Book talk: The fabulous girls from Pan Macmillan SA - Part 1

I'm very excited for today's post. I've wanted to do this for ages, but could not find anyone willing to do what I've been planning to do. And then I met bloggers Kelly and Tarryn and yay, my book blogging prayers were answered

And lucky for me, these two lovely, lovely bloggers were more than willing to be featured on my blog.

  They're not just any bloggers though - they're both in the publishing industry and work for Pan Macmillan South Africa.

In today's post (which is the first of 2-3 parts), they're here to talk about their jobs, publishing trends, up and coming books we can look forward to and all sorts of fabulous book related topics.

I've developed a great relationship with them as they are a bunch of bubbly and vivacious souls who ADORE chatting to their followers about books.

They also host fabulous giveaways, participate in memes (not many publishers do that) and are gluttonous book sluts who adore what they do for a living.

Without further ado, please welcome Kelly Ansara and Tarryn Talbot from Pan Macmillan South Africa to my blog.

Firstly, thanks for joining me on The Book Fairy's Haven today. I'm very excited to have you here. Let's kick off the interview by asking you both:

1. What position do you both hold at Pan MacMillan and what does your job description entail?
Tarryn: I am the Local Adult and Children’s Titles Publicist.  My job is to formulate and maintain relationships with the media to reach the reader.

This includes reviews; print, radio or television interviews; blog mentions; Twitter mentions; Facebook mentions, etc. Part of my position is also getting the author and his/her book out there through events, such as book launches. When successfully used, its effects are long-lasting in helping to build up a reputation for the book and the author.

Product Controller & Publishing Assistant

(Kelly elaborates a little more below)

2. How long have you been working in the book/ publishing industry?

I started at Pan in November 2009 as the marketing assistant so it will be two years this November

I started in the “Book industry” in 2008 (first year varsity) at Exclusive Books and started temping at Pan in 2009 on my off days then was hired when my degree ended in November 2009 and as they say the rest is history…

3.  Describe a day at the office.
In a word: busy.

(Tammy's meddlesome comments: Yes, just look at how busy they are. *grins*)
In a short paragraph: In order to at least be able to vocalize, I grab a coffee with Kelly at around 07h00. Laptop on, eyes   widen at the e-mails coming through *gulps big sip of coffee*.

My day is then a flurry of replying to e-mails, answering phone calls, running to meetings and smiling throughout. Every now and then, I take a break and look at our shelves full of books; stop to “smell the roses”.

Kelly: I start at 7h30 am, I check my emails and see if there is anything urgent then I work on our publishing schedule and assist in compiling the sales dept Order Forms and sales packs (which contain the Books cover and Advanced information). 

After am I post a status/Link/Photo on Facebook and Twitter for a relevant book or campaign we are running and this is checked every 1 hour and a half.  Then I move on to loading titles onto our system and categorising them by imprint, publisher and category. 

After lunch is Manuscript time – I sit and wade through as many as I can unless something else comes up that needs attending.  I also have to send Legal Deposits which are copies of every book we publish locally to the National Libraries so they have a record, this involves filling out extensive forms

 4.  What's the best part of your job?

Tarryn: That every day I get to not only do something that follows my passion, but help enhance the writing and reading fervour of book-lovers everywhere.

Oh, and make them jealous too, of course ;)

(Tammy says: Tsk. Tsk. Now that's just mean Tarryn)

Kelly:  Watching a book forming, hearing thoughts, and watching the process coming alive. 

There are days when I ask why and then I read Amanda Coetzee’s new manuscript or Chris van Wyk’s books and I fall in love with books again.

 5.       The worst part?

Realising that there are never going to be enough hours in a day.

No coffee when I have a pile of Manuscripts on my desk

 6.   What made you decide to venture into the publishing industry?

Tarryn: I was still doing my undergrad, been the student who needed to find a part-time job to fund her book-and-coffee habit when I received a call from Kelly who told me about a newly-available position at Pan Macmillan that she thought I would enjoy. 

I applied and voila! Here I am. Pretty sure there was a four-leaf clover or rabbit foot stuck to my dress that day…

I remember walking with Tarryn on UJ campus in our second year and I said to her “Imagine if we could be paid to sit and read books all day on a beach – How great would that be?” 

I have always loved books but never really knew about publishing until varsity. I worked in a bookstore and when my deputy manager recommended me to someone at Pan I decided to try it out and haven’t regretted my decision to go into publishing since.

 7.  Which genre do you consider to be huge in South Africa right now? And why? 
Tarryn: In my opinion, I think that political biographies always do well in South Africa. 

Our history is full of political colours that have gone so far as to create International interest.

We are a diplomatic country that wants the knowledge of our country so that we can make sensible decisions and have a say in the way South Africa is governed.

Kelly: Non-Fiction is a really big seller locally. 

Fiction does well (Deon Meyer is a great example) but local fiction doesn’t really stand out next to a Jodi Picoult, John Grisham and Stephanie Meyer. 

We have some really great non-fiction titles that tell stories of our history during Apartheid and great biographies of people in that error as well as books on improving SA (Moeletsi Mbeki is the top Must have in a genre like this). 

Conversations with Myself is proof that Non-Fiction is a huge seller locally.

8.  And worldwide?
Tarryn: Twilight anyone?

Kelly: Worldwide is definitely Young Adult fiction.  The Paranormal romance is the fad unlike any I have seen.  Thanks to the Twilight phenomenon the world has been bitten by the demon. 

It is really great to see older, pre-Twilight, “Vampire” stories standing their ground as well as local authors now taking charge of this genre, ie Deadlands by Lily Herne

(Tammy says: I'll be chatting about Deadlines very soon - it's a South African YA title that I'm very excited about. This one is going to be huge!)

Kelly continued: I have to admit Young Adult titles are not my personal favourite, but I cannot criticise a genre that is finally getting teens to read, interact with the books and finally get excited about books!

End of Part 1.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed interviewing them. Part 2 will be coming up soon, but in the meantime, please go check out their blog and their twitter profiles (Kelly and Tarryn) -they're chatterboxes. I promise :D

Don't they sound lovely?

Thanks Kelly and Tarryn - I've had a lot of fun doing this and hope to feature you on my blog on a regular basis. :)


Straylights said…
Loved this! I love the pictures, and Deadlands sounds interesting! Looks like you had a lot of fun doing this, I cant wait for parts 2 and 3 :D
I really enjoyed reading this post and looking at the photo's. Well done :D
Jenny said…
I love fellow gluttonous book sluts! I can't even imagine the number of emails they must get in the course of a day, it's actually giving me a nervous tick just thinking about it. I cry when I see 20 unanswered work emails:) Can't wait for the next two parts, it's so fun to hear from publicists directly!
Moonbeam said…
Fantabulous post Tammy. What an exciting day you had and what a brilliant idea. 100%!!! :)
Love and hugs,
Di (Dinx)
Aisle B said…
I would love to do what Tarryn and Kelly do too. Mrs Q and I talk about this dream where we'd be paid to read, read, read and read. What a dream come true for the girls and it shows how much they love what they do: just check out the smiles.

Can't wait to read part 2 next.
These photos are great!! Thanks for the fun interview!!
Wow! This is a fantastic interview. I find their jobs to be not only very interesting, but also incredible. I am so jealous! Looking forward to part two! Thanks for sharing this!
Clover said…
Oh my god, what an incredible interview! They look like they're having SO MUCH FUN.
Jan von Harz said…
Great Post. Imagine a job that is all about books and these lovely ladies are living my dream and (obviously) having fun doing it.

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