Running a publishing event – tips from Elin Butler

A couple of weeks back some of our Kingston University MA Publishing students had the opportunity to attend BookMachine’s November event:

This week we have a guest blog from Elin Butler, one of City University’s project leaders for BookMachine’s upcoming conference, Publishing Now. With only a couple of weeks to go, Elin shares her top tips for running an event.


Planning an event is hard. Planning a successful event can, at times, seem impossible. But where there’s a will there’s a way, and where there’s a checklist there’s a successful way.

1. Delegate

Even though it may seem at times as if being in charge means standing alone, that is never the case. The easiest way to make sure your event will be a fiasco is to try to do everything yourself. Keep your team informed, delegate tasks, and trust them to do an amazing job.

2. Stay professional and focused
Although the event can become such a large part of your everyday life that it almost takes on the role of a partner, remember – office romances never work. Keep in mind that whatever your personal taste, you are doing a job aimed at someone other than you. If the event caters for a casual, laid back crowd, maybe it’s appropriate to leave the string quartet and dancing swans for another time and place.

3. Speak your mind
When something, or someone, in your team is bothering you, your first reaction might be: “silence is golden”. But there is no gold in the world that can pay the price of the passive aggressive attitude that will infect the group by avoiding conflict.

4. But…remember to pick your fights
There is neither time nor energy to both plan an event and have a running dispute about who ate the last pain au chocolat.

5. Don’t forget why you’re doing it
About 99% of the time it’s going to seem as if things are falling apart, the schedule’s gone out the window, and the light at the end of the tunnel is being blocked by the stacks of emotional baggage everyone has brought along. Those are the times when you have to take a step back, take a deep breath and remember there’s a reason why you’re doing this.

Publishing Now: The Golden Age of Innovation is a collaboration between BookMachine and the MA Publishing Students at City University. The event aims to combine a more formal debate scenario with what is the essence of BookMachine’s parties: to meet like-minded people within the industry, to have a chat over a pint.


5 responses to “Running a publishing event – tips from Elin Butler

  1. Pingback: Guest bloggin’ it up | A blog about books or a blog that is a book?·

  2. Pingback: Publishing Now: The Golden Age of Innovation | Kingston Publishing: inspiring future publishers·

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