Interview: Jennifer Kean, Publicity Manager (Hardie Grant Egmont)

The Centre for Youth Literature has picked the brains of Australia’s YA publishers to gain insight into their work, and their titles. For the next few weeks we will be featuring interviews with a number of individuals on their work in YA publishing.  Join us every Tuesday as we gain insight into the Australian YA publishing industry.


My name is Jennifer Kean and I’m the Publicity Manager at Hardie Grant Egmont. There is a lot of variety in my role, particularly because of the way our company is structured. I am working across a variety of titles from picture books, junior fiction series through to stand alone YA fiction. These lists are both local and UK originated releases, so the publicity requirements for these books and their authors and illustrators differ greatly.

My job description involves tailoring publicity plans or campaigns to best suit the title that I’m working on. I look after publicity for our books across Australia and New Zealand.

I work with a variety of media – newspapers, magazines, teacher and librarian journals, industry publications, as well as TV and radio – to get review coverage, media coverage and interviews.

I also work with contacts at many bookstores, schools and libraries as well as a number of writing festival committees and publishing industry groups to organise book launches, book signing events and author/illustrator appearances.

What is the first book you worked on and in what capacity?
Go Girl! was the first series that I worked on in a publicity capacity back in 2008. I organised two back-to-back events at Readings, Hawthorn and Readings, Carlton. We were celebrating the launch of our Go Girl! HQ merchandisers with in-store “Draw Yourself as a Go Girl” events.


What is the most anticipated release of this year?
Our crossover-YA romance series Smitten is one of our hottest releases for 2013. These stories about adventures in far off places, amazing new jobs in glamorous cities and finding romance along the way, will sweep you off your feet and keep you up late at night. Just like any new crush should! We will be publishing 9 titles by the end of the year, each supported with an extensive marketing and publicity campaign.


What are the popular themes in YA right now?
Romance is a huge trend right now, whether it’s the falling over your high heels kind of love featured in Smitten or a sweet, quirky romance captured so well by Melissa Keil in her debut novel Life In Outer Space. I suspect most publishers will be looking at releasing YA romance titles that don’t have a vampire or werewolf in sight, particularly in light of the success 50 Shades of Grey had in the adult market last year.


Which fictional character would you like to be?
Tatiana Metanova from Paullina Simon’s ‘The Bronze Horseman‘ historical fiction trilogy. Her heroic spirit and the powerful love that she has for Alexander Belov triumphs over the devastation of a country at war. It’s a heart-stopping love story… aaah if only Alexander wasn’t just alive on the pages!


Thank you so much for your insight, Jen!



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