My Job In 5: Richard Haines, acquisitions and new business manager, Penguin Random House UK ’s Children’s division

My Job In 5: Richard Haines, acquisitions and new business manager, Penguin Random House UK ’s Children’s division

Describe your role

I’m responsible for growing our licensed publishing list, which includes brands such as Peppa Pig, LEGO and World of Warriors. This means working with brand owners and content creators such as Mind Candy to find new publishing opportunities and acquiring content to develop into brands, books and other products. The other element of my job is creating entirely new children’s intellectual property from scratch, specifically looking at TV projects with animation studios, producers and broadcasters.  

What do you like best about your role?

I love that it’s so varied. In one day I might be looking over a TV script, negotiating a deal with a brand owner or choosing the voice talent for a new character. I started in a more “traditional” publishing remit but now I have a much broader media role—with much more diversity than people might expect from someone who “works in publishing”.

Which great new titles or brands are you working on?

We’re excited to be launching a preschool TV show on Nick Jr UK called “Puffin Rock”, narrated by Chris O’Dowd. I’ve been working on it for over two years, taking an original idea—the artwork for a new set of characters—and developing it into a unique new brand and TV series.

What constitutes ‘new business’ now in children’s publishing?

New business for me means exploring ideas and projects that book publishers wouldn’t have been part of historically. So not only with licensors and retailers but with animators, producers and broadcasters, in the UK and globally, to reach wider audiences.

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

Don’t give up. If it’s the career you want, get experience where you can and think about how to differentiate yourself. This is an exciting time to be in publishing and I genuinely believe there are more roles and routes in than ever before. One is via The Scheme, which we launched to attract creative people who wouldn’t necessarily have considered a job with us.