Tag Archives: children’s publishing

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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Advertising Salary on Publishing Roles

Advertising Salary on Publishing Roles

Recently, there has been some discussion online about a lack of transparency in publishing recruitment in regards to agencies (and publishers) not disclosing the salaries on job adverts.

‘Available on request’?

At Atwood Tate, we disclose salary information on advertisements where we are permitted, but much of the time our clients ask us to keep this information confidential until point of enquiry.  There are a variety of reasons why employers wish to keep salary confidential or as “available on application”.  It can be because they wish to remain flexible or to maintain confidentiality across the company.  Other employees who are in similar roles may not be keen for their salary banding to be public knowledge.

We understand that this may make things seem a little more difficult for job seekers, but, although we are often not permitted to disclose the salary on the advert itself, for the vacancies we are working on we will always be happy to disclose information about the salary of the role if you are registered with us or send us your CV when you enquire about the position.

Salary advice before submission

We will always be clear on the salary range available for a job before we agree with you to submit your application.  You will have the opportunity to state your desired salary, so that expectations on this issue are managed on both sides from the outset.

In most cases, we will be able to provide greater detail than is supplied on the advert and this ensures no candidate arrives at an interview only to discover that the salary offered for a job does not meet their requirements. We are here to help on that front and can add a level of insight and transparency.

Call our Consultants

Don’t be shy of calling a telephone number on an advert for more information about the salary level. In some cases the advertiser may not be able to give you an exact figure, but in those cases, we would advise that you give the hiring manager or recruiter an idea of the salary that you would be looking for and they should be able to tell you if the position advertised would be in line with that.

At Atwood Tate, we are all for transparency and we will do our best to provide as much relevant information as possible when guiding you through the application process.

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SYP Panel Talk: “How to assert yourself in publishing”

SYP Panel Talk: “How to assert yourself in publishing”

On Tuesday night, I went to my first SYP event, which was a panel talk on “How to assert yourself in publishing”. On the panel were: Roly Allen (@roly_allen) a Publisher at Ilex, part of Hachette UK,  Bryony Woods (@BryonyWoods)  Literary Agent at Diamond Khan and Woods,  Ailah Ahmed (@ailahahmed), Commissioning Editor at Little, Brown, part of Hachette UK, and Pinelopi Pourpoutidou, Head of Foreign & Digital Sales at Michael O’Mara Publishing.

Discussion ranged from topics such as knowing when it is time to speak up in meetings, what confidence is, and whether maternity-leave affects career progression, and what can be done to change this. Here are 7 of the top tips to take away from the evening.

 

On Applications…

1. Keep your cover letters short and specific to the job

Cover letters do not need be very long. Half a side of A4 will suffice. Make it short and sharp and to the point. Outline your key skills and how they make you suitable for the requirements of the role. Investigate the company, know what they do. Say why you want to work for them and why they should want you to work for them.

2. Sell yourself in your interests.

The interests section in your CV is your chance to sell yourself, and gives the company an idea of you as a real person. Be honest, but also be professional. Do you play sports, play in a band, part of an activity/ interest club, been travelling? Make sure you share!

 

On Confidence…

3. Fake it till you make it

Few people can start in a role and have complete confidence right away. It is learnt over time as you acclimatise to the role. Being nervous as you start out is normal, but if you are not confident, you can just pretend you are. The panel suggested Amy Cuddy’s method of ‘Fake it Till You Make It”. Watch her TED Talk on it here: https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are

The panel also suggested Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg as a resource particularly for women with tips and advice on how to build confidence and how to be a successful leader in the workplace.

 4. Loudness isn’t confidence- knowing what you’re talking about is.

Don’t think that you will come across as confident just by talking louder and being brash and confrontational. Being quieter and more introverted doesn’t mean that you are less effective or less valuable. What is important is preparing your facts before you talk and share. An idea that you have investigated and can support with facts and realistic costings is much more useful than something unprepared, said loudly.

5. Form a support network, even if just an informal one.

One tip suggested, especially to benefit people from minorities with less representation in the industry, was to form a support network with people in the industry who have come from a similar background. Either in your company, or out wider out into the industry; find someone or a group of people who are at a similar stage to you, and people you feel you can confide in, and ask advice from, who you can meet up with once a month over a coffee.

6. Don’t be afraid of speaking up in meetings, but know when to stop.

If you have an idea that is relevant, share it. But if you are told it will not work, then know when to stop.

 

On Asking for More…

7. When to ask for a pay rise

The panel suggested that you should perhaps start thinking about asking for a pay rise after a year into a role. An employer should not think less of you for asking, and the worst that they can say is no. If they do reject your request, ask if you can review this decision in 3 to 6 months. They suggested that you should pick your time to ask also based on what the situation of both you and your company are. If the company is making cut backs, it might not be the correct time to ask. But if you have had a period of success (as opposed to just one success), then you should ask. Your request should make a case for your worth to the company, and why you deserve this rise.

 

This was a fascinating talk, and all the speakers were enthusiastic and entertaining. Thanks to the speakers and The SYP for hosting the event!

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Museum & Cultural Publishing: an evening with OPuS

 

opus-museum-and-cultural-publishing-event

Last Thursday, OPuS held an event to discuss Museum and Cultural Publishing. The speakers were Declan McCarthy (Ashmolean Museum), Samuel Fanous (The Bodleian Library) and Katie Bond (National Trust). John Hudson (Historic England) was the Chair.

The publishing and retail scene in museums, galleries and the heritage sector has been resilient during the recent unsettled years in publishing, and is a significant component of the wider cultural sector which is one of our national success stories. Within the sector, books are published on a variety of models – on a fully commercial basis or one of cost recovery, or in some cases conscious subsidy as part of a wider agenda. In this session, publishers from the National Trust, The Bodleian Library and the Ashmolean Museum, all based locally, describe their business and the particular characteristics of the cultural publishing sector.

 

opus-logo

Things learnt:

  • Lots of cultural publishers are members of ACE: The Association of Cultural Enterprises
  • The Ashmolean publishing programme focuses on event catalogs, tied to the 3-5 exhibitions the museum holds each year. These differ from general trade books in that the sales are tied very strongly to the actual exhibition, and any sales beyond a show are a bonus.
  • For the Ashmolean, business is still very focused around producing beautiful, physical books. E-books, apps, and other digital forms do exist and are continually looked into, but at the moment they are not viable revenue generators.
  • Whilst the Bodleian has always published, the current publishing programme is still very new and has been grown gradually and carefully.
  • Public engagement is fundamental to the continued survival of cultural institution, and a publishing programme is a useful tool for this.
  • The Bodleian has several different approaches it takes when publishing titles: 1) doing a direct facsimile edition of an out-of-print book, 2) repackaging material in a new format, 3) publishing newly authored titles (that often use illustrations and source material from the collections), 4) gift-books to bring in a new audience of non-scholars.
  • The National Trust has over 200 shops – that is more nationally than Waterstones – and around 50% of their book revenues come from sales in those shops. The other 50% is primarily from sales in the UK trade. Like the Ashmolean, most of their sales are print, with digital and ebooks having more presence overseas.
  • Along with the annual Handbook that goes to all National Trust members, and the individual property guidebooks which are done in-house, they also publishing specialist books, illustrated narrative non-fiction, and children’s books. These are published in partnership with Nosy Crows, Pavilion, and Faber & Faber.
  • A book that sells well in the Trade does not (always) sell well in the gift-shops, and vice versa. Katie has learnt that the more a book is embedded in the organisation and ties back to their core message, the better it does.
  • The Children’s market is challenging, nostalgic, brand driven, infuriating, hard to break in to, but with massive talent, potential, and hugely rewarding.
  • As an editor you may come across challenges from elsewhere in your organisation about why you commissioned a particular title from a particular author. You need to know what you are publishing and why, and don’t be afraid to stick to your guns if it is important. That is the editors job!

All in all, it was a fascinating evening learning about a sector of the industry many of us are not aware of. The main lesson I learned was that publishing in the heritage sector requires a thorough understanding of the requirements of your market, a deep appreciation for the uniqueness of your source material (be that a museum, a library collection, or several hundred distinct properties around the country), a creative mind to see the new potential, and the willingness to take a risk on something that hasn’t been done before.

Let us know your thoughts on the event, on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn! Or tag us in your photos on Instagram!

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Our Autumn Reads (part 1)

autumn-reads-p1

We’ve been so busy in the office lately we’ve hardly had any time to read at all! So instead of a Summer Reads we’re going to recommend our Autumn Reads – although it still feels like Summer to us!

Claire Louise

This Autumn I am going to be reading The Good Immigrant, a collection of essays edited by Nikesh Shukla, published by UnBound. I also have The Cursed Child (J.K.Rowling) lined up, and Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. A somewhat eclectic mix, I will admit, but I like to try new things!

the-good-immigrant

Claire Law

I’ve recently finished The Circle by Dave Eggers

This was an interesting book but a bit exhausting to read as it was all about social media taken to extreme levels with no switching off time! The Circle is an imaginary internet company, but rather like a combo of Google, Facebook, Apple with the aim of having one central online identity for everyone (meaning they have control over your email, social media, bank accounts, shopping, voting etc). The main character Mae Holland is likeable with some faults and you follow her journey from first day of work where she feels so lucky and learns the ropes quickly. But things soon start to spiral out of control and she becomes a willing pawn in the ever more scary Circle bid for transparency (or world domination!). It’s an unsettling read and ultimately a bit of a moral fable, but definitely a story for our times.

the-circle

Lisa

An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris by Stephanie LaCava is an absolutely lovely read about a young American girl’s coming of age in Paris. As an adolescent in a foreign country, the author found an unconventional way to deal with her social awkwardness and feelings of uncertainty about the future. She takes solace from the strange and beautiful objects she came across in her daily life.

an-extraordinary-theory-of-objects

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The British Book Industry Awards 2016 (BBIA)

The Bookseller has revamped The Bookseller Industry Awards (the trade “Nibbies”), making them much more focussed on books and all about getting more people reading.

If you didn’t make it to the awards, here’s the list of winners highlighting the best of the British book trade and the people working in it:

http://www.thebookseller.com/british-book-industry-awards

And here are some reading ideas with the shortlists for books of the year in various categories:

Children’s Book of the Year

Debut Fiction Book of the Year

Non-fiction Book of the Year

Fiction Book of the Year

Here’s the Bookseller’s article about the winners:

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/bbia-crowns-transworld-and-w-h-smith-328533

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