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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Marketing in book publishing

BytetheBook hosted a particularly good event called ‘How Do you Market Authors and their Books?’

Introduced by Justine Solomons and chaired by Hermione Ireland (Marketing Director at Little Brown Book Group @hermioneireland) the evening covered a really good range of questions for both authors and those working in marketing in publishing.

They had a range of experts including Julia Silk (Literary Agent at Kingsford and Campbell @juliasreading), Truda Spruyt (Director of PR agency Colman Getty @TrudaSpruyt) and Kit Caless (Author and Publisher at Influx Press @KitCaless) to ensure we heard all sides of the story!

Take aways

  • It’s important to market yourself (or your author) not just your product. You need to creative and authentic.
  • It’s vital to be resilient (perhaps more in publicity) where you get lots of no’s before you get yes’s.
  • There was a split on the importance of social media with Kit saying it depends if the author is confident to do. Similarly events can work well if the author is behind it and has connections.
  • Partnerships also work well if the author has a strong back story and connections.
  • Everyone agreed it’s vital to get a marketing plan together at a very early stage – 3-6 months ahead of publication date and you either need time to do marketing yourself or money to pay someone to do it for you!
  • Publishers should put together a detailed marketing plan for you with a budget that generally reflects the size of the advance.
  • For self-published authors, be creative (Kit sends 2-300 advance copies with a hand-written note out to all the indie booksellers which generates strong advance orders).
  • Metadata is vital to get right. There are various codes and key words that can be used and manipulated to gain visibility. In big publishers there are tech people doing this but you can put your book in several niche sub categories to reach a wider audience. You might be number 1 in a niche!
  • Facebook advertising can be used effectively especially for genre publishing. And try Facebook Live which is free.
  • Authors should think about their readers/audience as the book will need to go through a long selling chain if published by a publisher (Agent – Editor – Sales – Marketing etc) and they’ll all be asking – who will be interested in buying this book?

Thanks to the panel and Justine, founder of @BytetheBook and look forward to the next event!

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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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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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