Clare Christian, founder of RedDoor Publishing, has worked for a number of large publishers including Hodder, Orion, John Wiley and Pearson. In 2005 she co-founded The Friday Project where she published In Search of Adam by Caroline Smailes and bestselling non-fiction Blood, Sweat and Tea: Real Life Adventures in an Inner-city Ambulance by Tom Reynolds and Confessions of a GP by Dr. Benjamin Daniels. TFP was sold to HarperCollins in 2008 and Clare stayed on until 2009 before leaving to offer publishing consultancy services under the banner of The Book Guru. She has been developing RedDoor alongside The Book Guru since January 2014. She is a past winner of the UK Young Publisher of the Year award.
Are (were) your parents great readers? Tell us a bit about yourself.
Both my parents read quite a bit, my dad reads mainly non-fiction and Mum, fiction. I read everything from a young age. We made weekly visits to the library and the nice librarian would order in books from other libraries once I had worked my way through all of the books on their shelves!
Did you want to work in the publishing industry from the start?
No, my favourite subjects at school were the sciences and English. I did a degree in Zoology and was planning a PhD but time and finances ran out and I looked to combine my love of science and my love of books and decided I would go into publishing and publish popular science books. Of course publishing doesn’t quite work like that and I am yet to publish a popular science book.
Has your vision from when you started RedDoor Publishing two years ago changed?
Not really but the way that I hope to achieve that vision has evolved.
How do you balance originality and profitability publishing general-interest trade rather than educational or technical books?
The RedDoor model allows us a greater degree of financial stability than a traditional publishing model so our risk vs opportunity conversations are different. We need to believe that all our books have commercial potential and that we can realise that potential but we are able to take on authors that don’t necessarily fit into a traditional publishing box/genre and give them the opportunity to reach their audience.
Your views on writing?
Great writing can achieve great things.
What makes you decide to publish one writer, and not another?
On an instinctive, personal level I simply have to love the book I am reading. On a commercial level I like to work with ambitious authors who are keen to work very collaboratively with us to promote, market and sell their book.
Your views on marketing and distribution?
Marketing and distribution are essential to the sale of any product – books are no different. The Internet has given us great scope for effective, targeted and cost-effective marketing but I don’t think offline marketing should be overlooked. Distribution is key and while the distribution platform may differ depending on format the outcome should be the same – getting books – whether print, ebook, mobi or other – into the hands of readers.
How do you deal with your colleagues – are you very involved, or do you just let them get on with it?
I’m happy either way. If you work with the right people then you don’t need a strategy.
How do you relax?
I love reading books that have already been published! I spend so much time reading submissions that it is nice to be able to read something without needing to employ a critical eye. I also enjoy riding, swimming and spending too much time in our local pub.
For what faults do have you most tolerance?
I am pretty tolerant – we all have faults, but I can’t stand unkindness.
Your chief characteristic?
Your chief fault?
Your bedside reading?
I have four books on my bedside table at the moment: Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the aftermath of the Columbine Tragedy by Sue Klebold, Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action by Susan Jeffers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman.
Your favourite prose author?
It’s impossible to have an overall favourite, but I do love Jill Dawson
Your favourite poet?
I don’t read very much poetry, but I do like WB Yeats and I especially love his brother’s paintings!
Your greatest achievement?
My children are happy and healthy and that’s enough for me.
Your favourite motto?
In vino veritas.
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