Author Archives: Kathryn Flicker

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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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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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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How to be Productive: 6 tips to maximise productivity in high-frequency publishing

Last week we went to the PPA event 6 Pro Tips to Maximise Productivity for high frequency publishers. A lot of information and advice was given and we learned a lot! Here we have summarised the big takeaways for you.

6 pro-tips:   

  1. Break tasks down into smaller chunks of work
  2. Time-Boxing
  3. Removing Repetition
  4. Automation in all areas of pure process
  5. Talk about email habits and practices
  6. Leave work on time

Here we dig a little deeper into these tips by summarising what the main speakers had to say and discuss the relationship between technological and cultural productivity.

Simon Weare – PCS Development Officer

                   Estimate all the things little and often

Simon defined productive as the most relevant and valuable thing that you should be doing right now. `Best resource we have is our mind and our time.’

Simon is an advocate of technological productivity. He says we need to use a module/software that embraces change and allows for organisational visibility. There should be no hidden activity, all effort and work should be demonstrated and shown. The system should manage productivity in a way that is visible to everyone; everyone should be able to see what each other is working on and what stage it is at.

Within this system there should be mechanisms to evaluate priorities, frameworks and estimates to assist in understanding the activity and review these frequently.

Resistance to change is a productivity killer and can slow down the progress of your team. To be productive we have to adapt to change and manage it. To do this we have to allow and allocate for the scope to change, this means you won’t disappoint by not delivering but will adapt when the deadline changes or progresses.

Simon says: `if you aren’t measuring it, you aren’t managing it’.

Rich Mansell – PCS Solutions Manager

Rich is also an advocate of technological productivity. Rich says we live in a time critical environment and we need to think productive in terms of software.

We need to reduce the number of systems in place and instead have just one that can distribute content to all places. Including software that sends content out to the web.

We need to think in terms of how software can aid and store content. Most companies have a large amount of folders, we need to remove this inefficiency so that we can locate content more quickly without manual intervention.

This will improve staff morale by reducing clicks and tasks. Templates will also help in removing this repetition of work.

4 key areas when choosing any system are: partnership approach, analyse the current workflow, design the bespoke workflow and learn from past experiences.

Hayley Watts – Productivity Ninja

Hayley is an advocate of cultural productivity. When are you the most focused? When do you procrastinate? Hayley says we need to manage our attention energy and pinpoint our most productive hours in our working day and do the most important things then. Right activity, right time.

Making lists is one of Hayley’s tips; they help in knowing what to do when your energy and focus is at a lower level. It helps to also have a done list to keep track but don’t dwell on what you have not done. Instead focus on what is going to make the most impact and put your energy into that.

Another one of Hayley’s tips is to make your emails work for you. Which emails do you want to be copied into? Communicate your preferences of what will work for you to your team.

It is important to protect your productivity levels. We are more likely to make mistakes when stressed, tired, multitasking or overloading. This will result in decision fatigue. Rather than carrying on it is more beneficial to take a break and come back with a clear head. In your break do activities that increase your energy levels; go for a run, do some reading, or socialise. Find what works for you.

It is important to communicate your own deadlines `I’ll be free at 1, I have to do this task at the moment’. This will protect your hours without impacting your team.

Be calm, ruthless, weapon savy and human not superhero – Hayley’s definition of a productivity ninja.

There is a marriage between technology and culture; simplifying is the key. We need to manage our focus and energy whilst being able to digest content and integrate systems. Dealing with change by being flexible and open is also key to being productive. It is important to recognise that not all employees are going to be open to change but by working and going on a journey together change is positive.

Think Productive – Getting your inbox back to zero course

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Flexible working: Does it work for employee and employer?

We had a fantastic response to our blog competition and we do aim to answer all of your brilliant questions!

The team decided that ‘Flexible working: Does it work for employee and employer?’ should be the first question we address as it’s very much a hot topic and the question of flexible working is often raised by our candidates when considering a role.

We have researched this topic by asking our clients their company’s stance on flexible working, what policies they have or what is in their pipeline for the future.

Types of flexible working you might consider:

  • Part-time
  • Term-time
  • Job-sharing
  • Flexitime
  • Compressed hours
  • Working from home on a regular basis

Our clients have noticed a shift from flexible working being more focused on hours e.g. flexible starts and finishes to now moving onto location.

Does it work for employee?

We all dread that rush hour commute and we all wish we could have been home for that boiler repair, right? The opportunity to avoid commuting (even once a month!) and make that all important appointment is a huge stress reliever.

Flexible working and the trust that comes with it from our employers gives employees a positive feeling and a sense of autonomy, encouraging a positive attitude towards their work.

An office atmosphere is great! However, if a member of staff has a lot on and needs to focus, this atmosphere can sometimes be a distraction. Allowing an employee the option of working from home can be beneficial as they can work without distractions.

Some employees don’t enjoy working from home, instead they miss that social interaction and that is fair enough!

It goes without saying that for employees with children or family commitments, flexible working is extremely beneficial.

Does it work for employer?

Our clients recognise that allowing employees to work from home, is a trust exercise and employees have reacted positively to this. In particular millennials are expecting a more flexible work environment and companies need to respond to a changing workforce.

For expanding or small companies, flexible working is also a positive because it allows for a better working environment in terms of space. Small offices can be quite cramped and stuffy, by employees taking it in turn with their flexible working allows for a much more comfortable working environment in the office.

A concern our clients acknowledged was centred on creativity. People often work best when they can bounce off each other and discuss ideas and their concerns in person. So there is a need for people to be present for meetings and to maintain communication between teams.

However, with most people having access to good wifi, it’s possible to have meetings from remote locations using Skype / Google hangout etc – once everyone gets the hang of it this works fine!

Does it work for employee and employer? YES!

The response from our clients was overall positive and flexible working has become part of company consciousness and improving working standards.

For some clients their flexible working policies are already in place with employees working one day a week from home (with successful completion of probation period in mind) for others the policies have started with some improvements to go.

If flexible working does not have a negative effect on the working standards then why not!

Further Reading:

https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/flexible-working/factsheet (You can register and get full details)

https://www.rec.uk.com/news-and-policy/policy-and-campaigns/ongoing-campaigns?a=154804

https://www.publishers.org.uk/activities/inclusivity/inclusivity-action-plan/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/16/flexible-work-parents-child-free-control

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Cover Letter Dos and Don’ts

You have found the job of your dreams, researched the role and the company and perfected your CV. Wait, and you still have to write your cover letter, right? Yes you do!

Do not underestimate the importance of the cover letter, it works simultaneously with your CV to reflect and highlight the skills you have outlined.

A well written cover letter will help you to stand out and increase your chances of the recruitment manager remembering you.

We know how daunting application writing can be, so we are sharing our top dos and don’ts.

Do:

  • Research the role and the company before you start writing
  • Have a clear structure; use paragraphs and an easy to read font
  • Have an opening sentence with a positive tone that also signals that you are applying for this specific role `I am writing to apply for….’
  • Highlight why you are interested in the role, and what is attractive about the company
  • Let them know why they should interview you by summarising your strengths and skills that make you the best candidate to do that job
  • Your skills and strengths should be tailored to the requirements and objectives set out in the job description
  • Emphasise what you can do for the company, you can outline a career goal that meets with the company’s objectives or expand on the key skills in your CV
  • Thank the employer for their time and that you look forward to hearing from them
  • If you start with `Dear name’ you should end with `yours sincerely’ and if you start with `Dear Sir/Madam’ you should end with `yours faithfully’.
  • Check your spelling and grammar not once, but twice or three times  

Don’t:

  • Send a generic, untailored cover letter
  • Write more than one page. The aim of a cover letter is to summarise concisely why you are applying for the role, why you are the right candidate for the job and why you want to join the organisation
  • Use creative fonts, colours, abbreviations
  • Include unnecessary personal information or skills/qualifications not specific to the job
  • Include your salary preferences or requirements unless asked by the employer
  • Generalise or be too casual in tone. Instead be specific in how you have excelled in previous roles
  • Write without having researched the company and what your role involves
  • Send your cover letter without checking you have addressed it to the right company and contact

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