What does your day-to-day entail?
We have a vibrant and rapidly growing list, which certainly keeps me busy. My average day entails managing a throng of titles, turning the production wheels on many books, as early as a year before publication, all across Scribe’s three publishing playgrounds, ANZ, the UK, and our new foray in North America. Production is an engaging department because I have daily contact with so many other parts of the business and publishing world. It’s also very challenging, as there are always plenty of tasks to juggle at once. Depending on the stage in the life of any title, my job for the day could be chasing overseas files from another publisher, quoting and costing book finishes with local or offshore printers, checking and preparing files for print, discussing specification options with in-house designers or editors, to working through print or freight issues that arise. I am often the first to open the box containing new titles, which still gives me a kick. There’s nothing quite like holding a copy of a book for the first time that you’ve helped bring into the world.
What was your favourite book to work on?
Working in production, my favourite books to work on are usually the ones I don’t remember. The ones that went through smoothly with no design rejections, perhaps a light proofread only required, no index delays, no print complications or containers falling off ships. The books that sit quietly on your shelves at home that I don’t think about anymore.
But if I had to pick one book that has been a joy to work on it would (definitely) have to be (Definitely) The Best Dogs of All Time, the book that will go down in Scribe folklore. It was born around the table at a staff meeting, the author of a comical remark about potential gift books, in-house publicist Jadan Carroll, quickly became the author of our next humour gift book about great dogs, real and mythical. What followed was some of the most thrilling shotgun publishing I’ve been involved with. Paired with a brilliant illustrator, Molly Dyson, we remarkably managed to create a book in six months using the power of dog-love alone. It was an absolute pleasure to work on because it meant working very closely together and simply because we had no right creating a package so stunning and hilarious in such a short time.
What’s your all-time favourite life-changing book that’s too precious to lend out?
Hands down, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. A librarian put it in my hands when I was 15, he knew it would get me and it did. Writing and reading became something else to me after that book. I have multiple editions at home, a few decoys to ensure no one takes the copy I’ll never lend out.
Tell us about your journey from school to Scribe.
My study and professional life has never veered far from books. I majored in Creative Writing at Melbourne University out of high school. Post-grad, I volunteered at literary magazine Meanjin as a submission reader and typesetter. I scavenged for proofreading and editorial jobs when I could for a few years, while also working part-time in a bookstore, before getting an entry-level job in the production department at Penguin Books. Working at the bird, I learnt a lot over a six year period, developing every kind of book and finish you can imagine. Eventually an opportunity presented itself to join a small indie publisher, a great little company based in Brunswick that produces books that give a platform to important conversations and groundbreaking creative endeavours. After my interview I went to the pub and was halfway through my first pint when Henry called to offer me the job.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to work in publishing?
Be passionate; about reading, about books, about the role they play in society and on the mind’s of young people. Working in publishing is a passion project. Once you know you have it, read as much as you can, go to author events, meet people, hone your skills, take every opportunity you can and start kicking down doors. Next, don’t expect your first million to come right away. Oh, and dress comfortably and sensibly at all times.