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.

PPA Business Class: Marketing Conference


The PPA has launched a new series of half day conferences specifically for senior professionals – this one on Friday 21st October is for Marketing and one in November for Tech.

See: for more details.

Here’s a taste of what will be covered:

Shiny Happy People

Faced with an increasing array of new marketing tools and the requirement for smarter, savvier marketing to cut through the noise surrounding customers, getting the right skills has never been more important. Our panel of experts tackle the key issues:

  • Business strategist…customer insight expert…innovation leader…what is the role of a marketing director in 2016?
  • What marketing skills are needed right now?
  • How do you address the digital skills gap?

Other sessions on:

  • Subscriptions
  • ‘Community’
  • Putting The Commercial Into Content Marketing

Speakers include:

We’re pleased to be an official sponsor for both events and Olivia Constantinides from our London office and Claire Louise Kemp from our Oxford office will be attending the Marketing one, so do request a meeting or get in touch on the day.

Let us know how if you’re attending by using the PPA twitter hashtag #PPABusinessClass. Don’t forget to add @PPABusiness and us too @AtwoodTate!



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The London Digital Book Printing Forum

I recently attended an event for print and production professionals – the London Digital Book Printing Forum at The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).


The event give updates on the key trends and issues in the book market, looking at both  the supply chain and book manufacturing, including the status of digital printing. I made it to the afternoon session where speakers covered:

Market Evolution and Emergence of New Business Models: Some of the key players in book publishing, distribution, and manufacturing gave their insights on the changes occurring in print procurement and book distribution, and on the impact of digital printing on the streamlining of the supply chain.

Richard Fidczuk, Production Director at SAGE Publications spoke passionately about their use of digital – they publish 250 books a year and over 500 journals with most journals still being print rather than digital. They printed their first frontlist digital 4 colour title in March 2016 and most reprints are now printed digitally to reduce stock and print runs. In terms of the impact of digital on the supply chain, it means books never need to go out of print. They can also print locally in many different locations which is useful for new books with no sales history.

We also heard from Paul Major, Global Senior Procurement Manager, Oxford University Press and David Taylor, Senior Vice President, Content Acquisition International, Ingram Content Group.  All of the speakers agreed keeping stock in warehouses was much reduced nowadays due to print on demand options.

We also heard about some innovations from international publishers, the one that really caught my eye was Frédéric Mériot, Managing Director, Presses Universitaires de France (PUF) talking about sending a ‘statement of disruption’ to the market. They opened a shop in Paris to print their own list (and 3 million Google titles). It’s proved a huge success – you can go in, select a book, get a coffee and the Espresso book machine will print your book while you wait – and with a personalised message if you wish!

It was also great to hear from some smaller publishers in the ‘Medium & Small Publishers’ Points of View’ section. Their workflows and requirements are often very different to the larger publishers but all were using digital printing and POD to some degree. Michelle Jones, Production Manager, IWA Publishing said they need to be flexible and open to new technology and they often select a print process on a book by book basis based on price, quality etc.  Claire Watts, Production Manager, Oldcastle Books agreed the POD option would be good for reasons of cost and the environment. Anne Beech, Managing Director, Pluto Press said her colleagues can tell the difference between a litho and digitally printed books (but it’s less likely the readers would) and that POD is the hidden saviour of the small publisher.  Daniele Och, Production Director, Zed Books said 90% of their frontlist and all backlist titles are printed digitally and it’s essential to their business to have good digital printing options.

And lastly Jane Hyne, Production Manager, National Gallery Company gave an insight into how she has been working with digital printing to produce high quality colour books.

Overall it was a good opportunity to catch up on production and printing news, terminology and what the future might hold.


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Penguin Living – Careers 360 Immersion Day 11th September

Penguin Living, a new initiative from Penguin Random House, is launching a great series of events to promote authors and experts specialising in personal development. We’re really delighted to be involved in the very first one – the Careers 360 Immersion Day on 11th September.

The day will involve a series of talks with workshop elements from selected authors and experts – authors confirmed so far are Tim Vincent, the author of Nail That Interview, Caroline Goyder, author of Gravitas, Alice Olins and Phanella Mayall Fine, authors of Step Up – Confidence, Success and Your Stellar Career in 10 Minutes a Day, John Williams, author of Screw Work, Break Free, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, authors of Designing your LifeBuild a Life That Works for You, and Kevin Rodgers, author of Why Aren’t They Shouting? Books will be on sale throughout the day.

The brand’s overarching aim is to “empower people to live life better” by making best use of its authors’ ideas, advice and insight.

The day, priced £15 per session or £40 for the whole day, will be divided into three segments: “Applying for Jobs”, “Improving your Career” and “Career Choices”, with PRH’s authors and experts – including Atwood Tate! – offering tips on how to give a great interview, changing careers and flexible working.

Check out the Penguin Living website,, the Twitter handle is @PenguinLivingUK and hashtag #DoItBetter.

        Tim Vincent                 Caroline Goyder                    Alice Olins                   Phanella Mayall Fine







   Kevin Rodgers                     Dave Evans                      Bill Burnett                      John Williams       

 kevin_rodgersDave Evans110625.BruceHeimanWeddingjohn_williams2 



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Scholarly Social with FuturePub – New Developments in Scientific Collaboration Tech

I wanted to tell you about an event I went to recently that’s definitely worth looking out for. They have regular, very well organised events usually including pizza and drinks!


Scholarly Social is a social networking group for people involved in scholarly communication (including publishers, librarians, researchers, consultants, intermediaries, and students).  They’ve linked up with FuturePub (from Overleaf) to bring us Futurepub7 – an hour of 5-minute talks themed around the future of scientific publishing.

Here’s the basic list of 7 speakers and topics but lots more detail can be found here:

  1. Reimagining scientific news: How user research led to an entire product redesign, by Sybil Wong and Mimi Keshani
  2. Publishing Research Ideas and Outcomes, by Ross Mounce
  3. Peercog: Peer-to-peer recognition from author to reviewer, by Laura Harvey
  4. Peer to Peer Science, by James Littlejohn
  5. Automating peer review for research, by Daniel Shanahan
  6. Peerwith – connecting experts, by Joris van Rossum
  7. Citizen Science, Open Science & scientific publication, by Muki Haklay


Keep an eye out for future events and join the LinkedIn group or follow them on Twitter.

Scholarly Social





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The British Book Industry Awards 2016 (BBIA)

The Bookseller has revamped The Bookseller Industry Awards (the trade “Nibbies”), making them much more focussed on books and all about getting more people reading.

If you didn’t make it to the awards, here’s the list of winners highlighting the best of the British book trade and the people working in it:

And here are some reading ideas with the shortlists for books of the year in various categories:

Children’s Book of the Year

Debut Fiction Book of the Year

Non-fiction Book of the Year

Fiction Book of the Year

Here’s the Bookseller’s article about the winners:

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Competency Based Interviews: Top Tips

A lot of companies are now using competency based interviews so you need to be prepared. Competency questions are about your behaviour and are a way for the interviewer to predict how you will act in a situation in a more objective way.
The interviewer will ask you a series of questions along the lines of:

  • Describe a situation when you…
  • Give an example of a time when you…

They vary from a standard interview which may be more of a conversation or information gathering. Competency based interviews are more systematic with questions targeting a specific skill or competency. You will be asked questions about your behaviour in specific circumstances, and you’ll need to give situational examples.

Ideally you will have been provided with a Job Description and Person Specification to help you prepare for the interview. Use this to focus on the skills and competencies they’re looking for. Look back at your employment and personal history to find a couple of examples for each that show you’ve got the relevant skills and strengths in each area to achieve a positive result.

For example, if you think you’ll be asked questions about your communication skills, find an example of when you resolved a disagreement, gave a presentation or taught someone how to do something.

Use the STAR technique (situation, task, action and result). Put together a sentence to describe each of these elements and remember the result or outcome is the most important bit to show you learned from the experience.

  • Think of a Situation where you applied the competency
  • What was the Task required as a result
  • Explain the Action(s) you took to fulfil the task
  • Highlight the Result of that action

Some key competencies include:

  • Communication skills
  • Decision making
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Responsibility
  • Organisation

Some typical questions and what they’re assessing:

  • Tell me about a time when your work or an idea was challenged and you had to deal with conflict.
    Individual qualities – adaptability, compliance, decisiveness, flexibility, resilience, tenacity, conflict management, empathy, teamwork, independence, risk taking, integrity
  • Describe a situation where you had to lead a team through change.
    Managerial skills – leadership, empowerment, delegation, influencing, strategic thinking, organisational awareness, project management and managerial control
  • Tell me about a time when you came up with a new solution to a problem.
    Analytical – decision making abilities; innovation and creativity, problem solving, practical learning and attention to detail
  • Describe a situation where your communication skills made a difference to the outcome of a situation.
    Interpersonal – Social competence and communication (verbal, listening and written).
  • When did you feel the greatest sense of achievement at work?
    Motivational – resilience, motivation, result orientation, initiative and quality focus.

Some more examples can be found here:


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FutureBook shortlists focus on imaginative publishing

We’re very excited to be involved with Futurebook as it approaches its fifth anniversary.

The conference on 4th December will be the culmination of a week of activities and brings together leading thinkers in publishing, retail, editorial, writing, marketing and tech, along with speakers from other industries.

It’s ‘aimed at those invested in and passionate about the future of books’ which is all of us so hope to see you at the conference!

To kick things off, the shortlist for the awards was announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair on the evening of Thursday October 15th.  See the full shortlist here and Atwood Tate is delighted to be sponsoring Best use of Digital in a Marketing/Publicity Campaign.

Very best of luck to all the teams involved in these campaigns:

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ALPSP Conference 2015

It was my 3rd time at the annual ALPSP Conference (9-11 September) and as usual, it was a great opportunity to catch up with lots of people (both our candidates and clients) and hear the latest thoughts from scholarly publishers worldwide.


If you weren’t able to get there, I’m not going to summarise all the sessions I attended as the lovely team at ALPSP has done a superb job of adding audio and slides to their Conference Programme, which means you can have a look yourself! (Thanks Suzanne, Audrey, Lesley, Dee and Sabia)

Sessions I thought particularly of interest:

Smart ways for small publishers to go global: Peter Richardson, Managing Director, British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery told us the answer lies in strategic partnerships with other organisations and talked through pros and cons of outsourcing and maintaining editorial control.


Have I got standards for you? chaired by Laura Cox: we had some interesting perspectives from a small publisher perspective with Leighton Chipperfield, Director of Publishing and Income Diversification, Society for General Microbiology and the other end of the scale with Laird Barrett, Senior Digital Product Manager (Journals), Taylor & Francis outlining how they implement publishing standards.


There are also some very good blogs to read up on and loads more info on twitter #alpsp15

I thought I’d list the finalists for their Awards for Innovation in Publishing – the winner was Kudos.
Bookmetrix from Altmetric and Springer SBM
CHORUS – advancing public access to research
eLife Lens open-source reading tool from eLife
Impact Vizor from HighWire Press
JSTOR Daily online magazine
Kudos toolkit for researchers and their publishers
Overleaf authorship tool
RightFind XML for Mining from the Copyright Clearance Center
The Xvolution board game from NSTDA

More info about the winners:


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Port Eliot Festival

I wanted to share some of the best bits from the Port Eliot festival I went to recently in Cornwall. It’s one of the smaller ones but great for book lovers as it has lots of author events as well as music, comedy, cookery demos, wild swimming and lots of other entertainment.

Port Eliot

Some of the literary highlights I made it to:

Simon Garfield. I’m not a big non-fiction reader, but I always find him incredibly eloquent and inspiring. He was talking about his reading history and how this had helped shape and inspire him as a writer (I’d recommend Just My Type and On the Map)

Matt Haig, author of The Humans (a World Book Night 2014 title) was speaking about his new book, a redemptive memoir about life, depression and reading…

Dom Joly was very entertaining as you might expect, he’s got a new biography out – apparently this one is real as opposed to previous made up ones?

Ones I missed but can get the book and catch up (one day!):
Sarah Waters
Shappi Khorsandi – comedian and now author of A Beginners Guide to Acting English by Bloomsbury
Alex Bellos – I’ve seen before and amazingly makes maths sound exciting
Neel Mukherjee
Patrick Gale
David Baddiel – talking about his new children’s book The Parent Agency
Ella Berthoud – she is a bibilotherapist at The School of Life!
James Flint
Cathy Rentzenbrink – Associate Editor at The Bookseller and Project Director of book industry charity Quick Reads. Also author of The Last Act of Love
Iain Sinclair

Other highlights were a cookery demo by Tom Parker Bowles who pitches himself as the light entertainment between heavyweight chefs such as Rick Stein and Thomasina Miers.

We discovered some great new music from Stornaway, The Unthanks, Villagers, Stealing Sheep and enjoyed some old favourites like The Fisherman’s Friends and Sarah Cracknell.

Comedy is always good especially local (Cornish) comedian The Kernow King, Sean Hughes and Sara Pascoe.

As ever at a festival, there are usually far too many things you want to see and do and you end up stumbling across new and unexpected treasures. Port Eliot gets a big yes from me for the variety it offers and the location is second to none.

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Tech Tuesday Event 16th June

I was at the super trendy Hoxton Hotel for the latest Tech Tuesday, this time on licensing related to children’s publishing. Well done to the London Book Fair for getting together a really strong panel of speakers, Karen Lawler, Executive Manager of Licensing at Hachette Children’s Group, Richard Haines, Acquisitions & New Business Manager, Penguin Random House Children’s and Kelvyn Gardner, Managing Director at LIMA UK, to discuss: Licensed to Sell: Crossmedia Trading and bridge-building across the Creative Industries. Are we Doing Enough?

Here’s a sample of the questions and responses:

Q. Are we bridge building across the creative industries?
Karen – yes, there are several events such as Mipcom, the Spring Fair (and many more, see Hachette Children’s Group worked with McDonald’s to turn the Secret Seven into illustrated books to be given away with happy meals, plus creating a section on McDonald’s website with animated content. They’ve worked with companies like Hasbro to turn products into books.
Richard – Penguin works on a number of licenses eg Peppa Pig sometimes in association with other companies to produce for example early learning books and apps. Think about the medium and how to work with it.

Q. Do we speak the same language?
Richard – Characters, stories and worlds are what it’s about, sometimes the language differs.
Kelvyn – The majority of consumer brands don’t see a way into product merchandising. Licensing companies need to explain clearly how it works.
Karen – It’s a question of expectations – people feel they have a TV show so it’s obvious to do books etc too. But you need to have awareness of the perspective of the child and see beyond the brand.

Q. Taking classic products or backlist to merchandise – what about the issue of rights?
Richard – Contracts drawn up 40 years ago don’t include digital so there can be barriers and things are changing more quickly than ever now. If you do buy rights you need to have a strategy and know what you want to do.
Karen – Hachette bought Enid Blyton rights in 2012. The previous owners had been so concerned about giving rights there had been no films licensed since the 50s. They now have films and stage shows in development.

Q. Are we missing a trick – are gaming publishers doing more and better?
Karen – There is lots room to find creative solutions and we are working to different budgets.
Richard – They’re working with several game companies and producers such as Rovio and Mind Candy. There are more gamers now and the new area of the market that’s growing is 25+ women. So there’s still much more that can be done.

Q. Big screen / small screen – do apps have an influence?
Richard – There’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for apps. At Penguin they consider what is the purpose of the app – commercial or brand awareness?

Q. Authors may not be happy with merchandising etc – is this ok?
Karen – It’s important to know at the early stage what expectations are and allowance on decision.
Richard – No one knows the full picture better than the author, so if they want to be involved that’s a good thing.

Q. What about the fashion for bringing back things from the 70s?
Richard – There is a danger of recycled content but it can be great for parents and kids to share together. New editions need to hold their own otherwise they won’t succeed.

As always, you’ll find lots more thoughts and
comments on twitter – check out #LBFTT15


Tech Tuesday June 15

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