Welcome to our ‘A Day in the Life’ blog series, where we’ll be interviewing members of the LBF team, industry professionals, and special guests attending our next LBF event.
Our latest interview is with Jo Henry, Managing Director at BookBrunch – a daily news service and information site for the book industry. Jo and her team create and deliver daily emails with news and views, covering everything from rights deals, prize announcements, staff changes and more. BookBrunch produce print Show Dailies at LBF and organise the Selfies Book Awards, which LBF supports.
We spoke to Jo about her busy work schedule, her alternative career as an archaeologist, and what she’s most looking forward to at LBF24…
What’s the first thing you do after your alarm has gone off in the morning?
Normally groan, before attempting to get back to sleep! I’m not much of a morning person…
Tea or coffee?
I definitely prefer tea first thing, but I need a coffee by mid-morning to keep me going.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It varies hugely, depending on what’s going on and the time of year. I am often the BookBrunch person who attends and reports from conferences and book fairs, as well as going to functions and launch parties when someone from editorial can’t make it. If it’s January, I’ll be reading entries for the Selfies Book Awards, while I’m always worrying about the P&L, as well as discussing plans and new developments with shareholders and our non-executive chair Steven Williams, along with members of our Advisory Board.
The rest of the time is spent renewing subscriptions, working with advertisers, writing or editing copy for BookBrunch and/or the Book Fair magazines (including doing a Q&A rather like this one with people in the industry!)
When I’m not working, I’m usually to be found reading, cooking (and then eating) or pottering in the garden – though sadly I’ve discovered I’m pretty useless when it comes to growing vegetables!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Meeting people, talking about books, and learning new things about the industry every day.
If you weren’t working in the book world, what would be your alternative career?
I did once think about becoming an archaeologist, having done an MA in Archaeology. I quickly gave up on that idea when I discovered how little archaeologists get paid.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to begin a career in your industry?
Don’t get fixated on working in editorial – there are plenty of other interesting roles in the industry. Also, working in a bookshop can give you a great introduction to the world of books.
If you could only recommend one book, film, and TV show to someone, what would it be?
There is no way I can choose only one book – in fact, I recommend one every week as part of the BookBrunch: What We’re Reading feature. My current favourite author is Anne Patchett, and I’m working my way through her backlist. One film would have to be Blade Runner, which I think is pretty much perfect. And for TV, I have recently re-watched The Good Wife in its entirety and highly recommend it. Though if that’s not for you, I also loved The Good Place (very different, despite the similarity in title!)
What are you looking forward to the most at LBF24?
The London Book Fair is always a great opportunity to meet old friends, make new contacts and learn about the big issues of the day, as well as hear all about what’s going on in the industry more generally. We’ve got plans to make much more of the Selfies Book Awards, together with sponsors IngramSpark.
Stay tuned for our next interview, coming soon …
Tickets are now available for LBF24! Click here for more information.
Interested in book recommendations and reviews? Follow along with our LBF Book Club!