Blink Publishing, the leading non-fiction imprint of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired the debut memoir, Opening Doors, from youth mentor and social mobility advocate Reggie Nelson.
Madiya Altaf, editor at Blink Publishing acquired World Rights from Crystal Mahey-Morgan at OWN IT! Literary, Film and TV Agency.
Investment analyst and BBC podcaster (#YourWorkYourMoney) Reggie went viral as the 23-year-old from Canning Town who knocked on doors in Kensington went viral asking for life advice in order to gain an understanding of the tools needed to widen his career options. Working his way up through five internships at various asset managers and a hedge fund in the city, Reggie is now an associate for a private equity firm.
Opening Doors: How Daring to Ask for Help Changed My Life (And Will Change Yours Too) is a story of how the power of guidance, visibility and mentoring can give anyone the platform to learn and succeed.
To celebrate publication, Bonnier Books UK is working in partnership with Literary, Film and TV agency OWN IT! and Reggie Nelson who are launching the Opening Doors initiative to offer a fully paid four-week long work experience opportunity to help a candidate from an underrepresented background break into the publishing industry.
The work experience placement will offer the successful candidate an insight into two sides of the industry, comprising two weeks based in the adult editorial team at Bonnier Books UK’s HQ at Victoria House and two weeks at OWN IT!’s offices in Piccadilly Circus. The candidate will also receive a coaching session from Bonnier Books UK CEO Perminder Mann and separately from OWN IT! CO-CEO Crystal Mahey-Morgan.
The placement will be promoted through Creative Access and candidates should apply directly through the Creative Access website. To encourage and enable as many people to apply as possible, in addition to a receiving the National Living Wage, accommodation will be provided through The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) and travel expenses will be paid in advance.
Reggie had a tough childhood growing up on a council estate in east London. His father died suddenly and his mother had to work multiple jobs just to get by. But when she had to collect Reggie from a cell where he, at only 12, was being held for troublemaking, he knew he needed to change. After catching an episode of How’d You Get So Rich?, Reggie was inspired to get any advice he could to help him turn his life around. So, he got on a train to London’s most affluent areas and started knocking on doors.
In Opening Doors, Reggie shares his inspirational journey and highlights just how important it is to make sure a wide range of careers are visible to all. Through his story, he encourages and guides the reader to be their biggest supporter, to eradicate the doubts in their mind, to embrace the rejections and start opening doors.
Reggie Nelson said: “Opening Doors is more than just a book for me, but something to remind myself of what I need to continually do for others, the same way someone did for me all those years ago. Hopefully this work experience initiative is the first brick laid in this lifelong construction of opening doors for others, and I’m super excited to see this programme flourish. Whoever buys this book, thank you! My goal was to be as open and as vulnerable as I possibly could be, to help readers feel encouraged, inspired, but most importantly, hopeful!”
Crystal Mahey Morgan said: “Reggie’s story is a compelling example of how important visibility into different industries and career paths are for everyone, and how much a life can be changed by this and good mentorship. Reggie is the personification of resilience, heart and hard work but more than that he is an inspiration and example of what is possible when you allow yourself to become more than your circumstances. Opening Doors is a book for everyone as through sharing his own journey, Reggie inspires us all to be the best versions of ourselves. I’m so excited that to celebrate publication, OWN IT! and Reggie are launching the Opening Doors initiative in partnership with Bonnier Books UK, offering visibility and experience into book publishing to someone who may not have traditionally considered it or worst still, felt like they wouldn’t be considered. The initiative was completely Reggie’s idea and is true to his commitment to share all that he has learnt to empower others.”
Editor Madiya Atlaf said: “Reggie is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. In Opening Doors, Reggie takes us through challenges he’s faced and how, despite many barriers, he was able to turn his life around. I have learnt a huge amount from his resilience and outlook on life and his empowering story will strike a chord with so many people. I can’t wait for everyone else to share in his wisdom.”
Anna MacLaren May, People Director, Bonnier Books UK said: “We’re thrilled to be publishing Reggie Nelson’s inspirational book and working in partnership with OWN IT! and Reggie to offer a four-week fully-paid work experience placement, with accommodation provided by the BTBS. If we’re serious about achieving equity of opportunity in the publishing industry, we need to work harder to reach out and support talent from all backgrounds and pro-actively remove obstacles to enable progress.”
Opening Doors by Reggie Nelson will publish on 12th May by Blink Publishing in Hardback, eBook and Audio.