I began my publishing career in the rights department of Penguin Books and worked there for almost four years until 1992 when I moved to the Watts Publishing Group where I was Rights Director of Watts non-fiction and Orchard fiction. This professional background has been invaluable in providing the commercial training upon which I have built an exciting editorial career. In 1997 I moved to Bloomsbury where I was the publishing Director of the children’s list. It was a fantastic place to be working with wonderful colleagues with highlights of my time there including overseeing and managing the publication of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. During my time at Bloomsbury I was lucky enough to work with such prize-winning best-selling authors as Jennifer Donnelley, Louis Sachar, Celia Rees, Sharon Creech, Debi Gliori and Neil Gaiman. In September 2011 I moved on to Hot Key Books where I have been focused on creating a company built around the principal that we publish authors not books and our job is to take those authors to readers all over the world. The start of 2013 saw our title Maggot Moon win the prestigious Costa Book Award for Children's fiction.
I began my publishing career at Andre Deutsch Children’s Books as a secretary to the formidable Editorial Director, Pam Royds. Pam’s authors formed a veritable Hollywood Walk of Fame of Publishing and included my beloved childhood favourites, such as Joan Aiken, Leon Garfield and Philippa Pearce. In truth, I wasn’t cut out to be a secretary. I was far more interested in sticking my nose in all the incoming manuscripts and asking a LOT of questions. Beaten down by my curiosity and persistence, Pam would kindly sit after hours and tell me precisely how she went about turning an (often handwritten manuscript) into a work of creative genius. So was born my passion for editing children’s books and working with authors! I moved about a bit: editorial assistant at Scholastic, working with the great David Fickling, followed by a stint of non-fiction editing at Kingfisher books, and then a move to the glossy supermodel of publishing houses, Hodder Headline (later to be become Hachette Livre UK) as junior editor, editor, senior editor, senior commissiong editor, and then publisher of teen fiction at Hodder Children’s Books… It’s been such an exciting career in publishing so far, and now, as Publisher at Hot Key Books, I have arrived at the job I dreamed of all those years ago as I sat in a creaky old Georgian House in Great Russell Street and listened wide-eyed to my mentor Pam: to be buying such fabulous books from so many talented authors, working with wonderful colleagues to build a brand new and thrilling children’s list here at Hot Key. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
I started in children’s books on the shop floor at Waterstones in 1997 and then in early 2001 moved into publishing as the sales assistant at Transworld (about ten months before it merged with RHCB). After working my way up to Key Account Manager (which included standing on a rooftop in Oxford with Philip Pullman) I moved to Macmillan just as The Gruffalo’s Child was published. I then moved to S&S as Sales Director, working on lots of fabulous things including Spiderwick and Aliens Love Underpants. I then (I have moved about a bit) went to HarperCollins for four years and saw the launch of David Walliams. I now feel I’ve finally settled down at Hot Key and I’m making myself very much at home. For the first time I have plants in my office, framed pictures, a nice lamp and, of course, Reg.
Having studied for my Economics degree in Leeds, for some strange reason I decided three years of books about numbers wasn’t quite enough. So I embarked on another few towards becoming a chartered accountant. I joined Bonnier two years ago and was involved in the amazing creation that is Hot Key Books from the outset. This is such an exciting time for both Hot Key Books and the Bonnier Publishing group, and I am so pleased I can be a part of this wonderful team.
I manage the digital strategy for Hot Key, alongside acquiring and editing my own titles. We are focused on generating conversation around our books (@HotKeyBooks), low risk innovation (Maggot Moon enhanced edition), getting readers involved in meaningful ways (The Story Adventure), and building partnerships that drive sales.
On the editorial side at Hot Key, I have acquired books about shrinking sheep, prison breaks, invisible teenagers, rubbish heaps and airship adventures. I began my career as an editorial assistant at Little Brown Books for Young Readers in New York, and then followed my heart to London. There I joined Working Partners where I worked on series like Rainbow Magic and My Sister the Vampire. Prior to Hot Key, I was at Hodder Children’s Books managing the Enid Blyton publishing program and acquiring projects like internet sensation JackDrawsAnything.com and A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton.
I am also the co-creator of the volunteer SCBWI-BI Undiscovered Voices project, helping twenty-two previously unknown children’s authors to land publishing deals and to win and be nominated for a number of industry awards.
I began my publishing life at Jonathan Cape in Bedford square, which was a bit lucky. There I worked with the some of finest and most maverick of editors, selling rights in adult and children’s books including Dahl, Steadman, Burningham, Barnes, Atwood, Irving… I was really a bit spoilt so it was hard to know where to move next. I found I couldn’t resist the call of an agency, that of Deborah Rogers far west in Notting Hill and there again, even though I was never entirely sure what my job description was, I was hovering in the vicinity of fabulous writers – Ishiguro, Rushdie, McInerney, Chatwin. But when Bloomsbury was born I knew I had to join them in the brave new enterprise, co-founded by my ex colleague Liz Calder. That was in 1987. We were small but immodest in our expectations and it was exhilarating working so hard and believing so passionately in what we were doing. When Bloomsbury started a children’s list, Sarah Odedina arrived at the same time as J. K. Rowling and I adored working with such a creative and innovative editor and her authors… my life was complete and I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to work anywhere else. I was wrong – with Hot Key the dream has begun again.
I studied Typography at LCP before working in above-the-line advertising at M&C Saatchi and WCRS. Realising advertising was the work of the devil, I crossed over to publishing where I ghost-illustrated Maisy (the mouse) for Walker Books and designed teen fiction covers for Random House Kids. Later I freelanced for a couple of years, designing theatrical film posters and DVD covers for entertainment advertising agencies such as The Creative Partnership and Tea Creative. After that I set up my own Ltd company, designing corporate brands and the odd graphic novel cover. Then I met the lovely Sarah Odedina and we designed the Hot Key Books logo… and now I art direct for Hot Key Books!
My very first job in publishing was at Blackie Children’s Books, publisher of many marvellous books for children, but perhaps most notably the Flower Fairies and Topsy and Tim. One of the first tasks I was given in my role as Editorial Assistant was to take some Topsy and Tim original artwork to Jean Adamson at her house. To meet the co-author and illustrator of the very books I had grown up reading was so awe-inspiring. And helped to fix within me a love of children’s books that was to stay with me for ever … But I have to confess that I did not start out craving a career in children’s publishing. When I was offered the job at Blackie Children’s Books, my career plan (such as it was) was to give it a go – and then try something different. But from the first moment I was smitten. I loved the people you meet within children’s books, I loved the variety, I loved the energy, I loved working with both authors and illustrators. Subsequently Blackie was bought by Penguin and I had the opportunity to edit children's books within a huge, world-famous publishing company, which afforded a whole new wealth of experience. Whilst at Penguin I was offered a job at Bloomsbury Children’s Books by Hot Key’s very own Sarah Odedina and together we published many wonderful books that I look back on with enormous pride and great affection. And then, after more than 15 years at Bloomsbury, having been lucky enough to work with many extraordinary authors, including J.K. Rowling and Benjamin Zephaniah, the siren call came from Hot Key and it was finally time to move. I am so delighted to be here – it seems the perfect mix of big (ideas) and small (fleet of foot) - and I cannot wait to put some books into action!
I started out working in children's publishing on the Production side at DK (where my love of Excel spreadsheets was kindled) and moved into Editorial via a stint in academic publishing at Nature Publishing Group. When I was ready to leave genetics behind I returned to the (much more fun) world of children's, with time at HarperCollins, managing the Noddy and Dr Seuss publishing, and then to Walker Books, working on fantastic pop-ups, fiction and non-fiction. Since having a baby two years ago I've been having a lot of fun working freelance, which is when I first became friends with Hot Key Books - but now I'm delighted to be working in-house with the great team here.
I started out in children’s publishing ten-ish years ago, at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, just as Harry Potter was going stellar. I worked closely on the fifth and sixth Harry Potter titles and was also lucky enough to work on books by wonderful authors like Benjamin Zephaniah, Celia Rees, Jeanette Winterson and Louis Sachar. After an extraordinary time and being there long enough to move offices twice, I left to have two children, attempt the freelance life and jam-making, realised jam-making is not all it is cracked up to be, went to work as a commissioning editor at Hodder and Orchard, and ended up at the lovely Hot Key Books.
It was volunteering at London Book Fair that made the decision for me – I had to work in publishing. After graduating from Swansea University in 2011, interning and HarperCollins and admitting to my parents that the family tradition of teaching probably wasn't for me (not to mention ending a three year stint of scooping popcorn at ODEON), I was some how lucky enough to land a job as Sales & Marketing Assistant at Hot Key Books. Moving to Hackney and launching a brand new company with the most exciting and dynamic team in the industry (I am biased) was, hands down, the most exciting year of my life. A year later, I'm still pinching myself that I work with books - not to mention the most creative, passionate people at Hot Key and Red Lemon Press.
After graduating with a much-maligned Media Production degree from Bedfordshire University I moved back to Oxford and began working for Harcourt Education. After a few years of working on school books the lure of London became too strong and I managed to land myself a position at Walker Books, working with the novelty department. Nearly six years later and with almost ten million Where’s Wally printings under my belt I found an offer I couldn’t refuse – to work in the wonderful world of Hot Key Books!
I grew up in Katwijk, a small town in the Netherlands, where I lived until I graduated from university. I studied English Language and Culture at Leiden University and went on to get an MA in Literary Translation (English/Dutch). In my final year I spent three months studying in the United States at Elmhurst College near Chicago (which explains my American accent, a thing that will forever puzzle every single person I meet). After graduation I decided to move to London in search of a job in publishing. While experiencing life in London for the first time, I did work experience at Icon Books and Penguin, had a freelance video editing job and worked on my YouTube channel Booksandquills (which I started in 2008, and my camera has been permanently attached to my hip ever since). Nine months after arriving in the city I found my dream job as Digital Coordinator at Hot Key Books. I’m glad I’ve found a place where I get to spread the word online about fantastic new books and work on creative and exciting projects with a wonderful team.
After completing a degree in History at Newcastle University, and then a Masters in Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, I decided to leave academia behind and move into the much more interesting field of children’s publishing. As fate would have it, I saw an advert in The Bookseller for an Editorial Assistant position at a brand-new publishing house the day after I handed in my dissertation (Investigating Subversive Sexual Subcultures in Japan, if you’re interested), and I applied assuming I had a snowball’s chance of actually getting the position – especially when I saw the list of amazing people who would be heading the team – but hey! Here I am. I was previously lucky enough to complete some brilliant work experience with Barry Cunningham and the crew of The Chicken House, and I like to think a life-long passion for uncovering interesting stories (that’s all History is, after all) is what got me here. And as one of my tasks here at Hot Key is helping Sara O’Connor to organise work experience placements, I hope we can get some other people to where they want to be too! I acquired my first title last year after discovering the author in our enquiries account submission pile, and I'm very much looking forward to taking on some more new talent in 2014.
I've wanted to be in publishing ever since I self-published my first children’s book back in high school, hand-binding a hundred copies of a story about a gang of calves that go to India. Yes, that's right! Calves that go to India… After a brief, very inspiring but frustratingly non-practical stint in Art History, I studied comics and storytelling for two years, which resulted in a graphic novel and some freelance work in the Swedish publishing industry. While the iron was hot I decided to get a degree and left Malmö to study Design and Illustration at Central Saint Martins here in London. Not long after graduating I couldn't believe my luck when I landed a position at Hot Key Books, and I've been here ever since.
I started working as a Saturday girl at the magical Tales On Moon Lane, an independent children’s bookshop when I was 15. Saturdays turned into seven years, working during my university holidays and becoming more involved as weekend manager once I had graduated. Working at the shop for so long meant that I was lucky enough to read a lot of wonderful books, see all the exciting things publishers were doing, and how excited and passionate children are about the books they love. All in all I became obsessed with the whole world of children’s books. I wanted to know more about what goes on behind the scenes to create an amazing book, so I did lots of work experience at publishers, which reinforced my dream to work for a children’s publisher. I saw Hot Key Books boom onto the scene from a bookseller stance, and instantly became fascinated and so excited about what they were doing. I’ve now got my dream job working for such a dynamic, creative and unique publishing house - and I get to carry on raving about children’s books!