5 Minutes with our Heroes: Anna Jean Hughes

In the lead up to our From Zero to Hero! event on September 22nd at Rich Mix, we’re celebrating each of our panelists and speakers.

Next up, we have Anna Jean Hughes, The Pigeonholes‘ Founder and Editorial Director.

Give us your elevator pitch… 

The Pigeonhole is a digital book club that handpicks titles of any genre and creates an extraordinary social reading experience around them. We are here to ensure that the communication between the author, the publisher and the reader is as seamless and supported as possible.

Now explain it to your Mother in Law… 

It’s best to think of us as a FitBit for your book. On the reader’s side, we are a global book club that brings people together through their love of reading. From an author and publisher’s perspective, we are here to offer marketing support and user insights for all the wonderful titles out there. We can show our partners exactly who is reading their book, how they are reading it, and why. Forget Facebook-stalking, this is book-stalking and it’s brilliant.

What inspired you to start The Pigeonhole?

It was a joint effort, really. My business partner is married to an author, so he was seeing the publishing process from a relatively unique perspective. On the other side of the fence, I was slogging away at Random House trying to make my name as a Big Bad Editor, whilst seeing an ever-increasing chasm between the author and their readers. At its heart, The Pigeonhole has always been the place to meet fellow readers and discuss the books you love. But we also offer the ability to do this with the author too, which is pretty special.

Who’s the team behind The Pigeonhole?

We’re now a team of eight Pigeons. There’s my co-founder and CEO Jacob Cockcroft, and my right-hand everything and commissioning editor Sarah Ream. Laurence Kilpatrick is the brains and brawn behind all our classics whilst being our über assistant editor, and there’s brand new brilliance from community manager Charlotte Heather. Our Berliner designer and the one behind our beautiful site is Paola Palencia, plus we have two tech wonder-whizzes in the form of Walid van Boetzelaer and Ashter Chomoko.

What’s your top tip for getting a project off the ground?

There are so many! Really it’s zealousness marked by trial and error, plus lashings of dogmatism, undermined by the need to fail fast when that dogmatism proves wrong. This is all a contradiction in terms, which is probably what entrepreneurship is at its core. Actually, the key to any project is the team around you. Make sure to build a great bevvy of good people and then listen to your experts.

What can we expect to hear from you at our From Zero to Hero event?

Predominantly a lot of overexcited arm-flailing with moments of tech-babble and a bouncy rendition of what it means to be a Pigeon and how to build a bird of your own. I will strive to ensure there will be many learning tips besides, but I do tend to get a little hyperbolic and four-year-old at these things…

You can find Anna on Twitter @AlbinoMerkin.

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