#PorterMeets Crystal Mahey-Morgan: 'Beyond good will'

Image - iStockphoto:  violettenlandungoy
Image – iStockphoto: violettenlandungoy

At the FutureBook Conference on 14th November, Crystal Mahey-Morgan says she intends to to what The Bookseller editor Philip Jones asked for in his Turn up the volume post.

Jones, in that reflection on a Frankfurt Book Fair that seemed too quiet to some of us, wrote about #FutureBook14, as we’re hashtagging it, this way:

The developing themes this year are around what publishing has become; what business models are working; what the new channels are and how we push these sales mechanisms; and perhaps most importantly who the publishing executives of tomorrow are.

Mahey-Morgan’s career has taken her from work as a writer in her teens with the Guardian to work at the literary agency Peters Faser & Donlop and digital account management at Penguin Random House (PRH).

She’s now an independent consultant in creative strategy, digital marketing and contracts, and sees, she told me in our #PorterMeets live interview on Twitter. that her message to the conference that “without a diverse workforce in publishing, we are always going to neglect readerships who are valuable.”

Her point — that it takes action, not just good intentions — will hardly fall on deaf ears at the conference.

Publishing’s diversity issues have been a priority topic of discussion this year, as evidenced just this month, for example, with Seven Stories’ release of its 50 best children’s books that celebrate cultural diversity in the UK.

As The Bookseller’s children’s editor Charlotte Eyre wrote in our story on the list, the compendium is aimed at young readers aged 5+ and 8+. Mahey-Morgan has her eye on a teen and early-adult demographic, the 16-24 market, which includes, she says, “a whole demographic within the YA group” that is “widely unacknowledged.”

“We don’t do enough to engage them in the books industry and with the opportunities of digital,” she says. “Now is the time.”

During her five and a half years at PRH, as my colleague Sarah Shaffi has reported, Mahey-Morgan “was also responsible for the creative strategy for Jamal Edwards’ book Self Belief: The Vision (Virgin Books), which was initially released as a series of digital ebooks.”

As she told Shaffi, “With an ever-changing digital landscape, there’s an opportunity for books to be established as another form of entertainment amongst a non-traditional reading audience, which as book people we need to seize with both hands.”


By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

The FutureBook: #PorterMeets Crystal Mahey-Morgan

Read the full post at: TheBookseller.com/futurebook


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