The smoked salmon and bagels are laid out and the orange juice and champagne are cold. Our celebration breakfast is ready. And we will celebrate because in under a year we have gone from one employee without an office to a team of seventeen people and a launch list of nine fantastic books, with more to come.
This time last year this day was fairly unimaginable. It was the thing I was working towards but without any clear sense of ‘what’ it would be. We had no staff. I hadn’t started interviewing yet. We had no books. I hadn’t even left my old job. By November we had hired the core team in editorial, design and sales and marketing. But they wouldn’t start until, the earliest, the week before Christmas. From a flying start we began to commission books, work on our digital profile, design jackets, edit manuscripts, work on our marketing plans, and most importantly talk and talk and talk about what we want this list to be and the place we want it to take in the world of children’s books.
As a team we share the core belief that reading is a fantastic form of entertainment which also enhances lives. We see our role as getting the work of authors into the hands of readers and we embrace the wonderful opportunities this digital age gives us to do that more effectively, with greater individuality and originality than in the pre-digital age. We believe in the people who are part of this business. The librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, agents and authors. Between us we create a world of wonderful imagination for children. A world that enriches their own worlds as well as introducing them to other worlds. The Hot Key Books launch list is a wonderful list of great stories by truly talented authors. This time last year when I thought forward to a launch list I could not have hoped for such a varied and outstanding range of titles. And the team at Hot Key Books is dynamic, creative and utterly dedicated in a way that would also have been beyond my imagination just a few months ago.
It has been an amazing twelve months. I have learnt a vast amount about everything from fitting out an office to shopping for desks and chairs to working with our wonderful partners around the world to launch our books, from here to Sydney via Delhi, Singapore, Toronto and Johannesburg. But the most important thing I have learnt is that one should never be limited in one’s imagination. Anything is possible with the right support and vision. In fact, it is the kind of thing I could have read about it in a book.