Jeremy Trevathan, Publisher, is responsible for the shape, direction and profitability of the adult publishing lists at Pan Macmillan in the UK. His authors have included many bestsellers including Ken Follett, Jeffrey Archer, Max Hastings, James Herbert, Wilbur Smith, Peter Hamilton, China Mieville and Roy Jenkins to name a few. Here, Norah Myers chats with him about being named in 2017’s Bookseller 100 and his plans for 2018.
1. Congratulations on being chosen for the Bookseller 100! Tell us how the last year has been for you.?
Thank you. It’s an honour and something of a surprise to me to be included in The Bookseller 100 with some of the people I most admire in my industry. For us 2017 was an important year to maintain momentum after the extraordinary year we had with Joe Wicks, the social media fitness phenomenon, in 2016. We finished the year really well with all divisions contributing to the second best year we’ve ever had. Bluebird had several of the biggest non-fiction books of the year with Russell Brand and of course Joe. Our commercial fiction division and our gift classics list, Macmillan Collector’s Library, had stellar growth. Picador also had a great year with one of the top non-fiction books of the year with Adam Kay’s This is Going To Hurt and a new novel from Alan Hollinghurst, which is something to celebrate in a market where so many literary imprints are under the cosh.
2. What will you do differently in 2018 that you might have not done in 2017?
Well, we will continue to refine what we do well and concentrate our resources in those areas where we’re excelling and review what we’re doing in those areas which have been more challenging. At Pan Macmillan we’re constantly evolving and challenging ourselves to do better.
3. What will be most important for your sector of publishing in 2018?
All our divisions are major contributors to our success, so it’s difficult to pick one out but if I had to I would have to say our commercial fiction division because it is the absolute bedrock of our business. We have a raft of wonderful brand authors who are delivering amazing titles and whose sales continue to grow each year. The slow down in digital sales has hit this division the hardest but it’s massively encouraging that we more than compensated for this with new physical sales in 2017. We have to concentrate on growing those sales further.
4. What are some goals you’ve set for this year and how have you planned to reach them?
My management style is to be inclusive, collaborative and energising. With the last of those in mind, this year I plan to ignore my limitations! Limiting beliefs hinder progress by keeping us all caught up in our comfort zones and prevents us from trying new things and or taking risks for the fear of failure. And, of course, I want to share that refreshed positivity with all my colleagues too. Like Tigger!!
5. What advice would you give others in reaching their 2018 objectives?
Do a SWOT analysis of where you are now. It is massively useful to look at your internal strengths and weaknesses and your external opportunities and threats. You want to find your strengths so that you can enhance them and uncover new opportunities that you are well-placed to exploit. And you want to understand your weaknesses, so that you can manage or eliminate threats that might otherwise surprise you.