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Company updates, professional news

Sales and Customer Service

I joined Atwood Tate in February 2018 and specialise in recruiting for Sales, Production, Production Editorial, Rights, Contracts, Project Management, Design, Distribution & Operations roles.  In this blog, I will be explaining jobs in Sales and Customer Service sectors within publishing.

Sales

What is a sales role in publishing?

Sales roles are diverse – from Sales Assistant, Sales Executive, Sales Representation roles which bring in new business to an Account Manager role looking after a designated group of client/company products, i.e an Account Manager for children titles in the US market for an international leading trade book publisher.  For sales roles, it is also usually divided into a specific list of titles and accounts: normal accounts (bookshops/direct customers) and special sales (supermarkets/retail stores/ wholesalers). 

What does a sales role involve?

Your job is to understand the front list titles, prepare new titles presentation, build and maintain relationships with customers/clients, represent your publisher and persuade your target audience to sell your titles or products.

What skills do you need to succeed in a sales role?

Communication and presentation skills. You need to be results and target driven and have a good head for numbers. Excellent negotiating skills are a must.  You will also need to keep up with latest market trends, observe the market, feed it back to your publisher and make strategic plans to keep the business going. 

Is there good progression in sales?

Sales roles are very diverse so they are always full of opportunity and progression.  You can make a lateral move or you move upwards and onwards.  The contacts and relationships you will build up throughout the years will also become one of you biggest assets when you look for a new opportunity – so make sure you stay in touch with everybody!

Customer Service

What is a customer service role?

Customer service is fundamentally a role to support the operations of a sales department.  You will update metadata on the company database, websites or other online platforms.  You will also handle queries from booksellers/clients/direct customers, issue invoice and follow up on the finances.  Other responsibilities may include logistics management, stock queries, and resolving problems.

What skills do you need in a customer service role?

As for the nature of the role, you will be a tech-savvy person.  Preparing sales materials for your colleagues, updating the database and processing orders will be your main duties so a good eye for detail, good communications skills and a high ability to solve problems will be essential.  

How do you progress in a sales/customer service role?

You can start as a Sales Coordinator and then move towards managing accounts and eventually overseeing a sales operations team.  Keep up with the latest technology and software, be an expert in what you do.  If you eventually wanted to have a fresh challenge, you could look into operations or project management roles.

If you have any questions about Sales or Customer Services roles in publishing, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Clare Chan, Senior Publishing Recruitment Consultant

Tel:        0203 574 4428 Email: clarechan@atwoodtate.co.uk

Specialist areas: Sales, Production, Production Editorial, Rights, Contracts, Project Management, Design, Distribution & Operations roles.

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10 Dos and Don’ts of CV Writing

Are you putting off writing or editing your CV? One of the most commonly asked questions we get is about the format of CV’s. To help you along with your CV writing process we have written a summary of our top 10 dos and don’ts of CV writing!

Dos:

  • Keep your CV at two pages max (we know it is hard!). You need to demonstrate you can prioritise relevant information with the content you provide
  • Introduce yourself in a personal statement at the top of the page, including your skills and what you are looking for in a few sentences
  • Include your contact details and a link to your LinkedIn profile
  • Save your CV in a word doc or PDF in the format `full name and CV’  
  • Set out the dates of your employment, the company and your position clearly with accurate spacing
  • You can include a brief description of the company you worked for, followed by bullet points to present your achievements, using figures and stats where necessary (use power words!)
  • The education and employment sections should be in reverse chronological order. You can include a `relevant experience’ section
  • Have a skills section highlighting any IT and language speaking skills. You can also include any courses/training, driving skills or leadership skills that are relevant
  • Choose a professional font, one that is easily read and looks good when printed or scanned
  • Important: Be meticulous in your spelling and grammar!

Don’ts:

  • Avoid long, chunky looking paragraphs (white space is your friend!)
  • List all of your GCSEs/O-Levels or every module from your degree, just those related to the job you are applying for
  • Experiment with size (making the text bigger to fill the space/smaller to fit) or wacky colours and fonts
  • DOB, picture and marital status are not necessary
  • Use acronyms, technical terms or clichés (instead demonstrate clichés such as `hard worker’ in your experience and achievements)
  • Use personal pronouns
  • Include irrelevant skills and work experience (not including them will not decrease your chance of getting the job!)
  • Explain why you left every single position. You can cover this at interview, but also in your covering letter.  If you are not currently in employment and want to explain why, put a brief note in your covering letter.  If you are applying through an agency, be transparent with them and they can help you to explain.  If you have done a series of fixed term contracts, putting “fixed term contract” next to the job title will signal that this is why you haven’t stayed longer in the role
  • Submit your CV with unprofessional email addresses or names
  • Lie! With a simple search a lie can be found out and this won’t go down well with your interviewer

Extra Tip: Don’t leave gaps.  Account for any gap years/sabbaticals or times out of work, but briefly and without it becoming distracting.  If you omit something, it will raise more questions than a brief sentence accounting for the gap.

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Commissioning in Book Publishing – How to build a successful list outside the 6-figure zone?

It was a lovely evening in the beautiful Century Club at the Bookmachine Talking Editorial! Truly enlightening to hear from 3 publishing professionals about how they build their very different lists. Valerie Brandes from Jacaranda Books, Keshini Naidoo from recently founded Hera books and Zara Anvari from White Lion (Quarto Group) were on the panel which was chaired by the brilliant Abbie Headon.

Valerie explained how Jacaranda books was founded in 2012 as a direct result of the lack of diversity discussion in the industry. There was a need for what they were doing and submissions came flowing. At the beginning no budget and no connection, however opportunity was always there because nobody was doing what they were doing. She says that you constantly have to reimagine your list and identify gaps in books published. For instance, they did notice that very few black British authors were published and in 2018 they decided that in 2020 they will publish 20 books written by black British authors.

Keshini is the co-founder of hera, a female-led, independent commercial fiction digital-first publisher (and now also publishing paperbacks). Their audience is the reader who cannot put a book down for 3 days. They publish books across genres such as romantic comedy or psychological thrillers. The story comes first and the commercial aspect is priority, although quality is necessary. The books they publish she admits might not make the Booker Prize list but will make many people happy! For Keshini, to commission you have to love what you commission and be able to push the title/the list.

Zara recently joined White Lion, an imprint of the Quarto Group publishing non-fiction books across pop culture and lifestyle. Business strategy is key for them: you have to have a direction and be profitable. Zara’s job differs from Valerie’s and Keshini’s as she comes up with concepts for books which she then has to sell to her colleagues and managers before finding the right authors for them. It a very collaborative environment and people have to buy into your idea. If you do not believe in it, nobody will. So you need to know what you want and go for it. As the imprint is quite new, they still consider what are their successes, what they do well, and this is a guiding principle across the whole.

How do they find their authors?

Valerie from Jacaranda looks at things she liked. She attends events, talks to agents and publishers, reads articles and blogs. Her advice: you just have to ask! Sometimes just asking if the rights of a book are available will work! For things that were not being published, she really focuses on what she likes, and obviously reads a lot and exposes herself to a lot of different influences.

Keshini from hera finds her authors through lots of different ways. It could be through submissions through their website or from authors and agents (ratio is 50/50 between the two). She was pleasantly surprised by the support she and her business partner received from agents from the start. She also mentioned something interesting about social media and Twitter in particular. Twitter is a way to commission, who would have thought?! There is a big community out there: authors put their pitch down with the hashtag #PitMad. This is very big in the USA, not as much in the UK but is this the way forward?

Zara from White Lion relies a lot on recommendations. Her concepts are born in-house and commissioning for her is more trying to find the right author for it (could be an influencer or an academic). In light of this, budget can be an element too. Zara’s advice is to stay open, and try to sell yourself to the author too as you will be working as a team, in a partnership.

What does success look like?

For Keshini, success is not focussing on prize but high chart positions. Online buzz and good exposure on social media is also very important. For Zara, as their books are very international, success is often measured by the attention they attract at book fairs. They need to make sure it gets international exposure and good conversion in terms of interest and sales. For Valerie, the notion of success has been evolving. At the very beginning, launching their publishing house was a success in itself. It has been an incredible learning curve for the founders of Jacaranda books as there is a massive difference between understanding what being a business is, compared to just being part of a business. It has been really hard and success was surviving as a business. This year what looks like success is very much visible for them as they won prizes and were long-listed for awards.

Commissioning and what makes a list successful are very different things depending on what books you publish and what business you are part of. But what the 3 speakers all agreed on is that to commission, you have to trust your gut and be passionate enough about the book to fight for it. To the question “what makes a book stand out from the lot” Keshini’s conclusion was hilarious but nonetheless very true as she quoted Marie Kondo: “If it doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it!”

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Inclusivity and Diversity in Publishing

Building inclusivity is a top priority in the UK, and we in the publishing industry must also work to establish best practice in the recruitment process in order to bring in diverse voices and varied experience.  Coming from a different cultural background myself and having worked in publishing and recruitment, I have built up a passion for this topic, and I am very keen on making an impact within the publishing industry.

As a team at Atwood Tate, we have had Equality and Inclusion training and I recently attended the Building Inclusivity in Publishing conference put on by The Publishers Association and The London Book Fair.  The conference gathered different panels of representatives from the publishing industry, who spoke about what they have done/are doing to encourage and educate publishing companies to build a more inclusive work environment. 

On International Women’s Day, I spent an afternoon attending a forum on Inclusivity and Diversity, hosted by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation. This forum gathered recruitment professionals from different industries and explored how a better understanding of intersectionality can support a more inclusive recruitment process and deliver a truly diverse candidate sheet.

During the conference, Mark Gales from Young Women’s Trust explained how recruiters and HR professionals can support young women, as studies show that 53% of young women feel worried and uncertain about the future.  By signing up as a volunteer with the YWT, recruiters and HR professionals can offer coaching and tailored job application feedback for young women to build up employability and their confidence.  After using the coaching service, 92% of attendees felt more confident in presenting their CV and felt they had a better understanding of what employers are looking for.  Even more encouraging was that 55% of young women got a new job/work experience.

On offering support to disadvantaged people who are trying to get into employment, Gemma Hope from Shaw Trust explained that we can help candidates by organising a non-panel-setting interview, or even offering candidates a work trial to assess ability, as some candidates might find a traditional interview process distressing.  In the financial sector in particular, some recruitment processes require no CV submissions and a solely question-based application form, from which gender, education background and age are excluded, has replaced the traditional CV and cover letter format: a solely skills-based assessment.

In the publishing industry, we are trying different recruitment approaches and we are still searching for a way to establish best practice across the whole industry.  In academic publishing, we have started to see publishers encourage salary transparency during the recruitment process.  In trade book publishing, we have seen experimentation with AI recruitment.  We, as a recruitment agency have also started to offer transparency to our clients by outlining the diversity of our search. We ensure publishers are aware that we open up their vacancies to a wider pool of candidates than they may reach through traditional advertising or networking routes.  We hope to see publishing continue to blossom and grow through achieving meaningful diversity. 

Written by Clare Chan, Senior Publishing Recruitment Consultant.

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Consultant in the Hot Seat: Stephanie Hall


Stephanie has recently re-joined us at Atwood Tate after working as an internal recruiter at HarperCollins for four and a half years, managing all the recruitment across the different sites and at all levels. Stephanie worked at Atwood Tate from 2012-2014 and has returned to look after Editorial (non B2B & Professional); Production; Design and Operations outside London and the Home Counties.

What do you love about working in publishing?

I love the people, which is handy for being a recruiter! I consistently find the people in the industry to be interesting, friendly people. It can feel like quite an insular industry when you’re first starting out, but people are usually willing to chat and because people never seem to leave publishing once they’re in, you get to build great relationships with people over time. I have candidates that I placed in 2012 that I’m still in touch with!

What is your favourite book/play/poem or author?

I don’t have a favourite book anymore, I don’t think… I’ve probably read all of Judy Blume’s books several times each and find going back to them incredibly comforting, but if we’re judging favourite books by number of times read, at the moment it’s the That’s Not My… series. We’re currently very into locating and identifying our monkeys, dinosaurs, llamas, pirates and kittens at home. Otherwise, I’ve recently re-read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele,: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions which I would highly recommend to anyone, not just parents. It has some brilliant suggestions on how to raise an inclusive and strong kid and all my friends now have a copy.

Who is your hero?

Frida Kahlo. I really admire her resilience and ability to turn any setback into something creative (and profitable!). She was all the things I want to be when I grow up: strong, brave, honest, successful in her own right, unashamedly feminist, generous with her time and most importantly, able to stomach a lot of tequila. I think I have better taste in husbands though!

If you could have a super power, what would it be?

The ability to control time – to pause it, speed it up, slow it down. I genuinely don’t understand anyone that would want a different power. I could pause time during the night to get more sleep or have a lie in, slow time down when I’m running late (I hate to be late!) and speed it up when time is dragging and I’m getting impatient. What more could you want?

If you could share a meal with anyone, who would it be?

Oprah. I think she’d be fascinating to talk to and would have some absolutely exceptional gossip about other people, as well as some really interesting experiences and incredible achievements of her own that I’d like to ask about. And if the conversation runs dry, we can chat about the episode of 30 Rock that she’s in, which is one of my favourites.

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How to Get into Publishing

Last week The London Book Fair hosted the event `How to get into Publishing?’. The Olympia Room was full of eager graduates, awaiting advice and tips of how to kick start their career in publishing. Here we have created a summary of what was said.

The panel:

Carl Smith https://uk.linkedin.com/in/carl-smith-8a2a3411b

Shalini Bhatt https://www.linkedin.com/in/shalini-bhatt

Katherine Reeve https://uk.linkedin.com/in/katharinereeve

Maria Vassilopoulos https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-vassilopoulos-51572320

The panel began by offering a background of themselves, what was their first role and how did the skills in this role set them apart during interviews?

  1. One of the roles was working in a bookshop as a Christmas temp. The skills developed within this role; customer service, bookselling, industry knowledge contributed to success in an interview, especially when asked `what is your favourite book?’.
  2. A hospitality background and the transferable skills developed here; customer service, working on multiple projects, confidence and working with lots of different people are skills relatable to roles within publishing.
  3. If you have not studied an English or History degree, don’t worry, for one of the panel a visual arts degree stood them out from the crowd.

Interview tip: Build a rapport with your interviewer, something you have in common can help you shine in an interview.

What are the geographical challenges and how can they be overcome?

We have to admit that most publishing roles are based in either London or Oxford. However, the big publishers are not the only ones out there. You can gain experience through working in bookshops or working for charities or library suppliers for example.

Editorial roles are not the only choice. Take a look at HR, finance, marketing and production roles also.

The Spare Room Project offers free accommodation in London whilst taking up work placements. Read our blog on the Spare Room Project here: http://ow.ly/86Ck30o88C0 More good news; internships are more often than not paid.

Interview tip: Make sure you are prepared. Research your interviewer and the company on social media, look for a talking point. What are they currently advertising/working on?

In job specs how much of the criteria do I need to meet before I apply?

You don’t have to meet all of the essential and desirable skills, but you need to meet the main essentials and demonstrate them in your CV and cover letter. 

If you feel excited by an advertisement, if you know you can do that job then go for it! There is no harm in applying.

However, be realistic and ask yourself will you feel comfortable answering questions relating to the criteria in an interview situation?

Interview tip: Go in with questions, be curious and passionate.

What are the dos and don’t’ s of CVs and cover letters?

Do’s

Introduce yourself in a personal statement at the top of your CV, your skills and what you are looking for.

Always read the job spec, pick out the key skills and buzz words and demonstrate you have them in your CV and cover letter.

Be meticulous in your spelling and grammar

Prioritise information and layout, show them you can do this in your cover letter and CV. Keep your CV at max 2 pages.

Don’ts

Overdesign your CV. Instead keep it simple, not too hard on the eyes or text heavy.

Send your CV in the correct format if requested.

Make your personal statement too generic, focus on particular skills.

Don’t list all of your previous jobs, but the most important and relatable ones which demonstrate the skills they are looking for.

Interview tip: Represent yourself in the best possible way, but be yourself! Always ask when you will hear from them of the outcome of your interview.

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Have you referred a friend yet?

details of the refer a friend programme

Did you know that if you referred a friend, you could receive £200 in vouchers?

If you see a vacancy that doesn’t quite match your requirements, but you think you know someone who will be interested, then simply forward the relevant vacancy details to a friend or colleague. If they’re not already registered with us and they are successfully placed into a new permanent role, you will receive £200 in vouchers of your choice when they have completed 3 months in their new position.

Terms & Conditions

  1. The candidate must reference you in their application to us.  Or if you forward us their details, you must mention the vacancy title and reference number.
  2. Only candidates who are not currently registered with Atwood Tate may be considered.
  3. The offer will only apply to the role they are recommended for and not if they are placed within a different role at a later date.
  4. Payment will be made once the referred candidate has completed a period of three months in the role.  We will contact you to confirm this and get details to supply your vouchers.

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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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International Women’s Day 2019

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, we are reminding you of some recent good news for women in the publishing industry and highlighting forthcoming publishing events.  We’d also like to celebrate a selection of inspiring female authors whose works should be on your bookshelf if they aren’t already!  Let us know who is on your list.  On a more serious note, if you’re working in publishing and looking for ways to promote gender diversity, do take a look at the report and  recommendations provided by the REC here: www.rec.uk.com/genderdiversity

On the Authors’ Club Best First Novel List this year, we see many more female writers’ names. The prize fund is to support UK authors and last year’s winner was Gail Honeyman with `Eleanor Ophiliant is Completely Fine’. To see women dominating the list is encouraging, to read more click here: https://www.thebookseller.com/news/women-dominate-authors-club-longlist-965126

Are you a woman who has worked in publishing with great achievements? Do you know a woman whose achievements or promise within publishing is worth celebrating? The Kim Scott Walwyn Prize (partnership with The Society of Young Publishers) is open to any woman who has worked in publishing for up to seven years! You can nominate yourself or another! Click here for submission forms and to find out more: https://kimscottwalwyn.org/ The deadline is 5pm (GMT) Monday 18th March 2019.

Girls can do Anything, a new panel series has some great upcoming events! The first one was a huge success and you can read our blog on it here: https://blog.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/girls-can-do-anything/ If you are looking to get into the publishing industry or are a new writer searching for tips to build dynamic and strong female characters, this event is for you! You can buy tickets to the next event on the 20th March here:  https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/classes/girls-can-do-anything

Crime fiction – women are dominating! `Gone Girl’ and `The Woman on the Train’ are examples of huge successes! This is great, but are women being given enough recognition in terms of nominations and awards in this field is another debate. Read more here: https://girltalkhq.com/female-authors-dominate-the-crime-mystery-genres-but-arent-being-given-enough-recognition/

Female Authors you should be reading:

Carol Ann Duffy – An award winning poet and Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. `The Feminine Gospels’ and `The World’s Wife’ are must reads!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – A Nigerian author, whose work drew upon the Biafran War. A writer of short stories, novels, non-fiction and essays. We recommend `Purple Hibiscus’ and `Half of a Yellow Sun’.

Doris Lessing – Lessing was a British-Zimbabwean novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007. Lessing has been described as `that epicist of the female experience’. `The Golden Notebook’ is definitely one we would recommend.

Enid Blyton – A fantastic writer of Children’s Literature, with millions of copies sold all over the world. Blyton’s writing is quintessentially British. `The Famous Five’ series are a classic!

Maya Angelou – A poet, activist and storyteller. Angelou has also published autobiographies and essays. Give `I know why the caged bird sings’ and `And Still I Rise’ a go!

Toni Morrison – A writer on gripping themes, unique language style and teller of the American reality and detailed African American characters. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. `Beloved’ and `Song of Solomon’ are must reads.

Virginia Woolf – Woolf is considered one of the most important 20th century authors, with her exploration of the human condition, post war society and politics.  Put `To the Lighthouse’ and `Mrs Dalloway’ on your reading lists!

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London Book Fair 2019

With less than two weeks to go until the 2019 London Book Fair, preparation is well under way! Not booked your ticket yet? You can here: https://www.londonbookfair.co.uk/

We are excited to again be part of one of the biggest events of the year, offering up CV advice and our expert knowledge of the publishing industry at The Careers Clinic (you will need to be registered to attend the London Book Fair to participate but they have a limited number of free London Book Fair tickets).

Would you like to meet us at the fair or after at our office near Bond Street station? Give our administrator a call on 0203 574 4420 to book an appointment!

NB: We’re running an Evening CV / Get registered Surgery event on Wednesday 6th March and you can book an appointment for anytime up until 7pm!

We are feeling extra excited because for the first time there will be a live podcast stage! With a line-up that includes Ian McEwan and Daisy Buchanan, the podcasts will be happening over the three days at The Fireside Chat Stage. You can find the podcasts events here: https://publishingperspectives.com/2019/02/london-book-fair-announces-inaugural-podcast-lineup-smartphones-pew-research/ Make sure to check it out!

Are you a first timer?

  • Plan your travel! (There are direct bus routes and Kensington Olympia has its own railway station)
  • Check out the lists of exhibitors and plan who you want to visit
  • Bring a big bag! (You may want to pick up leaflets and information)
  • There will be lots of free seminars, make sure to attend one
  • Take a notepad and pen – exhibitor stands and what they are promoting will give you industry insight that you can use in an interview
  • Network as much as you can
  • Follow up on all connections made
  • Most importantly – visit our consultants at The Careers Clinic

Are you a regular attendee? (Authors, agents, publishers)

We don’t need to tell you what to do!

But make sure you are stocked up on business cards and have planned the exhibitors you are most interested in and the seminars you want to attend!

Three of our fabulous consultants will be at The Careers Clinic!

Meet Clare Chan – Clare works on Production, non-tech Project Management, Design, Operations, Sales, Rights & International Sales in London and the Home Counties  https://www.linkedin.com/in/clare-chan-6437b068/

Meet Kellie Millar – Kellie is the manager of our temps and freelancers desk and also recruits for all Administration, HR and Finance roles https://uk.linkedin.com/in/kelliemillar

Meet Faye Jones – Faye works on Editorial (B2B & Professional), Sales, Marketing and Rights in Oxford and all areas outside London and the Home Counties https://www.linkedin.com/in/faye-jones-a94344147/

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