Consultant in the Hot Seat – Sam Coleman

The second of our “Consultant in the Hot Seat” posts, Sam Coleman has been asked a variety questions by the team here at Atwood Tate. Read on.


1. If you could write ‘THE book’ on something, the definitive how-to guide on any subject, which topic would you choose?

I would write a book on the cognitive and physical development of a child. Watching my daughter grow up is endlessly fascinating and I always want to know more about what she’s thinking, how she’s thinking and why she’s thinking. The world must be a terrifying and edifying place for any newborn. I’d like to explore how best to communicate with a person who can only learn how to learn from their experiences.

2. What role would you like to see created in publishing next year?

I’d like to see a role that fits the entrepreneur. I’d like to see a creative, free thinking opportunity that doesn’t fit the usual skill set. I’d like to see a role that reflects and harnesses individual creative spirit. Ultimately I’d like to work on a role that shows a company’s willingness to take a risk.

3. What three books changed your life?

Hero of a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell – The journey of the Hero resides in us all and it’s a fascinating insight into why we adore the (as an example) Star Wars franchise so much.

Preacher by Garth Ennis – I wrote my dissertation on Preacher due mainly to the depth of the characters, the themes within the storyline and the overall impact of the artwork within. A masterpiece of sequential art if ever there was one.

The Proud Highway by Hunter S. Thompson – A vast collection of letters written to anyone he could point his typewriter at. In these I found the writer’s journey, an insight into a life far beyond my understanding and ultimately my inspiration to write.

4. What is the best way to market the skills and experience a candidate has?

Initially you have to bring the best out of them. Work to establish what drives them, what they’re passionate about and what they want to do before even thinking about marketing them. If your candidate doesn’t realise what they’re good at then sometimes you have to show them the way based on your understanding of the business. Once you have this the best way to market them is pick up the phone, talk to the right people and build those relationships.

The other way is to attend events. Get out the door and start networking. Sometimes the only way to establish the right “fit” is to meet the people your candidate could fit with.

5. What three things make the perfect candidate at Atwood Tate?

Integrity, honesty and passion.

6. If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?

The ability to breathe underwater.

7. What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?

I’ve just finished Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski. I thought it was one of the bleakest, funniest most savage takes on life in America I have ever read. Read it. Bukowski will change your life if you let him.

8. What has been the highlight/s of your publishing recruitment year?

Every candidate I place into a new job is a highlight for me. Honestly. Not only is it a life changing experience for that particular person I hope that, in turn, my actions have helped to better the inner workings of the publisher as well.

9. What are you most looking forward to in 2013?

Watching my daughter grow up, the next developments in the evolution of the publishing industry and gardening.

10. What is on your Christmas wish list this year?

Comic books. Lots and lots of comic books.

11. If you were the living embodiment of a publishing business model what animal would you be and why?

I would be a bat. Fragile, intelligent, delicate, warm blooded. The way they use sound to establish their surroundings feels very similar to what publishers are doing now – publishing new content, receiving feedback, moving onto the next part of the forest (market). Constantly learning and adapting.

* True fact: Sam used to teach SCUBA diving in Aberdeen, Scotland. Brr.

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