Questions for: Jenny Ertle

News - Interviews Tuesday, 24 March 2020

The MD of Ransom Publishing contributes to our Q&A series

Describe your current job
I am the business part of Ransom, so everything from commissioning to getting the orders out the door, but I leave the creative stuff to my editor.

What was your first job in the book industry?
I was a trade sales rep for a publisher of banking and finance books. I covered the whole country in a Mini Metro!

Who has been the most influential person in your career?
Philip Kogan, the founder of Kogan Page. I only worked for him for a year very early in my career, but he inspired me to set up on my own and even in recent years has continued to advise me.

How has the industry changed since your first job?
Computers came in, so the world has opened up and everything has speeded up.

What’s the biggest challenge in your job?
Probably trying to rein in my ideas for new projects, to give my editorial department a chance to keep up!

What's the best piece of book-related advice you’ve ever been given?
To focus on one area of publishing and not try to do everything. As indie publishers I think it is the biggest mistake we make - getting carried away with exciting new projects rather than focusing on building on our strengths.

What are the most interesting things you’re seeing at the moment in the industry?
An ability to react more quickly to market needs. From the time we now initiate a project, the turnaround with authors, illustrators and printers is all much faster, which opens up a lot of opportunities.

What do you think might be the next big thing?
Schools having reasonable budgets to buy books? (I can dream!)

What do you most like doing when you’re not working?
Nothing, preferably next to the sea.

What is the best book you’ve read in the last year?
How To Be Famous by Caitlin Moran

What are you reading now?
Frankkissstein by Jeanette Winterson.

How do you like to read: on screen, on paper, or do you listen to audiobooks?
On paper. There is nothing as good as the feel of a new paperback book. As a young rep I used to listen to audiobooks on long car journeys to see customers, but now I prefer the radio.

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