Recap: Penguin Random House National Book Bloggers Forum 2014 Part Two #NBBF14

Welcome to part two of my recap of the Penguin Random House National Book Bloggers Forum which was held in Sydney on May 20th. Here is a list of the bloggers that attended. You should check them out and discover some amazing Aussie blogs. Interestingly, there was only one male blogger among us.

In part one I shared with you what we did up until lunch time. After lunch (12.55pm) we had a surprise guest author.

And the author was:

– Judy Nunn!


Judy talked to us about her latest book Elianne, and where the inspiration for it came from. She also talked a little bit about her writing process. I was really impressed with her, she spoke so well, probably helps to be an actress! Hearing her speak about Elianne made me want to read it and just as well because she told us we were getting a signed copy! I wasn’t the only one pleased to hear it 🙂


After Judy, (around 1.35pm) debut Australian author Bruce McCabe talked about his exciting new techno-thriller Skinjob.

Skinjob was one of the free books we got in our goodie bag. I didn’t think the book would be for me – the title was a turn off – but after hearing Bruce talk about it, I think I will enjoy it.
Skinjob is set in the near future and explores how developing technology affects us, and from my understanding one of the main technologies in the book is a handheld lie detector test that police want to carry around.
Bruce worked in the field of science and innovation. He likes to answer “what if” questions, which is how Skinjob came about.
He said it is a little bit provocative and an anti-exploitation novel.
Skinjob was originally self-published.He managed to get printed copies into book stores around Sydney and that’s how it took off. He was glad he did this first.
Skinjob releases next month.

We went a bit over time with Bruce so we had a really short afternoon tea break. We then heard from Random House Australia Managing Editor Brandon VanOver on how to get published.
I was really excited about this talk, but we were running late so Brandon had to rush through it.
He said publishing was hook driven and there is no time to nurture newbies. But a great idea will find an audience.
He said don’t be gimmicky with your proposal, be confident and don’t be too cute with it.
He also said to write and read your butt off.

Next up the Random House Australia publicity team talked about the international books they are most excited about this year:

Cop town by Karin Slaughter. Coming out in July.
-Courting Trouble by Kathy Lette.
Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs.
Personal by Lee Child. Coming out in September.
-Time and Time Again by Ben Elton.

Sapiens: A Brief History Of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari.
-Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. Out in September.
So Anyway by John Cleese.
-Messiah Complex by Russell Brand. Coming out in November.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Perfidia by James Ellroy. Coming out in September.
The Children Act by Ian McEwan.

And the YA.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

And the one I was most excited about…


The Iron Trial, Magisterium 1 by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black.
The publicist actually held a copy in her hand! (Sorry the pictured is blurred.)


We then had an open forum where we could ask Kirsty and Felicity whatever we wanted. There were a lot of questions and answers but the only answer I wrote down was from a question relating to negative reviews.
Felicity said don’t worry about giving your true opinion as long as your review is thoughtful. (So be honest, even if it is negative as long as you express why in a thoughtful and respectful manner.)

After that we had wrap up drinks. The whole marketing team joined us and we had one on one chats with each of them.

Overall it was a great day that just flew by. A huge thank you to Kirsty and everyone at Penguin Random House for giving us such a great day.

13 thoughts on “Recap: Penguin Random House National Book Bloggers Forum 2014 Part Two #NBBF14

  1. That was super interesting! I would luuuuurve to go to something like this, I honestly would. I live about 9 hours away from Sydney, so maybe one of these days…maybe it’ll happen. 😉 And look at all those precious books (signed! eep!) That’s awesome what the publicists said about negative reviews. Very timely for my post about it, eh? XD OH and I think it’s awesome how “meeting” the author can kind of inspire us to read their book, eh? Even though we wouldn’t normally. ^_^

    1. Thanks. It might be in another city next year, I love getting free books so I was so happy when they gave us the goodie bag. Haha, yes what the publicist said was timely for your post. And yes, hearing an author talk about their books is awesome, and publishers too, it’s the passion they have for them that really sways you.

  2. There have been many times when I haven’t been interested in a book then I hear the author talk about it and am rushing for my purse! I’m glad about that answer regarding negative reviews – I ‘m a fan of them because I think they do help when they are well written so hearing a publicists view on them is great to know. Have fun reading your way though your goodie bag, Rochelle!

    1. I haven’t been to that many author talks, more now than ever before and hopefully lots more in the future. Their passion is hard to ignore! I think a lot of reviewers will be glad to hear that answer about negative reviews too, I think they are important in helping readers make informed decisions.
      Thanks 🙂

  3. Thanks for this comprehensive recap over two posts Rochelle. Many book bloggers have tussled with the issue of the negative review. I hate the reviews where the reviewer is disrespectful to the author and criticises them as a way to entertain the reviewer’s audience. I decided that if a book is just awful then I should not give it more oxygen by giving it a review at all. Most of my reviews are positive but I make sure to talk about any negative aspects of the book if they are substantial enough to warrant the mention.

    1. Thank you. I hate when a reviewer is disrespectful to the author too. I’d rather not waste my time writing a negative review for a book if I hated it as well. If I get a review copy and I don’t like it that much I try and put a positive spin on it because lots of people might like it, it’s all subjective. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. I enjoyed hearing the authors speak and am always intrigued about their processes and inspiration. I also really loved the passion of the RH and Penguin team members!

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