Exclusive Interview: Jane Friedman, President and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers, Offers Insights On Motivation, Mentors and More
Jane Friedman, president and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers has been a driving force behind the creation of multi-media pronged author tours, Publishing Plus and more. Friedman has a 39-year career in publishing and is considered a mentor by many in the industry. Book Business Extra spoke with her in this exclusive interview. She shares insights behind her career accomplishments, motivation and advice to others.
EXTRA: You are credited with creating the author tour in 1970 as a publicist who took cook and author Julia Child around to different store locations promoting her book. Can you explain the experience for our readers?
FRIEDMAN: I actually am credited with inventing the author tour, and it’s not exactly true. Before I created this with Julia Childs, there had been … a woman named Jacqueline Susann, who wrote a book named “The Valley of the Dolls,” and she put her books into the trunk of her car and traveled the country meeting people and selling books.
So that was sort of the first tour.
What I did with Julia, I was very young, and I recognized that Julia was a celebrity. She was actually a multimedia celebrity, we just didn’t call people that at the time. … But she … had a television series, she wrote books, newspaper articles and columns, and she was always called on to be the kind of radio talking head for the food business, for the cookbook business and the French food industry. So what I said was, “We have this opportunity of taking this women city-to-city,” and in those days department stores had big book departments. So I thought the best thing we could do was go into a major city that had a major public television station where her show aired, and get their support and get the support of the executives of the department store.