Monday, February 27, 2017

Chatting with Publishers: Hazel Cushion

We're delighted to welcome Hazel Cushion back to the blog. It’s been a busy eighteen months for the Managing Director of Accent Press/Octavo Publishing/Octavo’s Book Café & Wine Bar

Accent Press seems to have grown by leaps and bounds. Did you always have an ultimate goal or has the company grown its own legs and run?

To be honest I had no idea that the company would grow to this size when I first started it. It all began in my front bedroom when my triplets were seven. They turn 21 next month and my business seems to have come of age too!

It says on your website “Always go to bed with a good book – or someone who’s read one”. Sounds like great advice. Do you have time to read for leisure or is it all work work work?

I tend to listen for leisure as I adore audio books. I listen while driving or travelling and love how a good narrator can really bring a book to life. As I’m dyslexic I also find it a very relaxing way to enjoy books and it has all the pleasure of being read to as a child too.

What is a typical day like – if there is such a thing as a typical day?

There isn’t! Now we have Octavo’s Book shop and Café too my day usually starts there as it’s five minutes from my flat. Then I drive 40 miles north of Cardiff to our Accent Press publishing offices. Here I will be in meetings with marketing or production planning events, campaigns and our publishing schedule. At the end of the day I drive back to the café where we may have an event or book club happening. I have learnt so much by having a book shop and really enjoy meeting customers there – it has helped to shape our own publishing programme.

What are you looking for at present?

At the moment we are looking for series especially historical ones.

Does your company accept un-agented submissions?

Yes – although we are currently closed for general submissions as we have such a backlog.

Your new venture sounds very exciting. Our readers will be interested to hear how that’s going. What writer doesn’t like a bookshop/café/wine bar? So, news about Octavo’s please.

Octavo’s is going really well – we’ve won Book Shop of the Month already and been shortlisted for a Cardiff Life award. It’s a really vibrant, fun and quirky place and makes great use of a beautiful old listed pub. As you say, books, coffee and wine – what’s not to like!

Do you have a crystal ball? What do you feel will be then next ‘big thing’?

I wish! Our big success is Jodi Taylor who has produced the Chronicles of St Mary’s series that seems to appeal to men and women, young and old. That is a very rare and joyous thing to have that sort of reach,

If you have one piece of advice to give to anyone submitting a manuscript, what would it be?

Make sure it’s a genre we publish. If people send us poetry or children’s books they are wasting our time and theirs. Nobody likes rejection so check that the company are really looking for that genre first. Also make sure it’s a publishable length – that’s another main reason for rejection.

Nowadays it isn’t just a case of writing a book. Authors have to be media aware and it’s something that doesn’t come easily to many. Does Accent have a role in this aspect during and after publication?

Very much so. We have grown authors by building their profiles on social media platforms with paid advertising. Our authors are also connected through a closed Facebook group where we share marketing ideas and organise blog tours etc.

Is there one question you would love to be asked but that never has been?

Do you love what you do? And the answer is YES! I feel like I’ve finally grown-up and found out what I want to be when I’m older! I feel incredibly privileged because I help authors bring their books to market. Publishing is an amazing industry and a very exciting one too. I adore being part of it because it is so varied and constantly evolving.

Thank you for joining us today, Hazel. There’s a saying ‘If you want something done, ask a busy person’. It seems you fulfil the criteria admirably.

Natalie Kleinman writes contemporary and historical romantic novels and has thrown a bit of a mystery into the mix in one of her current projects. She has just completed a Regency and is now working on a new contemporary novel.  You can follow her blog at

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1 comment:

Beth Elliott said...

You make the job of dealing with books and writers sound totally positive and enjoyable. It's always wonderful to find the role that suits your dreams, especially when the results show how well it all works.