Tag Archives: children’s publishing

Oxford Publishing Society: 21st Century Publishing Careers

On Thursday we attended the OPuS Event Careers in 21st century publishing at Oxford Brookes University. The event featured three speakers from a wide range of companies who talked through their own specific work experience path. The event aimed to answer questions on the ease of progressing and moving around in publishing, what key elements are needed to build your career and the possibility of finding success outside traditional publishing companies.

Faye & Alison and Oxford Publishing Society

 

Ian Campsall, Product Manager for The Science Direct Article Page at Elsevier

Ian completed the Oxford Brookes MA as he wanted to change careers. He completed an internship at John Wiley and then applied for the position of Digital Publishing Executive at Wiley, he then moved into product management for mobile platforms. He is now Product Management for Elsevier working on The Science Direct Article page.

Aaron O’Dowling-Keane, Sales and Marketing Manager at Sherlock: The Game is Now

Aaron also studied the MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes and completed internships at OUP and the International Labour Office in Geneva. Her first role in publishing was for a small African Publisher in Oxford, she then moved away from publishing into crowdfunding, then story led interactive games and is now a Sales and Marketing Manager for a Sherlock themed escape room.

Saskia Watts, Marketing Specialist, VitalSource (Ingram)

After completing her MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes, Saskia worked for Lightening Source as a marketing coordinator and she is now a marketing specialist for Ingram Vital Source.

Here are some interesting tips from the evening:
• Take risks
• Technology is everything and digital skills are important
• Organisation is key
• Talk to your company about career development opportunities
• Soft skills are vital
• Feedback is a good thing, use constructive feedback to improve
• Recognise that publishing is all about collaboration
• Take Risks, if the role does not suit you and you are not happy move on
• Be curious and talk to everyone, get to know people from different places
• Try everything and do everything, volunteer at university events, join societies like OPuS, SYP
• Create the role that you want
• Adapt and be flexible and keep learning

Useful links:
Oxford Publishing Society, OPuS: http://oxfordpublishingsociety.org/
SYP (Society of Young Publishers): https://thesyp.org.uk/

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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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Atwood Tate Does The SYP Pub Quiz Night

What happens when you mix four publishing professionals, good burgers and a pub quiz with pictures? A good night out, apparently!

Not far near London Bridge lies The Miller – a pub with excellent burgers and an interesting range of cider (including Frozen Strawberry Slush!)

Last week, four of the best and brightest that Atwood Tate have to offer went along for the annual SYP Pub Quiz in support of the Book Trade Charity (BTBS).

We called ourselves Atwood Great (modest!) and went head to head with  7 other teams of people starting out in the publishing industry.

What we thought would be a straight forward question and answer session turned into a feat of anagrams and guessing opening and closing lines!  We did worryingly well on the children’s literature round, but the most team bonding happened on the ‘Say What You See’ – how many can you get from the picture below?

say what you see

Unfortunately, we had to bow out early, but we had tons of fun! Thank you to the lovely team at the SYP for organising.

Want to get involved in an SYP event?

Society of Young Publishers (SYP) have a great events schedule and job board for the publishing industry. We recommend becoming a member!  Some of our team will be at How to Succeed with Your Job Search so make sure to have your questions ready!  

SYP logo

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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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London Book Fair 2018 Round-Up

 

We’ve had an amazing (if exhausting!) three days at the London Book Fair 2018 this week. We’ve had really productive meetings with clients new and established, met some brilliant new candidates, been to fascinating seminars and walked far too many steps (I wish I’d had a pedometer to keep count)!

Our Highlights from the London Book Fair 2018

We had a comfortable booth in the Club at the Ivy, which acted as our base and a venue for meetings on all three days of the fair.

The excitement of the fair was contagious, and it was really fun to walk around soaking up the atmosphere and looking at the stands. It was great to see what new releases are coming out soon as well as new developments in the industry as a whole, including a big focus on technology and audio.

The big talking point this year was the recreation of the Oval Office, built to publicise the release of Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s new novel, The President is Missing. My other favourite was the Usborne stand, which looked like a treehouse! The children’s section was as fun and colourful as ever.

The Bookcareers Clinic

Christina and Alison had a great time at the Bookcareers.com clinic supported by The Publishers Association. They met enthusiastic future publishers and gave them our best tips as well as explaining a little more about what we do, including our temps service, which is a great way for aspiring publishers to gain (paid!) work experience. If you missed it, you might want to have a look at our Work Experience and Entry Level Resources page on our blog.

Networking

Helen particularly enjoyed meeting interesting people in academic and professional publishing at the ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers) drinks on Tuesday. She would like to thank them for organising such a good networking opportunity!

Seminars

There were too many excellent seminars to name all of them, but here are some of our highlights:

Anna went along to the Society of Young Publishers seminars on Getting Into and Getting Ahead in Publishing. These seminars were broadcast live on Facebook and if you missed them, you can still watch them here. They simultaneously launched their new mentoring scheme, SYPinto – find more information here and get your applications in quickly! The main take-aways from the seminars were: tell the recruiter why they should hire you, don’t include irrelevant or negative things and the cover letter is as important, if not more important than the CV. Networking and making contacts is the thing and that’s partly what LBF is about!

Helen went to the seminar ‘Academic Research: How Free Should it Be?’ It was very interesting and opened her eyes to the complex drivers behind Open Access (OA) publishing and the complexity of the issues surrounding it, including the differing perceptions of OA in different markets. For example, Indian researchers are generally suspicious of OA but China tends to have less of a problem with it and will be happy to go OA with a prestigious brand.  It’s a complex global picture and the lines of communication between publishers and researchers are not always clear, which leads to difficulties.  Researchers often take a narrow view and are focussed on how publishing affects their funding but publishers have an overarching view of the complex issues and other drivers of the change to OA, so they aren’t always “on the same page” and that is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

From Academic to Children’s publishing: Ellie was particularly excited to see one of her childhood heroes, Jacqueline Wilson. She went to listen to her give a great question and answer session, where she spoke about the challenges and rewards of writing about children from disadvantaged backgrounds who experience very difficult situations. She also talked about returning to old characters (as in her new book, My Mum Tracy Beaker) and the new challenges facing children growing up today compared to when she first started writing. Apparently she finds it much more difficult to write a text-message conversation than an in-person one!

On a more serious note, Claire went to the talk on ‘A Bookish Brexit’, which covered ideas on what the international publishing community might expect from a post-Brexit UK publishing industry and what policy positions the UK will need to adopt. The Publisher’s Association released their Blueprint for UK Publishing which you can see here.

Claim to fame…

Our very own Senior Recruitment Consultant Claire Carrington-Smith was featured in the Bookseller Daily on the Wednesday for ‘My Job in Five’! If you missed it you can see it again here.

 

Let us know what your favourite part of the London Book Fair in the comments below. Or contact us on any of our social media: TwitterFacebook, LinkedInYouTube or Instagram.

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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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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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Bett Show 2018

Last week Claire, Christina and Alison attended The Bett Show at London’s Excel centre. This annual trade show is the world’s largest edtech fair, featuring over 850 companies, and over 34,000 attendees. It’s an opportunity for people from the education sector to get together and see the latest innovation in technology /attend seminars and generally be inspired and share ideas. For us at Atwood Tate, it was a good opportunity to say hello to our clients in the education and keep abreast of any changes in the industry.

 

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International Literacy Day

Today, 8th September, is International Literacy Day, a day observed by UN member states to internationally recognise the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies, and aims to increase literacy around the world.

You can read more about the aims of this international day here on the UNESCO website: http://en.unesco.org/themes/literacy-all/literacy-day.

This year, the focus is on Digital Literacy, and how the changes in technology and the move towards new digital environments is changing the understanding of what literacy is, and how a lack of digital literacy skills could further marginalise those without basic literacy skills.

To mark this day, some of Atwood Tate have thought back to those books which were formative in helping us learn to read initially; books which are often forgotten but are hugely important first steps.

Andrew Willis

The first  books I can remember reading were The Magic Key series, which followed Biff, Chip and Kipper, created by Roderick Hunt and published by Oxford University Press. As part of the National Curriculum, a whole generation must have learnt to read, thanks in part to The Magic Key.

Alice Crick

I still remember my parents reading the very first Harry Potter books to me as a child. It really instilled the joys of reading in me from an early age.

Claire Louise Kemp

I don’t remember learning to read, but some of the first books I remember loving were books by Beatrix Potter and the Mr Men books.

Helen Speedy

I loved the Usborne Book of Wizards and the Usborne Book of Witches.  The illustrations by the late Stephen Cartwright take me right back to childhood when I look at them now and I’m so pleased to see that they are still in print, even if it’s in a slightly different format.  I also used to spend hours looking through The Usborne First Thousand Words trying to spot the little duck in each picture. My Mum, a German teacher, also bought us a copy of this in German in the hope we’d also become linguists…

 

Atwood Tate support the charity Beanstalk, who do fantastic work providing one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading ability and confidence.

 

 

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Administrator in the Hot Seat – Andrew Willis

Our new Administrator, Andrew Willis, answers questions in the hot seat.

What three books changed your life?

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh: As my Dad’s favourite book, I must have heard most of this book quoted throughout my life, but never quite understood its appeal until I finally read it for myself. It is an amazing book which manages to pack so much into its terse, but reverential prose. It touches on theology, belief, nostalgia, friendship and love, and is a great story.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: Few people are as funny, creative and irreverent as Douglas Adams. It may often seem like insanity, but Adams’ prose is always carefully measured and pitched, and fun. Hitchhiker’s is a good reminder to not panic, and never be too serious. “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”

Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz: The Alex Rider books were the first series of books I got hooked on at school. Adventure, gadgets, espionage; it offered everything. This is fourth in the series, but this is one I read first. I went back and read the other books, but Eagle Strike was quite formative in my love of books.

 

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

I have just finished Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, which is a fantastic piece of science-fiction and world-building, about the twin worlds Anarres and Urras. The book which explores political issues such as differing ideologies, gender and economic systems. It also touches on theoretical physics and an envisioning of interstellar communications before the invention of the internet. Sounds like heavy reading, but it was more interesting than it sounds!

I have just started reading Herding Cats by Charlie Campbell, a more light-hearted book about Campbell’s experiences of amateur cricket captaincy of the Authors XI.

 

Is there any area of publishing you’re particularly interested in at the moment?

I am quite a big fan of audiobooks. I find them to be useful for fitting in more books when I’m commuting or too tired to read. It is quite a versatile format, as releases can take different forms from just a single narrator, to full cast dramas with music and sound effects. There are many different roles involved in audiobooks too; editorial, commissioning, production, directing, and post-production.  There is a strong market for audiobooks at the moment, and it is an exciting time for them.

 

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

Completing and passing my Master’s Degree last September was a huge achievement. It was both a very enjoyable course, learning new skills in literary analysis, research, and also in film production, but it was also draining at times. When faced with a 20,000 word dissertation, the terror of the blank word document and a flashing cursor can be daunting as you wonder how you are possibly going to produce anything. But through hard-work, stress and adrenaline and a lot of tea, I was amazed at what I could achieve.

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page: http://www.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/Atwood/meet-the-team.asp

You can read previous Hot Seats here: https://blog.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/category/hot-seat/

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