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Biography and Interview

Georgina Bentliff
Managing Director, Hammersmith Press Ltd, London, UK

MA Cantab 1982 (History)

BSc London 1998 (Psychology)

Publisher, Churchill Livingstone (1986-1992)

Publishing Manager, Saunders (1992-1994)

Directior, Medical & Health Science Publishing, Hodder Arnold (1994-2004)

'Managing Director, Hammersmith Press Ltd, London, UK' (2004-present)

Georgina Bentliff has been a commissioning editor working principally on medical books, journals and electronic publications since 1986. Since starting her career in medical publishing at the British Medical Journal, she has worked principally for commercial companies, including Churchill Livingstone and Saunders (now both part of Elsevier), and Hodder Arnold, where she was Director of Medical & Health Science Publishing for the past 10 years. While taking on increasing management responsibilities, she has continued to work closely with new publications and as of May 2003, she returned to commissioning as her principal role with new publications and has recently returned to commissioning as her principal role, while starting up the new health books publisher, Hammersmith Press Ltd

"Why is your chapter on "How to get a book published professionally" relevant to today's medical students and Junior Doctors?"

"All medical students and junior doctors buy and use books and many will have thought that they could do better or fill a 'gap' for a book that they would like to have had the use of. I hope my chapter will encourage them to follow up these ideas by explaining how they can take a publishing proposal forward. If they do this successfully they will make their CVs much more interesting relative to students and trainees who have done all the standard things, all be it brilliantly."

"What experience/qualifications do you have in dealing with this particular area of career development?"

"I have been a medical commissioning editor for 19 years. In that time I have worked with virtually every medical and surgical specialty and at every level of training, from basic student textbooks to high level, multi-volume reference works. Most of the books I have been mid-wife to have been commissioned - that is, I have gone out looking for them. However, I have also received many unsolicited proposals from the excellent (eg the One Stop Doc series) to the extraordinary (a psychiatry 'textbook' written entirely in verse). As a commissioning editor I feel a huge responsibility in asking someone to write, or in saying 'Yes' to their proposal. The project they are undertaking will take up a great deal of the little spare time they have, affecting their working lives and their relationships with partners and families. For the commercial publishing company this project will be one of many 'products' that will be sold and marketed in the most efficient way as far as the company is concerned; the agenda is quite different and not always compatible. Though it is always nice to make would-be authors happy by saying 'Yes', the commissioning editor should never do so unless they really believe in the project and the company's ability and willingness to get behind it and sell it to its full potential."


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