How to Convey the Value of Your Transferable and Soft Skills to Prospective Employers!

What are soft skills? Soft skills are defined as character traits or interpersonal aptitudes that effect the ability to work and interact with others in a work environment. We most often learn soft skills at school, in the classroom, directly or indirectly.  They are not always “people skills” but are abilities relating to emotional intelligence and can be useful for all industries and job types.

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Team Work
  • Problem-Solving
  • Work Ethic
  • Adaptability
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Time Management
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail

Hard skills unlike soft skills are more job specific skills that are usually acquired through education or training. They are based solely on technical knowledge. Hard and soft skills complement each other in the workplace: hard skills reflect whether you would be suitable for the job and the technical skills it requires, whereas soft skills are unique and personal as they reflect the way you deal with situations specific to a work environment or the role for which you are applying.

“94% of recruiters believe that soft skills outweigh experience… 75% of recruiting professionals have cut an interview short because a candidate didn’t demonstrate the soft skills needed for the position they had applied for.”–Forbes

Soft skills distinguish you from other employees as they are unique to your individual personality. They also tend to highlight your leadership skills and this is what employers most often look at. There are many ways that you can show off your soft skills to your employer, generally this is usually over face-to-face interviews. Using examples is a brilliant way to show off your soft skills as you can demonstrate how valuable your skills really are and how these have aided you in many difficult work situations. For example, it is particularly important that when asked questions about difficult work situations you cleverly answer with how it got solved or what you would do differently next time rather than just stating the final result.

Here are some examples of common soft skills and their DOs and DONTs:

Team Work & Collaboration

  • Avoid ‘I’s’ and use more ‘We’s’.
  • Make sure to mention team accomplishments as well as personal ones, how you contributed to team effort.

Perseverance & Dedication

  • Show confidence in why you made certain decisions.
  • Emphasise your passion and dedication to work, as it is a reflection of your work ethic.
  • Give examples that reflect your perseverance to accomplish anything, both work problems and personal work goals.

Time Management & Organisation

  • Time management is a clear representation of how efficiently you work.
  • It reflects an organised candidate, who shows how passionate and seriously they want the role!
  • If you have good time management skills, it reduces the likelihood of stress within the workplace.

Problem Solving

Describe how you solved a problem step by step e.g. “First I spoke to my manager and then…”

Soft Skills in Publishing

Now that you know all about soft skills, which of these will be the most important when you are applying and interviewing for a role in publishing?

Effective communication and emotional intelligence are important in the world of publishing. It is important to understand the mood, tone and the values of those around us. Fair and consistent communication is essential; being able to asses and attend to emotional needs is integral to gaining understanding.

Openness and honest are also very important. For those just starting a career in publishing it is imperative to be open to the entire experience being a learning process. Being honest in saying ‘I need help’/’I’m not good at that’ shows your interviewer/employer that you do struggle but are willing to learn and grow within those personal struggles.

Finally, learning with agility is another key soft skill in publishing; everything is a trial and error both in life and in the world of work. It is okay to fail in work tasks as long as you’re learning quickly. Persevering demonstrates your potential and growth in character. Always strive for better and work proactively within your job. You may find that in publishing certain traditions are kept, but all businesses look ahead, so having employees who are equally forward thinking helps the industry to grow! For more information on transferable soft skills click here!

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Why you should go for a sales role in publishing!

Our editorial roles receive a huge amount of interest, however our sales roles not as much. This made us stop and think, why not?

Many graduates come to us and ask our advice on how to launch their editorial career in publishing, which is great! But… editorial is not the only option available to you!

In this blog, we want to discuss why sales roles are also great and can even aid your future editorial career.

First things first, you want to work in publishing because you love books, right? Sales roles are the perfect way to express your passion! Why? Because you get to talk about books all day long!

It is your job to get the books out there! You go through lists, samples and catalogues deciding which bookstores need which books. What better way to spend your working day, than browsing the latest titles and most likely even receiving a copy for your own personal collection!

Sales roles are very social roles – you will work with a range of people from editors and writers to designers, buyers and journalists. This means you receive a comprehensive understanding of the industry.

A sales role will also give you knowledge of the market and trends; this will aid your knowledge if you wish to work in a commissioning editorial role for example.

Another advantage of sales roles is that they enable you to develop transferable skills. One of these being communication, a skill desired in every role.

In a sales role, you can find yourself working for many different publishers and selling to many different types of customers, this will enable you to develop key relationship building skills.

A sales role does not necessarily mean endless cold calling and this definitely is not the case in publishing. You are more likely to meet customers face to face in a more consultative sales approach. You may find yourself selling to bookshops, retailers, universities, or even software to libraries and hospitals.

This kind of sales approach means you get to have interesting conversations, develop strong relationships and take a break from being in the office!

You are also likely to be invited to events! A new store opening for example.

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BIC Breakfast: Towards a Greener Book Industry

In the UK we are becoming increasingly concerned about climate change and more and more of us are thinking about how we might take some responsibility for making our world greener. I attended the BIC (Book Industry Communication) Breakfast to hear about what’s happening in the publishing industry.

Carnstone’s Book Chain Project speakers outlined how they’ve been working with 28 publishers to review issues in the supply chain. There are 3 main areas they’ve looked at:

Labour & Environment

Labour standards and work conditions at printers need to be regularly assessed. There is the issue of modern slavery particularly in the Far East and the onus is on publishers to monitor this.

Chemical Safety & Materials

There’s a lot that publishers can do to in terms of materials choices. However, it’s not as simple as stopping using glitter as children’s publishers need to supply the demands of the market (and it turns out biodegradable glitter really isn’t?!)

Forest Sourcing

Publishers can look at using sustainable wood for pulp eg buy from mills that source wood from plantations in place of supporting deforestation.

Neil Springall, Head of Operaions, Penguin Random House Distribution clearly feels we all have a moral duty to start making changes and drove a plan to focus on a reduction of plastic use at PRH. He had some great quotes including: “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Robert Swan

Incredibly over 40% of all global plastic usage is in packaging. Publishers mainly use plastic for shrink wrapping and carton filling to protect books.

After only a few months, PRH have already achieved a 47% reduction and are aiming for 75% soon.

One major change has been a move to ‘multi use pallet lids’ – these are an expensive product but save both on huge amounts of shrink wrap and labour time. They now employ 4 people full-time to shred all their cardboard which is then used as packaging material in place of plastic. Brilliant!


Another issue is reducing mileage for transporting books between printers, distribution centres and bookshops. This lead nicely onto the final speaker…

Dave Thompson of Publiship gave a round-up of shipping and gave some fascinating facts – did you know that:

  • 90% of world trade is moved by sea
  • Shipping containers were only introduced in the 1950s and widespread adoption from the ‘60s is the largest contributor to globalisation (and not the net!)

There have been improvements in engineering over recent years helping reduce emissions but container ships still emit enormous levels of Carbon Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide (international shipping accounts for 2.1% of all CO2 emissions). Publishers need to get books from their printers to countries around the world and there are other options:

Clearly, shipping is the best option and ‘slow steaming’ (takes c. 1 week longer) saves huge amounts of fuel and emissions.

I also learnt about Ballast – ships take on huge amounts of water to stabilise as they use up fuel / when empty of their cargo. They load the ballast water in the source port then discharge at the destination port with issues that they’re potentially discharging polluted water and predatory sea creatures. Fortunately there are laws in place to help avoid this now. Thanks to Alaina-Marie Bassett of BIC for organizing such an interesting event. If you’d like to learn more about BIC see @BIC1UK and www.bic.org.uk



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Summer Reads!


A seemingly perfect crime, what can go wrong? A couple honeymooning in paradise find something in the water. Deciding to keep it a secret, they think they are the only ones who know about the discovery. They soon find out that their actions have deadly consequences and someone else knows their secret. A good thriller and the perfect summer book that hooks you in right from the very first page.

At the heart of this gripping read are a trio of brothers, a disappearance and a lack of suspects. Set in the Australian outback, this atmospheric thriller is not one to be missed this summer.

`One of the year’s most unmissable debuts’. Queenie’s life seems to be spiralling out of control, a family that don’t understand her, a boss that doesn’t seem to notice her and a man she can’t get over. Queenie is a character you will be rooting for from the first page.

A story of love and war. The Biafran War is told from the perspective of three characters whose lives are interwoven in ways they would not have imagined. This novel is great if you love to immerse yourself in historical fiction with compelling and intelligent characters.

Non-fiction that stirs the desire to make change. Mainly aimed at black women but plenty to take away for everyone. A read that will make you challenge your assumptions and think about `space’ in different contexts and ways.

May not be the typical relaxing holiday reading but worth it! Set post world war ll, a woman with financial inheritance attempts to build economic prosperity in a small community in Australia where her romantic interest lives.

Some more summer reading tips:

http://ow.ly/AS2z30pcRlBh

http://ow.ly/M3hp30pcRnR

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Welcome to the team Azraa!

Azraa has joined Atwood Tate as our new administrator where she will be supporting the permanent team! Azraa will be supporting our consultants by carrying out key admin duties. Recently completing her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and with a keen interest in the publishing industry and a love for books, Azraa was drawn to us!

What is your favourite book series?

My all-time favourite book series is the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare!

What is your dream destination?

My dream destination is to visit Bali!

If you could have dinner with anyone dead/alive who would it be?

I would have dinner with Margaret Atwood because I’m a huge fan of her work, I think she’s very inspiring and would be an interesting dinner date!

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Byte The Book on The Future of Culture and Storytelling

Byte The Book hosted an event in June 2019 at the Groucho Club “What Does The Future of Culture and Storytelling Look Like?” The panel, hosted by Tortoise’s Michael Kowalski included Alex Holmes of Mostly Lit, Ines Bachor from the Frankfurt Book Fair and Pan Macmillan’s Technology director, James Luscombe.

The panel agree that predicting the future can be incredibly hard and not many would have predicted the recent spurt in popularity of audiobooks and podcasts. Hopefully they’ve still not reached their peak and there will be lots more opportunities to engage with authors, interviews etc. The panel agreed people really like the authenticity of podcasts.

On thoughts for what new tech will be coming soon:

James has been playing around with a voice app but it’s really hard to control and is still too early for the available technology. 4G made downloading and accessing content much quicker and easier and it’ll be interesting to see what 5G will bring…

Ines talked about cutting-edge areas for storytelling methods. Innovative story telling is coming with immersive content and AI eg Springer brought out an AI textbook but there’s still the question of how to monetise these kind of products.

Alex mentioned what some of the audience agreed with – the future is scary (he referred to Black Mirror! And that we don’t know what’s going to happen next.

The panel agreed there’s a huge amount of stories and content out there, which means that the really good things can get drowned out. As well as great books, there’s so much extra marketing content too – everyone is a storyteller, with social media we’re now living in a storyfied world.

An interesting question from the audience was to see how many people use Siri etc with only 25% of the room currently engaging. So we all love reading but it might be a while before we ask them for a bedtime story!

https://bytethebook.com/

#bytethebook

https://bytethebook.com/report of the event and pics

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Publishing for Animators and Video Editors


Last week we went to the Inside Bloomsbury: Publishing for Animators and Video Editors event and we had a great time! We even got to view the video created for the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone!

On the panel was Head of Digital Marketing Trâm-Anh Doan, Anthony and Jason from Robot Ninja and chaired by Senior Marketing Manager Rachel Wilkie.

The panel discussed the campaign for the 20th anniversary, why they chose Robot Ninja to be the animators, how they worked together and why it was so successful.

The Campaign

Trâm-Anh told the audience that the aim of the campaign was to bring back the feeling of nostalgia and make people feel emotional again. The team decided that the best way to do this was through animation by bringing back the focus to the words and the books. They used social media for fans to send their favourite Harry Potter quotes that are used in the video.

Why Robot Ninja?

When deciding who to hire as the animators, Robot Ninja shone! Robot Ninja opened their pitch with puns and GIFs to show that they are fans and want to be a part of the franchise. They added more creativity to the brief with 20 memorable moments that people could share as GIFs.  

What were the next steps?

Storyboards and google sheets were created and fans were asked for their favourite moments. Trâm-Anh is used to seeing designs in a finished format, when being shown unfinished proposals and storyboards with lines and sketches the panel laughed at her `what is that?’ responses.

Robot Ninja worked with existing illustrations by Jim Kay. Working with existing artwork did take some time and Photoshop was often used. They wanted to bring out words individually and move away from faces, how else to represent Dumbledore? His cloak!

When creating the sound Anthony and Jason thought back to the times they sat in the office making funny noises into the microphone. They did not like Trâm-Anh’s choice of music; instead, they went with a slower track to allow for the up and down emotions in the video to breathe.

How to make everyone watch it?

Franchise partners shared the video; they were set up to post when it was released. Facebook featured the video on their creative hub. The video was posted at 8am in the morning, for people to be able to watch on their commute. By 10am, the video had 1 million views, which then reached 11 million!

Loop able GIFs were released throughout the year to keep engagement levels up. The aim was to make each moment interesting on its own and be able to loop it repeatedly.

It is important to remember that a video could have one life, but this life can be extended!

Beyond Harry Potter

Animation is an amazing way to highlight a great cover. It is a great moment for the author to be able to share something that is not just static and not just text focused.

A cover reveal that is not just static makes a statement on social media, especially because video performs so well on social media.

Something as simple as animating text can perform really well.

Bloomsbury Modern Classics, a list of 10 books, the covers of each designed by a different artist have been animated to bring new life to iconic covers.

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Publishing Interview Tips!

You have reached the interview stage, great news! Now you have to face the dreaded interview. Don’t worry, we have some interview dos and don’ts for you to master your publishing interview, and maybe even enjoy it!

Do

  • Use the job description and person specification to hone in on the skills and competencies they are looking for
  • Practice an interview situation with your friends or family
  • Greet the interviewer with a firm (but not bone breaking!) handshake
  • Take copies of your cv, covering letter and relevant documents with you
  • Dress well; publishing is a creative industry and you can express yourself with your dress whilst looking smart
  • Leave plenty of time to get to your interview; being late will make you feel stressed prior to the interview
  • Keep eye contact, wait for your turn to speak and listen carefully to the questions you are being asked
  • Answer the question and express yourself clearly (practice will help with this)
  • Be honest
  • Ask questions! An interview is also your opportunity to see if the company will be a good fit for you as well as you for them, so prepare some well researched questions in advance
  • Be confident in your skills and abilities, have examples ready which demonstrate your experience in relation to the job requirements
  • Show your enthusiasm! You can also follow up after the interview to thank them for their time

Don’t

  • Dress too casually
  • Complain about your previous role or employer! You want your interview to be a positive experience
  • Lie about your skills or abilities, lies can be detected! You also don’t want to be in a difficult situation if you find yourself unable to do the job
  • Be too hard on yourself if you do not answer a question quite right, instead remain positive and move onto the next. You won’t be judged for making a mistake on one question
  • Bring up salary, holidays and benefits unless your interviewer does
  • Be blunt or too simple in your answers with just a `yes’ or `no’, you are expected to explain where possible, without rambling
  • Talk over your interviewer or finish their sentences for them

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Social Media and Job Searching

All of us are on one form of social media or the other, right? The same goes for publishing companies. By following publishing brands on social media, you can stay up to date with what is new. For example, what is the latest book they published? Are they involved in any debates or discussion? When it comes to an interview situation this knowledge will be useful in informing your answers and in building a rapport with your interviewer.

We all check our social media regularly, but we do not check an advertising website or company website as regularly. We as a recruitment agency also post all our jobs on social media; you may come across our social media post before you check a job board.  Therefore, you can be on the ball and send your application in as soon as you can. This is especially true of work experience and internship opportunities, which are often posted on social media first.

Publishing events (which can sometimes be hard to find) are also advertised on social media. Recruitment agencies such as ourselves, along with companies such as SYP and The Bookseller share all publishing events. You can find an events calendar on our website here: https://blog.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/events/

To develop a career in publishing it is also important to showcase yourself online. For example, you want to break into editorial; do you run a blog or a podcast? Do you write book reviews? This kind of activity will support your applications.

Debates and discussions that occur on social media are also an advantage to your job search. For example, we hold online Q&A sessions twice a month on different job roles and sectors in publishing. You can ask us anything from what skills you need for a certain role to how to transfer your skills to another sector.

If you are worried about protecting your privacy online there are small things, you can do. There are tools such as Instagram direct where you can choose who can see your latest posts. You can also choose to make a post private. On twitter you can have your tweets as `public’ or `private’. On Facebook you can also limit who sees your posts and control your timeline. This means you can be active on social media to a following of your choosing and give evidence of your work or skills if required.

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Who are Jessica Kingsley Publishers?

We had a fantastic evening at the Book Machine: Meets Jessica Kingsley Publishers event yesterday! It was great to hear from the panel on how JKP works, how they develop their list, how they market to their audience and what makes them different from other publishers.

JKP made its name through publishing specialist literature on autism. As awareness grew, their list grew and they are now market leaders. JKP identify niche markets and identify the needs of a specific group of people.

Here we have summarised what each of the speakers had to say about their role within JKP.

Lisa Clark – Editorial Director

Lisa has been at JKP since 2007.

JKP published their first book on autism in 2006. The list now comprises of 650 books from picture books for children to parenting memoirs and is an internationally recognised list.  

How does JKP maintain and develop an established list? It is important that they stay ahead of the curve and maintain creativity. It is key for editors to stay in touch with the community by meeting people constantly, attending events and being present online. Editors do this by tuning in to the debates on twitter so they can identify emerging topics. This network brings authors to JKP.

JKP champions strength and difference. Editors identify sensitivity to readership, to language for example, so that they can maintain strong relationships with communities. Lisa says that this sensitivity is what makes JKP stand out compared to other publishers who dabble in and out of these markets.

They champion autistic thinking and provide support for the challenges. 8/10 of top e-books last year were from the autism list and they are now looking to create more digital content.

What drew Lisa to JKP? Lisa fell into her role but cannot imagine herself leaving, after being at JKP for 12 years.

Andrew James, Senior Commissioning Editor

Andrew manages the gender and diversity list. The list has filled gaps in the market and now successfully dominates it. This year JKP will publish their first book on the overlap between autism and transgender people. Andrew says that other publishers might see some topics as too niche but for JKP they are a goldmine!

To build a list takes a lot of research; editors cannot go in blind, instead they need to understand the language and terminology, issues faced by communities and current debates. They also look at how other publishers have approached the topic, what they did wrong and what they did right.

JKP publishes in a vertical way; they publish resources for children, teens and adults. This means that they have left no opportunity for other publishers to muscle in on their market.

Andrew says that the authors are the experts! The authors know what the market wants. JKP does not work with agents instead they commission from inside the community.

The challenge is to stay ahead of the pack and identify new audiences to reach out to. JKP avoids trends and has moved away from memoirs and introductory books.

Andrew also stays on top of what is new on social media, what is being written about on blogs. YouTube is also a platform for people to share and speak about their experiences.

What drew Andrew to JKP? Andrew used to work in academic publishing but he got sick of monographs. Andrew loves that in the morning he can be working on a children’s book and in the afternoon he can be working on a professional book. Andrew is also passionate about LGBT rights.

Sarah Plows – Marketing Manager

The marketing team is made up of 6 marketing executives who each have responsibility for a certain list and market towards a certain group.

The marketing team immerse themselves in the needs and concerns of their customers. They do this by communicating at every point through email, conferences, over the phone and by reading specialist press and twitter. This allows the team to be aware of sensitivities.

Their long-term strategy for the niche market is to build their mailing list (230,000 contacts) of already engaged customers who have made a commitment to the brand. They can then use email marketing to target these contacts.

Content marketing is also important; the blog has 200,000 hits a year. The team ensures the content is as discoverable as possible, for example by framing headings as questions that people may use in google searches.

The marketing team also leverage their author relationships and connections. Their authors may have links to professional organisations, some authors work for NGO’s.

What drew Sarah to JKP? Sarah loves that JKP has a wide remit to be innovative and take risks. Publishing a diverse range for a diverse audience and meeting audience needs is rewarding for Sarah.

Lily Bowden – Senior Publicity and Marketing Executive

Lily says that autism, gender and mental health currently have the most publicity appeal. 

“Own voices” is a buzz term at the moment with authors sharing their own experiences. It is important for Lily to put the author’s voice at the forefront of her pitches and to find something relatable within own voices stories.

Lily treats her authors as a fount of knowledge, they are the experts and the best people to learn from and talk to. This not only generates trust with the authors that their story will be told in the right way but also gives Lily confidence to pitch their story.

Lily has learned that it is ok to miss the big opportunities. It can feel counter intuitive to miss publicity opportunities but it is her job to make sure they are the right fit for her authors. A learning experience was with 2 authors, 1 who was transgender and both on the autism spectrum who were invited to the ITV show This Morning, it was an uncomfortable and awkward interview.

Lily finds allies in the media, for example journalists and publications sensitive to the cause or already producing content about current issues. This means that stories will not be twisted to fit a house style, but instead their profile will be raised organically because journalists are on board and supporting the authors.

What drew Lily to JKP? Lily loves the variety and being able to work on books that teach you something. Lily hopes she has been made a better and more liberal person.

Pippa Adams – Special Sales and Rights Assistant

Sales for niche publishers differs in that they do a lot of work with NGOs and support groups rather than to the big supermarkets and retailers. JKP builds and maintains relationships with specialist booksellers and suppliers.

JKP’s books are stocked by specialist retailers who are in close contact with the communities they work with. The booksellers may not be huge but it is important to build strong relationships with them so that their books reach communities that these booksellers engage with every day.

Pippa also builds relationships with academic professionals and library suppliers.

Pippa uses her authors as a resource. For example, an author may head up an organisation that could present an opportunity for book sales. Local authority and government spending can be opaque in terms of how the money is being spent, however authors may have contacts, which allows Pippa to spot trends.

With regards to translation rights, the back list is very important. As different countries become more aware, there are spikes of interest. For example, recently this has been the case in Russia with autism. As knowledge grows and spreads, opportunities come organically.

What drew Pippa to JKP? Pippa previously worked in educational publishing in the Middle East and became aware of JKP as her younger brother has autism. When the opportunity to work in the UK and when JKP were looking she jumped at the chance. From a rights and sales perspective, she enjoys knowing that she is spreading something good and not just books.

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