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Working in Sales and Marketing

Working in Sales and Marketing

Kevin Duffy lives in Hebden Bridge with Hetha, co-founder of Bluemouse books, their two sons and their dog, Eric.


Q1 How did you get into publishing?

I moved down to London in 1986 from Manchester, lived on a sofa in Hounslow West, worked for a library supplier in the day, Burger King at night and then applied for a job at Headline Publishing and got a job as one of their sales representatives in London.

Q2 How important are contacts in successful sales and marketing?

Contacts are essential. It is all about building trust with reviewers, buyers & booksellers because there will be a time when you are asking them to take a punt on a book you believe in that isn't backed by a huge marketing campaign.

Q3 How many titles are you promoting at one time?

Four new titles but you always have a lead title too, plus backlist. Always the backlist. The backlist is the foundation of all successful publishers.

Q4 How do you approach connecting with different target markets?

You have to use everything that is available. The internet is your bookshop shelf. Bloggers. Vloggers. Newsletters. Winning prizes. Events. Libraries. Writing pieces about the industry for national newspapers. Get attention for your book!

Q5 What are some of the best things about your job?

Every hour is different and when readers get back to you and tell you how much they enjoyed one of your books, it always means a lot. Creating writing careers for great new writers.

Q6 Who else do you work with day-to-day?

Editors. Booksellers. Journalists. Media. Writers. Buyers. Typesetters. Designers and Eric, our dog.

Q7 What’s the most exciting marketing project you’ve worked on?

The Gallows Pole by @BenMyers1 which went on to win the world's leading literary prize for historical fiction the £25K @waltscottprize and has since been chosen by @maryannehobbs for her @BBC6Music.

Q8 How much involvement does the author have in marketing their book?

You have to have that conversation right at the beginning. Not every authors feels comfortable doing personal events but if they can, festivals, signings, social media, radio, TV, but most of the heavy lifting is done by us.

Q9 Do you ever approach book bloggers, booktubers or influencers?

Always. They are v. important but perhaps the most important are booksellers. Get them fired up 4 months before pub date & they will hand sell 100's of copies. By the end of the year @BookCornerHX @ @bookcasehebden will have sold 2000 copies of The Gallows Pole.

Q10 What skills are you looking for in potential new employees?

Not being scared of failing. A love of books and reading. More reading. Lots of reading. The energy and determination to get our books into as many readers’ hands as they can by whatever means.

Work in Publishing Week (19th-23rd November 2018) is a week long campaign to celebrate careers in publishing.