Hachette unveils free event series for publishing hopefuls

Hachette unveils free event series for publishing hopefuls

Hachette UK is launching a series of free virtual events, "Opening the Book", later this month, aiming to demystify publishing.

Its event series marks the fifth anniversary of its diversity and inclusion programme, Changing the Story, “with a renewed drive to make publishing more transparent and accessible to underrepresented groups". The first events will focus on sharing the realities of working in publishing with people who want to break into the industry, while another will focus on aspiring authors.  

The first phase involves 10 panel discussions, running from the end of June to the end of this year, hosted by Sharmaine Lovegrove (pictured), publisher at Dialogue Books and Changing the Story patron. Each panel will focus on a particular department, with three colleagues from Hachette UK sharing their first-hand experiences of entry-level, mid-level and head of department roles. The virtual sessions will cover marketing, editorial, sales, publicity, rights, design, audio/digital, productions/operations, finance and contracts. 

The series will launch on 28th June at 1 p.m. with a panel discussion on marketing featuring Gemma Shelley, deputy marketing director at Little, Brown, offering insights alongside senior marketing manager at John Murray Press Emma Petfield, and Lipfon Tang, marketing executive at Quercus. This will be followed by a live Q&A with the panelists chaired by Josie Dobrin, c.e.o. of social enterprise Creative Access. Ahead of the events, Hachette will unveil a series of videos featuring insights from the panelists on Twitter and Instagram.

Lovegrove said: “Our aim at Hachette UK is to demystify publishing so that a wider spectrum of people from all backgrounds and career stages have a better understanding of the industry and ‘Opening the Book’ is a fantastic way for us to carry out that mission. From hosting the panels, I’ve learnt a lot from my colleagues, and I’ve been invigorated by their passion and expertise at all levels. My hope is that these interviews, and all our ‘Opening the Book’ events this year, will inspire and inform and ultimately lead to a broader range of publishing professionals, illustrators and writers entering the industry.” 

Some of the panels will be followed by a live Q&A and all the content will later be available on Hachette UK’s website and social channels, as well as through partner sites. Tickets to the events are free via Eventbrite

For the second stage of the event series, Hachette is teaming up with partners in cities where it has new national offices — Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol — to host a range of "myth-busting" sessions for aspiring authors on creative writing, editing and pitching, and the publishing industry in general, as well as offering some career retrospectives with Hachette UK’s biggest authors in those regions. The programme is being spearheaded by Nick Davies, m.d. at John Murray Press and Changing the Story patron, with more details to be announced.

“We need to do a better job of making publishing accessible,” Davies said. “We need to attract a more diverse range of talent to the industry and we need give voice to authors who feel excluded or sidelined. It’s two sides of the same coin and the rationale behind the two strands of Opening the Book. It’s also why Hachette UK is opening five new offices across the country. We’re delighted to be creating a series of honest and open author events that will take this message beyond London and make the industry a more welcoming and inclusive place.”