Laura Summers co-founded BookMachine in 2010, initially as an informal way for publishers to meet each other at events, and then as a popular site for anyone building a publishing career. The team have now organised over 100 events. In 2017 she launched BookMachine Works, a creative events and marketing agency, specialising in the publishing industry. You can browse through upcoming events on BookMachine.org or join BookMachine from £5/month
How did you get into publishing?
I absolutely loved my first job as a TEFL teacher in Spain and when I decided to move back to London, a publishing job working with textbooks seemed like a great career move.
I was a copyeditor for the first two years, before moving into sales and later into marketing.
When did you set up BookMachine and why?
A number of years later I relocated to Brighton. I feared losing touch with so many of my publishing friends, so a few of us from Pearson decided that we would organise our own get-togethers each month to keep in touch. Our first event was in a dark pub near Great Portland Street. The rest is history…
How do you help publishers?
BookMachine is now my full time job and I work with a team of 10 brilliant freelancers. We organise regular events as part of our Unplugged series. This event series helps publishers tap into the knowledge of our network, and ensures that they remain at the forefront of the industry.
We also run training courses to help publishers with the more technical skills involved in working across the industry.
Then there is the agency arm of BookMachine, BookMachine Works. We help publishers on a day-to-day basis by creating marketing campaigns and running events. For some clients, we drop in on a regular basis to focus on one area of the digital marketing mix. For others, we might fill in a gap whilst they are looking to recruit.
Where do you see the opportunity for publishers over the coming 18 months?
Recent turbulent times in politics have provided an opportunity for all publishers to educate and inform their readership. Whether you are publishing a textbook, a biography, a children’s book or a novel – reading books can help us to make sense of the changes in the world around us.
If you had to offer 5 top tips for marketeers in publishing houses what would they be?