCollins) before it launched in 2007, which gave me a huge grounding in what it takes to launch a successful commercial book and Bookouture, which has grown into the leader in digital publishing in the last three years. I love the challenges of growing a company and the satisfaction of seeing its successes.
I’d also have to say that seeing Angela Marsons’ D.I. Kim Stone series go on to sell millions of copies has been another huge highlight of my career. And I was delighted to be named on the Bookseller Rising Star list in 2017 (I feel a bit old to still be ‘rising’, but I’ll take that accolade!). 

If you could try out any other job for one day (with no limits on money, travel etc.), what would you choose?
Anyone who has seen me at karaoke will know this, but I’d love to be a rapper for a day! Although I’m not sure my Northern tones would really be suited to it… sadly! 

If your publishing life was a book, what would the title be?
Lucky Girl. I feel really privileged every day to work at a job I love, with dynamic, creative, colleagues and fantastically inventive (and lovely!) authors. I get to discover new voices, and bring them to the reading public. And I get to read books! As part of my job! If you had told 8-year-old me that one day I would be involved in actually creating books, I don’t think I would have believed you…

Thanks so much for taking part, Keshini!

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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