Category Archives: Industry News & Events

Write-ups of conferences and events that have been happening around the Industry.

Literary Prizes: a win for quality literature? With BookMachine and the TLS

Many thanks to Anna Slevin, our Temps Administrator, for this blog.

This week Atwood Tate went to the BookMachine event where the TLS hosted a panel discussing the nature of literary prizes. It was a real eye-opener as the panel were perfectly frank and honest in their capacity as judges for various prizes. An interesting one to perhaps keep in mind is Encore as they judge second novels and recognise that an author has continued in their chosen career and awards the winner £10k in recognition of their success, regardless of the fate of their first novel.

In contrast, another prize being awarded this year is for books of Jewish interest judged from across all genres be it memoir or fiction, history or comedy. Some of which were proposed and of no interest which made shortlisting somewhat simpler. Apparently the decision making was quite sedate and devoid of drama. (On a side note, you do not want an actor or actress like Joanna Lumley to preside over the judging panel, instead you want a politician like Michael Portillo because they will tell people when to speak and when to make a decision and when to go home which makes the process much smoother – Please note, these were the opinions of two panellists!)

The Cost of Gold

The general feeling was that most literary prizes are less about individual achievement of the author (compared to say, an athlete in the Olympics) than promotion of the product or the publisher. The sheer cost of marketing and the need for a ready print-run should you be short-listed for the Booker Prize can be crippling for smaller publishing houses which can result in less diversity at the submission stage for which the ultimate long- and shortlists can be criticised for. An audience member admitted to having won a prize and following the subsequent uplift, created their own literary prize to be awarded to other authors. At which point the nature of literary prizes seems to become an industry perpetuation and hype the public can glimpse but rarely buy into. It was observed that over the last century, the number of literary prizes on offer in the UK has grown to similar proportions of those in Europe; an odd trend given that historically the greater volume of competitions was considered vulgar by the British public.

The Question of Self-Publishing

An interesting question from the floor asked whether there will be a time when self-published books are judged alongside trade publications and the panellists were in unequivocal agreement that it was only a matter of time. The quality is not the issue. Only the volume. Who would do all of the reading? Who indeed.


When did you last read a prize-winning book?

…and did you agree it was worth the award?

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International Women’s Day – Inspirational Female Writers

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, we have collected some of our favourite inspirational quotes from female writers. There were too many to include all of them, so let us know in the comments what your favourite is that we’ve missed!

‘You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.’
― Maya Angelou, Still I Rise

‘I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.’
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

‘I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.’
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

‘No black woman writer in this culture can write “too much”. Indeed, no woman writer can write “too much”…No woman has ever written enough.’
― bell hooks, remembered rapture: the writer at work

‘I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.’
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

‘Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience.’
― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

‘There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.’
― Arundhati Roy

‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.’
― Audre Lorde

‘We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.’
― Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

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Byte the Book | Buzz Words: How Can You Build a Community Around Your Content

Last night I attended Byte the Book’s event on marketing and building a community around your content, sponsored by Bookswarm. As Atwood Tate’s Social Media Coordinator, I found the talk from industry leaders and influencers really interesting.

We gathered in the chapel at the House of St Barnabas (a not-for-profit private members’ club working against homelessness), which was a beautiful if unconventional venue. The wine I’d bought not long before had to be quickly finished off as we couldn’t bring alcohol into the chapel. As I sat on a hard wooden pew, I drafted a tweet with an image of the chapel, which I immediately had to delete upon being told the crucifix hanging over the alter was in fact copyrighted.

the chapel and full audience waiting for the discussion to begin

The chapel sans crucifix

At any other panel talk, the audience being glued to their phones throughout would be considered rude. At a digital marketing discussion, it’s encouraged, with live updates from the #BytetheBook hashtag projected on to the screen behind the speakers.

Digital Marketing Tips from the Panellists

Lysanne Currie, a journalist and digital strategist, chaired the discussion. She began by asking Laura Lindsay, Director of Global Communications at Lonely Planet, about the community of travellers Lonely Planet has built online and offline. Lindsay recounts how Lonely Planet started its online community in the 1990s by sharing letters from their readers. They were one of the first brands on Twitter, and built their following by sharing content from their community of travellers, not just sharing marketing materials. Building an online community, she says, is no different to building a ‘real world’ community.

Children’s author Piers Torday notes the barriers to connecting directly with readers online when those readers are children, so he embeds himself in distinct communities of parents, librarians and teachers. These are the gatekeepers and the people who buy children’s books. He also discusses the differences between content on different platforms. Twitter, he says, is great for conversations. Instagram is best for curated storytelling.

Leena Normington, YouTuber and Social Media Producer at Vintage Books, advises the audience to choose what platform(s) work for you, and not worry about using every platform. She notes the different demographics engaging with different media – for example podcasts tend to have a slightly older and more male audience than YouTube videos. She also emphasises treating your online audience as real people, not only as viewers or subscribers.

The panellists agree that the key to a great social media presence is to be consistent and to be genuine. Have a schedule for uploading content and show who you are as a person, rather than just marketing your book. Try new things and experiment, see what works for you and it’s okay to stop if it’s not working.

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The Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is something that affects a huge number of women in the UK and across most industries, including publishing. It is an issue that’s close to my heart, firstly being a woman and secondly working in recruitment and placing men and women into jobs. I’d like to hope we’re all doing more to address the gap and make this a fairer industry to be working in.

Gender Pay Gap and the Law

As members of the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation), we are aware of the latest news and legal requirements in recruitment. There is new leglislation coming up where employers with more than 250 employees will need to report on gender pay gaps. The deadline is 4 April for private organisations and 30 March for public sector employers. Many employers have already started to file their data on the dedicated government website.

The Government’s Gender Pay Gap Campaign website is a good resource for employers, giving information about how to collect and report data on the issue and how to close the gap. The following infographic gives the benefits of gender diversity in the workforce.

Employer benefits: improves brand reputation, attracts an improved pool of talent, higher staff retention, boosts staff productivity, meets the diverse needs of customers

Source: Gender Pay Gap Campaign

The Gender Pay Gap in Publishing – Advertising Salaries

Publishing has historically not been transparent with disclosing salaries – likely for a number of reasons and not all of them negative. This might not be a popular view but I really feel the industry would be much healthier with full transparency where all jobs are advertised with a salary range that is based on skills and experience.

In the UK, we shy away from talking about how much we earn. This is part of the reason employers choose not to advertise salaries on their vacancies, as employees in the same or similar roles may not want their own salary to be made public. It’s a taboo to ask ‘How much do you earn?’ But without open discussion, we cannot know what we are worth and so women’s value can be underestimated, by themselves as well as by their employer.

We’ve written before about advertising salaries here. We regret that we usually cannot display salaries on our vacancies, although we always give candidates the salary information before they submit an application.

The gender pay gap is slowly narrowing, though we still have a way to go. What do you think publishers and recruiters can do to close the gap further?

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Bett Show 2018

Last week Claire, Christina and Alison attended The Bett Show at London’s Excel centre. This annual trade show is the world’s largest edtech fair, featuring over 850 companies, and over 34,000 attendees. It’s an opportunity for people from the education sector to get together and see the latest innovation in technology /attend seminars and generally be inspired and share ideas. For us at Atwood Tate, it was a good opportunity to say hello to our clients in the education and keep abreast of any changes in the industry.


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Make #BlueMonday into #BrightBlueMonday

Let’s face it: January can be a miserable month. It’s cold, Christmas is over, and the days may be getting longer but you wouldn’t know it when sometimes you go days without seeing the sun at all. This all gave rise to #BlueMonday – allegedly the most depressing day of the year.


However, the charity Rethink Mental Health acknowledges that mental health isn’t dictated by the date. Depression can and does affect people every day of the year and this isn’t an issue to take lightly. That’s why they have come up with #BrightBlueMonday, a day to do some good and spread a bit of joy. They suggest that you ‘share a coffee with a colleague, bake something for the office or […] text an old friend to say hello.’

Brightening up a gloomy Monday morning is definitely something we can get behind. It’s also an opportunity to talk about serious issues. Employers: what are you doing to support those with mental health issues in your company? According to Rethink, 1 in 4 of us are affected by mental illness. The charity Mind’s research shows that ‘a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers’, and it may lead to poorer employee retention, higher absenteeism and lower motivation among staff.Woman smiling under rainbow umbrella. Text reads: 15 January Show your colours on #BrightBlueMonday

So what can employers do to help?

Mind have put together a fantastic collection of resources for businesses here. It’s about being accommodating and offering tailored reasonable adjustments to employees, whether that’s flexible working, providing a workspace that is, for example, quiet or has lots of natural light, or extra support for employees experiencing stress. Another policy could be a buddy system, which offers support outside of a line-management structure.

Charities like Mind and Rethink Mental Health have contributed to the positive cultural shift in attitudes towards mental illness. Companies are also making changes to better support their employees, but there are things we could all do to reach out to our friends and colleagues who may be struggling. So let’s make #BlueMonday into #BrightBlueMonday and spread some positivity today.

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PPA Independent Publisher Awards 2017

Speaker talking to audience in front of projection of PPA independent publisher conference 2017

Last month, we were delighted to be one of the sponsors of the PPA Independent Publisher Awards 2017. It was an exciting day and a great occasion to catch up with a lot of friendly contacts, clients and candidates, and the Independent Publisher Conference in the morning was as always full of talented speakers and valuable insights.

Jim Bilton, Managing Director at Wessenden Marketing, was the first to take the stage. He offered the audience a unique insight into the key industry trends in 2017, which has been a challenging year. He observed a massive drop in turnover and headcount growths (these figures were compiled from the benchmark Publishing Futures survey taken by 99 publishers). Key Industry Metrics graphThis has of course affected both our clients and candidates and confidence has reduced particularly in smaller publishers (only 44% are more confident than a year ago). B2B publishing, remarked Jim, is much more global and ad-driven than consumer publishing, and low print. Overall B2B has a solid profitability. Jim gave the audience valuable advice to overcome challenges and adapt to a changing media landscape, and he concluded on a positive note as 2018 should be a promising year with key indicators picking up.

Another crucial piece of information that morning was the session about the imminent GDPR. Simon Morissey, Partner at Lewis Silkin, talked us through users’ implied consent in online marketing. The GDPR will give users more control and choice over their data. This will be a challenge for the publishing industry but Simon pointed out that challenge creates opportunities. He also advised strongly that publishers start thinking about their marketing GDPR strategy now, not in May 2018 but now!

This enlightening morning was followed by the PPA Independent Publisher Awards. I was proud (and I confess a bit nervous!) to give away the award for Publisher of the Year. It was a great afternoon in very nice company. Congratulations again to all the winners of this year and thanks to the PPA for organising such a wonderful event! Bring on 2018.PPA Independent Publisher Awards winners

For more information about the PPA see their website here.

Karine Nicpon, Lead Consultant (B2B roles)

t: 020 7034 7905


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Join the Society of Young Publishers’ Committee

Many thanks to the Society of Young Publishers (SYP) for this guest post about applying for their committee! The SYP put on great events for the publishing industry, as well as advertising jobs on their website. We really recommend becoming a member and making use of their services and events. Joining the committee is a great way to learn new skills and meet new people in the industry.

The Society of Young Publishers is open to anyone, of any age, interested in publishing or a related trade – or who is hoping to be soon. From regular panels, workshops and networking events, to our bi-annual all day conference, we host events around the country to explore current publishing trends and debates to help anyone trying to break into the industry or progress within it develop skills and contacts. The SYP committee is made up of volunteering publishing individuals who are in the first few years of their careers. By day, we’re working in publishing and by night we’re volunteering for the SYP, and we’re looking for new committee members to join us for 2018.

Whether you are interested in running events, a role that puts you in contact with experts across the industry; being the voice of the society by managing social media and communications; connecting with the hiring powers of countless publishers by populating on our jobs board; or looking after our members as membership secretary, we’ve got a role for you. We have monthly team meetings and everyone on committee has a voice and can put forward any ideas to improve the society’s offering.

Being a volunteer on the SYP committee entitles you to a free year of membership and the chance to gain experience and contacts within the publishing industry. Making the move into publishing can be scary, however, being on the committee allows you to meet other like-minded publishing professionals, further your publishing experience and form firm friendships.

We have five regional branches across the UK and Ireland, each with their own committee, and a UK committee that manage membership, partnerships and our quarterly magazine, InPrint. Online and exclusively for members, we host a comprehensive Job Database of entry-level and junior positions around the UK and Ireland, as well as The Network a one-stop online forum for members to share tips and experiences with peers, network online, access exclusive content, and connect with industry experts.

We also offer a number of discounts on courses and event tickets and support a number of awards for emerging talent in the industry.

Applications close Friday 15th December. For a full breakdown of roles by region and how to apply please visit the Volunteer page:

See more of our posts about SYP events:

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Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference 2017

Is Publishing Inclusive these days?

Diversity or inclusivity in publishing is very much in the industry news and I went along to the Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference organised by the London Book Fair and the Publisher’s Association. It’s really good that the industry is addressing this, but it does feel like it’s a particular issue within Trade book publishing. We work with a wide range of sectors in publishing (academic, educational, professional, trade, STM, B2B) and there is a much more mixed demographic across the other sectors.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Creative Industries said diversity is a moral imperative and our social and economic responsibility which I’m sure we all agree with. Everyone also seemed to agree we need to have more role models from diverse backgrounds and it’s vital that there is diversity in senior leadership. Simon Dowson-Collins, General Counsel and Company Secretary at HarperCollins acknowledged that all people are different – some are extrovert, some introvert but it’s important to speak out so people can see BAME people in senior roles and aspire to it.

Halo/Horns Effect

In terms of recruitment, it’s important to have processes in place that avoid what’s called the ‘halo / horns’ effect – where you immediately warm to people like you and are less keen on those who are different. Some of our publisher clients are on top of this, for example using new processes that strip out names in the application process so hiring managers are not biased in their selection process. There have also been some recent strides including the HarperCollins BAME scheme, Little Brown’s new imprint Dialogue Books (publishing books by people under-represented in publishing).

Broadening Inclusivity in Entry-Level Recruitment

The afternoon session looked at broadening inclusivity in entry-level recruitment in publishing and there has been some progress in this area – it’s no longer the case that an English lit degree and a love of books is enough! Initiatives like Penguin no longer requiring a degree and offering help with accommodation and HarperCollins using video interviews and having a BAME grad scheme are helping. But it needs more work like us going in to schools to encourage publishing as a great career for all.

The Publisher’s Association has a 10-Point Inclusivity Action Plan that publishers can sign up to and is definitely worth a read to get some good ideas!


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London Info International 5 – 6 Dec 2017

Next week is the London Info International conference and exhibition at The Business Design Centre, Islington. Atwood Tate will be exhibiting for the first time so we hope to see you there. Anyone can book a FREE place for the exhibition now so invite your colleagues and industry friends! (Entry is free if you pre-register)

London Info International (LII) is a conference for the information industry with a diverse set of world leading speakers who will discuss and debate the most important and pertinent topics affecting us.

There are over 40 different speakers from the widest range of disciplines, organisations and geographies with top keynotes including:

  • Ziyad Marar, President, Global Publishing, Sage Publishing
  • Alfred Rolington, CEO Cyber Security Intelligence
  • Danny Kingsley, Deputy Director of Scholarly Communication University Library, University of Cambridge, Head of Scholarly Communications, University of Cambridge
  • Nicola Jones, Head of Publishing for Grand Challenges, Springer Nature

The conference will cover all the main themes affecting information professionals today, including: Facing the realities of uncertainty. New tribes, changing realities. The AI and machine learning renaissance – a revolution in the waiting? Dispatches from the university publishing revolution. Meet the upstarts – the publishing start-ups challenging the status quo. Valuing truth in the age of fake. Birth of the new infotech. Whose research is it anyway? Open science, open futures? Welcome to the new impact.

See the full Conference programme and speakers here.

There will also be Showfloor presentations including sessions on includes sessions on Rights, Counter, Copyright, Text and Data Mining, Scientific Research and Education, Content and Technologies.

And look out for the ‘Disruptor Zone’ (a competitive event designed to offer start-ups, vendors and publishers the opportunity to showcase their newest and most innovative products, platforms and/or content).

Exhibitors will be across the industry showcasing the best of scholarly, research and professional publishing, tools, technologies and service providers.

You can prebook for ‘Scheduled Networking’! There is a 1hr session each day where you will be given the opportunity to spend a few minutes with organisations of your choice to exchange business cards and have a brief discussion which can be extended on their stand or another meeting set up. Click here to sign up.

And lastly, there’s an Event app so you can plan your visit and for up to date news on-site. Book meetings, sessions programmes, Exhibitors list, floorplan, reminders and more! Available from 29th November.

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