Author Archives: Claire Law

About Claire Law

Claire is the founding director of Atwood Tate. In her publishing life, Claire worked in Rights for Headline and Orion. She cut her recruitment teeth filling specialist publishing vacancies in London. After spending some time surfing in the West Country (who can blame her?), Claire realised she missed working with publishing people, and started Atwood Tate. With her trusted team, she has grown the business to offer a range of services including Freelance & Temp as well as Permanent and Contract recruitment for a wide range of publishers nationwide and internationally.

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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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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Marketing in book publishing

BytetheBook hosted a particularly good event called ‘How Do you Market Authors and their Books?’

Introduced by Justine Solomons and chaired by Hermione Ireland (Marketing Director at Little Brown Book Group @hermioneireland) the evening covered a really good range of questions for both authors and those working in marketing in publishing.

They had a range of experts including Julia Silk (Literary Agent at Kingsford and Campbell @juliasreading), Truda Spruyt (Director of PR agency Colman Getty @TrudaSpruyt) and Kit Caless (Author and Publisher at Influx Press @KitCaless) to ensure we heard all sides of the story!

Take aways

  • It’s important to market yourself (or your author) not just your product. You need to creative and authentic.
  • It’s vital to be resilient (perhaps more in publicity) where you get lots of no’s before you get yes’s.
  • There was a split on the importance of social media with Kit saying it depends if the author is confident to do. Similarly events can work well if the author is behind it and has connections.
  • Partnerships also work well if the author has a strong back story and connections.
  • Everyone agreed it’s vital to get a marketing plan together at a very early stage – 3-6 months ahead of publication date and you either need time to do marketing yourself or money to pay someone to do it for you!
  • Publishers should put together a detailed marketing plan for you with a budget that generally reflects the size of the advance.
  • For self-published authors, be creative (Kit sends 2-300 advance copies with a hand-written note out to all the indie booksellers which generates strong advance orders).
  • Metadata is vital to get right. There are various codes and key words that can be used and manipulated to gain visibility. In big publishers there are tech people doing this but you can put your book in several niche sub categories to reach a wider audience. You might be number 1 in a niche!
  • Facebook advertising can be used effectively especially for genre publishing. And try Facebook Live which is free.
  • Authors should think about their readers/audience as the book will need to go through a long selling chain if published by a publisher (Agent – Editor – Sales – Marketing etc) and they’ll all be asking – who will be interested in buying this book?

Thanks to the panel and Justine, founder of @BytetheBook and look forward to the next event!

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Brexit for employers and job seekers

Our industry body, the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) is working hard to help us prepare for Brexit, whatever the outcome.

We are keeping abreast of the latest developments so that we can update you on how an outcome will affect us and employment in the UK generally.

There is a lot of advice for employers from the Government, but I think this link is probably the clearest and most useful as a starting point: https://euexitbusiness.campaign.gov.uk/

There are links on this page to a number of useful publications and resources suitable for Candidates who are wondering what the situation will be for them.

  1. If you are an EU national and you want to continue living in the UK: https://www.gov.uk/staying-uk-eu-citizen
  2. If you are an UK Citizen in the EU: https://www.gov.uk/uk-nationals-living-eu
  3. New EU citizens arriving in UK will be able to stay 3 months before applying for a visa. Following this you will get remain for 36 months.

The key message is: Don’t worry if you’re already working here in the UK, you will be able to stay!

But you will need to make an application – the EU Settlement Scheme will open by 30 March 2019 and you will be able to apply until 30 June 2021, provided you were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020.

5 years’ residence will lead to settled status with a bridging pre-settled status for new arrival.

If you do have questions, please do get in touch with us and we can clarify on some of this advice and hopefully point you in the right direction!

Other HMRC links:

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Welcome to the team Cat and Novia!

We are delighted to announce that we have two new team members! The team is very excited to welcome back Catherine Roney, (after some time out) Cat will be working on permanent roles in London and the Home Counties. The fabulous Novia Kingshott will be supporting Kellie Millar on the Temps/Freelancers desk as a Senior Publishing Recruitment Consultant.

                                                     Catherine Roney


Catherine first joined Atwood Tate after working for Octopus Publishing Group as an International Sales Executive. Responsible for selling International rights as well as supporting the International Sales team, Catherine has a keen understanding of the publishing industry. Originally from Western Australia and with a love of all things book-related, Catherine is excited to re-join the team after taking an extended maternity leave.

Catherine’s s focus at Atwood Tate will be in Marketing, Publicity, Product Management and Customer Service, covering all sectors in London, the Home Counties and East Anglia.

catherineroney@atwoodtate.co.uk 0203 574 4429

Novia Kingshott

Throughout her recruitment career, Novia has focused solely on temps as she loves the fast paced and urgency the temps recruitment process requires. Novia is very experienced in placing top notch candidates within healthcare, medical, government and legal fields. With a passion for publishing, Novia is looking forward to offering her 5 star customer service to candidates and clients alike.

Novia will be supporting Kellie Millar on the Temps/Freelancers desk as a Senior Publishing Recruitment Consultant.

NoviaKingshott@atwoodtate.co.uk 0203 574 4421

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Industry Spotlight: Temping

What is temping?

Publishers contact us to book temps when they need an extra pair of hands to help them meet a deadline or when they are extra busy. These roles are also urgent with almost immediate starts. Our clients also need temps to cover sick leave or to cover whilst a new permanent team member is being recruited.  They may even consider the temp! Temp roles can range from 2 days up to 6 months and can be extended further and even lead to a permanent role.  

Temping with Atwood Tate

The Temps/Freelancers team cover roles across the entire publishing industry including trade and educational, Academic, Science as well as professional and B2B, digital and print.  They also cover administration, finance, HR, marketing, and sales.

The team are:

Kellie Millar (Temps/Freelancers Manager) kelliemillar@atwoodtate.co.uk

Novia Kingshott (Senior Recruitment Consultant) NoviaKingshott@atwoodtate.co.uk

Anna Slevin (Temps/Freelancers Administrator) annaslevin@atwoodtate.co.uk

Anna is a former Atwood Tate temp herself and had a few admin placements in Accounts Payable and Publications Teams. As she can testify temps are paid weekly on Fridays and receive holiday pay which goes into a “pot” they draw from when they go on annual leave. Temps can be paid by hour or have a day rate depending on the job.

Our clients aren’t all publishers but have a busy publishing team. These also include a royal academic society, a charity or even a standards or ratings publisher. A lot of the time when temping, skills are readily transferrable and employers are more flexible regarding your work background. Marketing roles are particularly easy to transfer across or specialist knowledge such as science or law can be very useful in editorial for those specialist subject publishers.

How will temping benefit me and is an extension guaranteed?

Sometimes temps cover a role more senior or more junior than they would typically expect. This could be in a different area to one they have worked in before or one they do because they love what the publisher works on and the job. Temping is great for exploring the industry and various companies.

Temp roles will often say “extensions possible” this is because roles can be extended for more days and weeks or a contract on the publisher’s payroll could be offered. There are no guarantees but it does happen and you are more than welcome to apply for internal vacancies while working for that publisher which may not be available to the general public.

Candidates do come to Atwood Tate specifically wanting temp or freelance work but quite often they are looking for a permanent job but don’t yet have the required experience so the Temps team can help to get that ‘foot in the door’. Once a candidate has a bit more experience in publishing, the Permanent Team can help look for a permanent role in publishing. Kellie and Novia can help you to build up that in-house experience.

What is the recruitment process for temping?

A role comes in. We tell you about it / You express interest. We put you forward. If the client chooses your CV you can start working immediately or there may be a telephone interview or even a face to face interview. Interviews are less formal and shorter with temp roles.  

As a Temp: work hard + submit timesheets + be paid on Fridays = WORK IN PUBLISHING!!!

(You also learn a lot no matter how well you know the role and get to work with some really lovely people.)

With contributions from Anna Slevin

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Atwood Tate Book Club: Christmas

Welcome back to the Atwood Tate Book Club, where we reveal what books have a special place on our shelves! For this entry our team of publishing recruitment specialists are delighted to bring you our festive favourites, that keep us feeling warm during the winter months and get us in the Christmas spirit!

 

Charlotte Tope, Publishing Recruitment Consultant

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.

Christmas is a time of indulgence, togetherness with loved ones and a shared experience. This book offers advice of how to make the most of your feeling of home and comfort.

Charlotte says: ` Christmas is for everything cosy, and this is pretty much the festive season rolled up into a book. Best read with hot chocolate, PJ’s and a blanket.’

 

Anna Slevin, Temps & Freelancers Administrator

Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce

This is an alternative present where the UK is about to join the Eurozone, when two brothers find a bag stuffed with stolen money they have less than 3 weeks to spend all of it before the Great British Pound becomes worthless. Young enough to think this is a good idea… old enough to have their own problems anyway. Centred around the value of money and giving, this is a perfect read for this time of year.

Anna says: `Millions is one of those odd books that is intrinsically linked to the screenplay as the author did both but I think the book is better! The perfect Christmas book where you work out what’s important to you with a measure of sainthood thrown in.’

 

Helen Speedy, Associate Director

The Box of Delights by John Masefield

 

The story is set during the Christmas holiday when the protagonist, Kay Harker, returns home from school and gets mixed up in a magical and sometimes menacing adventure around a magical box.

Helen says: `It’s an exciting and atmospheric mystery story and for me means Christmas with themes of magic and wonder. There was an amazing TV series in the early 1980s which my brother and I watched avidly and I wish the BBC would re-run this, as I think children today would love it as well.’

 

Parissa Bagheri, Trainee Publishing Recruitment Consultant 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

 

A Christmas classic that warms the heart! Where the reader witnesses the protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge change into a kinder man after visits from the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come.

Parissa says: `I just love Dickens and A Christmas Carol is one of my favourites! It’s one for everyone to enjoy whilst being cosy at home with some Christmas music playing in the background!’

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Brexit – what does it mean for publishing and recruitment?

There’s a huge amount of information about Brexit on the news, internet and you’re probably all discussing with friends and colleagues at the water cooler. There’s also a lot of uncertainty about how things will change in the coming months and how this will affect the country and us personally. I thought I’d highlight some of the resources I’ve been keeping track of to help have an overview:

 

Publishing resources

Our recruitment industry body, the REC has a number of reports and blogs that look at issues such as immigration, shifting working patterns and labour market trends in the UK. https://www.rec.uk.com/help-and-advice/policy-and-campaigns/brexit

 

Research Information is an excellent resource for all news around non-trade publishing so worth keeping an eye on.

 

The publishing industry weekly magazine and website, The Bookseller, keeps us up-to-date with news as it happens eg https://www.thebookseller.com/news/political-chaos-wake-withdrawal-deal-concerning-and-unacceptable-say-trade-bodies-894296

 

The Publisher’s Association has a blueprint for UK publishing and regular news and policy updates.

 

If you’re a member of ALPSP they have regular updates in their monthly bulletin.

 

The IPG also has some interesting blogs and podcasts some of which is available to non-members and worth checking out eg Podcast on Academic publishing, Open Access and Brexit (and Plan S – worth finding out about if you’ve not come across it!).

 

I hope that gives you some ideas as we’re all lacking firm answers at this point!

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2018 PPA Independent Publisher Conference & Awards

Kellie and I attended the PPA Independent Publisher Conference & Awards and, as in previous years, it was an informative morning conference to catch up with lots of independent publishers and hear the latest in ideas across the industry.

The morning opened with an introduction from Barry McIlheney, CEO of the PPA before Juan Senor of Innovation Media Consulting/Author of the ‘FIPP Innovation Report’ gave a fascinating talk on the latest in media technology, monetisation ideas and introduced a major theme of the day of moving away from advertising revenue to reader / subscription revenue.

Publishers have discovered giving content away for free is very expensive and doesn’t work in the long term – we must start charging for digital content, creating pay walls and data walls with reader revenue generating c. 40% of digital revenue. It’s predicted that by the end of 2020 people will have 4 subscriptions so this should be viable. Editors will need to come up with great content that will trigger a subscription that’s worth paying for.

Some ideas:

  1. If you give people a binary choice they reject both – give them a choice of 3 and the human mind will pick 1!
  2. Use the rule of 3 for subscription options – people will pick the one in the middle.
  3. Rise of the idea of the publisher as a club eg the Guardian
  4. Events – margins can be low for an event so the trend is making it a festival of 2-3 days

He has a list of 11 business models that he recommends developing at least 3 of – do ask for his slides!

Ian McAuliffe of Think Publishing moderated a discussion on positioning your business for the future which gave insights from some very different types of publishers – presentations available:
Nick Flood, Dennis Publishing [Download Nick’s presentation]
Patrick Napier, Rock Sound [Download Patrick’s presentation]
Rebecca Allen, The Drum [Download Rebecca’s presentation]

Richard Spilsbury not only gave us a quiz which was a great way of bonding with other delegates but insight for publishers thinking of selling their business at some point – what to consider and some pitfalls to avoid.

The keynote speaker Catrin Griffiths, Editor, The Lawyer spoke honestly and inspiringly about her experience leading a prestigious brand through change. She explained the highs and lows of the journey of introducing paywalls, integrating content and data, and creating a market-leading brand.

Roundtable sessions were a good opportunity to share industry knowledge with peers and Kellie and I focussed on the people based ones: Talent Retention and Organisational Culture.

 

David Gilbey finished up with some more tips and highlights in his masterclass in digital publishing – again I’d highly recommend reviewing the presentation slides for ideas…

Then we had the awards, where Kellie was delighted to present the Editor of the year award to Sophie Griffiths from TTG Media! See the list of winners here 

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The Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is something that affects a huge number of women in the UK and across most industries, including publishing. It is an issue that’s close to my heart, firstly being a woman and secondly working in recruitment and placing men and women into jobs. I’d like to hope we’re all doing more to address the gap and make this a fairer industry to be working in.

Gender Pay Gap and the Law

As members of the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation), we are aware of the latest news and legal requirements in recruitment. There is new leglislation coming up where employers with more than 250 employees will need to report on gender pay gaps. The deadline is 4 April for private organisations and 30 March for public sector employers. Many employers have already started to file their data on the dedicated government website.

The Government’s Gender Pay Gap Campaign website is a good resource for employers, giving information about how to collect and report data on the issue and how to close the gap. The following infographic gives the benefits of gender diversity in the workforce.

Employer benefits: improves brand reputation, attracts an improved pool of talent, higher staff retention, boosts staff productivity, meets the diverse needs of customers

Source: Gender Pay Gap Campaign

The Gender Pay Gap in Publishing – Advertising Salaries

Publishing has historically not been transparent with disclosing salaries – likely for a number of reasons and not all of them negative. This might not be a popular view but I really feel the industry would be much healthier with full transparency where all jobs are advertised with a salary range that is based on skills and experience.

In the UK, we shy away from talking about how much we earn. This is part of the reason employers choose not to advertise salaries on their vacancies, as employees in the same or similar roles may not want their own salary to be made public. It’s a taboo to ask ‘How much do you earn?’ But without open discussion, we cannot know what we are worth and so women’s value can be underestimated, by themselves as well as by their employer.

We’ve written before about advertising salaries here. We regret that we usually cannot display salaries on our vacancies, although we always give candidates the salary information before they submit an application.

The gender pay gap is slowly narrowing, though we still have a way to go. What do you think publishers and recruiters can do to close the gap further?

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