Fireworks: Byte the Book’s First Year

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Byte the Book has been running for a little over a year now. Our first event was on 14th March 2012. I brought together eight people and we sat in a very quiet Loft at the Ivy Club and discussed ways we could help each other. The following month we had around thirty people and a speaker, David Gettman, founder of Online Originals.  The attendees all sat round in a circle and we had a debate about the future of e-books.

Since then Byte the Book has grown in popularity, we regularly fill the Ivy Loft to its hundred and twenty people capacity. Attendees are a combination of regulars that have been with us since the beginning and lots of new people curious to find out about what all the fuss is about, (during one of our events #bytethebook was the highest trend on twitter in London).  Not only have we had some amazing panelists: Feargal Sharkey (Undertones, British Music), Anna Rafferty (Digital MD at Penguin), Jay Rayner (Observer), Richard Mollet (CEO of the Publishers Association), Chris Maples (MD of Spotity), Jamie Byng (Publisher at Canongate), Dan Franklin (Random House) the list goes on and on. But the real magic, or “fireworks” as one of our members described them, is that as a direct result of ideas shared and connections forged at Byte the Book some brilliant things have happened. Over the last year, new publishing companies have formed, writers have found agents, radio shows have been produced, people have secured publishing deals, investors have found opportunities to invest, numerous companies have found new clients, and people have found full time work.

I set Byte the Book up as commercial venture to try and make a living in the publishing industry but there was always a primary focus for me to help people within the network do well.  I’ve loved it so far, and although it’s been challenging at times, every month I am lifted by the amazing events and the reactions both on the night and afterwards, not to mention the great things that I hear about in-between events. Here’s an e-mail that one of our members wrote to me after our January event:

I just had to drop you a note to say that tonight’s event was by far the most amazing I’ve attended.

I not only met some of the most amazing people, but left feeling completely inspired and validated by what I’m doing.

Keep doing what you’re doing, you have a gift for bringing people together.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has attended our events over the last year and also thank all those that have become members.  If you’ve not done so already please do sign up for an event or join Byte the Book here. The bigger the events, and the larger the network grows, the more fantastic opportunities they’ll be for everyone.

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