Tag: random house

Go Set a Watchman tops 1.1 million sold in US and Canada

Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee’s unexpected companion piece to her sole previous novel, To Kill a Mockingbirdhas sold 1.1 million copies across print and digital in its first six days on release in the US and Canada alone. After going on sale last Tuesday (14/07/2015), the book became the fastest selling title in the history of HarperCollins, with the publisher saying on Monday morning (20/07/2015) that it had gone back to press for a further 1.3 million copies. With an initial run of 2 million, that puts the total number of copies in print at 3.3 million.

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Publicity in Publishing

Publicity: the most creative department in Publishing

Ana McLaughlin has worked in Publicity at Random House, Kyle Books and Michael O’Mara Books and is now working in arts and books PR at Sarah Harrison PR (@Anabooks / @SarahHarrisonPR / www.sarahharrisonpr.com )

I gave this piece a deliberately controversial title, and one I think many in the industry will disagree with. (Let’s talk about it – after all, publicists love to talk!) Book PRs get a fairly terrible press – ironically. Roger Lewis’s Anthony Burgess talks about ‘those flotillas of 24-year-old publicity handmaidens who laugh at your jokes but whom you’ll never in a million years get to fuck because they have fiancés in marine reinsurance or coffee futures in the City who all look like Jeremy Northam’. (Drat, I must have been so busy honing my showcard-making skills that I managed to miss the wealthy spouse queue…) It’s a line that beautifully conveys the fallacious ideas about publicists still cherished by certain sections of the industry and the wider world: that we are all young, female, a bit posh, slightly dim and more ornament than use.

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Two more Terry Pratchett novels set for posthumous publication

When Terry Pratchett died last week at the age of 66, he left behind a body of work that includes 40 novels set in his beloved Discworld, alongside a couple dozen further titles. It is a substantial bibliography by any standard, and one that his fans will no doubt take great comfort and pleasure in revisiting over the coming months. Those fans, however, can take further solace in the knowledge that the day when they have no more Pratchett left to read hasn’t arrived just yet: the author completed two final novels that are both likely to see publication this year.

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Newly discovered Dr. Seuss book to be published in July

In what has already been quite the month for new books from authors most thought we’d never hear from again, Random House has revealed that on 28 July it will publish What Pet Should I Get? – a ‘new’ book by Dr. Seuss. The manuscript for the book was rediscovered in 2013 by Seuss’ widow, Audrey Geisel, and his secretary, Claudia Prescott, in a box at his San Diego home, having originally been set aside shortly after his death in 1991. Also present in the box was enough unpublished material to sustain at least two further books.

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How to get into publishing

How to get into publishing

After much hard work trying to break into the industry, Jasmine Joynson found her dream job as Publicity Assistant at one of the big five publishers. Now managing her own publicity campaigns and promoting some of today’s biggest children’s authors, Jasmine offers her own tips for the notoriously difficult task of landing a first job in publishing…

Get some work experience

When I was on my first work experience placement, the company was holding an open day for students called something along the lines of ‘How to get into publishing’.

The marketing assistant sitting across from me had been asked to give a brief talk on just this subject. One of the publicists in the department asked her what she was going to say.

She replied, ‘Um…work experience. Then get some more work experience.’

Spoiler alert: the first half of this article is going to be me reiterating this. But why exactly is work experience so vital?

1. How do you actually know you want to work in publishing without seeing what goes on? Work experience is a good way to find out IF you should even bother trying to get into publishing: you can use it as a chance to ask people about their jobs and the industry.

2. It’s unlikely that, for entry-level positions, you will be considered for interview without some work experience. Not impossible, but unlikely. Most jobs advertised in publishing get lots of applicants, and why interview someone who doesn’t have any experience of publishing at all when many do?

3. Without work experience, you may struggle to answer common interview questions like ‘Describe what you think the role will entail’ or ‘What do you think the difference between sales and publicity is?’ It’s also useful if you can ‘give an example of a time you solved a problem’ in a publishing setting.

4. If you impress during a placement you will probably spring to mind next time someone hears of a friend or colleague recruiting. Publishing is a small industry and if a job opens up it’s not unusual for someone to email around to their counterparts in other companies and ask for details of potential candidates.

Make a good impression

When you do find a work experience placement, please don’t waste the opportunity. In short, smile a lot and be willing to get on with things.

You may well be asked to do boring admin tasks like updating spreadsheets, mailing books and booking taxis. Try not to look bored or complain.

It sounds obvious but if you act like you’d rather be somewhere else then the team you’re working with will wonder why you’re there and definitely won’t recommend you in future.

Fine-tune your CV

As far as I’m aware (and I’m far too junior to recruit) there are no hard and fast rules about how to format your CV.

What I will say is that publishing is a creative industry and therefore mine is ‘skills-based’. To elaborate, after a little introduction that explains briefly who I am, I list five of my ‘key skills’ (and an example that demonstrates each).

If I were a doctor I imagine I’d lead with my education but as publishing is less prescriptive I think it’s best to focus on what you CAN DO, not what you have done.

Prepare for interview

I’m sure there are lots of different interview formats and styles. I had to do a short exercise in my first interview and then talk the two interviewers through the answers I came up with, while in preparation for my second interview I had to make a brief campaign plan.

These are the kind of things you should be told ahead of time. In order to prepare in general just make sure you can talk about your skills and why you want to work in the role you’re applying for.

The other thing I would say is know the list. Find out what they publish and go into a bookshop and have a look at the books if you have time. Turning up at a publisher without at least some knowledge of their list is not going to send good vibes to your interviewers.

Know the job

Before you spend time and energy on trying to land your ‘dream job’, be aware of the inevitable downsides of the role. If you managed to do some work experience then you should have an idea of this.

In the final interview for my current job, my then-interviewer, now-boss told me ‘this job involves a lot of admin that won’t go away’. She was not lying.

I spend a lot of my time on admin tasks like updating mailing lists, sending coverage to authors and editors, uploading details of events to our database, replying to external enquiries, dealing with invoices, writing internal publicity updates.

And there are other aspects of working in a publicity department that may not appeal to some, too, such as working evenings, weekends, and very early mornings.

Having written all that, I will now say that I LOVE my job. Publishing is filled with wonderful, enthusiastic people and working with them is a privilege. Everyone is there because they love books.

Working in my current role I have met some of my childhood heroes including Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman and John Boyne. I also work with some of the most inspirational, amazingly talented, hysterically funny people who I hope will be the next generation’s favourite authors.

It can be very hard to break into publishing as jobs are so in-demand. At some points I genuinely believed I wouldn’t ever get anything approaching the job I wanted. But I did. So I would advise you to be persistent!

Yesterday’s Luggage [an author’s tale]

Rob ShermanRob Sherman is a 25 year-old writer and musician from London. His favourite topics include wholegrain, gods with more than one face, and cryptozoology, as well as his own suppurating, horrific body. This is his first guest blog post on BookMachine.

My name is Rob Sherman, or elsewhere the Hogherd, and I would like to tell you the story of how I came by this second, more mythical moniker. It is the story of how I became a full-time author, an occupation of which I have dreamed since I was very small. It is a story that I could not replicate at any other time in history; as tellers of stories, we live in a time when life has never been easier, harder, or more terrifying, and when a combination of luck and a strong lifting arm can lead to one of the largest publishers in the world taking a punt on one’s ludicrous idea. As I say, my story is one that more and more young writers can tell, and are being given the opportunity to tell, by the rise of the digital environment.

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41 Dr. Seuss ebooks forthcoming from Random House

‘I do not like my books in print

I do not like having to squint

I only read my books on Kindle

Anything else seems like a swindle’

…might be the weird Green Eggs and Ham-influenced manner in which a particularly bright yet techno-snobbish child would care to tell the world that it had not yet been exposed to the iconic works of Dr. Seuss due to their only being available in print and not digitally. Although in that case, if it hadn’t actually read the book, how would it be able to make a reference like that? Let’s not think too deeply about this. The point is, as of this month, Random House will be filling a void in that delightfully uppity child’s life, with the first batch of a planned 41 digital releases from the erstwhile Theodor Geisel’s bibliography.

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Re-Visiting Random House’s BookScout app


In January, Random House Inc. launched a new social reading platform on Facebooks app center called BookScout. Back then, I asked Amanda Close (Senior Vice President, Digital Marketplace Development) 6 questions about the book discovery app.

This month they have launched a new mobile version of the app so I asked Amanda some more questions about what the release involved and why developing a mobile version was important to enhance the users experience as well as to prompt more discussion and sharing of books people love.

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Beastie Boys to release oral history in 2015

Almost exactly a year on from the untimely death of the much missed Adam (MCA) Yauch comes word in the New York Times that Michael (Mike D) Diamond and Adam (Ad-Rock) Horowitz, his surviving bandmates in Beastie Boys, have signed a memoir deal with Random House imprint Spiegel & Grau. The as-yet-untitled book will be gettin’ stupid in your area, causin’ all kinds of hysteria in the autumn of 2015 and, as you would expect from one of the most inventive, influential musical acts of the past thirty years – especially one that has mad hits like it was Rod Carew – will emphatically not be a straightforward ghost-written tell-all.

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Fourth Estate publishing Lena Dunham in the UK

In a piece of fortuitous timing on this election Tuesday, Fourth Estate has acquired the UK rights to the first book by American writer, actress and director Lena Dunham, who is trailed wherever she goes by a string of fretful internet thinkpieces and whose recent cute, mildly suggestive Obama endorsement had at least one Republican politician wondering aloud about whether or not she might take advice from the same source as Obama and Putin, namely the great Satan hisself.

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Mergers and Acquisitions: Random House and Penguin

“The two companies have not reached agreement and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction.” I think it’s safe to say it is far too early for us to be predicting what colour hair children of a union between Penguin and Random House would lead to, given they themselves haven’t committed to anything more than a date with one another, but when has the lack of a concrete announcement of something stopped media speculation in the past? Still, I feel I’d be remiss to ignore it, given the second most exciting publishing news last week was the appearance of Kindle in bookshops. [Author note: it is not too early. They have finalised the details of the merge this morning, but I’m leaving this paragraph in. News moves fast.]

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5 Questions for Ruth Warburton [INTERVIEW]

Ruth WarburtonRuth Warburton is a job-sharing publicity manager for the Vintage imprints Chatto & Windus and Square Peg at Random House. Having won PPC awards for her campaigns, she now mixes her role as a successful publicist with being a young adult author – The Winter Trilogy is published by Hodder Children’s Books. We catch up with Ruth to find out if variety really is the spice of life in publishing…

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