When Sarah from The Prosecco Diaries mentioned during her session at The Big Blogger Conference that she was organising a book blogging workshop with Penguin, I was instantly interested as I hadn't come across a workshop yet specifically for book bloggers and Penguin is one of my favourite publishers (I've always not so secretly wanted to work there and having the opportunity to visit the offices last December for the Annual Women's Fiction Evening, was one of the highlights of my year!).
I connected with Sarah to discuss the event and I discovered she was organising other blogging workshops as well so I ended up going to first one in the series, which was lifestyle & craft themed and absolutely brilliant! Though of course I was still super keen to attend the book blogging one too and Sarah was kind enough to let me come for the second part of the day (which was the bit that would be different from the workshop I had already been to).
Returning to the lovely space underneath the O Bag Factory, I arrived just before Stephenie from Penguin and caught the last of the blogger discussion about some favourite novels. Of course I picked up some new titles that I'm now keen to read (though actually finding the time in between reading review books is the ongoing challenge, but that doesn't mean that my wish-list of books ever stops growing!).
When Stephenie arrived, who works in the Publicity & Marketing department at Penguin, she first spoke a little about her own journey into publishing (very helpful stuff for someone whose dream it is to work with books!) as well as the wider Penguin journey and the eight different departments, before there was the opportunity for us to ask questions. And there were a lot (and yes, many of them were from me – sorry, Stephenie!).
I learned so much about book blogging from a publisher's perspective that afternoon, from the way they outreach to bloggers/vloggers/reviewers and their proof cycles to what they look for in a collaboration and whether they prefer to receive reviews in the week of publication of earlier (answer: as soon as possible is the best and even if the review is not a positive one they still appreciate it!). Also, did you know that Amazon is the publisher's bigger client – even for physical books? And that there are six Penguin positions (get your mind out of the gutter, we're talking about the iconic logo here)?
It was fantastic to have the opportunity to really get an understanding of what would provide value when working with publishers and I know I'll be using my new-found knowledge to make my book posts even better and grow my relationships with the publishing houses. And we even left with a massive bag full of exciting new reads to enjoy and write about (pictured above). Thanks so much, Stephenie!
I was too engrossed in the discussion to take any photos of the venue this time around (though to be fair I already did this last time anyway), but I do have this tasty snap of the Nibboxx box which was in the goody bag:
Nibboxx is a new snack subscription service and I of course had to try all of the above at work this week straight away for "research". Verdict? Love! Okay, I wasn't entirely sold on the banana chips (not crispy enough for my liking) but everything else was incredibly nice and the portions much larger than I've ever had them in my Graze box.
The summer fruit popcorn was a super interesting combination of flavours, the chocolate coated almonds were even better than I had expected them to be (they were encased in a nice thick coat of chocolate that melted in my mouth) and the brownie was absolutely divine and massive. They were all really satisfying for snacks and from my first experience with Nibbox I am happy to try them again.
Thanks Sarah, Stephenie and the sponsors for such a fantastic and insightful (not to mention super tasty) event!