In late-2019, I was asked to give a lecture at Kingston University as part of the Masterclass series for their MA in Publishing and Creative Writing about an aspect of the future of publishing. I chose to talk about how publishing can find its place and survive in a world of neoliberal economic ideals – and now I’m totally thrilled that the talk is going to be published!
“Understanding Our Place: Publishing’s role in the reading ecosystem under neoliberal economics” will appear in Essays on Contemporary Publishing and The Culture of Books edited by Richard Bradford, Alison Baverstock, and Madelena Gonzalez, published by Routledge in June 2019. This is my first ever academic publication and I’m pretty blown away by it to be honest. Huge, huge thanks goes to Alison who called my paper in and asked me to give the lecture in the first instance!
It’s official! I’m leaving Endeavour Media to go and do an MA in Creative Writing at the UEA! I am so, so excited for this next step, and am really grateful to UEA for offering me a place on this amazing course.
I’m handing over the Endeavour reins to the marvellous James Faktor, who will keep all our authors and agents in safe hands and I know has great plans for the future!
It’s been an incredible journey working at Endeavour over the past year – huge thanks to all the authors and agents we work with, and of course the wonderful team at the office, for being so endlessly bright, supportive and hardworking. You’ve made this job a joy.
There’s more info on the changeover at Endeavour over on BookBrunch.
This Saturday, 16th June at 10am, I’ll be on a panel at Greenwich Book Festival with the wonderful Katy Guest from Unbound, the insightful Victoria Hughes-Williams from The Pigeonhole, and the fabulous Rosamund Davies from Creative Conversations as our chair.
We will be discussing all things digital, and where the future of publishing might be headed: “Revisiting the hard copy versus ebook debate, this panel discussion will explore how ebooks have given old books new opportunities; the democratising of what gets published and how it is funded, and facilitating reader communities and new ways of reading.”
Best of all, this event is completely FREE to attend – so come along, bring your publishing buddies and your morning cup of coffee, and let’s get stuck in!
Happy New Year everybody! I hope you all had a marvellous festive season and that 2018 has got off to a great start.
It’s certainly been busy this end already, and I’m very excited that on Monday 15th January, from 6.30-8pm, I’ll be doing a live #SYPExpert webchat for The Society of Young Publishers members, talking about freelance journalism in publishing, building a portfolio career, and the workings of an eBook publisher. Log in to ask me all your burning bookish questions!
First, I am so thrilled to have given my very first lecture ever, to the lovely Creative Writing & Publishing MA students at City University. It was a glorious morning, and huge thanks to Patrick Brindle the programme director, for inviting me along.
Second, I was also on a fab panel at Byte the Book: ‘How are independent publishers shaking up the industry?’ It was a warm event, brimming with good cheer and friendly debate – I had a fabulous time. Thank you to fellow panellists – Nicholas Cheetham from Head of Zeus, Sam Jordison from Galley Beggar Press, and Aimée Felone from the brand new publisher, Knights Of – for being so amazing to chat with, and to Emma House from sponsors The Publishers Association for chairing us so expertly. And, of course, double doses of thanks to Justine Solomons, who makes Byte the Book so fantastic every time, and invited me to be on the panel.
Last weekend, Kindle celebrated it’s 10th anniversary (that’s right, we’ve had a whole decade of eBooks now!) In honour of the occasion, I penned a little read-to-read opinion piece for BookBrunch that links together backlist, time travel, and the famous eReading device itself! Don’t forget to click the link for the full FREE article…
The Kindle – 10 years of teaching us time travel
On the 10th anniversary of the release of Amazon’s Kindle, Jasmin Kirkbride reflects that the device has taught us not only how to read digitally, but also how to sell books by warping time
When the Kindle was released on 19 November 2007, it sold out in just 4.5 hours, and went on to disrupt the book market with a power often compared with that of the invention of the printing press. Amid the panic that naturally arises with such drastic change, there have been a few genuinely positive effects on the book market.
Did I hear someone ask for some publishing news? Look no further, because it’s time once again for my monthly publishing news wrap over on BookMachine! Follow the link here and at the end of the excerpt for full hyperlinks and article.
This month in publishing, there has been much news from across the pond as BookExpo took place, with tweaks promised for 2018 to try to find the right balance between Expo and Con. The big books of the BookExpo show have been slightly overshadowed, however, by the continuing fuss over the size of advances being paid to American politicians for their books, including $795k for Bernie Sanders and former FBI Director James Comey is looking at a rumoured $10m bidding war.
In bookselling, once again author James Patterson has partnered with the American Booksellers Alliance for his Holiday Bookseller Bonus program, which this year will give even more ‘bonuses’ to individual bookshops in America. For one bookshop, however, no bonus is needed, as they just sold a first edition James Bond book for a whopping $22,500!
As some of you may have gathered from social media, I’ve been busy-beeing away running the Hay Festival Twitter feed again this year. What a joy it’s been too: so many insightful, thought-provoking ideas flying around. Amazing to be there to help celebrate 30 years of Hay – I’m totally exhausted and completely inspired!
As well as Twitter, I wrote a summary of the industry news from the first half of the Festival for BookBrunch, and also joined the journalists in the media room to write a few Facebook posts for Hay:
Roll up, roll up! It’s time to hear about the biggest publishing news from around the web over the past month, with the BookMachine May Publishing Wrap!
Big news from Amazon once again this month, as it hit an all-time high in the stock market and revenue from Q1 is up, prompting CEO Jeff Bezos to sell some of his stocks in the business for the largest sum yet. The tech giant’s Japanese expansion continues apace and they are widely considered to be “eating the world”, but all is not well with Amazon’s relationship with publishing. The introduction of a new buy button programme has drawn criticism from publishers and authors alike – including in the independent scene. What’s more, Amazon has this month announced and released a new book chart system, in which – perhaps unsurprisingly – their own books are notably faring better than anyone else’s.
It seems fitting to end my collection of BookBrunch interviews over the last year with this blast of positivity and deep thought from author and philosopher Damon Young.
Thank you so much to BookBrunch (Nick, Neill, David & Tobias in particular) for letting me launch this new column of the magazine over a year ago now, and a huge big shout out to my successor Julie Vuong – do get in touch with her via the BookBrunch website if you’re interesting in being interviewed. I have enjoyed doing these interviews so much and will really miss them – big love to everyone who’s been involved along the way.
So, without further ado: Damon Young on his new book, The Art of Reading.
Young describes The Art of Reading as having three strands: autobiographical, philosophical, and “vaguely” sociological. But it quickly becomes clear that his analysis of reading is going to step outside the box…
Define ‘reading well’
“What I’ve suggested is that the best way to think about ‘reading well’ is that there is no law. It’s not an easy universal principle, you can’t just say, ‘The way to read is like this.’ Our experiences and books are too diverse for that to make sense. We can’t even read the same book in the same way, let alone all the different books.” He cites the Bible. “Love of God’s a perfectly reasonable Christian response to the Bible, sure, but it’s not enough. There are so many different ways to read the Bible, let alone Nietzsche, and Jane Austen, and Henry James… There is no law.”
Yep, that’s right, after a year and a half, over 1700 articles, more than 60 interviews, and literally hundreds of thousands of words, I’ve decided to move on from freelancing and from BookBrunch.
As of Monday, I will be taking on the role of Publishing Director at Endeavour Press. To say I’m excited would be the understatement of the century – I’m totally over the moon. I can’t wait to join the fabulous Endeavour team and find new ways to work with all my publishing friends and colleagues in my new role.
Once in a while, a book comes along that totally blows your mind. The Hate U Give is one of those books and everyone should read it right now. Even better, the author Angie Thomas, is a total sweetheart, absolutely bursting with passion. Here’s our chat – and you should totally check out the full article on BookBrunch – but you should also buy the book.
Angie Thomas has shot to literary stardom in recent months, as her debut novel The Hate U Give, skyrockets to the top of the NYT bestseller charts. Set to be published in 18 territories and counting – and already out here through Walker Books – the YA novel follows 16-year-old Starr, who lives between the poor Mississippi neighbourhood where she was born and a posh high school in the suburbs. When she becomes the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, she comes face to face with police brutality and systemic racism
After the intensity of the book, Thomas herself is a slight surprise: a generous smile, regular laughter, and a soft Mississippi accent. Her passion and conviction shine through, however, and she has much to say on publishing, on the importance of books, and on America itself.
The struggle to write
Though Thomas has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, it took her a long time to believe that being an author was something she could do. “For one, I never saw or met any authors who looked like me. Mississippi has a rich literary history, but most of them are either white or dead and I was neither! So it felt like it was something that I, as a black girl in a poor neighbourhood in Mississippi, just couldn’t do.”
Here’s your monthly summary of hot publishing news from around the interwebs! Don’t forget, you can read the full article over on the BookMachine blog.
This month in publishing news, there has been an unusual obsession with the smell of books. Not only did scientists pin-point that distinctive smell of second-hand bookshops, but the Guardian discovered what you can tell about an individual book from its smell – and why the scent is so addictive.
In the bookselling sphere, Amazon once again dominated the opinions columns, as their forays into bricks and mortar bookshops continue. Plans for a second New York City bookstore, and another in Massachusetts are underway, while Seattle has been tipped as the next Amazon experiment ground.
This week’s BookBrunch interview is with the lovely Karen Sullivan from Orenda Books – don’t forget to click the link for the full article!
Jasmin Kirkbride talks to Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books about the slush pile, the frisson of finding the right book, advances, and giving attention to everything on the list
Two and a half years on from its launch, Orenda Books is going from strength to strength. Run by its founder, Karen Sullivan, Orenda publishes literary fiction, as well as “the high end of genre fiction”, with an emphasis on crime and thrillers. About half the list is translated fiction, and Sullivan is always keen to push the boundaries.
Striking out alone
Though Sullivan started in publishing at Sidgwick & Jackson, working her way up to commissioning editor, for much of her career she has written books on parenting. As her own children got older, she took what was supposed to be a one-day-a-week job at a small publisher; it turned into 15 months of non-stop work when it became clear all was not well with the business.
This week for the BookBrunch interview, I chatted with three of this year’s Trailblazer Award winners, Anna Russo, Heather McDaid, and Željka Maroševic. Check out the excerpt below or follow this link for the full article.
Two months on from the second annual Trailblazers Awards, organised by London Book Fair (LBF) and the Society of Young Publishers (SYP), we catch up with three of the five Trailblazer winners – Anna Russo, Željka Maroševic and Heather McDaid – to find out what they’ve been up to and their plans for the future. They provide a snapshot of an industry, not just expanding outside London, but around the world
Another trio of interviews for you from BookBrunch, and each one is a real treat for publishing enthusiasts.
First, I caught up with Henry Rosenbloom from Scribe, who was so frustrated with the state of rights sales, he decided to expand his publishing house from down under to the UK. This is one publisher that’s serious about seriously good books!
“Later on in life, I’ve realised that what drives me as a publisher, in a strange kind of way, is the Holocaust. That’s what imprinted on me the seriousness of the world we live in, and how important it was to try to understand history, politics, people, and how to tell the truth. How to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable’. Books have the power to change people’s lives, and we want to put out books that demand to be published because of their intrinsic significance.”
It’s the time of the month where I round up all the internet’s top publishing stories and stick them in one place on the BookMachine blog for your perusal! Here’s a sneak peek – don’t forget to visit the BookMachine blog for more…
The big news from March in UK publishing is obviously the London Book Fair (LBF). Poland shone at this year’s Market Focus, and the Fair was busier than usual, with six-figure deals struck ahead of time and publishers cheerfully splashing cash as sales rose. This was seen as further evidence of the rise of print, with The Guardian stating that by the end of the month stats showing that print outperformed digital. Yet, despite the recent whopping $65m forward paid for the Obamas’ new book (which hasn’t pleased all and prompted a list of the biggest deals of all time) no single title emerged as this year’s big hitter.
When BookMachine asked for an opinion, I couldn’t not comment. Read the full article here, or grab the snippet below:
Outrage abounds in the wake of Philip Hammond’s 2017 Budget announcement on Wednesday. Amongst other controversial moves, National Insurance (NI) payments on the self-employed have been increased by 2%. But what effect will this raise have on the growing number of self-employed and freelance workers in the publishing industry?
Let’s start by looking at the cold, hard figures. The 2017 Budget has brought in a 2% rise in NI contributions for the UK’s self-employed workers. The self-employed normally pay one of two different kinds of NI: Class 2, if your profits are £5,965+ per year, and Class 4 if they are £8,060+ per year. Class 4 payments are divided into two categories: 9% on profits of £8,060-£43,000, and 2% on profits over £43,000.