Publishing: Sexy & Sensible - A Galley Club Event

With years of experience in publishing recruitment, we’re always fascinated by the variety of motivations and career paths that lead people to the roles that they’re in. At the recent Galley Club event, held at the Water Rats in Kings Cross, it was somewhat refreshing to hear a motivation I’d not come across before. “Well I knew I liked books and charities and I knew I liked sex…” Hazel Cushion explained as she described the advent of her publishing empire.


With the latest DTP skills of the day, Hazel started by making books to raise money for a charity. A book of Sexy Shorts for Christmas generated money for Breast Cancer . W H Smith put it straight into their Top 300 which she describes as a stroke of luck but we’re sure is a justified spot for this inspiring new publisher. In 2007 she launched Xcite books, more erotic short stories as she saw how well the format worked for the genre.


Since then, she has seen the demand for erotic fiction go through cycles with the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon changing the way we read it but a current trend downwards for it. Whatever the genre, books are now competing for our attention against other forms of entertainment and our preferences change.


The Grip Lit trend which has seen sales for books such as Gone Girl and Girl on the Train rocket has overtaken women’s contemporary fiction generally but by no means has this deterred Cushion. Accent Press, her indie trade publishing company, has been a huge success for her and this is derived from her ability to spot a star author, such as Jodi Taylor who received phenomenal reviews on Amazon for her books. She also runs a bookshop / wine bar and as an IPG Board member is working 7 days a week to fulfil her love of making books happen.


Motivated to make a successful life for her and her triplets through her desire to publish, Cushion was an inspiring speaker and her openness and honesty was compelling. Her top tip – not to print 12,000 copies of your first ever book, could be helpful for anyone else with the passion to publish that Cushion shows.