Describe your role.
I’m responsible, with a team of 11, for producing around 25 new titles a year. the main job is to ensure all books meet the high standard the public expect from the V&A, as well as encouraging innovative ideas that reflect the very best of art and design in both subject matter and content.
What do you like best about your role?
first, the challenge of balancing the financial expectations of the museum, by generating as much revenue as possible (all our end-year profits are given back to the museum) along with the academic wishes of curators. Second, meeting extraordinarily gifted artists, designers and writers and channelling their talent into books that are beautiful and commercially successful.
What great new titles are you working on at the moment?
We have a very fashion focused list for the spring. Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, monographs on Charles James and thea Porter and an accompanying catalogue to Alexander McQueen, which will offer a totally new insight into a remarkable career, fascinating text and a huge amount of previously unpublished material. We’re also introducing to a new market a little-known mid-20th-century illustrator, Jack townend, with Ben and Jenny the Jeep as well as a new book for children, Wendy and the Wallpaper Cat.
How is the museum market faring in a time of great change in publishing?
Like most museums we feel diversification is the best way to manage the changes impacting the publishing world. We offer as varied a menu of publishing as possible, from hardback books with a high academic content to glossy fashion publications and small highly illustrated books aimed at younger readers. We offer a limited range of e-books and apps, and are looking at how to integrate illustrated books profitably into the digital market.
What advice would you give those looking to work in the industry?
It isn’t easy—we know! Get as much appropriate experience as possible from bookselling upwards. Show you like books. even interning positions, where you’re probably not being paid, are now scarce, so make sure you can write, spell, lay out a letter or email and be prepared to do whatever is put in front of you, however small.
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