The Edinburgh International Book Festival has announced an inaugural, free ‘Publishing Salon’ bringing together publishers, editors, agents and literary professionals this month.
A series of three panel events will feature “informal debates on some of the big questions currently facing the book industry” according to a festival spokesperson. Tickets are free and available to anyone who works, or is involved, in the literary sector.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) runs from 11th to 27th August across Charlotte Square Gardens.
The first event, 'The Next Big Thing: How to Spot and Sustain a Bestseller', will take place on Thursday 16th August at 9.30am. Chaired by Serpent’s Tail publisher Hannah Westland, the panel will include Lisa Baker, director of Aitken Alexander Associates, Fiona Brownlee, founder of communications consultancy Brownlee Donald Associates, EIBF’s head of book sales Simon Mackay and Juliet Mabey, publisher of Oneworld Publications. The session will explore “how to turn raw talent into book sales”.
An EIBF spokesperson said: “From an agent first spotting a promising manuscript on the slush pile, to a book hitting number one on the bestseller list, the panel will share stories of publishing success, and invite the audience to discuss how to recognise potential and capitalise on it.”
The second panel event, 'The Connected Word: The Importance of International Networks', on 22nd August will include visiting Publishing Scotland Fellows: Raphaëlle Liebaert, foreign fiction editorial director at Éditions Stock in France, Penguin US v.p., editor in chief and associate publisher Patrick Nolan and Päivi Paappanen, publishing director for Like in Finland. The Fellowship scheme is aimed at international publishers looking to discover Scottish books and to acquire rights.
The event series will finish on 25th August with 'Nurturing Talent: The Role of Publishing in Building the Careers of Writers'. Jenny Brown of Jenny Brown Associates will act as chair and she will be joined by Jan Rutherford, founder of Publicity & The Printed Word, New Writing North m.d. Claire Malcolm, Katharina Bielenberg, associate publisher at MacLehose Press, and And Other Stories publisher Stefan Tobler. The panel will discuss the role of agents, publishers, and other key stakeholders in investing in writers, nurturing their talent and building their readership over the long term.
Westland said: “More than any other literary festival, Edinburgh is the publishing industry’s favourite place to gather, gossip and argue about the issues and challenges of our business (while also catching events with the best authors in the world). So, it’s incredibly exciting to be involved in the festival’s first literary salon this summer with three excellent free discussion events that will bring together some of publishing’s most talented characters to share their ideas and expertise.”
She emphasised how “everyone is welcome to attend, whether you are an intern or a managing director” but encouraged people to sign up early as places are limited.
Tickets to all three publishing salon events are free and can be booked through Kate Seiler at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 7185635.