Tag Archives: children’s publishing

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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‘Publishing for Kids: how to reach book buyers online’ at BookMachine

Children's

For those of you that missed last night’s BookMachine event, here are a few notes on what we picked up from the four excellent speakers on the subject of ‘Publishing for Kids: how to reach book buyers online’

Steve Bohme, UK Research Director at Nielsen Book Research presented some interesting statistics on children’s online habits.

You Tube and video sharing featured consistently as the most popular online habit for 0-17 years-olds.  Use of WhatsApp and Netflix is also on the rise.

However, whilst children’s book buyers are more engaged in the online world than other book buyers and spend a lot of their online time on You Tube, only 33% of children’s books are purchased online and browsing video sites is very low on the list of places that kids discover books online.  Is there an untapped opportunity here for children’s publishers?

Next up was Claire Morrison, Senior Marketing Manager for DK Books, who confirmed that for this well-established brand, physical books were still their biggest seller with sales still on the rise.  DK is one of a few trade book publishers to have a search and analytics team and Claire described the work that this team carries out on identifying the personae of their buyers. Ensuring their content is in line with the consumer’s expectations is vital to maintaining DK’s strong and trusted brand. Claire stressed the importance of the brand’s online presence as a means of interacting with customers and DK prides itself on have a 100% rating on giving feedback via its social media channels.  Claire also introduced DK’s online encyclopaedia project DKFindOut!.

After a break and a mingle, Charlotte Hoare the Digital Marketing Manager at Hachette Children’s Books warned about the perils of static websites, which may seem a cheaper option than a proper CMS, but will prove more costly in the long run.  She also noted the tendency for marketers to set up websites for one short marketing campaign only for this website to be forgotten and not updated until a reminder arrives that the domain name is about to expire.  Her advice was to be braver and be wiser when devising digital marketing campaigns.

The final speaker of the evening was Sven Huber, founder and CEO of Boolino.  Boolino was launched in the Spanish market in 2011 and its vision is “to become globally the leading online platform about children’s books and reading, for both parents and all the people involved in the education of children aged between 0 and 12 years”.  The founders of Boolino realised that very few readers were discovering books online and most publishers find it challenging to connect with consumers online (and in particular parents).  In addition, they felt that the majority of children’s publishers were lacking in good segmented email marketing lists. By bringing together on their website content relating to children’s books and parents, Boolino aims to provide that age segmented data.  Boolino has created an ecosystem of more than 1000 bloggers and is attempting to simulate the discovery process you get in bookstores.

The next BookMachine event is BookMachine at The London Book Fair 2016 on April 13 @ 4.30 pm – 5.30 pm.  See you there!

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Brands, Licensing, Partnerships and don’t forget Consumer Insight: The Bookseller Children’s Conference 2015

On the 29th September I attended the annual Bookseller Children’s Conference. Having started my publishing career in the children’s sector, I’m always pleased when it’s my turn to go and it was a great opportunity to catch up with old colleagues and find out the latest trends and concerns within the lively world of children’s book publishing.

The recurrent themes of the day were brands, licensing and partnerships and the conference got off to a great start with a presentation from Cally Poplak, Managing Director of Egmont Publishing UK, on the subject of Building Children’s Brands. Poplak distilled Egmont’s strategy for success into one sentence: We publish what children love to read. She explained that the publisher’s aim is to make children proud readers and to produce books that are engaging and appealing to the child. Consumer insight and analysis is key to achieving this and by identifying what motivates different readers and book buyers, marketing and publicity campaigns can also be tailored to fit the various motivations. Regarding skills and the future of publishing, Poplak confirmed that old fashioned publishing skills are as important as ever but it is increasingly important that traditional publishing methods are underpinned by consumer insight and a focus on what kids are talking about and what parents want.

Other highlights of the conference were presentations from Jill Kidson, Head of Consumer Marketing at Walker Books and Laura Bijelic, Senior Consumer Insight Manager for Penguin Platform, both of whom stressed the importance of using audience/consumer insight to underpin new product development and marketing and publicity campaigns. Jill Kidson demonstrated how Walker Books had made the most of marketing a heritage brand, Guess How Much I Love You?, by focussing on sales spikes and specific calendar moments to maximise the impact of their 20th anniversary campaign. Laura Bijelic advised publishers to “get out there and meet your audience” and described how Penguin Platform was developed after much desk research and testing to define a clear target audience and vision.

Consumer Insight aside, the hot topics in children’s publishing at the moment seem to be licensing and brand management with a keyword being partnership. John Styring, Co-founder and CEO of Igloo Books, talked about both the opportunities and pitfalls of brand licensing and the National Trust and Nosy Crow announced their partnership and exciting plans for joint branded publishing. Kate Wilson, Managing Director of Nosy Crow, and Katie Bond, Publisher at the National Trust, stressed the importance of researching and understanding your publishing partner when undertaking a joint venture. For such partnerships to be successful there needs to be a mutual understanding of each party’s brand values and these need to fit.

The panel discussion on Knowing and Growing Your IP, continued on a similar theme of brand licensing but expanding on the topic of exploiting content and IP beyond traditional print publishing. The recent appointment of panel member, Katie Price, as Licensing Director at Hachette Children’s Group is perhaps demonstrative of the developing concerns of children’s publishers and their ambitions to expand on traditional publishing in order to be capable of fully exploiting important IP. Barry Cunningham (Managing Director, Chickenhouse) told publishers that if they want authors or IP owners to sign over all rights, they need to be able to demonstrate that they deserve to hold these rights and Dylan Collins (CEO, Superawesome) suggested this could be done by building capabilities internally.

The conference certainly left me with food for thought and whilst diversification and building multi-media capabilities were touted as the way of the future, many of the presentations and statistics quoted firmly reminded us that with £206.1 million spent on children’s books so far in the UK in 2015 (3.19% increase on 2014), print is still going strong in the children’s market.

If you’re interested in finding out some more facts and figures, check out the slides from the conference here.

Bookseller Childrens

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BookMachine: Next Five Years in Publishing

bookmachine-strap

Last week saw another fantastic BookMachine event in Oxford. Co-hosted by the Oxford Publishing Society, the event was sponsored by PLSclear and featured a talk from Michael Bhaskar.

Michael spoke eloquently and passionately about the “Next Five Years in Publishing”. To get a flavour of what he talked about, do read the recent Q&A he did with BookMachine.

The night started with a whistle stop tour of 500 years of publishing history – as an industry, we have been consistently innovative and at the forefront of a lot of major change. Michael then focused in more detail on the past five years, which have all been about consolidation in the market place and the discoverability of content.

So what will the next five years bring us? The themes of consolidation and problems (and solutions) around discoverability will remain key, but Michael feels strongly that we need to look to curation and helping people find the good stuff in the sea of content. Quality, not quantity should be our mantra.

I was left with the impression that, whilst no one knows the answers to how exactly we should go about doing things, there is a lot to be hopeful for in the future of our industry as we continue to innovate and experiment.

Michael is the Co-founder and Publishing Director of Canelo, a new digital publisher. Previously he was Digital Publishing Director at Profile Books and Serpent’s Tail and has worked at Pan Macmillan, a literary agency, an economics consultancy and a newspaper amongst others.

What were your take-away’s from the night? Do let us know in the comments, or jump into the conversation on Twitter (@atwoodtate & @kempcl)

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Tech Tuesday Event 16th June

I was at the super trendy Hoxton Hotel for the latest Tech Tuesday, this time on licensing related to children’s publishing. Well done to the London Book Fair for getting together a really strong panel of speakers, Karen Lawler, Executive Manager of Licensing at Hachette Children’s Group, Richard Haines, Acquisitions & New Business Manager, Penguin Random House Children’s and Kelvyn Gardner, Managing Director at LIMA UK, to discuss: Licensed to Sell: Crossmedia Trading and bridge-building across the Creative Industries. Are we Doing Enough?

Here’s a sample of the questions and responses:

Q. Are we bridge building across the creative industries?
Karen – yes, there are several events such as Mipcom, the Spring Fair (and many more, see http://www.thecreativeindustries.co.uk/resources/events). Hachette Children’s Group worked with McDonald’s to turn the Secret Seven into illustrated books to be given away with happy meals, plus creating a section on McDonald’s website with animated content. They’ve worked with companies like Hasbro to turn products into books.
Richard – Penguin works on a number of licenses eg Peppa Pig sometimes in association with other companies to produce for example early learning books and apps. Think about the medium and how to work with it.

Q. Do we speak the same language?
Richard – Characters, stories and worlds are what it’s about, sometimes the language differs.
Kelvyn – The majority of consumer brands don’t see a way into product merchandising. Licensing companies need to explain clearly how it works.
Karen – It’s a question of expectations – people feel they have a TV show so it’s obvious to do books etc too. But you need to have awareness of the perspective of the child and see beyond the brand.

Q. Taking classic products or backlist to merchandise – what about the issue of rights?
Richard – Contracts drawn up 40 years ago don’t include digital so there can be barriers and things are changing more quickly than ever now. If you do buy rights you need to have a strategy and know what you want to do.
Karen – Hachette bought Enid Blyton rights in 2012. The previous owners had been so concerned about giving rights there had been no films licensed since the 50s. They now have films and stage shows in development.

Q. Are we missing a trick – are gaming publishers doing more and better?
Karen – There is lots room to find creative solutions and we are working to different budgets.
Richard – They’re working with several game companies and producers such as Rovio and Mind Candy. There are more gamers now and the new area of the market that’s growing is 25+ women. So there’s still much more that can be done.

Q. Big screen / small screen – do apps have an influence?
Richard – There’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for apps. At Penguin they consider what is the purpose of the app – commercial or brand awareness?

Q. Authors may not be happy with merchandising etc – is this ok?
Karen – It’s important to know at the early stage what expectations are and allowance on decision.
Richard – No one knows the full picture better than the author, so if they want to be involved that’s a good thing.

Q. What about the fashion for bringing back things from the 70s?
Richard – There is a danger of recycled content but it can be great for parents and kids to share together. New editions need to hold their own otherwise they won’t succeed.

As always, you’ll find lots more thoughts and
comments on twitter – check out #LBFTT15

 

Tech Tuesday June 15

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