A DAY IN THE LIFE OF…. Dawn Burnett by SJV
So, what does a Marketing Director do Dawn?
In the most simple of terms I try to get potential readers to think about, talk about, borrow, buy and read or books. I help the editorial teams put together publishing strategies to convince authors to join us. I assist the sales team in producing communications that convince buyers to order our books. I aid retailers in providing promotional materials that help them sell books in store and I create advertising campaigns that try to get potential readers to go a store and look at that book.
Is there such a thing as a typical day, and if so what does it look like?
Every day begins with a Russian roulette style journey on the Central Line and that experience can really set the tone for the next 10 or so hours… But my commute is probably the only constant. Every day is a mix of excitement, inspiration, enlightenment and joy cut through with a dash of crisis averting, budget management, crippling self-doubt and God-damn admin. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
For the record, if I was a budding debut author, faced with the dreaded blank first page, what would be your top tip to bestseller success?
If I knew the answer to that I’d have Piers Morgan trolling me on twitter. If I have a ‘creative challenge’ I need to be within arms reach of a good box of English Breakfast tea, have my phone notifications switched off and a belief in the knowledge that 99% of what will be put on paper will in the first instance be utter garbage. But within that pile of detritus will be 1% of pure gold. And that little gem can be buffed and polished up into something valuable.
I’m obsessed with other peoples TBR piles, how high is yours? And do you have 2, one for work books and one for pleasure books?
Pile! A whole Billy bookcase more like. It is always lovely when your work pile includes a few pleasures. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Have you got a best and worst part of the job?
Best part of my job last year was producing a suite of promotional items specifically for independent bookshops to help them compete with the retail big guns when selling Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography. I was really proud of that. I am not going to answer the second part of that question. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Is there an author you’d sell a limb to work with?
Only if they would sell a limb to work with me. Then we can prop each other up.
What book do you most recommend to others?
For about 18 years, since I was a fresh faced Waterstones bookseller, I have been telling people to read The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry. I championed him before Costa were even grinding coffee beans.
And lastly our quick fire trivia round…
Thing you’d never leave home without? Imodium
Favourite place to read? In the bath.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Tashirojima, Japan. More cats than people inhabit the island. Amazing.
What’s the secret to success? When I put my back out, success was putting my socks on. I just hope I haven’t reached my peek!
What’s on your current reading pile? Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito, Sirens by Joseph Knox and the new Sebastian Barry novel that won the Costa, plus VARIOUS SECRET MANUSCRIPTS THAT I CAN’T SPEAK ABOUT JUST YET. *smug face*
Staying in or Going out? Staying in, in.
What’s your Signature dish? If we are talking main course, beef bourguignon with celeriac mash. If we are going deserts, I make the BEST carrot cake, according to Jackie Collins.
Beach break or city break? City break.
Favourite Literary Hero? It has to be the collected tweets of JK Rowling.
Famous last words? “I’m going to the bathroom to read.” Elvis Presley