Celadon publicist Anna Belle Hindenlang talks about the collaborative nature of publishing and how she followed a lifelong love of books to a career in PR.By Stephen Lovely
Were you a big reader growing up? Did you have any favorite authors or books?
I was. I would read anything I could get my hands on! Like so many other kids my age, Harry Potter was one of the first series that really got me into reading. I also loved A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and Avalon High by Meg Cabot (I read that one so many times!). I had so many books in my room they didn’t all fit on my bookshelf; I had to stack them on the floor.
What was your first job?
It probably won’t surprise anyone, given my love of reading, to learn that my first job was working at my local library. I worked at the front desk checking books in and out, talking to patrons, and recommending books.
How would you describe your role at Celadon Books?
Our list is small and carefully curated at Celadon, and we’re passionate about every single title. As a publicist, it’s my job to get the word out about our books and to connect readers with novels, memoirs, and short story collections that they’ll love.
What drew you into publishing? Did you consider any other industries, or have you known for a long time that this was the sort of work you wanted to do?
I’ve always loved books, so publishing is a natural fit for me! I fell into PR by accident when I landed an internship at Scholastic’s publicity department after I graduated from college. I loved it from the start.
What’s a typical workday like for you?
A typical workday in publicity is always changing, which is the best part. Some days I’m pitching books to media for reviews and author interviews. Other days I’m arranging author events or accompanying authors to those events. Publicity is fun because it’s creative, and we’re always brainstorming new angles and new ideas for books — often with other departments, like marketing, since Celadon is a collaborative workplace. Constantly jumping between projects and tasks keeps it interesting! No two days are ever alike.
Is your current role different from past positions you’ve held in PR or publishing? How so?
I’ve only worked in publicity during my time in publishing, but the types of books I cover have changed. I started my publishing career in children’s books. I loved the work but realized that adult trade books would be a better fit for me, so I made the move, and I’ve never looked back.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to end up in a position like yours?
I had a pretty traditional route to publishing — college, an internship, several assistant positions — before landing as a publicist at Celadon, but I don’t think that’s the only way to go! I think that’s something that’s so great about publishing in general: Having a different or diverse background is a real asset.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the publishing industry in general?
Learn as much about the publishing industry as you can! There are so many aspects and departments involved in the publishing process that I truly had no idea about until I actually started working at a publishing house. That’s one of my favorite things about working at Celadon and at Macmillan as a whole: the way we work so much with all the different departments. I feel like I’ve learned so much more about the business in my time here.