Many people make book

Today Scott and me went into the Penguin offices to meet some of the people who sell, market and publicise our books. We ate yummy cheese, humus, tabouli, dolmades, grapes and strawberries, drank good (Aussie) wine and talked publishing.

We writers mostly work on our lonesome but we’re actually part of a team. A really big team. I have a lot of contact with my editors, Eloise Flood and Liesa Abrams, and some with the rest of the Razorbill team (especially Andy Ball and Margaret Wright), but much less with the other people who work on my books. Frankly, I’m not always sure what the folks in the other departments do. So it’s fabulous to meet the people from online marketing and discover that they’re starting to work on author podcasts. Would the two of us be interested in doing one? Would we be interested? Is the Australian men’s cricket team going to destroy England in the next Ashes? Yes, they are, and yes we’d love to do a podcast.

I was fascinated to hear just how much work goes into wrangling authors for big events like BEA (Book Expo America) and the big ALA (American Library Association) conferences. Wow, are we authors a pain! Collectively, I mean. Imagine trying to get many different authors to various different places in the space of eight or so hours. Not fun, eh? And even before we get to an event they’ve logged hours and hours making sure we’re available, organising us to get there, and setting up our schedules. A publicist’s (for BEA) and marketer’s (for ALA) work is never done.

We learned that at the last ALA meeeting they had put a two minute limit on kids giving testimonials about three particular authors cause they were so enthusiastic they’d have gone on for hours otherwise. One was Stephanie Meyer (author of Twilight and New Moon), the other one was someone really famous I’m ashamed to say I’ve forgotten, and the third one was—wait for it—Scott!! How cool is that?

It was also lovely to have people from non-editorial departments asking when they’ll get to see the third Magic or Madness book because they’d enjoyed the first two so much they were dying to read the final book in the trilogy. They work on many, many, many books every year, reading all them is impossible, so it’s a real compliment when they make an effort to read yours.

To recap: me author part of big team of editors, sellers, marketers, publicisers and others. (Though I’m still not entirely clear on the diff between selling and marketing. Anna explains how it works at Tor, but I get the feeling it works a bit differently at Penguin. One day I’ll understand, one day. . .)


  1. Little Willow on #

    Hurrah for the fabulous penguinos from all around the world. 🙂 I wish they’d update the Penguin site and make a subsite for Razorbill – or at least an updated list of Razorbill titles. (*raises hand and volunteers to do so*)

  2. sara z on #

    it’s a little boggling sometimes to realize how many people are supporting you in the process. i’ve been contacted by no less than 4 people from my publisher in the last week. the writing itself is so lone-rangery; kind of an adjustment to have all these people involved at this stage! but a cool one.

  3. holly on #

    wow! wine and cheese! you are clearly beloved.

  4. Rebecca on #

    wow! a podcast! that would be so awesome. it’s so cool to hear all this stuff about what you author-types are doing. 😀 although the publishing end of it tends to make me quake. heh heh.

  5. Forlorn Accountant on #

    You forgot all the accountants and contracts and finance departments . . .

  6. Justine on #

    Little Willow: It’s annoying, isn’t it?

    Sara Z: Yup, very strange, but good.

    Holly: When they throw a big party for us at BEA with cool show bag giveaways then we’ll feel truly beloved! 😉

    Rebecca: I know wouldn’t a podcast be fab?! I really hope it happens. Yup, publishing is a complicated many-tentacled business. One day I’ll figure it all out, I hope!

    Forlorn Accountant: Sorry! They weren’t represented at the wine and cheese thing thus I forgot them.

  7. Little Willow on #

    It is. If I wrote up a list, would that help?

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