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.

Frankfurt Book Fair 2019

It is only a week to go until the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019, so we’ve put together a collection of top tips and things to do and see while you’re there! These suggestions are aimed at anyone attending, whether you’re coming as a student, publishing professional, job-seeker or just trying to increase your knowledge of the publishing and media industry. Even if you’re an annual attendee at the event, we’ve got some ideas for you!

Here are some of our top tips:

  • Plan your time in advance: there will be many conferences and events throughout the day so it is important that you check the schedule in order to see what events might interest and benefit you the most. It is a huge venue with plenty going on, so by planning your time well, you’ll be able to get the most out of the fair! Do also use the hall plan to avoid getting lost!
  • You will be meeting clients and important contacts, so you do want to be smart and ladies might be tempted to wear heels, but trust me, you will most definitely regret this decision. The Frankfurt exhibition centre is huge and the book fair is spread across several halls, so you will for sure be on your feet all day. Wear flat shoes or shoes that are comfortable. Of course dress code varies but you can never go wrong with business casual, a pair of flat clean shoes or boots will keep you comfy throughout the day!
  • Considering it’s an all-day event and you might well be using your phone to contact colleagues, show clients clips and perhaps be taking plenty of photos and videos yourself, bring a portable phone charger! Download the Frankfurter Buchmesse App for a convenient guide around the fair as well as a timetable of the event. Do take pictures of impressive stands you like as a reminder to yourself, but most definitely share them on social media too!
  • As this is the biggest international event of the year for the publishing industry, there’ll be a lot of people and food stalls and stands will have queues! So remember to carry a bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated! Bring a snack if you’re super organised. It’s very easy to get hot and dehydrated in big events, to avoid the long queues and high prices at the cafes!

Lastly, although you are out in Frankfurt for the Book Fair, it’s also important to plan some chill-out time, so that you don’t get overwhelmed! Walking around all day or keeping a constantly cheerful face on for your back to back meetings is exhausting. Frankfurt is a beautiful city in the centre of Germany and there is plenty to see and do to escape for a little while! Take some time before arriving to see what there is around and see if there is an alternative venue that you can escape to to, whether that be cultural things to do and see or places to eat and drink in peace! This is a tough event for anyone prone to anxiety in crowds, so be prepared and look out for friends and colleagues who might be struggling a bit.

Here is a list of places you might like to visit near/around the venue:

  • If you get a tired of the traditional German food, this traditional Japanese restaurant called Mangetsu, offers great Japanese food and is a great place to go if you’re in need of some quiet space.
  • The heart of Frankfurt is The Römerberg: Frankfurt’s Old Town Centre, this town centre is filled with traditional buildings, a very picturesque square that will look amazing in photos!
  • The Palm Garden is the largest botanic garden in Germany, so it is definitely worth seeing if you have the time. I’m sure the garden will look fantastic during the Autumn season!

For more places to visit around Frankfurt click here!

Make sure to check what events are going on throughout the fair and which companies are attending!

Byte the Book is networking at the book fair this year and are offering Networking Drinks on October 16th in the fair from 9pm till late! This will be a great opportunity to meet some new people from the media and publishing industry and would be great to broaden your knowledge on both industries! For more information on the event click here!

In case you weren’t aware Norway is the guest of honour this year so to honour that we’ve decided to share some of our favourite Norwegian reads:

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

Harry Hole thrillers series by Jo Nesbo

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

We look forward to seeing you all post about the event, do keep in contact via our Twitter, tweet us pictures and information about the event we’ll be glad to hear from you!

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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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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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