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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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Girls can do Anything

The panel:  Abiola Bello (Author and co-founder of Hashtag Press), Hannah Sheppard (Literary Agent, DHH Literary Agency), Charlie Morris (Senior Publicity and Marketing Executive, Stripes Books), Gillian McAllister (Sunday Times Bestselling Author)

On Wednesday, our administrators Kathryn and Anna went to the evening event Girls can do Anything, Write? The first panel discussion in a new series hosted at The Library in Covent Garden as part of the London’s Big Read 2019, inspiring an eagerly listening audience with suggestions for success in a publishing career.

Are women’s voices heard enough in the publishing industry?

The industry is predominantly populated by women so why are women rarely the ones in charge of those important decisions? After acknowledging that there are exceptions to this within the big six trade publishers, the big takeaways were:

  1. Male voices are often given more weight – women are making the hiring and firing decisions but men are rising through the ranks at faster speed.
  2. Men and women brand themselves differently – men are often more confident and actively seek a response, whilst women couch themselves with a much more passive approach. This confidence, particularly in authors trickles all the way down to the retail selling of a book.
  3. The glass ceiling has not yet been smashed – more conversations need to be had in the sharing of maternity leave for example.

On a positive note, women reign supreme in crime fiction at the moment and their voices are being heard in publicity roles across publishing.

Lesson: Be confident and share support, whatever stage you have reached in your career

(Don’t be afraid to ask AND offer!)

How can more BAME women be heard in publishing?

Publishing houses are making more of a conscious effort in their recruitment processes however, diversity reports show that there is more work to be done.

  1. There are not many BAME submissions and more books need to be published with BAME characters
  2. There is a twitter “mob mentality” around individual voices, however the existing writing community is under pressure to avoid writing diverse characters. So how do we get diverse books to young readers, with characters reflecting themselves, to encourage them become authors?
  3. It is possible that we need to start from the bottom, and address potential unconscious bias within schools and promote books outside of the educational canon.

Some Advice…

Are you an aspiring writer? Here are some useful tips:

  • FINISH THE BOOK! You can edit later, it is much easier to work on a finished manuscript.
  • Find something that triggers inspiration for you. A particular genre of films?
  • When reading, read analytically. (This is relevant to a career in publishing on the other side of the desk too!)
  • When writing, your characters should drive the plot – what do they really want? It is their goal that should lead the story.
  • It is important to network; attend events, blog, join in conversations, subscribe to industry news outlets like The Bookseller and BookBrunch. (This is relevant to a career in publishing on the other side of the desk too!)
  • TIP: Try to write 20 minutes a day and take a day off.

Do you want to get into publishing? Here are some useful tips:

  • Read a lot, especially what is being promoted, bestsellers and what is being reviewed. It is important to have knowledge of what works and the industry itself.
  • HAVE OPINIONS! When applying for a job, look for a connection between yourself and the role you are applying for.
  • Read the job advert closely, understand exactly what they are looking for and demonstrate that you have those skills.
  • Look at the companies’ social media and website and see what they value.
  • TIP: Recognise the business person within yourself and be a boss in your field!

With contributions from Anna Slevin.

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The Art of Reading

The Atwood Tate 2019 Reading List, find out what is on our consultant’s bookshelves this year!

Helen Speedy, Associate Director

HHelen loves history books, and was given `Queens of Conquest’ as a Christmas present as she really enjoys Alison Weir! Helen appreciate’s Weir’s writing upon historical figures, to which there is limited information and these queens from the early Middle Ages sit within that category.

Helen will also be reading `Tombland’ by CJ Sansom, as she loved the earlier Shaedlake books. `Tombland’ is set in Norfolk, where Helen is from, spurring her on to read it even more!

Kathryn Flicker, Administrator & Social Media Coordinator

Kathryn will be reading `Call me by your name’ as she hasn’t yet watched the film and wants to get lost in the romance and setting of Italy through the written word.

Richard Yates, is again on Kathryn’s bookshelf with `Revolutionary Road’.

Having read `The Easter Parade’ and finding it mostly sad, but recommending to everyone she knows, Kathryn is ready for more Yates!

Faye Jones, Publishing Recruitment Consultant

Faye is obsessed with Alfred Hitchcock films and `The Woman in the Window’ is loosely inspired by Rear Window. Having heard such good things, Faye decided to add to her list!

Faye will also be reading `Catcher in the Rye’, a classic she hasn’t got round to yet. `This is going to hurt’ by Adam Kay has been on Faye’s read pile for a while and 2019 is the year!

Anna Slevin, Temps & Freelancers Administrator

Anna is planning to read `Lies Sleeping’ by Ben Aaronovitch and `The Wise Man’s Fear’ by Patrick Rothfuss. Both fiction, both falling into the fantasy camp, they are fun and compelling and make reading fun for Anna!

`The Gastronomical Me’ by M.F.K. Fisher is also on Anna’s bookshelf. Food essays are wonderful to read and delight the senses!

Parissa Bagheri, Trainee Publishing Recruitment Consultant

Parissa is currently reading `The World’s Wife’, after enjoying The Feminine Gospels and its extravagant metaphors, Parissa is reading a Duffy poem a day!

`Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’, humorous and heavy hearted, Parissa is expecting to ride a roller coaster of emotions with this one!

Catherine Roney, Publishing Recruitment Consultant

Catherine is a huge fan of Liane Moriarty and can’t wait to get stuck into her latest book! Nine strangers in need of a break, a beautiful health and wellness retreat, what can go wrong?

If you enjoy warm, funny and family centred novels, indulge in some Liane Moriarty this year!

Karine Nicpon, Lead Consultant

Karine is planning to read `Chéri’ by Colette. Colette is a very famous French writer who Karine has never read, making 2019 the year!

The novel is written in French and English translations are available. A tale of unobtainable love, if you love romance, this is one for you!

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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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