Author Archives: Alison Redfearn

About Alison Redfearn

Alison works with Kellie on the Temps Team as a Recruitment Consultant. Alison has a degree in Business Studies and Human Resources Management as well as a passion for publishing. Before joining Atwood Tate, she was working for Waterstones as a Bookseller, where she was liaising with publishers and authors, participating with book signings and events and keeping up to date with all aspects of the industry. Prior to this, Alison worked within e-commerce recruitment. Alison joined Atwood Tate in order to combine her strong interest in publishing and previous experience in recruitment to provide the industry with the best temps available!

Oxford Publishing Society: 21st Century Publishing Careers

On Thursday we attended the OPuS Event Careers in 21st century publishing at Oxford Brookes University. The event featured three speakers from a wide range of companies who talked through their own specific work experience path. The event aimed to answer questions on the ease of progressing and moving around in publishing, what key elements are needed to build your career and the possibility of finding success outside traditional publishing companies.

Faye & Alison and Oxford Publishing Society


Ian Campsall, Product Manager for The Science Direct Article Page at Elsevier

Ian completed the Oxford Brookes MA as he wanted to change careers. He completed an internship at John Wiley and then applied for the position of Digital Publishing Executive at Wiley, he then moved into product management for mobile platforms. He is now Product Management for Elsevier working on The Science Direct Article page.

Aaron O’Dowling-Keane, Sales and Marketing Manager at Sherlock: The Game is Now

Aaron also studied the MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes and completed internships at OUP and the International Labour Office in Geneva. Her first role in publishing was for a small African Publisher in Oxford, she then moved away from publishing into crowdfunding, then story led interactive games and is now a Sales and Marketing Manager for a Sherlock themed escape room.

Saskia Watts, Marketing Specialist, VitalSource (Ingram)

After completing her MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes, Saskia worked for Lightening Source as a marketing coordinator and she is now a marketing specialist for Ingram Vital Source.

Here are some interesting tips from the evening:
• Take risks
• Technology is everything and digital skills are important
• Organisation is key
• Talk to your company about career development opportunities
• Soft skills are vital
• Feedback is a good thing, use constructive feedback to improve
• Recognise that publishing is all about collaboration
• Take Risks, if the role does not suit you and you are not happy move on
• Be curious and talk to everyone, get to know people from different places
• Try everything and do everything, volunteer at university events, join societies like OPuS, SYP
• Create the role that you want
• Adapt and be flexible and keep learning

Useful links:
Oxford Publishing Society, OPuS:
SYP (Society of Young Publishers):

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BookMachine – How to Build a Community

Kellie and I went to BookMachine event How to Build a Community. It was a really good evening and we learnt loads of interesting facts about how to engage with your audience and sell more books!

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The first speaker was Sara Perkins who currently works for Disney on Social Media and Community strategies. She started by defining the word community and the importance of defining your audience, explaining that communities are a group who are strengthened by common beliefs and passions.

Sara then went on to talk about five key points to building effective communities:

  1. Define your community and understand your audience, make sure that your brand is the right fit and find people in your business who understand it and can fully engage with it – social media should be fully integrated into the marketing mix
  2. Have a purpose
  3. Keep it real, make sure that your space is appropriate and that you mirror real life
  4. Keep your eye on the future, be proactive and take the time to consider future trends
  5. Nurture your communities and understand and appreciate that it needs time and attention to grow

Will Rycroft, Community Manager at Vintage, was the next speaker who shared his experiences of building a community at Vintage. He reiterated the fact that you need to know your audience and think about the right times to share content on social media. He also said that your voice must be authentic and not phoney – your tone of voice must be right for the brand. He talked about the importance of collaboration, working together with large and small organisations. He used the example of how Vintage have collaborated with arts organisations as they recognised that book people tend to also like art and culture.

Thanks very much BookMachine for a great evening, we both came away very inspired on how we can use this in our own work!

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Diversity in the Publishing Industry – a workshop

In September I attended a fantastic workshop on Diversity in the Publishing Industry, hosted by The Publishers Association, in association with EQUIP, Creative Skillset, and Creative Access.

Building on events and discussions following the publication of the Writing the Future report published by Spread The Word. The workshop aimed to provide case studies and discussions on how to increase diversity and equal access to employment in the industry.

Danuta Kean started the discussions with her eye opening findings from her research with Spread the Word, looking into the representation of BAME writers and employees within UK publishing. Danuta discovered during her research that the turbulent change affecting the UK book industry in the last 10 years has unfortunately had a negative impact on attempts to become more diverse. Her findings demonstrated that Black and Asian authors are struggling for representation in the UK and there is a marked absence of ethnic minorities within trade publishing houses.
There also followed thought provoking, themed discussions on unconscious bias and an interesting case study from Kate, a Commissioning Editor at Harper Collins who talked about her involvement in the Diversity Forum in the company. There was also a chance to hear from interns from Creative Access who were able to share their first hand experiences of employment in the publishing industry.

The day ended with a practical discussion looking at the main challenges to increasing diversity and the strategies publishers can use to build diversity. As a group we discussed ideas such as the importance of education within schools to highlight the diversity of careers within publishing, banning unpaid internships which discriminate those of lower socio economic groups, better monitoring and recording of figures regarding race gender and sexual orientation of employees and industry accreditations to applaud those who maintain a diverse workforce.

The fundamental idea from the day was that publishers must move away from a homogenised workforce and employ individuals at all levels who have an understanding of the diverse communities within the UK and this is ultimately the key to remaining relevant and profitable.

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