Tag Archives: books

Kayleigh Pullinger: Interview with a Book Designer

This is an interview with Kayleigh Pullinger, Designer at emc design. emc design is the largest design agency dedicated to book publishing in the UK. Kayleigh joined emc in 2017 after earning her designer’s stripes in the big city. Although new to book design, she is excited to learn new skills and over the moon that she can now spend more time with her lopsided pet rabbit (Bobbity) instead of commuting.

1) How did you start your career? And do you have any tips for people wanting to cross over from graphic to book design?

My first job was working as an in-house designer for a charity, followed by two jobs working for design agencies with clients varying from independent start-ups to big FTSE100 corporates.

My tips to those who’d like to cross over from graphic design to book design would be to familiarise yourself with inDesign as much as possible, and brush up on your basic Photoshop skills. Knowing the software that you’ll use day in day out will speed you up and free some headspace for getting creative with the realia (realia is the term used for images on the page, used to illustrate a language learning point). Start looking at the world around you, which, as designers, you probably do anyway. Take notice of how websites work, what makes an online article look different to one in a magazine? Study the pizza menu next time you’re out and about and make a mental note of how the menu is designed. All these little things help in really unexpected places.

2) What are your favourite and least favourite parts of your job?

My favourite part of my job is definitely styling realia, closely followed by a good stint of text formatting. I love how quickly you can go from a completely unstyled page of text to something visually engaging. I have to say that my least favourite part of my job is checking my own proofs, as I’m terrified of missing a big blunder.

3) If you could travel five years back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

Don’t panic if what you’re doing feels unfulfilling at the time, it’s all a learning curve, and eventually you’ll end up doing something that engages you properly. Take your time over every job, no matter how small. Get off the internet and go out into the world more, to museums and galleries and concerts and even just down the road.

4) Who do you admire and why?

Jessica Hische is my hero. She’s a lettering artist and illustrator, which is a far cry from what I do, but her career path and drive inspire me. She also keeps a lot of personal projects on the boil, which I think really helps keeps your creative cogs oiled. Oh, and she can code too!

5) Will you be at London Book Fair and if so, what are you most looking forward to? 

I won’t be personally this year, but some of my emc design colleagues are going down, so feel free to say hello to John and Ben.

Bonus Q: What book characters would you invite to your fantasy literary dinner party?

Being a child of the Harry Potter generation, I’m definitely inviting Albus Dumbledore, Luna Lovegood and Dobby. Let’s also throw in Anne Elliot, Lyra and  Marvin the Paranoid Android to mix it up a bit.

Thanks Kayleigh for taking the time to answer our questions! You’ve made me want to try my hand at book design now…

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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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LGBT History Month in Books and Publishing

February is LGBT History Month in the UK, a month to remember the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people throughout history and to raise awareness of the current position of LGBT people in society. We thought this would be a good time to reflect on and celebrate LGBT authors and those working in publishing.

LGBT booksDetail of the portrait of a young woman (so-called Sappho) with writing pen and wax tablets

I am a big fan of LGBT literature, with my dissertation at university being about the influence of Sappho on twentieth century female poets – Anne Carson, with her beautiful translations of Sappho’s fragments; Amy Lowell, chronically overshadowed by her relative Robert; Olga Broumas and her collaborations with Jane Miller and T. Begley, celebrations of female love and desire.

Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Patrick Ness, Sarah Waters, Rita Mae Brown, Jeanette Winterson, Ali Smith… LGBT writers and texts have helped shape literary history, though many are forgotten, or their sexuality hidden. Many chose not to write explicitly about their sexualities, due to censorship. Today we obviously do not censor LGBT literature, though barriers remain to getting published. Books featuring LGBT characters may be considered more niche and therefore not chosen for publication. As a result, LGBT authors and characters are underrepresented on our bookshelves.

What’s changing in the publishing industry?

Publishers are trying to change this and diversify their lists. Penguin Random House launched Write Now in 2016, a programme for un-agented writers from communities underrepresented in publishing. This includes those from BAME and LGBT+ communities. Selected writers are invited to insight days and ten are selected for a year-long mentoring programme, with the aim to then publishing these writers.

Little Tiger announced today that they will be publishing a short-story anthology for young adults written by LGBT+ authors. They are now accepting submissions for PROUD from unpublished and un-agented LGBT+ writers.

Last year, Pride in Publishing launched as a network for anyone who identifies as LGBT+ working in the UK publishing industry. They hold bimonthly networking events and committee meetings which all members are welcome to attend.

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Best Book and Publishing-Related Podcasts

When I’m not listening to an audiobook on my way to work, I love listening to podcasts – especially ones about books and publishing! It’s no secret that the audio sector is growing, whether through audiobook services like Audible, Kobo or Google Play, or through the rise of podcasts. Here are a few of my favourite book and publishing-related listens:

1)    Mostly Lit

A weekly books and pop-culture podcast from Alex Reads, Rai, and Derek Owusu. Aimed at a millennial audience, this is a fun and accessible podcast that promotes reading as something for everyone to enjoy. It makes reading cool again, discussing books alongside films and TV.

You can find them on Twitter @MostlyLit

2)    Minorities in Publishing

This publishing industry podcast from Jenn Baker interviews publishing professionals as well as authors and others related to the industry about diversity (or the lack thereof) in book publishing.

You can find them here: http://minoritiesinpublishing.tumblr.com/

3)    BBC Radio 4 Books and Authors

BBC Radio 4 hosts a number of high quality book podcasts, which include interviews with high-profile authors and public figures. It tends to focus on more literary fiction. Harriett Gilbert hosts A Good Read, where she discusses people’s favourite books. Recent episodes feature Ruby Tandoh, Nicola Sturgeon, and Stephen Fry. Also see Radio 4’s other podcasts – Bookclub and Short Story in particular are worth a listen.

Download Books and Authors here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrsfl/episodes/downloads

4)    Guardian Books

Similar in tone to the Radio 4 podcasts, the Guardian’s version is a weekly show hosted by Claire Armistead, Richard Lea, and Sian Cain with interviews and discussions about latest book trends and themes. Recent episodes cover LGBT must-reads and Helen Dunmore’s posthumous Costa prize.

Find all episodes here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/series/books

5)    Time Literary Supplement – Freedom, Books, Flowers & the Moon

This weekly podcast from the TLS takes its name from the Oscar Wilde quotation, ‘With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?’ Stig Abell, Thea Lenarduzzi and Lucy Dallas are joined by special guests and discuss articles from the week’s edition of the magazine, covering literature and related topics, including politics, culture, language and history.

All episodes are on their website and can be found here: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/podcast-freedom-books-flowers-moon/

6)    Book Riot

Book Riot is well worth a listen for their accessible discussions of book-related news. There is a notable American bias, but any global publisher today will want to keep up with what’s happening in the book world over the pond.

Find it on the Book Riot website (and while you’re there, it’s also worth taking a look at the other content on there!): https://bookriot.com/listen/shows/thepodcast/

Let us know in the comments or on social media what you’ve been listening to recently!

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Our Favourite Books in 2017

Our favourite books in 2017 header

This has been a great year for trade publishing and we’ve been enjoying reading both new releases and older books we hadn’t quite got round to. Here are our favourites that we’ve read this year!

Claire C-S

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury)Lincoln in the Bardo cover

The Man Booker Prize winner has been writing short stories for 20 years, but it’s his prize winning debut novel about Abraham Lincoln grieving the death of his son Willie which is already considered a masterpiece. Told through the narrative of spirits and extracts of Civil war memoir, this emotional and poignant tale of loss will stay with you forever.

Ellie

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins)Eleanor Oliphant cover

This debut was deservedly named WHSmith’s Fiction Book of the Year. Eleanor Oliphant is an utterly unique narrator, equal parts irritating and charming, and this story about her learning to engage with the outside world brought me to tears on more than one occasion. It also has the most realistic depiction of a cat I think I’ve ever read!

Claire L

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047 by Lionel Shriver (The Borough Press)The Mandibles cover

I love a good dystopian fiction novel and this one didn’t disappoint! Lionel Shriver creates a believable very near future world which is going through major debt crisis (following an earlier crash of the internet). The US refuses to get on board with the new global currency and this leads to huge bankruptcy. We follow a family who were expecting a large inheritance, having to adjust in this new world and Shriver gives us some quirky and likeable characters as well as some awful ones – just like a normal family?!

Lucy

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend (Penguin)The Woman who went to Bed for a Year cover

The book I am currently reading is definitely up there with my favourites this year. Sue Townsend retains her place in my heart with The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year. Poignant yet hilarious, this book shines a light on modern family life with the wit we expect from the woman who brought us Adrian Mole.

Tanaya

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Mass (Bloomsbury)A Court of Mist and Fury cover

This was actually published in 2016 but I only read it this year as I struggled to get into it during the first chapter. This was by far my favourite book of the year. The main character, Feyer, is rebuilding her life after the massive events of the last book and learns to come to terms with the person she is now. A Court of Mist and Fury is all for empowerment and putting the pieces of your life back together after an abusive relationship.  It combines the amazing fantasy world building and characters of Sarah J Mass with powerful messages about self-worth and independence.

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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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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: https://thesyp.org.uk/volunteer-with-the-syp/

See more of our posts about SYP events: https://blog.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/tag/society-of-young-publishers/

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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!

#Inclusivityconf17

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PPA IPN Conference & Awards

The annual Independent Publisher Conference and Awards Ceremony 2017. We are very proud to be sponsoring the event and hope to see you there!

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