What does your day-to-day entail?
Working in Sales and Marketing at Scribe, every day is different. I work across our whole list of titles which includes fiction, translated fiction, our Scribble list, as well as nonfiction which covers an amazing array of topics. I could be working on a biography about Aldous Huxley’s grandmother or an insider’s account of the recent Banking Royal Commission.
My day–to–day involves coordinating and pitching books for catalogues, creating consumer advertising and marketing campaigns, talking to advertisers, working on marketing materials for individual books, and talking to our key accounts and sales managers at Penguin Random House in Australia and New Zealand. There’s a myriad of other things, such as organising book sales for author events from Cairns to Hobart, and special sales with organisations. I also look after stock orders, keeping an eye on stock levels and potential reprints as well as helping to determine and set print–run numbers. I also attend the sales conferences for groups of booksellers like Dymocks or Collins, or the wonderful ecosystem of independent bookstores across Australia. Overall, it’s about connecting our books with booksellers and readers who will hopefully have that delightful feeling of discovering new authors, new topics and having conversations. Booksellers and readers are busy all the time and hear about hundreds of books, so being able to convey the essence of a book and why we love it, to tell readers about our books and why they’ll love them in a genuine way is such a rewarding thing.
I am passionate about connecting readers with books they will love.
What was your favourite book to work on?
Oh goodness — there have been a few favourites in my time at Scribe!
Most memorable I would have to say is working on Niki Savva’s Road To Ruin. It was the political book the year it was published. It made the front page of every newspaper, there was a massive publicity campaign, and it felt like the kind of book that everyone had to read to truly understand what had happened behind closed doors in Canberra. Her new book coming out this year should be equally absorbing.
And in terms of forthcoming books, I’m really looking forward to the April release of Invented Lives by Andrea Goldsmith. It’s a quiet revolution of a novel — you’re in safe hands in the world that Andrea has created, as a reader you care so much about the characters and what happens to them, it’s a total joy and pleasure to be in their orbit.
What’s your all-time favourite life-changing book that’s too precious to lend out?
There are two actually — Three Junes by Julia Glass, her 2002 debut novel that won a National Book Award.
It traces the lives of the McLeod family over a decade as they confront the joys, fulfilments, betrayals, and secrets of their family. The family breed Border Collies, there’s death, a Greek island romance, there’s interlocking stories that travel from the Atlantic up to Scotland and down to the Adriatic and over to Manhattan to a second-hand bookshop. It sounds mad but it works because the characters are so vividly drawn.
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt — a marvel of a novel that is a family saga with the suspense of a thriller, it bends the idea of what a novel can be. It explores grief, friendship, loss, psychology, and art and moved me so much I still remember having to get off a tram along Swanston Street at 9am because I was about to start crying.
And I’d probably read Helen Garner’s shopping list if she published it!
Tell us about your journey from school to Scribe.
After I finished high school I volunteered for everything I could get involved in whether it was stuffing envelopes at writers’ centres, schlepping books to events, or handing out flyers. I was also studying Publishing and Editing and working in hospitality. I then worked for a pre-press design company — where all the clients were publishers — that led to an entry-level assistant position at Melbourne University Press. I got to try my hand across the sales, marketing, and publicity departments. I discovered I loved distilling a book and talking about it so found a home in sales. After Melbourne University Press I joined Text Publishing Company in their Sales and Marketing department and then after a freelancing stint interstate and travelling overseas I found my way to Scribe. It’s an industry filled with passionate people, it’s an industry about ideas and culture and stories, it’s about discovering new voices, and there’s nothing like the power of the written word.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to work in publishing?
Read! Look at your bookshelves and see who the publishers are, familiarise yourself with who publishes what, go to events and writers festivals and all things book related. Join a book club, go and hear authors talk. And remember there are lots of different departments within a publishing house.