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Sunday, 5 December 2010

Book Machine Meet-Up

As a relative newbie to the world of publishing, there is nothing that I desire more than to meet up with other publishing types. Until now I have managed to ‘connect’ with a good number of publishing people through social network sites, and as a result of my work experience, but nothing compares to meeting people face-to-face in a relaxed environment where you can be yourself, no expectations. So, considering that formal networking isn’t quite appropriate for me at these early stages of my career (what would I have to talk about, the importance of work experience?), the Book Machine Meet Up was the perfect choice.

I first got to know about the Book Machine through Twitter. Laura Austin, one of the organisers, was very welcoming, encouraging me to come along. Luckily, at this most recent meeting on Thursday evening (2nd December) I was only two minutes away from our meeting point at the Hachette building, so despite having another arrangement, I was able to attend for a while and got there nice and early.  Bit by bit more people began to join us, and before long there was a nice group of publishing peeps just socialising, chatting and having a laugh. I got talking to a few people; there were many people from Hachette there, some I’d met, many I hadn’t, and also some people that I had seen before and/ or knew through Twitter, but had not connected them as one and the same person until that evening! Despite not staying  the whole evening I enjoyed myself; there was a nice, relaxed, friendly  vibe that removed the anxiety one can feel when you are still working your way up and have yet to land your first permanent role. The relaxed feel of the evening also meant that I spoke to people I had met before, only in a lot more detail, and I discovered that one of the girls from the Hachette office is actually my neighbour (not next door, but near enough), imagine that!

So, was the evening a success? Most definitely. I had my reservations at first, especially as the event was advertised as essentially a drinking social, and I do not drink, ever! Thankfully this was not an issue and I was able to just get on with the night.

Would I go again? Yep, yep, yep! I hear there’s another event in February, and you can count me in! For me the meet up isn’t just about getting to know others in publishing, it is about meeting friendly people with similar interests, it is about making friends not just contacts.

Would I change anything? Hmm, this is a tricky one.  I guess as I don’t drink it’d be interesting to see a different type of venue, but I reckon I’m probably in the minority on the drinking side of things. Perhaps a venue for the group alone, oh and with some more food, glorious food. In saying that, though, I would hate for such a change to negatively affect the vibe. I would definitely talk more, so watch out for me in February.

Would I recommend the meet-up to others? Yes. I cannot speak for those established in publishing, but if you are a newbie like me, then this type of event is a good way to get to know people, make some friends, perhaps find some mentors. Talking and generally connecting with people is a big part of publishing, the Book Machine Meet up is a brilliant way to test-run your socialising skills. What’s more though, even if you do not want more friends, or you already know everyone there, even if you are a veteran of publishing, it is always nice to let your hair down, relax, chat, and take it easy.

Highlights? Meeting Laura at long last, and the gorgeous Book Machine badge (shown above) which made us look cool, and just getting to speak to people that I had seen but never properly spoken to before.

Big thank you to Laura and Gavin, look forward to meeting you both again.


  1. This is really good to read. You seem to have hit-the-nail on the head exactly and have described the event exactly as we were planning it is totally 'non-formal' and we hoped that people would feel 'relaxed'
    It can be tricky not drinking in a very alcohol focussed environment, but you dealt with it so well! You'd never notice :)
    Look forward to meeting you again next time. And if you have any ways we can improve, please also let us know!
    Thanks, Laura

  2. Really great review, Jazzmine – now even more sorry I couldn't make it! I'll have to make sure I get to the next one; it'd be great to meet you again and to finally meet Laura.


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