Meet team Picador: Catriona Row

29 July 2015

Describe your job in two lines.

I’m a sales manager, so I sell our books to some of our most beloved booksellers: Waterstones and Foyles. And I do my best to represent them to Picador, by contributing to the publishing process with my customers in mind.

How did you get into publishing?

I was accepted onto the Macmillan graduate recruitment scheme while still at university, and started working here as a young and na├»ve 22 year old in early 2002. Thirteen years and a few different jobs later, I’m still here.

What do you love about it? / What is the highlight of your job?

I spent my teenage years reading and re-reading the Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy. Ten years later I simply couldn’t believe that I was in an editorial meeting discussing his new book, The Road – it’s an incredible privilege for any book nerd to go behind the scenes and contribute to the publication of the books we love.

Another joy is that bookselling and publishing both attract very decent people who love talking about books more than anything else, so my colleagues and my customers have always been a pleasure to work with.

What was the book that got you hooked on reading?

Can I have two please? Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder; The BFG by Roald Dahl.

What is the future of publishing?

The industry feels very buoyant at the moment. There is an optimism in the air about top quality new writing and beautiful books with high production values that makes me think we will all still be here, and thriving, in the future.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in publishing?

Everyone in publishing loves reading: that’s a given, so it helps to show that you have practical skills as well as passion – customer service experience, or working with numbers (as there’s lots of that, whatever department you end up in).

Favourite place to read?

Bed.

Desert island book?

NOT POSSIBLE.

Favourite Shakespeare play?

Probably Hamlet.

Favourite poem.

The Full Indian Rope Trick by Collette Bryce.

Favourite bookshop.

Bookworm, the independent bookshop (now sadly no longer with us) in the town I grew up in. I spent many happy Saturdays there.

Elevator pitch for the most recent book you acquired / worked on.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume is a deliciously atmospheric visit to small-town fifties America in the safe and familiar hands of one of my favourite childhood writers.

It’s based on real events – a series of plane crashes in Judy’s home town of Elizabeth, New Jersey. The terrible effects of the tragedies are described by a cast of characters whose lives become more entwined as the novel progresses. It’s an utter treat.

At least ten people work on each book that Picador publishes, all helping to get the author’s words into the hands of readers: there’s contracts and rights, editorial and publicity, production and design, sales and marketing... Find out what all those jobs entail and see what makes the Picador team tick when it comes to books, reading and publishing.

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