Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Meet the ABIA Rising Stars: Patrizia di Biase-Dyson

In recognition of the Australian Book Industry Awards’ (ABIA) inaugural Rising Star of the Year Award, Books+Publishing spoke to each of the five shortlisted nominees ahead of the winner’s announcement at the ABIA ceremony on 3 May.

In this instalment, we speak to Allen & Unwin (A&U) publicity manager Patrizia di Biase-Dyson. In his nomination, A&U managing director Robert Gorman wrote, ‘Patti is very resourceful; creating hugely successful campaigns without the need for a huge budget. This skill comes from her ability to develop relationships, negotiate good deals, to see the possibilities where others don’t and to understand where the true value lies.’

What are the top three things you wish you’d known when you were starting out?

1. Short-term pain, long-term gain: all those friends making more money than you will turn around in a few years and wish their jobs were as interesting and filled with purpose as yours.

2. Not all authors are created equal.

3. Publishing is full of anomalies, most of which you’ll figure out in the next five to 10 years.

What has been your biggest achievement/proudest professional moment?

My proudest moment was seeing Sheila: The Australian Beauty Who Bewitched British Society (Robert Wainwright, A&U) on the cover of the Good Weekend. Sheila’s story was largely unknown and we were writing her back into Australia’s history. I was proud to champion her.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned on the job?

This is a person-to-person business. No matter how pushed you are for time, pick up the phone, go to that event, and talk to your contacts—those people are going to make the biggest difference to your next campaign.

What do you think this industry could do better?

I wish we’d share information better! I know we have to keep commercial secrets, but I’d like to think that once our campaigns are done and the dust settles, there’s scope to learn from one another’s successes and failures.

Where would you like to be in five (or 10, or 20) years’ time? And what do you hope the industry will look like then?

My natural instinct is to be that ‘girl with a plan’, but the best professional decisions I’ve made were much more spontaneous. A plan can sometimes stop you from seeing opportunities that are right in front of you. Now, I know it’s a buzzword at the moment, but I hope Australian publishing industry looks more diverse in the future. We need to have a broader range of people informing our publishing decisions.

To learn more about the other Rising Star of the Year nominees in the coming weeks, and to stay up-to-date with Australian book industry news, sign up to our Daily Newsletter and Weekly Book Newsletter.



Category: Daily Newsletter Feature Features