The sixth in my series features Jazz Bartlett Love from Chicken House! Thank you for taking the time to answer Jazz!
How did you get your start in publishing?
Whilst I was studying, I emailed every publisher I could think of to try and get some work experience and managed to get a few placements booked in – at Scholastic, Macmillan Children’s Books and Chicken House. I then got my first job at Macmillan in their production department, but publicity was really where I wanted to be. I’d kept in touch with the team at Chicken House – both because I’d loved my week there so much (they were so welcoming) and was keen to be living closer to my family in Bristol – and so when a job came up, I was invited to interview. I felt, and still feel, so lucky to be working at CH.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
There is so much! Because CH has such a small team – there are only 9 of us – we’re all involved in the whole process, right from initial acquisition all the way to publication. It’s really fascinating to see how, sometimes, an idea that someone has at a meeting ends up becoming a book. I also love sitting down with authors for the first time to talk about how we’re going to do their publicity – each campaign is different, and some of the most fun and creative things we’ve done have come out of those initial chats.
What are the challenges of your role?
Hmm … I’d say that time is the main challenge! I often have lots of different campaigns on the go at any one time, so it’s a case of having to be super organised to make sure every book has its time to shine. Publicity is also quite different to departments such as editorial or production – e.g. there comes a point where an editor finishes their edits for a book, and begins to work on something else. Publicity works differently to this – it’s very reactive, and backlist can always be frontlist!
Describe a typical day or are no two days alike?
No two days are alike. I could be in the office wrapping books to mail out, at a school accompanying an author on an event, having coffee with an author or journalist, or reading at home. This is one of my favourite things about working in publicity: there is such a huge amount of variety in the role, and even more so in working for a small publisher at Chicken House.
Tips for Book Bloggers
Bloggers are awesome, and we are so grateful for their support and the amazing community they have created – all through the love of books.
When you’re writing your review, don’t worry too much about making it sound super professional – we just want to hear your enthusiasm, so if you loved it and want to shout about it, that’s great! From a publicity perspective, as well as you guys helping us to spread the word and build buzz around the book, we’re also looking for snappy quotes we can pull out from the review – so really thinking about what it is about this particular book that you enjoyed, why you’d recommend it, and how it made you feel.
Also, always email rather than tweet your requests, if you can – this is 100% the best way to make sure I definitely spot your request! If there’s a specific book you’re hoping to review I’d recommend emailing around 4-6 weeks before publication, as this is when I’m looking to send copies out.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished reading the brand new novel from Kiran Millwood Hargrave, coming in October. I can’t say too much about it yet, but it is an utterly gorgeous story – you are all in for a treat!
Like Jazz mentions, Chicken House is a small but mighty publisher. Mel at Authorfy has a new series on her website entitled Behind the Scenes of Children’s Publishing. The first in this series features Barry Cunningham from Chicken House. It is a fascinating video to watch.