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Industry Spotlight: Marketing and Publicity

Welcome to Atwood Tate’s industry spotlight series, where we go behind the scenes of each of our recruitment desks to give you the scoop on working with Atwood Tate. This week, Olivia returns, focusing on Marketing and Publicity roles.

marketing strategy image

Marketing

What do Marketers in publishing do?

Marketers are responsible for promoting a publisher’s products or services to their target audience, whether that be to individual consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B). Marketing can broadly be split into traditional (e.g. print advertisements, newsletters, flyers, brochures) and digital (e.g. social media, email, websites, paid search, SEO). The majority of marketing roles in publishing combine the two or are digital focused, so it’s advisable to keep your digital skills up to date.

Marketers have many different channels and techniques at their disposal and roles will vary depending on the nature of the product or service and target audience. For example, if you are marketing books to teachers you are likely to produce a lot of visually appealing marketing collateral and do a lot of direct mail campaigns. On the other hand, if you are marketing a medical journal to doctors you will likely target them with intellectually stimulating email campaigns.

Do you need a marketing qualification to work in marketing?

Absolutely not. It’s something employers might find desirable but a lot of people start out in an entry level role and build up from there. Some people choose a qualification once they’ve built up some experience and decided on an area to specialise in. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) both provide qualifications which can be studied for alongside a full-time job. Your employer may even cover the cost of the course.

Where can a marketing job take me?

Marketing is great in that the skills and knowledge you develop are very transferable and will be useful for so many employers and different industries. There are a wealth of marketing roles in publishing. Some people choose to stay in one area of publishing for most of their career while others move around different sectors, which is possible to do, especially if you have particular skills or a specialism which is in high demand.

As there are so many marketing roles there are lots of opportunities for career progression and chances to move into management positions or very specialised roles.

publicist author interview

Publicity/PR

What do Publicists in publishing do?

Publicists are responsible for managing relationships with authors and dealing with their agents. Their job is to secure press coverage for books in the print, broadcast and online media so they are expected to build strong press relationships. They are also responsible for organising and attending events with authors, such as book launches and signings, interviews, author tours and appearances at literary festivals. Publicists need to stay informed about new trends and developments in their area of publishing and they often attend editorial meetings and contribute to pitches for new acquisitions.

Is PR all about parties and schmoozing with authors?

Yes, you might get the chance to work with high-profile and celebrity authors. You may also work with new and debut authors, which can be just as exciting and rewarding. Regardless of author list, there’s a lot of hard work and relationship building which goes into making any campaign successful.

Do you need a big network of media contacts?

Initially no. In junior roles you will be assisting PR Managers with their campaigns and general admin. As time goes on, you will start to build up a network of contacts. If you are working on particular titles, this may become quite specialised. For example, if you’re working with cookery authors, you will build up contacts with cookery magazines and food bloggers.

What skills do you need to succeed in marketing and publicity?

Marketing and publicity roles are closely linked and require similar skill sets. Anyone who wants to succeed in one of these roles needs superb communication and relationship building skills. They are busy jobs so excellent organisation skills are also essential. Creativity is also important. Some publishers work with small budgets, so you have to be innovative and resourceful to come up with new and inventive ideas. Keeping up to date with trends in the market is also key.

Marketers in particular often need to have strong copywriting skills and a good eye for detail. Photoshop and InDesign experience is a plus, especially if working in a collateral heavy role. Software skills are important as there are marketing programs you will be expected to use, such as CRM, email, social media, marketing automation software and analytics tools. There are a wealth of programs which do different things so it’s good if you can pick them up quickly. Video and audio content creation skills are increasingly desired in publishing, especially when working with online products.

If you are looking for a job in Marketing or Publicity, get in touch with Olivia at Olivia@atwoodtate.co.uk.

 

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Administrator in the Hot Seat: Cheryl O’garro

  • Who would you invite (and why) to your fantasy literary dinner party?

Meg Cabot has been one of my favourite authors since my teens, so she is non-negotiable. Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Jane Austen because their ear for wit, satire and the human condition is just fantastic. I think if the three of them got together, the resulting literary effort would  be a masterpiece. I’m just there for the great company!

  • If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?

How long do you have?! Off the top of my head, I would have to say either Harry Potter (for obvious reasons) or Northern Lights (the first of the His Dark Materials trilogy.) Both of those for me really draw you into their world and allow your imagination to really flow in a way that isn’t often possible outside of fantasy novels. I first read them when I was 7 and 10 respectively, and I would count both among my favourite books.

  • What has been the highlight/s of the past year?

The examiner telling me that my Masters’ thesis on the psycho-social benefits of hyper-engagement (a term I coined describing the adoption of arts consumption as a personality trait) had a strong and original voice and warranted elaboration. Who am I to decline that kind of professional and academic validation?! That is closely followed by my graduation ceremony in January.

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

Right now it would have to be Quicksilver- the ability to move at great speed would be so useful for travelling and completing tasks. I’d still have my 24 hours in the day, but could fit in so much more! 

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Atwood Tate Book Club: Back to School

 

Have you ever wondered what a team of publishing recruitment specialists like to read in their down time? Curious about our favourite books growing up? Welcome to the Atwood Tate Book Club, where we reveal what books have a special place on our shelves! For this entry, we go back to school with our favourite reads from our educational careers.

Julie Irigaray, Trainee Recruitment Consultant

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

The first book I read after having passed the French equivalent of the GCSE (around the age of 15). I was moving to another school and to a higher level, so I suppose I needed to read a book about the changes taking place when one becomes a teenager. This novel deals with dark themes like suicide, sex and obsessional love in such a delicate way and with such a rich language that I couldn’t resist. The mystery surrounding both the main characters and the narrator makes it even more mesmerising.

 

Anna Slevin, Temps & Freelancers Administrator

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard.

I read the play for fun around the time I was sixteen and bored at school. The way time merges together and the interplay of language between characters really captures the imagination. I’m still wondering if it would be anywhere near as good on stage!

 

Claire Law, Managing Director

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 

 

I did a course at Uni on Canadian Women’s literature and this and her other books had a great impact on my reading both for study and pleasure purposes from that point. I also decided to make a literary nod to her name when I set up Atwood Tate!

 

Helen Speedy, Associate Director

Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis (The Caucasian Chalk Circle) by Bertolt Brecht

I can’t remember whether Bertolt Brecht’s Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis (The Caucasion Chalk Circle) was one of my A-level set texts or an add on, but it remains one of the most influential plays that I have read. Our literature focus for German was Die Gerechtigkeit und das Gesetz, which translates as Justice and the Law.  When I got into trouble at school it was usually a rebellion in the face of injustice, so Brecht, who explores the concept of justice and the tendency for corruption to manipulate the law and even favour the criminal over the innocent, was appealing to me.  I recently re-read my other set text by Duerrenmatt, Der Richter und sein Henker (The Judge and his Hangman), and would recommend this as a quick and accessible read.  It’s a thriller (verging on noir) which delves into this issue of justice and (or versus) the law and I hope you can find it in translation somewhere if you don’t read German.

 

Charlotte Tope, Trainee Recruitment Consultant

Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman

I couldn’t put these books down – they delivered a great message, in a thoughtful way, to a young audience. Such an effortless read!

 

Faye Jones, Trainee Recruitment Consultant

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald 

I studied The Great Gatsby for A Level English and become completely immersed in the characters and history behind 1920’s America. Even though the first chapter of the book is difficult to get through, I always recommend The Great Gatsby to anyone who’s looking for a short read and the film is great as well!

 

Cheryl O’garro, Administrator and Social Media Coordinator 

The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan 

This 18th century satire from Irish playwright Brinsley Sheridan was one of my AS level set texts and I have been in love with it ever since.  The play follows Lady Sneerwell and her band of gossips and the hypocrisy of their behaviour. The two plots are amazing: Sir Peter Teazle and his new, much younger wife and their marital troubles (half of which stems from society rumours)  and Sir Oliver Surface who, wanting to write his will, sets out in various character disguises to test if brothers Peter and Charles Surface are as respectively good and bad as society claims. I picked up a leather bound 1903 third edition copy from an antique book shop in Dublin (where he was born) and I was so happy I nearly hyperventilated!

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The Spare Room Project: Helen’s Experience Hosting Publishing Interns

What is the Spare Room Project and how does it work?

Let’s be honest, opportunities in the publishing industry are mainly in London and this can be a real obstacle for anyone looking to enter the industry from outside of the capital. This is where the Spare Room Project comes in.  In 2016, James Spackman (publisher and consultant) with the support of the Publishers Association, set up this project, which provides aspiring publishers with the opportunity to stay in the city for free and take up work experience placements.

So how does it work?  It’s simple really: interns are matched with hosts who are willing to offer their spare room for a week.  If you sign up to the Spare Room Project, you’ll be added to a mailing list and alerted when there are new lodgers to host.  There’s no immediate obligation to host and you only need reply when you see dates that will work for you.  I would urge anyone with a spare room to sign up and see whether you can help now or in the future.

Helen’s experience hosting interns

I’m excited to be hosting my third Spare Room Project intern in June.  Not being a Londoner by upbringing, I am sympathetic to the challenges facing anyone looking to enter the industry from outside of the publishing hubs of London, Oxford and Cambridge, so it’s been great to be involved in this scheme.  It’s not only good to be doing something practical to enable those without existing contacts to gain an insight into publishing and hopefully get a foot in the door, but it’s also been an enjoyable and enriching experience from my point of view.  We’ve had two quite different guests so far, one who was a huge fan of musical theatre and managed to get cheap tickets for shows most evenings, so we hardly saw her and our second guest, who quickly became part of the family and was a huge hit with (and incredibly tolerant of) my children.  Quite different experiences, but both were perfect lodgers and no problem at all to host.

You can find out more here https://thespareroomproject.co.uk/ or on their Twitter, @SpareRoomProj, and don’t just take my word for it, read some of the testimonials on the PA’s website and check out their FAQs https://www.publishers.org.uk/activities/inclusivity/spare-room-project/.

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Literacy in a Digital Age | Beanstalk Event

Beanstalk are a nationwide charity dedicated to helping child literacy in the UK by sending trained volunteers into schools to read with them. We think this is really special which is why Beanstalk are Atwood Tate’s chosen charity. When they hosted a panel discussion on the topic of Literacy in a Digital Age, Anna went along to find out more.

In the news, recent headlines have decried a decline in the vocabulary of primary school children that has taken place in the last decade. Perhaps there is a correlation in the rise of portable technology. By using the best affordable technology to support provision to schoolchildren Beanstalk are hoping to improve national literacy levels. A new trial scheme has Amazon staff members Skyping school settings to bring voluntary reading support to remote locations it would be difficult to reach in person.

From the left: Ginny Lunn (CEO of Beanstalk), Andrew Franklin (Panel Chair; Publisher, Profile Books), Dame Julia Cleverdon (Chair of the National Literacy Trust), Francesca Simon (Author of Horrid Henry series), Prof Teresa Cremin (Head of Education at Open University), Dr Nicola Yuill (Director of Children and Technology Lab, Sussex University)

Smartphones and tablets can be a distraction, potentially leading to a lack of long-term concentration. The panel were asked whether technology could help teachers support reading or indeed help reading levels in general. The outlook was generally positive.

Comments ranged from 0-3 year olds being encouraged by tablets; the interactivity and personalisation a story with the aid of technology engaged otherwise reluctant readers; Prof Teresa drew attention to audio supplements and the digital book apps by Nosy Crow; text-based computer games can also expand a player’s vocabulary. Learning to read can be hard – and technology by its very nature is non-judgemental.

Francesca pointed out that her market is 5-8 year olds and ebooks account for less than 1% of her royalties. A parent downloading a portable copy of a book their child already has. Children still like physical books the panel agreed. How much of that is cultural habit future generations will discover.

Studies show that children are more likely to share an open book than a tablet or phone screen Dr Nicola explained, although phones for us are private and personal. Any discussion therefore needs to include frank conversations about how we interact with technology in society. The panel concluded that literacy is about more than just reading. It is about sharing ideas, stories, interests and enjoyment. Part of what Beanstalk does so well is connecting children with adults who will encourage them to read what interests them.

The ideal is to interact through the technology, not with the technology. We just haven’t got there yet. Nursery rhymes have incredible potential and replicating the anticipation with a picture book, with gaps for words and interaction may well be possible with the mediated experience delivered by technology. This could help in home environments where adults cannot sit and read with a child for ten minutes a day.

Other things discussed included the dearth of reading aloud as it is not included in school targets. The audience contributed to the conversation too and acknowledged the scale afforded by technology as it can reach more people, bringing together a community of shared readers; social media can suggest books suitable for a certain age group to busy parents.

When 1 in 4 children do not own a book of their own in the UK and public libraries are closing it is easy to think that access to books is the only problem but technology can give access. The other major issues are generating the desire to read and knowledge of what is available. Technology is the tool, not an answer in itself.

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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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