Some thoughts on being ‘good’…

I’m holding my hands up today and saying that this blog is no longer what it had the potential or the intention to be. I started it back in 2015 when I had time on my hands and opinions to express, and whilst I still have the opinions, the time seems to elude me. I regret how downhill my blog has gone in the last year. I wish I had a good enough excuse as to why I’ve only posted a handful of blogs since August 2016, but the reality is I got a job, I moved to London, and instead of having hours of free time on my hands, now I come home from work, occasionally have a social life, and try and fit in watching some rubbish on Netflix.

All in all this should make me a ‘bad’ blogger. But I’ve had some thoughts today on what it means to be ‘good’. Over the Christmas break, whilst I saw so many people on Twitter posting about books they had read or publicists continuing to tweet about their books, I barely read anything and I used my TweetDeck sparingly.

And I thought – does that make me a ‘bad’ reader or a ‘bad’ publicist, just as I am a ‘bad’ blogger? No.

This makes me human.

Over Christmas, I spent time with my family who I miss so much living in London and I got a new puppy (who is gorgeous and deservedly took up a lot of my time). I watched The Crown with them instead of reading. I turned my work emails off because I work hard when I’m working and deserve a break when I’m not. We publicists have a tendency to work overtime, all the time, and I thought that for just this once whilst I was on holiday, I would be on holiday. I mean, my addiction to work emails once got so bad that I was emailing authors on one of the biggest and most important days in my calendar, when I should’ve been with my family.

So for Christmas, I took time for me.

I know that maybe I am a ‘bad’ blogger – and tonight I genuinely considered scrapping my blog entirely because frankly I don’t have the same enthusiasm for it any more, or the time, because (shock horror) I have a life outside of books and publishing, which includes eating meals out with my friends (none of whom work in publishing), spending time with my family (when I can), and yes, binge watching on Netflix.

But I didn’t delete the blog. Instead I wrote this. Because this blog is mine and for me, and I can write on it however I want, whenever I want.

That doesn’t make me a ‘bad’ blogger, a ‘bad’ reader (sidenote: I saw on Twitter some people read 100+ books in 2017. My Goodreads goal was 20 books and I’m pretty sure I smashed that in summer, but I stopped quantifying because it actually doesn’t matter as long as you’re reading and you’re enjoying reading), and it certainly doesn’t make me a ‘bad’ publicist because I put work to one side for the time I was out of the office.

In 2018, I aim to throw these guilty feelings away and be okay with the work I do and the way I choose to live my life, whether that’s blogging once a month (which probably won’t even happen) or saying actually no, I’d rather go and have all-you-can-eat sushi and talk about boys with my friends.

New Year, same me, but accepting that same me is okay.


The Ginny Weasley Story

So a couple of times recently people have come up to me to talk about Ginny Weasley. Which happens when it’s part of my Twitter bio.

I categorise myself firstly and fore-mostly as a Ginny Weasley. I was never a Hermione. Whilst young girls growing up were delighting over her bushy hair and how smart it was to be brave, I got it, I understood it (I mean, I used to take carrier bags that were full to breaking point home from the library), but I never felt like a Hermione. I was a Ginny. Which I think is rarer.

But let me be clear, I was – and still am – a very specific Ginny (which you’ll see up there in the bio). BOOK GINNY. Who we all know is very different to Movie Ginny. No disrespect to Bonnie Wright (and we may never know if it was Bonnie or the writers that totally destroyed my second favourite Harry Potter character. (Ron, in case you were wondering)) but Movie Ginny is a completely separate entity to Ginny on the pages, the Ginny I knew from my childhood.

Book Ginny is fiery and determined, passionate and fearless, she leads with her heart and feels everything keenly on that page. She didn’t let her crush on Harry Potter stop her from doing the most awesome Bat-Bogey Hex and she didn’t let his crush on Cho Chang stop her from storming down to the Ministry and testing the waters with dating other guys.

These graphics say it perfectly. Everything I’ve ever been annoyed about.

Ginny is so much more than a love interest and I hate that the films reduced her to a shadow of her former self.

So I stand up, proud to be a Ginny, with all of her heart and her dynamism and the proof that if you just live your best life and try and be the best version of yourself, that will probably win the hero’s heart more than ‘meep meeping’. And if not, just be the hero yourself.

Let’s discuss this please? Comment below or on Twitter and tell me what you think? Are you a Ginny or am I talking nonsense?

Journey to Employment

I am beyond delighted, excited, thrilled, overjoyed, and any other euphoric superlatives you can think of that this week is my first week of work in publishing!

And as you’ll know if you read this blog or follow my Twitter, that this has not been an easy journey – in fact at times it has been terrible. Of course, it is not easy for anyone going into publishing, one of the most notoriously difficult industries to get into. And yet, I daresay you will not find a more determined bunch of people trying to get in.

I want to document my journey here, with no frills, and pure emotions, to demonstrate the realities of getting a job in publishing and to show you that with tenacity and determination, it is possible.

(no names of companies I applied to will be mentioned nor names of their employees)

The preliminaries 

My first insight into publishing came in 2014, when I was lucky enough to do two weeks work experience in the Marketing department at Hodder & Stoughton. I fell head over heels immediately for the industry and knew this was where my future lay.

I followed this up with two weeks at Penguin General the following year, before finishing my degree in English Literature and Hispanic Studies.

Throughout my final year, I nurtured my blog, volunteered twice for the Bookseller, and kept my toes in the publishing water by being active in the community on Twitter.

The journey 

I began my applications on the 26th of April 2016 (which I remember because it was the day I handed in my final dissertations). My job was offered to me on the 16th of September 2016, which makes a total of 143 days of applications, interviews and rejections.

The process began quickly; I sent in the first application on the 3rd of May and was invited the very next day for an interview on the 10th of May. It was a job I was terribly excited about and, understandably, I was devastated when I got that first rejection, because it had appeared to be going so well.

What followed was a phone interview with another company, who then rejected me based on my not being able to start straight away (I had to finish my degree, of course) and then a very long dry spell.

I made the huge mistake of rejecting an interview for a 6-month internship at a Big Company, because in my words I was ‘looking for something more permanent’. What could have been more permanent than a brilliant paid internship at a leading publisher? I was naive and still thinking I could walk into a job following my graduation.

I began documenting my applications at the end of June/beginning of July on an Excel spreadsheet – which really helped because it made my applications really clear to me, especially the dates of application and when the position closed.

As we know, lots of companies don’t respond to your applications after 2 weeks if you’ve not been successful, so having a spreadsheet helped me to keep track of these closing dates to know if it had been 2 weeks and I should just give up waiting for the email.


As you can see, it was a very long process, with lots of red (and brown, which was when I made those assumptions that I had not been accepted).

At one point I had two interviews in one day for internships, and when I was rejected from both of these, I began to panic and wildly sent in applications for anywhere and everywhere (including fashion brands I was not particularly enthusiastic about), and speculative applications where I could.

I began to realise my applications would only be good if I was really passionate about the position, and to stop wasting time sending such half-hearted applications. I also realised that if I believed in myself, other people would too, so I followed advice I had been given at London Book Fair, to apply for positions that on paper I might not be qualified for (such as those asking for 1 year’s experience). It could not hurt to send in an application and see where it led me… and it led me to my job.

Eventually, I was lucky enough to get a chance and someone decided I was good enough.

So is the point of all this?

  • Don’t give up on your dreams
  • It will happen
  • If you believe in yourself, someone else will
  • Treat every application like it’s the one you will be hired for
  • Be proud of your achievements
  • Life is what you make it
  • (Other clichés)

As the great Miley Cyrus once said, it’s a climb, but the view is great.

Happy to read CVs and Cover Letters, and always to talk about our experiences.

#YALC Weekend! – – Top 10 YA Reads

It’s #YALC Weekend this weekend!

I’m not going (unfortunately) but the whole concept of YALC is super exciting to me, firstly because I love YA fiction and secondly because when I did my first bout of work experience we were preparing for the first ever YALC which I loved!

So as my own personal tiny contribution to this year’s YALC, I’m going to count down my top 10 YA reads (and trust me there could be fierce competition) with some honourable mentions below. These are in no particular order, but feel free to fight it out in the comments below.

1. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green 

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

This book is the single biggest reason why YA books should not and cannot be dismissed as something lesser or only for young adults. John Green’s writing is so ridiculously powerful and clever and important that I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. And I would recommend you read it twice, because you get so much more out of it the second time, noticing the nuances and brilliance in Green’s writing. When people ask me ‘Why do you love YA so much?’ this is the book I will throw in their faces.

2. Elsewhere – Gabrielle Zevin 

Liz is killed in a hit a run accident and her ‘life’ takes a very unexpected turn. At nearly sixteen she knows she will never get married, never have children, and perhaps never fall in love. But in Elsewhere all things carry on almost as they did on earth except that the inhabitants get younger, dogs and humans can communicate (at last) new relationships are formed and old ones sadly interrupted on earth are renewed.

A criminally underrated book in my humble opinion. I’m still devastated I can’t find my copy anywhere because I love love love this book. It’s such a thoughtful and deep book, with a really interesting concept and quite complex themes. It’s kind of a YA version of Mitch Albom’s Five People You Meet in Heaven but for me was a lot more uplifting and cathartic. The writing is simple and pleasant but the Benjamin Button style narrative really packs a punch and leaves you with a poignant sense of the importance of life, relationships and redemption.

3. Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver 

They say ‘live every day as if it’s your last’ – but you never actually think it’s going to be. At least I didn’t. 

The thing is, you don’t get to know when it happens. You don’t remember to tell your family that you love them or – in my case – remember to say goodbye to them at all. 

But what if, like me, you could live your last day over and over again? Could you make it perfect? If your whole life flashed before your eyes, would you have no regrets? Or are there some things you’d want to change…?

Whoops, another book about death. But totally different concept. Reliving that last day over and over again, it’s kind of magical and beautiful and offers another view on introspection. Sam is allowed to see herself through other peoples’ eyes and her Groundhog Day reveals the most intimate things about her life: the people that matter, the people whose lives she has affected whether inadvertently or intentionally, and the very core of her being. Even if Sam can’t change her own destiny, maybe she can change the fate of the people who will live beyond her. Lauren Oliver is basically a genius writer and if you only know her for Delirium you’re seriously missing out on this brilliance.

4. All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven 

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them.

But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?

I have reviewed this book before on this site, which you can read here. What I really love about this book is that it does not shy away from the difficult stuff: the depression, the anxiety, the painful parts of life that do exist, and exist quite painfully and almost heightened for young adults. There is so much more pressure on young adults than adult adults really realise and the burdens carried by young adults can often become too much. But in a book that can be so heartbreaking and dark, the characters are some of the most vivid and alive characters I’ve ever read. I think Theodore Finch has rightly taken his place as a YA hero alongside Peeta Mellark, Augustus Waters, and Etienne St. Clair.

5. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell 

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, and a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . . .

Another book I have previously reviewed, with another boy that I totally fell in love with. It’s a total coming-of-age story about how growing up and growing apart can sometimes be the hardest part of ageing. Rainbow Rowell is a completely brilliant writer who just gets how to be a young adult, and what I really like about this book is that it’s not set in high school. Because sometimes we do have our first loves and first get to know ourselves at university. Not everything in a young adult’s life happens in high school. She’s created really vivid and loveable characters that exist on and off the page because they’re understandable and relatable. I’d love to read what happens next in Cath and Levi’s story, even though I know the demand is more for Simon and Baz.

6. Hopeless – Colleen Hoover 

Sky meets Dean Holder, a guy with a promiscuous reputation that rivals her own. From their very first encounter, he terrifies and captivates her. Something about him sparks memories of her deeply troubled past, a time she’s tried so hard to bury. Though Sky is determined to stay far away from him, his unwavering pursuit and enigmatic smile break down her defences and the intensity of their relationship grows. But the mysterious Holder has been keeping secrets of his own, and once they are revealed, Sky is changed forever and her ability to trust may be a casualty of the truth. 

Only by courageously facing the stark revelations can Sky and Holder hope to heal their emotional scars and find a way to live and love without boundaries. 

I know not everyone loves this story and it certainly does have its problematic moments; however, again, I enjoyed this book because it deals with intense and difficult themes that do exist in life such as trust, heightened emotions and damaged pasts. It also has an element of mystery in it as the reader explores Sky’s life and history, which she doesn’t fully understand. Even my mum loved it, which is proof that YA doesn’t always mean YA. The relationship between Sky and Holder is so deep and so moving that I challenge you to not read this in one sitting. Because I know I would’ve found that impossible. It’s a story that can be read over and over again and still be brilliant.

7. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger 

Holden Caulfield is a seventeen- year-old dropout who has just been kicked out of his fourth school. Navigating his way through the challenges of growing up, Holden dissects the ‘phony’ aspects of society, and the ‘phonies’ themselves: the headmaster whose affability depends on the wealth of the parents, his roommate who scores with girls using sickly-sweet affection.

You might argue that this book isn’t YA, but to me, it is the quintessential YA novel. A novel (previously reviewed here) that deals with issues related to growing up such as identity, loss, alienation, and the desperate attempt to keep the young innocent. Again, like TFIOS, it’s a book that must be read twice to really get the most of out it, in order to really understand Holden and the desperate loneliness and pain of a teenager who could easily be dismissed as cynical and pessimistic. But the reality is that Holden is only pessimistic because life has let him down. I still think this novel is as relevant today as it was in post-war USA, because when we read novels like All The Bright Places that deal with depression and pain, they’re reminiscent of Salinger’s earlier work, but without (forgive me) Salinger’s depth and complexity of writing.

8. Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins 

Anna is less than thrilled to be shipped off to boarding school in Paris, leaving a fledgling romance behind – until she meets Etienne St Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all… including a girlfriend. But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with a longed-for French kiss?

I love this book. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. It’s an easy read full of love, light, humour, and French cinematic bliss. And it doesn’t hurt that Etienne St. Clair is dream boyfriend material. Anna is just a really relatable character that doesn’t take herself massively seriously, and Stephanie Perkins perfectly captures the agony of having a crush on someone else’s boyfriend and not being able to do anything about it. It’s light, it’s fluffy, and it won’t break your heart. So yeah, this makes my top ten purely for being gorgeous. (And no, I’m not just talking about Etienne).

9. Every Day – David Levithan 

Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There’s never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

And that’s fine – until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with – every day . . .

My previous review of this novel is available here. And as I checked that review for comparisons with this, I realised I was about to start this one in exactly the same way. But it’s true, this is a genius idea for a novel. Levithan uses a new and exciting concept to analyse themes that do appear frequently in YA novels: identity, human emotions and relationships, and of course, love. But how can you love someone when you don’t know who they’ll be the next day. My heart broke for Rhiannon and A because theirs is a love story that literally has the world against it. With each new body A inhabits, Levithan has a chance to explore new characters and new nuances, like depression, homosexuality, self-loathing, sibling relationships, themes that often appear in YA but here are touched on and explored in an interesting way because they only last for a beat whilst A inhabits that body. It’s a hugely unique and impressive work that I truly recommend.

10. We Were Liars – E. Lockhart 

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

SUCH a complex and challenging book. Combining the privileged world of Gossip Girl and 90210 where actions seem to have no consequences, with the hostile suffocation of Lord of the Flies and the summer that seemed to destroy everything. E. Lockhart is a brilliant writer who writes about love and relationships and privilege with a wise and thoughtful view. The Liars’ story is captivating and enthralling which keeps momentum until the end and explores with depth the impact of tragedy on teenagers.

Honourable Mentions: 


The following three are honourable because I just couldn’t fit them in the top 10: 

  1. I’ll Give You The Sun – Jandy Nelson
  2. Delirium – Lauren Oliver (the first book is great, but the series does go downhill afterwards)
  3. Paper Towns – John Green

The final three are honourable because I don’t truly believe they can be counted as YA, even though they may at first have been marketed for younger audiences: 

  1. The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
  2. Asking For It – Louise O’Neill
  3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak


Thoughts? Feelings?

Share below!

Updated: My Long Long List of Books

Here you can see the updated long list of books I want to (and intend to) read, and possibly review (now with new books that got in the way!):

Currently Reading: The Fever – Megan Abbott 


Time to scrape around in my head and write some reviews before they all blend into one!

Comment below your thoughts on my list & let me know if you’ve read any of these books!

Working in Publishing (Or, Not Being Able To)

Be warned, what follows is a slightly ranty, extremely exasperated, discussion about working in publishing, or rather, trying to get a job in publishing.

Though I don’t actually work in publishing, I consider myself part of the community. I’ve done work experience, volunteering, attended conferences, been to London Book Fair, and regularly natter on Twitter about the industry. I see so many things about the obstacles facing us ‘bright young things’ trying to get into the industry, and trust me, there are plenty.

Yesterday I was rejected for a job because my ‘background’ didn’t match as ‘closely with [their] specific qualifications’. I have a First in a degree in English Literature and Spanish; I’ve done two lots of work experience at Penguin and Hachette; I’ve written and volunteered for the Bookseller (twice); and now I’m starting to wonder what else I can really do, aside from carving ‘I want this job’ into my arm in my own blood.

Previously I was rejected from a job because they chose a candidate with three years prior experience in the industry. How am I supposed to get three years experience if no-one gives me a shot??

I see so many candidates like me who have graduated and have plenty of great experience and then spend a year interning. That’s all well and good, if you can afford to. I’ve said it before on this blog that I come from what I call a comfortable background, but not comfortable enough to support living in London and bouncing from internship to internship.

Am I so wrong to want something a little more permanent? Or am I being ridiculous thinking I can get that straight out of uni?

How much more do graduates or entry-level candidates need to do to prove ourselves?

And is it acceptable that publishing companies can be so dismissive and expect so much from us when we are just trying to do the best we can?

I think the Spare Room Project is a fantastic initiative, but if we’re being honest that’s more suited to work experience candidates than three month internships.

Us ‘young ones’ have so much to offer and are more than often so passionate about getting into the industry. We just want a chance to show our worth, without having to cut off an arm and a leg to do so.

Also, I feel like it’s not enough these days to just have a good degree, and internships, and that ole desire and ambition. Employers are always looking for more. So on our CVs as well as our 3/4 years at uni and work/experience/work experience, we need to have our volunteering, our blog, our Instagram, our YouTube channel, our this, our that, our anything and everything to make us stand out. But if we all have a blog or an Instagram or a YouTube channel, what will we do next to make ourselves stand out? And is this starting to sound a bit ridiculous? Is it not enough that we are so incredibly passionate about publishing that we would do all these things just for the chance at a job?

I may not know everything about publishing there is to know, but I want to. I want to learn, I want more experience, I want to get involved. This is why I believe there should be more training programmes or graduate schemes offered for entry level candidates. It’s not enough to have entry level positions and then turn us down when we don’t have enough experience. Give us an opportunity for experience.

There aren’t that many universities that offer a BA in Publishing (certainly not the Redbricks), so most of us probably have an English degree, where we’ve been learning about literature not how to publish it, and then go on to do a Masters in Publishing. But I’ve been a student for 4 years, I’m ready to go out into the world of work and learn on the job… but is that enough? Do I need a Masters? Or will a Masters just put off doing a year’s worth of internships for another year?

Publishing is a tough industry. I’ve known that since I started thinking about a career in publishing. But when we’re doing everything we can to get involved, the industry should be able to show us some love back. I’m sorry if this comes off as sounding entitled, which certainly isn’t my intention. I’m just exhausted by the process of applications and rejections. My future feels very fuzzy at the moment and I’m looking for some clarity.

Does anyone out there have a success story? Share in the comments below!

I Want to Be in the Room Where it Happens – #LBF16

Title above is Hamilton meets London Book Fair; when I think about it, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical actually suits my publishing career quite nicely. Thanks Lin! Well, the ambition and the feminism, the politics and the death, not so much.

But what does that mean? Well, aside from being the title of a song sung by Aaron Burr (third vice-president of the USA and responsible for Hamilton’s death), it encapsulates how I feel about London Book Fair. Walking into Olympia on Tuesday morning, despite having examined the map extensively, I found myself in an overwhelming grid of stands – some two stories high – of trade publishers, children’s publishers, foreign publishers, academic publishers, recruitment agencies, basically anyone and everyone connected to this thriving, creative and bustling industry. And me? I was just a small fish in a very large pond, but I knew I was just happy to swim along and be part of the current. I wanted to be in that room where meetings and negotiations and connections are constantly being made – the room where publishing happens.

I spent both mornings of my time at the Fair working for The Bookseller putting Bookseller Dailies on stalls and standing at the front entrance handing out the magazines to everyone coming into the Fair. By 1pm every day the words ‘Bookseller Daily’ were starting to blur into one, but with a cheerful attitude and an assertive nature, we managed to pass out the majority of the dailies.

Once I was finished working for The Bookseller, I was free to enjoy the Fair as I pleased. As I said, it was quite overwhelming to be there on my own, as a student, with no real purpose. So many people were busy with meetings and business it was hard for an outsider to get a real look in at the goings on. But I hung around the stands, checked out the popular titles and assessed the popularity of the stands, to get a sense of how well the companies are doing at the moment. It was useful to be there without anything to do so that I could find my feet; therefore, if I ever do get to go once I actually have a job in publishing, it won’t be so overwhelming.

I was lucky enough to bump into my old friend Callum, who is basically me but one year ahead: we both went to the same school, did the same(ish) degree, and want the same career – he just has it first (but he graduated before me, so there’s hope for me yet). I got some really great advice from him about job applications, being part of the industry, and book recommendations. And it was nice to have a friend at the Fair!

Aside from wandering around looking at stands, I went to some interesting seminars in the afternoons. On Tuesday, we heard from Charlotte Bush and Emma Finnigan, from Cornerstone; author Nikesh Shukla; Alan Staton from the Bookseller’s Association; and Daniel Dalton from Buzzfeed on a panel called ‘Making Books Trend’, chaired by the wonderful Cathy Rentzenbrink. Each of the speakers had interesting and different insight into taking books beyond established platforms and make them part of a bigger conversation.

Charlotte and Emma spoke about their incredible Go Set a Watchman campaign, setting out their strategies and making the most of every opportunity to market Harper Lee’s second novel. It was inspiring to see how they utilised various ideas to generate conversation about the book and rocket it to the top of bestseller lists.

Nikesh discussed his book Meatspace and how a simple idea with friends became a critically acclaimed work. To him, the key is a combination of timing, plus mates (or word of mouth) plus luck.

Alan spoke about Books Are My Bag, a campaign for bookshops, which puts books and bookshops at the centre of the publishing narrative. It’s a genius idea and I can’t wait to see the newer Books Are My Bags, like the Bard is my Bag – a celebration of the 400 year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Finally, Daniel spoke about making books go viral – except, books don’t go viral. Stories go viral, controversies go viral, people go viral and stunts go viral. To Daniel, an emotional message is far more important than a rational message to get people to share your message.

In the ensuing Q&A, an interesting topic was raised: whether a book can be publicised through word of mouth alone or if an advertising campaign is always needed. In some ways one can lead to another; Charlotte cited Fifty Shades as an example of something that became a phenomenon primarily through word of mouth. More recently, I have seen an example with Jem Lester’s Shtum, which though it is a fantastic book with a great marketing campaign, came to my attention through a Facebook Book Club, and then suddenly seemed to be the book that everyone was talking about. So perhaps, it is equally important to be sharing conversations and recommendations as devising marketing campaigns.

I also went to Inspired Selection and SYP‘s ‘How to Get Into Publishing Seminar’, which was a must for anyone looking to break into the industry. The Speakers, Stephanie Hall from HarperCollins, Helen Youngs from Inspired Selection and Sam Perkins, editorial assistant at SAGE (chaired by Eleanor Harrison), all gave out invaluable advice about first jobs, how to stand out and perfecting your CV and cover letter. They also answered lots of questions that I’m sure many of us have about salary expectations, when to apply and how to find jobs. I made TONS of notes in my handy BookBub notebook, which I got at FutureBook in December.

On Wednesday, I slipped into the end of a discussion on Diversifying the Industry, which is so interesting and so topical at the moment. Later, I went to ‘The Book as Brand Platform’, where Jeff Norton, author, writer-producer, and founder of AWESOME; Joshua Davidson, Managing Director of Night Zookeeper; and Guy Gadney, CEO of To Play For (chaired by Shana Jackson) spoke about how we tell stories on platforms other than books, how books can transcend the page to become films, games and TV shows. It was such a fascinating discussion on how our industry has gone beyond print to put characters on screen, in games and various other platforms, identifying how stories and characters become more than just an author’s word but become a brand.

And after the seminars, I was lucky enough to be invited to a couple of parties, one with The Bookseller and one with SYP and Maria’s JobsInBooks. I went to the latter and got chatting to some lovely MA students from UCLAN, who gave me some valid reasons why an MA is a valuable next step after your undergrad, but I still don’t think it’s for me!

I also spoke to Emma Stokes, who runs PubInterns and is just lovely, Fran Roberts, who works as in Marketing at DK whilst also being SYP’s Social Media gal, Zara Markland, Chair of the SYP and Producer at DK and Ben Bisset, digital publisher at Hachette and Prince of Twitter, according to Fran.

I’m just so grateful that I have these opportunities to build up my network and get to know more people in publishing. So far, everyone I have met is absolutely wonderful and I’m kind of quietly hoping that one day, people will be talking about me in the same way, as a person to know and love in publishing.

So what would be my top tips for a first-timer at #LBF?

  • Try and get involved in one way or another, either by volunteering or interning. It’s a lot more fun to have a purpose whilst you’re there and you’ll probably get invited to more parties that way.
  • Plan your days in advance. Even if they all go wrong, plan anyway, and know what seminars you want to go to – additionally, try and get to your seminars at least 10 minutes early to guarantee a good seat.
  • Make notes in seminars! You won’t remember everything. Or you can live-tweet, which is helpful for everyone else there as well.
  • Tweet the speakers in the seminars if you like what they said – they will appreciate it and there’s more chance of them remembering you that way, and don’t feel afraid to go and speak to them afterwards so they can put a face to the tweet.
  • Wear comfy shoes!! CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. I wore my comfiest converse and was still in agony.
  • Bring your own food if you can – queues are long and food is expensive. Us students can’t afford it, let’s be honest.
  • Take a minute to just sit down and absorb it all. I took this picture just as I was leaving, to remember just how brilliant it really was:
  • LBFTake every opportunity you can. I was walking past Bonnier and saw they had career cards to fill in, so I gave them my CV as well.
  • In that sense, speak to anyone you can. I know it’s overwhelming and scary – I consider myself sociable and an ambivert, and even I was terrified to speak to anyone. But it’s so worth it when you do.

And now, to return to Hamilton, I am ready and energised to take my next step in my career. I’ve done so much so far to build steps for myself, but like the man himself says, there’s a million things I haven’t done. So just you wait… it’s all out there waiting for me.