If you have attended an 2020 event already, we hope you had a great time and picked up some useful publishing tips.
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BookMachine Unplugged 2019: Talking Editorial

3 April @ 6:30 pm 11:00 pm BST

The insider’s guide to
building strong lists

6.30pm, 3rd April 2019 | The Century Club, London
£ 5.50 – £10.00 (FREE for
BookMachine Members)

With thanks to our Unplugged 2019 sponsors:

About the event

Commissioning is traditionally laden in mystery, represented by six-figure deals announced in the trade press, or laced with cocktails at The Ivy. But that’s not really how it works for most of the industry. What do commissioning editors do to build strong lists and how can you use these insights to find the best books for yours? Three speakers from digital-first publishing, independent publishing and trend-led publishing will demystify how they develop a balanced and successful programme.

Your Speakers

Abbie Headon (Editor and Consultant) – HOST

Abbie Headon has had a diverse career in publishing, including editorial roles at Oxford University Press and Summersdale Publishers. She now works as Commissioning Editor for Prelude books, acquiring humorous fiction for the Farrago list and trade non-fiction for the Duckworth list. Abbie is also the author of gift and self-help titles such as Poetry First Aid Kit, The Power of Yes and The Power of No. She is a member of the BookMachine Editorial Board and edits the BookMachine blog.

Follow Abbie on Twitter: @abbieheadon

Keshini Naidoo (Publishing Director, Hera Books)

Keshini has extensive experience of breaking authors into bestseller status, with her biggest authors selling millions of copies in eBook alone. Having started her career as a buyer at Book Club Associates, her first job in publishing was being involved in setting up Avon, the commercial fiction imprint at HarperCollins UK. After a spell as a reader at the Darley Anderson Literary Agency, she then moved to being associate publisher at Bookouture, where she published global bestsellers including Angela Marsons and Kathryn Croft. During her time at Bookouture, her authors amassed sales in excess of five million copies. 

She was named a Bookseller Rising Star in 2017, because she has “unabashedly embraced commercial titles”. She and co-founder, Lindsey Mooney, launched Hera Books in 2018 – a digital-first, female-fronted publishing house aiming to publish all genres of commercial fiction, from crime to sagas to romantic comedies. 

Follow Keshini on Twitter: @KeshiniNaidoo @HeraBooks

Zara Anvari (Commissioning Editor, Ilex Books)

Zara commissions across lifestyle and popular culture for White Lion Publishing, a Quarto imprint. White Lion specialise in producing beautiful, informative and high-quality books for adults. Zara looks for titles that inspire and encourage readers to enjoy the world around them. She began her publishing career at Penguin Books and has since worked for Hachette, Phaidon Press and V&A Publishing. 

Follow Zara on Twitter: @ZaraAnvari

Valerie Brandes (Founder and Publisher, Jacaranda Books)

Valerie Brandes is the founder and publisher of Jacaranda Books Art Music Ltd, and an entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in the book trade across the USA and UK. Valerie is a seasoned editor whose background includes bookselling for US book retailer Barnes and Noble, a MA in Publishing Studies from City University, and professional experience at Profile Books. She has been named on the Powerlist’s 100 Most Influential Black Britons for 2018 and identified as a “publishing game changer” by Spread the Word. Valerie is an ardent promoter of diversity and inclusivity in publishing, and a staunch supporter of social justice. She is a regular public speaker, giving talks across the UK on publishing, inclusivity and female entrepreneurship. She also speaks at colleges and universities to inspire the next generation to consider a career in publishing and entrepreneurship.

Follow Valerie on Twitter: @valrey @jacarandabooks


BookMachine Unplugged is an event series that aims to answer a simple question: what is happening in the world of publishing right now?

Watch inspiring talks from industry insiders. Meet publishers, editors, marketers, audio publishers, designers, techies and more – the people who make publishing happen. If you crave an explosion of knowledge, ideas, and personal development, all in a strictly social and informal setting, unplug from your desk and join us.   

There will be six events throughout 2019. Each will zoom in on a segment of the publishing industry and feature 3 expert speakers taking to the stage with their insights into what works for their business now.

If you want to learn from your peers, and stay at the forefront of what’s happening, then BookMachine Unplugged is for you.

Event details

Date: 3rd April 2019
Time: 6.30pm – 11pm

The Venue

The Century Club

61-63 Shaftesbury Ave
London, W1D 6LQ United Kingdom
+ Google Map
+44 207 534 3080


Who is this event aimed at?

BookMachine is a thriving community for everyone involved in book publishing. We created it for those who crave knowledge, ideas, and personal development, but in a strictly social and informal setting. BookMachine Members are at the heart of the community and can attend all the events for free and benefit from discounts from across the industry.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No, just show up and your name will be on the door.

Will I get a seat?

You might not get a seat at the event, so wear comfy shoes. This is deliberate as the space has been designed for you to meet as many people as possible in a short space of time, rather than sitting down with your colleague/the same person all evening. The talks section lasts for 45 minutes and there is a cloakroom for any heavy bags/coats. 

Some words about the Unplugged Series…