Books Featuring the Publishing Industry
As a publishing professional and an avid reader, I love to combine my two worlds by reading books featuring the Publishing Industry.
I’ve only found a few books so far, but these are the books I’ve found that feature the Publishing Industry. If you can recommend anymore please do let me know in the comments below.
A Bite of the Apple by Lennie Goodings
One of my favourite imprints in the publishing industry is Virago, an imprint of Little Brown. Originally, it began as an independent publisher of feminist fiction. It was founded by Dame Carmen Calil, who is one of my female role models. What she did in the 1970s was incredible. This book is written by Lennie Goodings, who joined Virago a few years after it began in a PR role. Lennie is still working at Virago, moving from PR to Editorial Director and more. This book follows the story of Virago from inception to modern-day, through the ups and many downs of the industry and the team. One of my favourite reads of 2021. I highly recommend it.
Joanna Rakoff got her first publishing role in a Literary Agency in New York who, at the time, represented J.D. Salinger. J.D. Salinger was notoriously private, to the point of being a hermit. Joanna was responsible for handling his fan-mail and typing up recorded text. However, at the time she was in a failing relationship, struggling with her self-identity and figuring out what she wanted from life. Until she finally had a conversation with Salinger himself.
This is a new book that is coming out in April 2021. I’m very lucky to have been sent a digital copy of this book and I cannot wait to read it. Judy Piatkus set up the legendary Piatkus imprint from her spare-room at the end of the 1970s. She was a one-woman powerhouse, a single mother with a child with learning difficulties, and an entrepreneur. Everything she did defied expectations and yet Piatkus still stands today.
A must-read for 2021 is The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Haris. This is a timely book if ever there was one, as publishing is finding itself in a complete overhaul in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the controversy of George Floyd’s death in May 2021. This story follows Nella Rodgers, the only black girl at a publishing house, whose life is turned upside down when another black girl – Hazel – joins the firm. Nella is initially delighted, but then it seems that Hazel has become the No. 1 office girl, and Nella has become Enemy No. 1. But why? This book is going to offer a lot of whip-smart social commentary on the publishing industry, I just know.
If you’re after something a little more light – and technically unbelievable – go for The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. This is an enemies-to-lovers romance, which follows two assistants at a publishing firm that has recently merged. They are both told that there is a Senior Assistant role up for grabs for one of them, and they begin to battle it out to see who will get it. Of course, you know what happens, but there are some elements of publishing in the story at least.
If there was ever an unbelievable publishing protagonist, Bridget Jones is the go-to. Not only because she is completely unfit for the role, but because she is a Publicity Assistant who rents her own one-bed flat in Borough Market in the 1990s. No. Just no. But still, we all love her really.
I loved Sofia Khan when I read it, just before I broke into the industry. It offers yet another diverse insight into the world of publishing from a person of colour’s perspective. Also, brilliant comedic and heartwarming characters set within a diverse community.
To this day I remember the moment when I bought Happily Ever After extremely clearly. It was in Sainsbury’s and I picked it up because on the back of the book I found my name ‘Eleanor’ and ‘Pilcher’. Odd reason to choose a book, right? The character is called Eleanor – as mentioned in the blurb – and Rosamunde Pilcher was mentioned as a comp, so of course, I took it as a sign. I was about fourteen at the time and I devoured this book. It’s heavily set in the publishing industry and focuses on a woman’s journey through the careers ranks from shy new-starter to ball-busting leader.
A new read, which I’m yet to pick up, is Luster by Raven Leilani. Edie works in an all-white publishing office and feels like she is mucking up her life. Then she meets Eric, a man in a semi-open-marriage with an adopted black daughter who could use Edie’s help. I’ve downloaded the audiobook and I cannot wait to dive into this contemporary read.
And finally, a new find for me, The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes. This contemporary novel follows three characters, all tied in some way to the publishing industry. A literary agent, a bestselling author, and the bestselling author’s best friend who may well be on her way to writing her own bestseller… intrigue, friendship, drama, and more!
Do you know of any books featuring the publishing industry that I may have missed? Let me know in the comments below. I love a good social commentary or intriguing mystery set in my world. Also, if you’ve read any of these books let me know what you think of them.