Nadja Poljo is one of Text’s publicists. She is the heart and soul of our amazing Kids & Teen publicity machine and has read pretty much every book we’ve got and every book we’re going to publish.
We sat this bubbly woman down and found out what makes her tick.
What was the book that got you hooked on reading?
I went to primary school in Germany until grade three and a fond memory of that time is reading Frances Hodsgon Burnett’s A Little Princess. Then came a wild obsession with the Babysitters Club until I read Anais Nin for the first time in high school. The confronting and honest way she expressed her views on love, femininity, intimacy and life – it changed the way I thought about the world, and about literature.
How did you get into publishing?
I did an undergraduate Arts degree and spent a few years working as a journalist for a local community newspaper before moving to London. My early twenties were all about movement and change, trying to figure out what it was that I really wanted to do, but the one thing that remained a constant was reading and writing. I made it my mission to explore all the bookshops in all the cities I travelled to. When I moved back to Melbourne two years ago I got a job as a bookseller and enrolled in RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing course. It was my time there and at the Top Titles bookstore in Brighton, working alongside some of the most passionate bookworms I’ve ever met, that I finally figured out exactly what I wanted to do.
What attracted you to Text?
The first time I read Monkey Grip I remember thinking to myself, ‘One day I want to work for the company that publishes Helen Garner.’ Then, years later, I picked up a Text Classics edition of Cosmo Cosmolino and knew that Text was the place for me. I’d admired Text from afar, their courage to push boundaries and take risks and produce a broad range of titles that challenge and inspire readers. Also, it goes without saying that you can spot a Text book from a mile away. I was always obsessed with their cover designs and I’d rave on about them to anyone who would listen.
What is a day like for a publicist at Text?
I work predominantly with the Kids and YA titles so really, I just have a whole lot of fun most of the time. No one day is the same—from organising events, coordinating author tours and doing hundreds of mail-outs to pitching titles to literary editors, journalists and festival directors in Australia and New Zealand. A typical day could go something like this: coffee #1, emails, coffee #2, writing media releases and launch invites, pitching, pitching, pitching, going to radio interviews with authors, more emails, attending a launch or author event in the evening before heading home and falling face-first into bed. Then there are days where I’m having coffee with Kate Grenville, replying to emails from David Levithan or planning a launch for a debut author who has spent over a decade working on their novel, and in moments like these I still have to pinch myself.
What do you like best about working in Publicity?
There’s no 9 to 5 in publicity and you never really know what you might be doing or where you might travel to next month. I love the busyness of it and I love working closely with authors. But most of all, it’s bridging that gap between the reader and writer, knowing that someone has picked up a book and fallen in love with a story because they heard about it from a review or interview that I helped organise.
Where is your favourite place to read?
On the tram or in bed, but I also have this secret skill/guilty pleasure where I walk and read amongst busy morning commuters. My colleague Lucy Ballantyne can vouch for this.
Which Text book would you most like readers to (re)discover?
In November, we’re publishing Romain Gary’s The Kites, available for the first time to an English audience. It was his last novel published in France shortly before his suicide, and it never received the critical acclaim it deserved. The Kites is an undiscovered French classic, a love story about the celebration of joy over darkness. It’s funny and important and heartbreaking. EVERYONE needs to buy a copy and read it.
What advice would you give someone wanting to work in publishing?
Read everything and anything, pick up books that challenge your beliefs and allow them to change you. Work hard, super hard, make mistakes, always remain enthusiastic, take initiative and remember, we’re all in it for the love.
We were considering blocking out her day-in-the-life response since it’s making the rest of the company jealous, but we’re all about honesty here at Text and we must let the public know what goes on behind closed book covers, no matter what the cost.
We hope you enjoyed getting the lowdown on the indefatiguable Nadja Poljo. You can see her at various locations around the country at Text events. If you do see her, go up and say hi!
Until next time,