Welcome to the stage: BookMachine’s first Clubhouse event

Clubhouse publishing event

Yesterday we hosted our first book publishing event on Clubhouse.

I’m not going to delve into what this brilliant audio-only new social media app is. We struggled with whether we should be taking our audience there, or driving people to our own publishing-only membership site. In the short term the lure of Clubhouse won – and we have planned a three-week event series focussing on leadership in publishing.

I’m going to share with you what we did for the first event, and how we did it. 

To start I spent a couple of weeks of binge-listening various rooms in the app and visualising a winning formula for an event – we are always working to inspire folks in the industry and wanted this event series to do just that.

We thought through who inspires us, and who is leading the way in the industry and then invited our first panellists to join us: Dominique Raccah (Sourcebooks), Juliet Mushens (Mushens Entertainment), Sharmaine Lovegrove (Dialogue Books) and Kate Wilson (Nosy Crow) agreed. We knew this was going to be brilliant!


As anyone in events knows, we all like to make it look easy, but there is a lot of planning behind the scenes. Even an hour-long event can go flat without the right strategy. Online event hosts need to transmit energy and optimism onto their audience’s devices. It doesn’t ‘just happen’, there is always a plan.

Abbie Headon (BookMachine Editor) and Louise Harvey (Audio Manager at Little, Brown and BookMachine Editorial Board member) joined in as co-hosts and the first thing we did was set up a back channel. Without eye contact or facial cues there can be misunderstandings. If you are planning a Clubhouse event, this is my first top tip! We used a Twitter chat to update each other on pace, on decisions, on how to close, on everything. It’s the single most important ingredient to running a successful room.

When you are running an event in Clubhouse people dip in and out throughout. Unlike other events it’s not rude to join when you fancy and leave when you’ve had enough. For this reason, every 15 minutes you need to reset the room and remind those who are currently there what you are doing, what your goal is and where you are up to in the schedule. It helps to welcome people and let them know why they should stay. As long as you do this quickly, others in the room don’t mind hearing it again.

The theme of this Clubhouse series is leading the way. You don’t need to be running the company to lead new initiatives, you can do this in any role or as an individual. The idea behind inviting such prolific speakers to share their knowledge was to inspire and motivate our audience. It worked for me, and from the following comments on Twitter, I think it worked for our audience too:


If you would like to find out about other BookMachine events, you can sign up for emails here.

Thank you to Abbie and Louise for co-hosting this event, and to Dominique, Juliet, Sharmaine and Kate for joining our first panel!

Laura Summers runs BookMachine and BookMachine Agency and has organised hundreds of events since launching in 2010. From conferences, to workshops on Zoom and online sessions on a multitude of platforms, there isn’t much in the field of events that Laura hasn’t put her hand to. As well as organising events Laura has oodles of experience in presenting and delivering talks to global audiences online.

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