November 2017 e-Newsletter

Meet The Staff



Trevor Naylor started work in his local bookstore in Hull, England in 1979. Since then he has worked continuously in the publishing and bookselling industry. He first came to Cairo as general bookstore manager for AUC Press from 1987 to 1990. Whilst working for Thames and Hudson publishers in London he and his wife Liz also owned their own family store The Highway Bookshop in Essex for ten years.

As a director of sales and marketing for many publishers in the fields of art, design, culture, travel, and all areas of visual culture and history, Trevor has traveled very widely, particularly across Asia and the Middle East. He is the author of three books, including Cairo Inside Out, with Doriana Dimitrova (AUC Press, 2016).

Here is what he thinks about his current job.

What is it like being the head of sales and marketing of AUC Press?

I really feel I have a fun and creative role as sales and marketing director here in Cairo. Having been involved in selling books for many publishers over almost forty years and in over ninety countries I can safely say Egypt today remains special. In the world of books it is as exciting as it was when I first worked at AUC in the 1980s as the bookstore manager.

One of the most unusual elements of my role today in fact is that it still combines working to sell and market AUC Press books around the world with overseeing and directing the team in AUC Bookstores as well. What is it like? It is like every day in Egypt. You set out with one set of tasks in mind every morning and return having done something totally different!

For all of us at AUC Press I think we have a special goal which runs parallel to promoting our books and authors. We also all want to promote and market Egypt itself through great books and by balancing out some of the mixed messages which the international media present to the world about life here. 

What are some of the biggest challenges that you face?

Despite the world now being interconnected online our physical position far from the main English-language publishing centers of the USA and UK does still pose a major challenge to getting our voice heard. However, we have made huge strides forward in building our sales and marketing networks and skills. The ability to sell books in digital form has also helped bridge that gap. On the bookselling side the post-revolution period has been very tough for all bookshops in Egypt but thankfully we are seeing signs of improvement.

How does one best  market a book once it has been published?

One of the great joys and challenges of marketing books is that every single book is unique. Most books do fit into a general category of topic and level of content but beyond that we need to then target very specific groups in order to make the potential readers aware of the book and where to buy it. Despite all the new ways to work online we still also greatly value reviews and recommendations in expert publications to ensure titles get noticed. Here in Egypt we sell a lot of books and events as well as bookstore displays are key. At the more academic end of our publishing we work with our worldwide distribution partners to have our authors’ books at important conferences and book fairs across the globe.

To what extent should authors themselves get involved in the publicity of their book?

As the author of three books I can safely say that author involvement these days is critical to help build awareness of a new book. It is remarkable how much work it takes to simply have busy friends and colleagues notice you have written a book! In a world where everyone is constantly bombarded with digital imagery and information it is vital that authors help ensure that the audience they wrote for knows the book has arrived. AUC Press marketing now spend much more time extracting information from authors to help target the marketing towards the best areas. Authors too are more media savvy as in the end selling books is to all our benefit.

Can you divulge some secrets of a good book publishing marketing manager?

First and foremost is to avoid complacency and to be ready to learn something new every day. Each new book is a new product, developed and designed for a new audience, which can be sold in a new way. Learning like this leads to clever new ways to sell the idea of a book to new customers. Our marketing team are learning this. Our marketing manager came from outside publishing to find that this new world of books is totally different from any other industry. That is what makes it fun and everyday different.

Are there aspects in the publishing industry that people outside the business ignore or take for granted?

There are readers and there are non-readers in the world. There are too many of the latter. As a publisher, salesman, bookseller, and now author, I have to say that the lack of understanding by people when shown a book can be disheartening. I know how much time and effort went into making something special and often beautiful that will last for many years. So when someone holds it and says ‘that’s nice’ and then puts it down, it can be frustrating!

What excites you about your job?

I have been very fortunate in how far and wide my career has taken me so far. From owning a bookshop in England to visiting customers in Machu Picchu and being taken through the Khyber Pass to sell books. I was lucky enough to help develop publishing programs in India and Australia, and with River Books in Bangkok as well as my many years as a director of Thames and Hudson. Much of my publishing work has allowed me to make friends across the whole world, with booksellers, publishers, sales people and marketers. Today with online connectivity I can stay in touch with a whole industry and tap into a lifetime's experience when needed. Bringing all that to bear on what AUC Press does and where it takes its publishing is what excites me. We are a great team and we all care deeply about what we do for AUC and for Egypt.

How different is publishing in Egypt from the UK or the US?

The principles are the same...everything else is different!!!

Can one ever really predict the success of a book?

Obvious winners are just that, which is why publishers fight to acquire them. After that it is hard work and instinct combined that make a book successful.

Do academic publishers take more risks in their selection of publications?

There is usually risk in publishing a book. Whilst the key is for the author to deliver great content the skill is in the publisher’s ability to make a great book from those words and pictures, and of course to sell and market it.

May 2017


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