Monday 21 November 2011

Author Profile Training Day at Hachette

Last week I was very lucky to attend a training day for new authors of Orchard Books and Hodder Children's Books in London.

The fast track course was designed to orient, energise and focus new authors, especially - but not exclusively - those new to the publishing process. That's me!

It was run by Author Profile, recently founded by publicist and Vampirates author Justin Somper, and learning and development specialist, PJ Norman. What are they about?

'These days, authors are expected to hit the ground running - and keep running fast! - demonstrating knowledge, energy and commitment in areas such as online networking, events and media. Author Profile is all about sharing industry experience and fast-tracking less experienced authors over all these kinds of hurdles. It's geared towards helping authors shape their own careers more proactively than ever before.' - Justin Somper, Bookseller, 21/10/11.

Justin Somper

PJ Norman (standing) and Alix Hitching, head publicity guru for Hachette

Along with Justin and PJ, designer and author Graham Marks was also there to help whip us into shape.

Graham Marks
Areas covered were:
  • networks in publishing
  • the author/publisher relationship
  • identifying & articulating your own brand
  • online marketing opportunities
  • author events
  • maximising time in the media spotlight
It was a highlight to meet other authors. Helen Dennis (writing as HL Dennis) and I share a launch date for our first books: my Slated and the first of her Black Chamber code cracking series will both be out in May 2012. Helen and I are both alumni of the Winchester Writers Conference, where she met her editor-to-be, Beverly Birch. The others were Kathryn James, whose gorgeously covered Mist was just out in September, and Christopher Hill, author of the soon to be published series, Schwartzgarten Tales.

Kathryn James (left) and Helen Dennis. And cake. Two kinds of cake!

Authors, Trainers & Happy Hachette

Of course all of us came to this course with different backgrounds and experience, and will take different things away.

What did I learn?
  • networking etiquette is all about strategic entertaining
  • think of yourself as a brand: identify the key components of your brand, and ensure that your online and media excursions are consistent with it
  • staff at Hachette really ARE that happy to have authors in to meet and talk to: lunch was just an added bonus
  • consider adopting a persona for author events: a different you!
  • strategic entertaining can be very hazardous to Book Launch Diets
  • two minutes is a VERY long time in a mock radio interview
But did we convince Christopher Hill to give Twitter a try? ...only time will tell.


  1. this is progress! It sounds fantastic - that's sharp of Hachette to support their authors in this way. I hope it catches on!

  2. It really was a great day - as well as learning stuff, made us feel part of the place.
    (Not to mention the benefit of now knowing a few faces to look for at the Christmas party)

  3. Really interesting post, Teri! The brand thing was definitely mentioned at Winchester a couple of times as well.
    Good to see cake (two sorts) make an appearance.

  4. The cake does look very good! I think I would herniate if someone asked me to do a mock radio interview - well done you for surviving!

  5. I needed cake to get through it :O)

    What it did was reinforce how important it is to have it solid exactly what you want to get across about your book, yourself.

  6. Hmm and what persona are you planning to take?

  7. Perhaps I could go with brain wiped teenager? It wouldn't be that much of a stretch :O)


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