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Industry Insight: Q&A with Jo Liddiard (Headline)

Liz Robinson

By Liz Robinson on 10th June 2019

Jo Liddiard is Head of Marketing at Headline, she can also be found on twitter @JoLidds sharing book (and football) love. Her answers are just fabulous, I can’t quite believe how many books her family are planning to take on holiday, and her fun book fact is sooo much fun! Does anyone else read more than one book at a time, or is that just the publishing peeps?

Tell us about your role in the book world.

I’ve been at Headline for the last 13 years looking after the overall marketing campaigns for no. 1 bestsellers like Martina Cole and Victoria Hislop, non-fiction launches like Nadiya Hussain’s book coming this autumn as well as a whole range of exciting crime and thrillers from Rachel Abbott, Sarah Hilary and James Oswald. Not to mention brilliant debuts from those just starting out! I love my job! No day is ever the same  - there’s lots to do but working to bring brilliant books to the widest possible audience alongside great authors and colleagues is fantastic!

How did you arrive in the industry?

I knew that I wanted to work in publishing whilst I was still at school. Having completed an English Literature degree at Sheffield, I went on to do a Publishing Masters at City University – in the first year that the course ran. My first job at Cornerstone (CHA as was then) came up whilst I was on work experience at Random House so it all started there!

What three words best sum up your job?

(Incredibly) varied, fun and rewarding.

Who are your book world inspirations?

Many of the authors I work with work incredibly hard and not just on writing the books themselves but promoting them often alongside having a full-time job! They are really inspiring – even if they don’t get a lot of sleep!

Describe your favourite place to read.

To be honest I love reading anywhere – but my favourite place is probably on holiday (likely to be in Greece), on a shady lounger with the sound of the sea in the background. 

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

There are a couple of books from my childhood that I always think back to! Firstly, The Worst Witch – and that’s probably the whole series rather than just a single book! I read each of them multiple times and have so enjoyed the pleasure that my two boys have got from them as well over thirty years later. And then Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.  I probably won’t share Judy Blume’s finest with my two but all of her books were so important to me and again were read many many times…

Hbk, pbk, ebook?

I genuinely read all three – and probably am reading one of each format at any one time! I usually have at least 4 books on the go. They all have a time and a place. I know it’s not to everyone’s liking but reading books on my phone has been a life-changer!

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.

This is my current favourite shelfie – well stack of books, rather than shelf. We’re off on holiday as a family in a few weeks and so there is much debate about all the books we’re going to take with us. I’m aiming for 12 books in 10 days – and I think both my boys are doing the same. We might have to increase our luggage allowance…

Any strange book habits?

I read multiple books at once and I’m quite happy to not finish something if I’m not enjoying it – but I don’t think either of these are that unusual for people who work in publishing. I know that I do read quite quickly too! My husband and I have been together over 20 years and he still can’t believe how quickly I race through books sometimes and will test me on parts of the books to see if I have read them properly! (I always pass…)

Fun book fact?

I’m on the front covers of 3 different books – some of them are more obviously me than others! 

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

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