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London Book Fair 2018 – What to Expect

Here at Atwood Tate, we’re getting ready for the London Book Fair, which will be taking place on the 10-12th April at the Olympia exhibition centre in Hammersmith. We are busy booking in meetings with our wonderful clients; it’s a great opportunity for us to connect or reconnect with our contacts across the industry. It’s an important time of year for publishers, especially for rights and acquisitions departments, but for everyone else involved in the production and sale of books too. It may be held in London but it is a global affair, with stands from 1,000+ companies from 56 countries around the world and attendees from over 118 countries.

What’s on

Seminars

There are SO MANY interesting talks on, and while it’s impossible to go to them all, you should definitely look at the programme to see what you’re interested in going to so you can plan your time around them. Some of our must-sees are:

  • How to Get Into Publishing – Wednesday 11th April, 4-5pm. This panel, organised by the Society of Young Publishers (SYP), will discuss how you can get your first role in publishing.
  • How to Get Ahead in Publishing – Wednesday 11th April, 5:15-6:15pm. Another SYP panel event, this one is aimed at those already in publishing looking to make it onto the next stage of their career and climb up the ladder.
  • Bookcareers.com clinic supported by The Publishers Association – Thursday 12th April, 14:30-17:00. Come and chat with an HR manager or publishing recruitment consultant at this careers clinic! Get advice on your CV and ask questions to the experts. Our Senior Recruitment Consultants Alison Redfearn and Christina Dimitriadi will be there and can’t wait to meet you. Be warned though – this is a very popular event and will be busy. Get there early and prepare to queue.

Networking

There are plenty of opportunities to network at the fair – at stands, in queues, sitting next to people in seminars… There are also networking events, and you are likely to see us hovering around – do say hello! We’ll be at:

Market Focus

This year there will be a Market Focus on the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) as they celebrate a century since their independence. The aim of the Market Focus is to showcase books and the publishing trade in specific countries and regions around the world, and to highlight and encourage business opportunities globally.

This is really just an introduction to what will be happening at the London Book Fair this year. Whether this is your first time at the Fair or your thirtieth, we look forward to seeing you there! Get your ticket here. Follow #LBF18 on Twitter for more updates.

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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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Is a Publishing MA right for me?

A Publishing MA can be a big boost to your CV, due to the technical and theoretical knowledge it can give you, as well as the practical work experience you will gain. It is by no means a prerequisite for a job in publishing, but it can help when you enter an over-saturated job market. However, it’s not for everyone and lots of people get into the industry via other means, such as internships and work experience. Before you apply, you should consider whether the course is right for you.

What universities offer a Publishing MA course?

Some universities which offer the course include:

Things to consider

Cost

Fees vary between universities, but are usually around £6,000-£10,000. You will also need to fund living expenses. UK postgraduate students can apply for a loan of up to £10,280 (https://www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan/what-youll-get), and there are various bursaries available. See the websites of individual courses for more information about the financial support they can offer.

You may want to work part-time during your MA; however, if your course includes full-time work experience placements as well as studying, then consider whether you will have time to work alongside it.

What does the course cover?

What sectors of the publishing industry does the course look at – trade? Academic? STM? And what job roles/departments will you learn about – editorial? Production? Marketing?

If you are not 100% sure which area you want to go into, a Publishing MA can be a great way of finding our more information about areas you may not have previously considered. Then you can make an informed decision about your future career path rather than going in blind.

Links to publishing houses

What publishing houses does the course have links with? Ask where previous students have done placements and consider whether these are the types of companies you want to work for. Work placements and contacts at top companies are one of the most valuable components of publishing courses.

Other things to think about

  • Are you the kind of person who likes working in an academic environment? Are you prepared for the exams and/or dissertation or would you rather gain your skills on the job?
  • Will this help you get a foot in the door or increase your future earning potential?
  • Have you already done some work experience in the publishing industry? This can help you make sure this is the right career for you – before you spend any money.

For more information about getting into publishing, please see our Work Experience and Entry-Level Resources page.

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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.

#BrightBlueMonday

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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5 Steps to Achieve Your Career Goals in 2018

The beginning of a new year is a good time to reassess where you are in your career and where you would like to be. This is the first stage of achieving your career goals. As we begin 2018, start making a plan of how to fulfil your ambitions and get the most out of your career.

1)   Assess where you currently are compared to where you want to be

Do you know what a typical career ladder in your field might look like? If not, it’s time to do some research. Ask colleagues, contacts, even Google. Or have a browse of Linked In at the people who are doing the job you want to be doing – and see the steps they took to get there. (You might want to check your Linked In privacy settings first if you don’t want them to know you’re looking at their profile!)

We also post infographics showing, for example, a career path for Production, on our Facebook page! Follow us to keep up to date.

2)   Decide on a timeline

It’s not a good idea to be looking for a new job or a promotion if you’ve only just started in a new role. Hiring Managers will be wary of someone who has switched jobs every six months. 2018 might not be the year you get that new, dream job, but that doesn’t mean you’re not moving forward and getting closer to achieving your goals.

Alternatively, it may be that the time is right and you’re ready to move on to new challenges. If that’s the case, get in touch! Register on our website, or if you are already registered, make sure we have your up-to-date CV. We’d be happy to help you in your search!

Speaking of…

3)   Update your CV

Make sure it’s up to date and looks its best. Ask for feedback from people you know. Also see our advice on our blog, like our recent post on the Do’s and Don’ts of CVs.

4)   Brush up on your skills

Are there skills you know would be useful in your career that you haven’t got around to learning? If training opportunities arise in your current job, take them! Or if not, there are great resources available online. Codeacademy is a great free resource to learn to code, including HTML and CSS. Alternatively, if you have the resources, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) offer a number of reputable online or classroom-based courses. Also see what’s coming up from:

5)   Follow through

It’s easy to start the year full of motivation, but it’s hard to follow this momentum through all year. Set yourself deadlines if you’re learning new skills, or print out your career resolutions and stick them above your desk at home so you can see it and be reminded of your goals.

Good luck! We wish you the best in achieving your career goals this year, and hope you’ll be in touch with us if you’re looking for a change so we can help.

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Tips for Video Interview Success

Video interviews are becoming increasingly popular. They may take two forms: they may be conducted via Skype or a similar platform, where you talk in real-time to an interviewer, or they may involve recording answers to pre-set questions without the presence of an interviewer. The former is similar to a face-to-face interview, although there are a few things you should watch out for. The latter may feel more unnatural if you haven’t done one before, but remember everyone is in the same boat and there is nothing to worry about!

Our Top Tips for Success in your Video Interview

  • Make sure you won’t be interrupted. Remember that video interview on the BBC that went viral when the interviewees children came bursting into the background? Interviewers will probably understand if something like that happens, but it’s likely to throw you off your game! Make sure your children, pets, roommates etc. are aware of what you’re doing and are kept out of the room. You don’t want your cat walking all over your keyboard in the middle of the interview!
  • Use a plain background – a plain wall is ideal. You don’t want the interviewer to be distracted by the stack of laundry in the background or your unusual taste in posters.
  • If it’s a Skype interview, make sure you check your webcam and microphone are working well before your scheduled interview time. Call a friend or family member to check, and to help calm your nerves.
  • If you have to record your answers, make sure you practice and listen to yourself back a couple of times. Without the presence of an interviewer, it’s easy to feel awkward and that can come across in the recording. Practising will help you feel more natural.
  • Dress smartly – as you would for a face-to-face interview – and not just on the top half. You’ll feel more in the interview ‘zone’ as well as coming across more professional.
  • Look at the camera, not yourself. This will give an appearance of eye contact, otherwise you’ll appear to be looking down.
  • Relax – you’ve got this!

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CV Tips – Do’s and Don’ts

Working in recruitment, we look at a LOT of CVs. One thing that can help or hinder a candidate is how they’ve laid out their CV – we try to look past the structure to the content, but this is made MUCH easier when the information is presented clearly and logically. It’s not about fancy designs (unless you are applying for design roles), but a well-structured CV demonstrates your written communication skills, which are essential in any publishing job.

Do

DO clearly set out the dates (month and year) you worked at any position.

e.g. November 2015 – October 2017        Atwood Publishing          Sales Assistant

DO use concrete figures and examples to back up your achievements. Statistics sound impressive!

DO use bullet points which list your responsibilities and accomplishments in each previous role.

DO include a brief ‘Profile’ at the top of your CV. This is optional, but can give you an opportunity to highlight your most relevant skills and experience for the job. It should be tailored to each role you apply for. Do NOT exceed a couple of sentences.

DO save your document as a Word or PDF document and name it something like ‘Jane Bloggs CV’.

DO specify the relevant IT programmes or programming languages you are competent in under your ‘Skills’ section – InDesign, Microsoft Office, WordPress, HTML etc. Also mention if you can speak any foreign languages.

DO maintain a professional style. You can include details of your interests to make it personal; however, a CV shouldn’t be in an informal or ‘chatty’ style.

DO list your education and employment in reverse chronological order. However, if your most relevant experience is not your most recent, you may want to do a separate ‘Relevant Experience’ section above your ‘Recent Employment’ section.

DO provide a link to your LinkedIn profile, and if it’s relevant (such as for publicity roles) your Twitter handle or blog URL.

Don’t

DON’T write long paragraphs. It makes the relevant information harder to find and a Hiring Manager might miss something important.

DON’T go over two sides of A4. You need to demonstrate you can prioritise relevant information.

DON’T include a picture, date of birth or details of your marital status.

DON’T write ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top. It’s a waste of space as the hiring manager already knows what they’re looking at, so just put your full name.

DON’T list all your GCSEs or O-Levels, as it takes up too much space. It’s fine to put ‘3 x A grades, 6 x B grades, 1 x C grade, including English and Maths at grade B.’

DON’T include details of every module you took for your degree, but only include something if it’s relevant for the role you want.

DON’T mention anything political or controversial.

Other Resources

See our suggested CV layout here! You can also find more resources on our advice page.

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Q&A Round Up

Last week was the Publishers Association’s #workinpublishing week! We did a Q&A on Twitter – if you missed it, you can catch up here.

Q: What are the key features recruiters look for in a CV and Cover Letter when recruiting for entry level publishing jobs?

A: Office/admin experience is useful across the board, as are work experience, internships or temp roles in publishing houses! A well written, clear and concise cover letter will also get you a long way.

Q: How important do you think events like literary events and trade shows are?

A: Getting to know people at industry events can be really useful, especially as you can get a feel for different roles and sectors! Having said that, it’s not compulsory, so if you don’t live in London and you can’t get to events easily, don’t worry!

Q: When considering a job offer, it’s not just about salary. What else should candidates be thinking about?

A: Consider what’s important to you – the commute time, flexible working opportunities, training/professional development and company benefits!

Q: What are the most desirable additional tools to have experience in?

A: It depends on the role! But skills like InDesign, social media, general admin/database experience are useful for a lot of publishing work.

Q: I have a lot of volunteer experience with indie pubs, and I’m starting to look for my first publishing job. What would you say my next step should be?

A: Sounds like you should start applying for entry-level roles! You’d also be a great temping candidate, which can sometimes lead to long term roles.

Q: how can I make myself stand out from the hundreds of other graduates when applying for jobs?

A: Make your cover letter stand out by talking about your work experience, any temp roles, admin experience, and extracurricular interests which give you transferable skills!

Q: Are entry level publishing roles hard to come by? I feel like I haven’t seen many around since I graduated.

A: Entry-level roles are VERY competitive so get filled quickly, but a great way to get your foot in the door is through temping! Register with us for temping opportunities and we may be able to help.

Q: What are the most in demand roles in publishing?

A: Most people want to work in editorial, but publishers are always looking for Commissioning Editors and Production Controllers!

Q: What are your top tips for writing a good CV?

A: Be clear and concise, use bullet points, and put most relevant experience at the top! No long paragraphs please! For more tips see our blog post here.

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Beanstalk and Reading Matters have joined forces!

We were delighted to hear that Beanstalk who we’ve been supporting for the last 7 years has now merged with another literacy charity, Reading Matters. This will allow them to support even more children and young people and help them to achieve their 2020 vision of working with 30,000 children.

The aim of the charity is to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds gain confidence in reading. Beanstalk provides 1-1 reading support to children in primary schools and early years, Reading Matters covers secondary schools so this is a great combination.

In 2016-17 Reading Matters helped 6,497 children and young people while Beanstalk worked with 11,000 children over the same period.

About Beanstalk

  • Beanstalk is a national charity that provides one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading.
  • The charity recruits, trains and supports volunteers to provide one-to-one literacy support in primary schools.
    Beanstalk’s trained reading helpers transform the lives of the children they support, turning them into confident, passionate and able readers.
  • In the last school year the charity helped over 11,000 children across England, in over 1,400 schools, with the help of over 3,000 reading helpers, ensuring children have the skills and confidence to reach their true potential.
  • By 2020-21 Beanstalk aims to help 30,000 children every year, with 8,000 volunteers.

About Reading Matters

  • Reading Matters is a registered charity and not-for-profit social enterprise which began in 1997. Since then, the charity has supported tens of thousands of young people.
  • In 2016/17, Reading Matters supported 6,497 children and young people and on average increased reading ages by 13 months in just 10 weeks.
  • The charity runs a range of programmes: Reading Mentors, Reading Leaders, Reading Families and Reading Teams. They provide schools with a resource box of reading materials that will engage and encourage reluctant readers.
  • Reading Matters’ social mission is to help children, young people and adults to reach their potential by becoming confident and enthusiastic readers.

More info:

www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk

and check out the Bookseller article: https://www.thebookseller.com/news/beanstalk-and-reading-matters-merge-664681

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Consultant in the Hot Seat: Alice Crick

This week, our Oxford based Recruitment Consultant Alice Crick takes to the Hot Seat.

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

If I could write one incredible book on something, it would definitely be a self-help guide on living a truly fulfilling and happy life. As cheesy as it sounds, I don’t think anyone’s quite cracked it yet, and it would be amazing to be the one with all of the answers to those big life questions.

What three books changed your life?

Three books that really struck a chord with me are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. The first two are quite similar, and I found them both particularly emotional reads as they really resonated with me. You definitely learn to empathise with the main characters, which in turn teaches you how to better relate to others in the real world. I think that is one of the most genuine signs of a good book. The Reluctant Fundamentalist was the first book I ever studied on my English Literature course at university; I found it impressive how Hamid provokes western readers to consider a new cultural perspective from ‘the other side’. It’s another incredibly powerful read that makes you question the cultural biases ingrained into us from a young age.

What have been the highlights of the past year?

My highlights from the past year have definitely been graduating from Royal Holloway with a 2:1 in English, moving to Oxford with my boyfriend, and starting a full time job as a Publishing Recruitment Consultant here at Atwood Tate. Most people don’t take on so many big changes all at once, but here I am!

What is on your birthday wish list?

Home things, home things and… more home things! Having moved very recently, I’m eager to get my ‘hygge’ on (the Danish art of living well), by making my home super cosy just in time for those chilly autumn and winter months.

True fact:

Before committing to a course at university, I spent a year learning how to be a professional musician at an academy. As you can see, that one didn’t quite work out!

 

Alice Crick covers Marketing, Sales, Publicity, Rights & International Sales, Contracts & Royalties, Customer Services in all UK locations outside of London, Home Counties and East Anglia, in all sectors excluding B2B & Medcomms.

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants cover, go to the “Meet the Team” page:

https://www.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/about/meet-the-team.aspx

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