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Industry Insight: Q&A with Abbie Salter (HarperCollins)

Liz Robinson

By Liz Robinson on 21st January 2019

I find the industry insight sections of our blog absolutely fascinating. Just how does someone end up in the book world, where do they like to read, what do their bookshelves look like? All these questions and more provide a captivating glimpse into another world. This month we are joined by Abbie Salter who is the Marketing Manager for fiction at HarperCollins, working with both HarperFiction and The Borough Press. I love her favourite book from childhood, and answer to the last question!

Tell us about your role in the book world?

I’m Marketing Manager for the Fiction team at HarperCollins UK, working across our commercial HarperFiction list, and literary imprint The Borough Press. 

How did you arrive in the industry?

Like a lot of people, I sort of fell into it. I did work experience in the Publicity department at Cornerstone when I was at university. I really loved the environment but didn’t necessarily expect to pursue it. Then, when I graduated, I got offered more work experience off the back of working at a literary festival. I went travelling after that but after coming back and really struggling to get a job from Bristol, I moved to London without a job. I spent quite an exhausting nine months temping in all sorts of random industries, which supplemented more work experience placements, until I got my first job at Headline. I actually applied for a PR role as the majority of my WE was publicity-based but they suggested I go for the Marketing Assistant role, which I’m so grateful for, as I’m much better suited to marketing!

What three words best sum up your job?

Wide-ranging, (often) hectic, rewarding 

Which fictional character or person from history would you love to read a book by (why is that) and what type of book do you think it would be?

Sophie Fevver’s memoir. Wouldn’t it be the ultimate tell-all, no holds barred autobiography – the truth behind Nights at the Circus!

Who are your book world inspirations?

The people I work with on a daily basis. The creativity and ideas flying around are amazing.

Describe your favourite place to read?

On holiday, when you aren’t reading frantically for work and can really lose yourself in the story. On a day to day basis, I walk a lot so I’m a massive audiobook fan. I can steer clear of the tube and still fit in valuable reading time AND it helps me get through more books, which is key!

What’s your favourite book from childhood, how did it make you feel?

I read Dick King Smith’s Sophie series over and over until the books fell apart. I’d like to think I subconsciously recognised Sophie as an immensely refreshing character in children’s books of that time, but probably not! But I did love Sophie. Her life’s ambition was to be a farmer, she lived in wellies and scruffy jumpers and was always filthy. The idea of anything gender normative for a girl would have appalled her. Just brilliant.

Hbk, pbk, ebook?

Hardbacks for my shelves, ebooks for manuscripts and paperbacks for everything else!

Book Shelfie: could you take a picture of your favourite book shelf please and tell us what it is about this particular shelf that you love. 

Any strange book habits?

Until I worked in publishing, I would persevere to the end of any book, even if I was absolutely hating it. I see you Catcher in the Rye! Now, I don’t have the spare reading time to do that and am a happier reader for it, so I guess I find my former habits strange.

If you enjoyed this article why not check out our other Industry Insight Features?

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