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My Job in 5: Hannah Robinson

Hannah Robinson from Quercus Books is on board this week to share some insights to her expansive duties as publicist.
Written on 12/06/2018 - 12:07
  1. Describe your role

In a nutshell my job is to tell people how great our books are and ask them to tell other people. Day to day it’s very varied. I run my own campaigns as well as managing a team of fantastic publicists and try to be involved at some level with as many authors and books as possible. I’m on the Quercus board and senior management team which means I’m involved in publishing decisions for the business as a whole.

  1. What do you like best about your role?

I love the variety that Quercus offers. One day I might be accompanying a non-fiction author to a television interview, the next I’m working though a budget sheet and then I’m off on tour with a crime fiction author. I also really enjoy the management side of my job, particularly helping publicists to develop. It’s hard when they fly the nest, but I feel very proud of them. My favourite time of the week is our Monday morning publicity meeting when we get together with all the weekend papers to pull out coverage and useful pieces to share around and discuss. 

  1. Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?

Like I said, I’m involved in most books that we publish but if I was to pick a couple that I’m personally paying particular attention to at the moment they would be: Blackberry and Wild Rose, a rich historical debut by Sonia Velton; the new thriller by Sam Bourne To Kill the Truth which we publish in February and setting up another wonderful debut The Flatshare by Beth for next April. I also work year-round with Elly Griffiths with whom I’ve worked since I started at Quercus five years ago.

  1. What skills do you need for your role?

One of the biggest things is the ability to multi-task and juggle a lot of projects at one time, so being organised, resilient and able to prioritise is essential. You also need to be a people person with diplomacy and emotional intelligence. A publicist works with a lot of people in-house as well authors, journalists, bloggers, booksellers, agents and customers. A lot of the skills you’d associate with sales jobs are key too: presentation and pitching skills, decision making, commercial and financial awareness. Finally, and maybe most importantly the job gives you the opportunity to be creative and use strategic thinking. This is the bit that can be the most rewarding. 

  1. What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?

Look for internships and work experience in publishing and anywhere related eg literary agencies. If that’s not possible where you live, work full or part time in a bookshop. Read the books pages in the newspapers, particularly if you want to get into publicity, and join Twitter to follow publishers, bookshops and book bloggers. Consider starting a book blog. Read widely!