Helping you create your book and get published
This is me.
And this is the bit of the site where I talk about myself and my various publishing achievements. Nobody really likes doing this, do they, but then I look at some of the books I’ve created and the nice things people have said about them and that feels pretty good.
I’ve always thought that a good publisher brings a mix of creative, commercial and communication skills. Every publisher I’ve ever met has had these skills in some kind of uneven blend. I’m sure that goes for me too.
I’m a published author and experienced editor and picture researcher. I love the creative part of what I do, because I’m naturally an ideas person. And there is nothing more satisfying than having an idea, and then another idea, and another, until you arrive at the really good idea that makes your project special.
Many years experience publishing in varied environments in the UK, US and Australia gives me a global perspective and a feel for lots of different types of books. Often publishers and editors specialise in, say, fiction or academic books, but I’ve worked across a broad range and I like the diversity – every book is a new challenge.
I guess I’d say I’m the entrepreneurial type, because everywhere I’ve worked I’ve built up a new program of books that extend on the existing business, encouraged new authors, and created new products.
Some people might find this boring, but I’ve always been interested in the business of making money from books. Not just for the money’s sake, but because it means people are buying your books, which means they like them, which means that great idea you’ve had has resonated with readers. And that is really what it’s all about.
I have plenty of senior management experience, which has given me staying power in meetings… and it has also given me lots of great skills such as managing budgets; writing business plans and pitches, researching markets, analysing data, reports and numbers, developing brand strategies (are you still with me?) and working out how to get lots of books to the printer on time without blowing the budget or having a minor emotional meltdown.
Some publishers like to lunch a lot (and talk a lot), others prefer to be buried under the safety of a piles of paper. I like to think I’m somewhere in between. You’d expect exceptional written and verbal communication skills. Also, as a writer I am a keen observer of the world around me and a good listener and I love other peoples stories. In person, I’m confident, articulate, and a lateral-thinker, with a passion for people and ideas.
Big, commercial books.
At HarperCollins Australia, I managed bestselling authors and some of Australia’s biggest brands, such as donna hay, Bill Granger, MasterChef, and, in the general illustrated reference category, Yates Gardening Guides and Pizzey Bird Guides. Non-illustrated titles on my list include the biography of the former prime minister as well as a range of history and popular narrative titles.
A stint in magazines.
At Pearson Australia, I managed the magazines publishing unit, in print and online, including the delivery of sixteen magazines to market on time and on budget. I developed all the content ideas, created flat plans for each magazine; managed freelance and in house team of illustrators, photo researchers and photographers, editors, production editors, designers and writers, and was also responsible for full magazines site relaunch.
A passion for travel.
At Lonely Planet, where I was the Trade and Reference Publisher, I managed illustrated books, travel literature, activity and special interest travel guides, calendars, diaries and phrasebooks, and I published many timely, bestselling and award-winning illustrated books such as The Travel Book, The Cities Book, Bluelist and One Planet.
I published Lonely Planet’s highest-grossing (revenue) title ever, The Travel Book, which has sold well over 500,000 copies globally. I got so much satisfaction from this project. It was a simple idea – a double-page spread on every country in the world (each country regardless or size or population was treated the same), which sought to capture that country in 500 words and 4 or 5 images. Imagine the task of picking that one image or single phrase to sum up a place. It was a great challenge. The other fascinating thing about this book was working out how many countries there are in the world – not as simple as you might think! And it was a lot less than many people would imagine. It’s funny to think that something so apparently obvious as how many countries there are in the world is not common knowledge to a lot of people.
“Once in a while a book comes out that really does have the ‘wow’ factor. This is one such book, a heavy tome of beautiful photography from every country in the world and a definitive pictorial guide to travel.” ABTA Magazine
“The sheer weight of this book is enough to astound, but the glorious secrets on 230 countries held within its covers are enough to take one’s breath away. Magnificent in its layout, this treasury hops around the globe, giving readers a palpable sense of the quirky culture of each nation.” The Good Book Guide
“If travel is your passion, then you should pick up a copy of The Travel Book – a stunning pictorial achievement” Marie-Claire (Australia)
I created the Bluelist concept (lists of recommended travel experiences, sourced from LP authors and travellers) and put together a successful book, website and brand, which even made its way onto TV in the form of a short series on SBS.
“… the whole book rocks. It’s completely worth the $20. It’s about 250 pages of places you’ll want to go in the world, mostly off the beaten path. In no way is this a traditional guidebook, but rather a series of colourful lists – most-deserted islands, cities on the rise and dark tourism…” New Yorkology
“Possibly the best compact travel resource imaginable.” Lifestyle and Travel Magazine
“This book will kick start your imagination if you are hungry for a travel experience a little out of the ordinary.” The Sunday Telegraph
This is probably my favourite of the books that I’ve published. It was published for Lonely Planet’s 30th anniversary, so it had some good energy behind it from the start. And it was such a lovely concept, matching an image of people in one place with one of people somewhere entirely different doing something very similar, demonstrating the idea that despite geography we are all quite similar really. It was so much fun picking the photographs for this book – at one stage, there were hundreds of them dotted around my office on tables, floors, every surface covered – and finding a match for each. I also loved writing the captions for the photographs, as it was easy to have fun with them. It was especially gratifying when the book did so well and people the world over seemed to really like it.
“…edited playfully and wonderfully. As impressive as National Geographic’s photo collections can be, this is livelier… Great stuff.” Los Angeles Times
“Clever, colourful and thought-provoking, this is a coffee table book you’ll savour more than once.” The Age
“… an easy book to like, and a lovely one to have on hand.” San Francisco Chronicle
“The book is a superb visual spectacle celebrating the people, places and sites beyond our usual boundaries.” Australian Gourmet Traveller
An extension of One Planet, this book was fun to work on too.
“Astonishing, moving, humorous, informative, colourful, happy and sad. One People is a pictorial celebration of the world’s people and would make a perfect present for any wannabe globe-trotter.” The Times
“… this is much more than glossy photographs… It is an extraordinary celebration of the diversity of existence around the world.” The Sunday Telegraph
“…the book presents hundreds of lush photographs — some eye-poppingly quirky, others spectacular — that remind us of the universality of the human condition.” USA TODAY
“It’s hard to leave this book alone for long” Chicago Tribune
The Cities Book
Unlike The Travel Book, which appealed so much because it was comprehensive, the unique factor of this book was in the selection of cities – the ones that made the cut generated lots of conversation within the company, in the media and amongst travellers. I really enjoyed coming up with the content ideas and headings for this book – we didn’t have a lot of space, so it was important to be able to convey the city in a word or phrase, a single icon, a person, or via a reference to a film or book.
“Of all the travel books this columnist has perused during the past six months, this exciting, inspiring volume is the single one that’s a must have.” Passport Magazine
“The Cities Book features a dazzling array of different urban images as well as enough statistics and quirky facts to keep you entertaining at parties for months.” Atlantica
“…the book’s style is funky rather than informative, choosing instead to impart more random facts such as which film the city has featured in, and ’cityspeak’ – what all the cool kids are talking about… The edgy and original photography gives this book a very stylish and sophisticated feel.” Italian Magazine
“…offers days of browsing pleasure… the lasting delight of this book is that while reading it every corner of the globe seems closer.” The New York Times
“This is a great book, solid in its research and rich in stories and inspiration.” Ode Magazine
“This cavalcade of factual fun and insider information is topped off with a decidedly offbeat photographic spread, making it the kind of book that you innocently can dip into and resurface several hours later.” Thisistravel.co.uk
Celebrating local and community stories.
At Arcadia Publishing in the USA, where I was Publishing Director, I managed the publication of over 300 local history books annually and I also successfully introduced several new series, including Black America, Voices of America, Civil War History and Sport History. It was fantastic being involved in projects on a local scale, working with individuals, communities and historical societies to help bring their amazingly rich archives of vintage photographs, and all of their stories, to life.
In 2008, I also wrote and produced this little book about saving money on petrol for Hardie Grant in Melbourne. Pumped: 101 Ways to Beat Petrol Prices (published Nov 2008, Hardie Grant Books).