Tag Archives: Event

PPA Festival: CEOs Discuss Employee Potential

In May, Karine and Julie attended the PPA Festival, the leading business media and publishing event of the year. More than 700 professionals gathered to network and attend panels throughout the day.

THE X FACTOR discussion, chaired by Kathleen Saxton (founder of The Lighthouse Company), was one of the highlights of the day. The theme of this panel was how to find talent and nurture employee potential.

The guest speakers were:

Kevin Costello, CEO, Haymarket Media Group
Amanda Barnes, CEO, Faversham House Group
Jonathon Whiteley, CEO, Incisive Media

 

The three panellistsinsightful advice is relevant for graduates and experienced professionals alike. When asked to share their vision of leadership, they highlighted the importance of creating a good culture within the company. In order for employees to be successful, leaders need to provide a supportive and stimulating environment to be successful. A motivated team, which shares the company’s values, is more a guarantee of success than a good leader.

The panel had to answer the common questions about how to break into the industry. The CEOs replied they were generally open to a wide range of profiles as long as candidates match their culture.

Some smaller businesses like Incisive Media do not have apprenticeships, but others like Haymarket Media offer training programs where graduates learn a set of relevant skills to enter the industry. The CEO stated that 75% of their trainees were subsequently hired. For Faversham House, being based in Sussex can be an impediment to attracting talent. As a result, the company tends to hire entry level or fairly junior staff and focus on its employees’ strengths, helping them to develop their career according to their skills and personality.

All the speakers agreed that school and university leavers wishing to enter the industry should focus  on soft skills, as it is attitude which makes a candidate outstanding. Good communication skills and self-confidence are highly valued by employers, as well as taking initiative and seeking feedback to continually improve oneself.

The digital revolution has also had an impact on the kind of skills employers are looking for. With their constant development, data and technology are the two big areas where roles have changed drastically. The people working in B2B publishing have changed too: they need be more agile and develop their adaptability. The CEO of Haymarket pointed out that it has become harder to find talent for the digital sector as there is a real shortage of candidates. To solve this issue Haymarket is trying to develop and build their own talent pool via apprenticeships.

If you are a motivated candidate with great communication skills who wants to work in digital publishing, this is a good time for you!

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The Wider World of Publishing

 


The Variety of Publishing

Thanks to Anna Slevin for this blog post!

The SYP recently hosted a panel discussion entitled The Wider World of Publishing, Alison and Anna went to find out what it was about.

An all-female panel discussed pay transparency, diversity (or perhaps more accurately inclusivity within the industry) and Brexit. Each panellist gave a rundown of their organisation and a day-in-the-life for their job. Discussion ranged from big publishing houses poaching talent from small presses and the size of the UK market in foreign publishing – and both Germany and Italy can give big book advances

The big takeaways were that there are opportunities whether in job openings in organisations you might never have thought of, audiobooks, or the fall of the pound sterling seeing a rise in foreign publishers buying UK books (for now at least!). Book to film and TV adaptations are increasing in recent years too.

Help with funding for those starting in entry-level roles from the Booktrade Charity or support like the Spare Room Project with accommodation for people to come to London exist. They really do but public awareness of these are low so please let the publishing industry know where you were looking for advice when you were starting out!

Most importantly think outside the box!

The Panel were:

Aki Schilz – Director at The Literary Consultancy

Sheerin Aswat – Head of Sales & IRC Relationship Manager for The London Book Fair

Zoe Plant – Senior Scout at Daniela Schlingmann Literary Scouting

Eliza Kavanagh – Campaigns Executive at The Publishers Association

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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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Food Writing with the British Library

The British Library is currently hosting its first ever Food Writing season, some of these events include tastings. Anna from Atwood Tate went along to the first one…

Food writing as we understand it has been growing for the last fifty years. The days of Mrs Beeton lumping it together with household management are long over. Recipes to memoir… three panellists explained their understanding of the genre.

Claudia Roden, a Jewish Egyptian, began writing as a way to record the oral traditions of a mosaic of communities forming the refugees from her homeland. The publication part was something of a surprise. Sumayya Usmani, a solicitor from Pakistan, decided to write in Britain and changed the attitude towards food in Pakistan, a region in which food has evolved over only 70 years. Both women come from a background of families sharing recipes through practice and a culture of entertaining in a way that Britain does not. Tim Hayward, the final panellist from the South East of England ran away to America to become an advertiser before turning to food writing with a nerdy delight.

Have you ever torn recipes out of a magazine or newspaper?

How often do you actually cook from them?

When was the last time you cooked with confidence sans recipes?

All of the panellists would rather write without recipes. Unfortunately, recipes are what sell and no publisher will countenance a food publication without recipes. Every food writer has been approached to write an article with the title something like “10 recipes with…” and offered a flat rate but they find them dull to write and targeted for SEO. Even trying to give specific timings like Jamie Oliver or Delia Smith for cooking onions: 3 minutes? It depends on the hob, the pan, the quantity of onions. The food writers teach their children skills at home, or like Usmani in cookery classes.

Examples of recipe books at the London Book Fair

Turn to the works of Roden or Usmani instead. Be transported by the prose to the places the food evokes, that the descriptions conjure. Food writing is the new travel writing.

In the Q&A session afterwards an American asked about the growing fears of cultural appropriation. The authenticity of the recipes, the veracity of voice.  The panellists acknowledged the dangers of this – Hayward as a white male especially, with British imperialism historically behind him. Roden on the other hand argued that cooking is shared and developed. Whilst researching in the Mediterranean she discovered a cook she was discussing recipes with had used Roden’s own book to develop some of her published work and Roden could not have been more delighted. Food writing also is truly global in that sense despite being region-locked by cuisine.

Yet readers rarely cook themselves. Roden observed the aisles of ready meals in supermarkets have grown in recent years and Usmani noted the descriptions of those ready meals taking inspiration from Mediterranean cuisine.

Interestingly all three panellists said that writing about fads and food they wouldn’t want to make themselves would be the hardest thing to write about. Fashion in food unless it falls within your interests is impossible to do well.

A desert island book to finish with. Roden could not choose as too many of her friends could be in the audience! Hayward unequivocally recommended The Gastronomical Me by M F K Fisher. Usmani wanted to take the family book, sort of a diary, a collection of travels she is never allowed to publish, or failing that, Allen’s book of cooking skills.

 

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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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How to Have a Successful London Book Fair

With less than a week to go until the start of the London Book Fair 2018, here’s a collection of our top tips so you have a fun and successful time. These suggestions are aimed at first-timers, whether you’re coming as a student, job-seeker, intern or first-jobber, but it’s good to keep them in mind no matter where you are in your career.

  • Wear flat shoes

    You might be tempted to wear heels, but trust me, you will regret this decision. The Olympia is huge, and you are likely to be on your feet all day. Dress code varies according to the sector you’re in, but you can’t go wrong with business casual. Your old gym trainers are probably a no-no, but a clean pair of flat shoes or boots will be fine.

  • Plan your time in advance

    You might have meetings booked or be required to be on your company’s stand at certain times. Check the list of seminars in the programme so you have a rough idea of the things you don’t want to miss. There’s so much on and it’s such a big venue that you’re bound to miss things otherwise.

  • Plan some chill-out time

    It will get exhausting walking around all day, so plan some time to yourself so you can sit down and have a cup of tea or some lunch. If you are nervous in crowds, plan somewhere you can go to escape for a while if you get overwhelmed. This is close to impossible in the venue itself, as the bathrooms and cafés are packed all day, so plan in advance somewhere you can go nearby. This is a tough event for anyone prone to anxiety in crowds, so be prepared and look out for friends and colleagues who might be struggling a bit.

  • Bring a portable phone charger

    It goes without saying – you don’t want your phone to die halfway through the day. Download the Book Fair app for a convenient map and timetable of the event, and stay up to date on Twitter by following the #LBF18 hashtag. Take photos! Take pictures of stands you like as a reminder to yourself, or share them on social media.

  • Come to the Careers Clinic on Thursday

    Remember to bring your CV if you’re coming to this event. Two of our consultants, Alison and Christina, will be at the clinic along with other publishing HR and recruitment professionals, ready to answer your questions and offer advice. This is the place to go if you are job-seeking. Other people around the fair and on stands are not there for recruitment purposes so it’s best not to go around handing out your CV outside of this event.

  • Remember to stay hydrated!

    Bring a bottle of water (and maybe a snack if you’re super organised). It’s very easy to get hot and dehydrated, and queues are long and prices high at the cafes.

We look forward to meeting you there! Keep in contact via our Twitter or come along to the Careers Clinic. Also see our previous blog post about What to Expect at the London Book Fair.

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London Book Fair 2018 – What to Expect

Here at Atwood Tate, we’re getting ready for the London Book Fair, which will be taking place on the 10-12th April at the Olympia exhibition centre in Hammersmith. We are busy booking in meetings with our wonderful clients; it’s a great opportunity for us to connect or reconnect with our contacts across the industry. It’s an important time of year for publishers, especially for rights and acquisitions departments, but for everyone else involved in the production and sale of books too. It may be held in London but it is a global affair, with stands from 1,000+ companies from 56 countries around the world and attendees from over 118 countries.

What’s on

Seminars

There are SO MANY interesting talks on, and while it’s impossible to go to them all, you should definitely look at the programme to see what you’re interested in going to so you can plan your time around them. Some of our must-sees are:

  • How to Get Into Publishing – Wednesday 11th April, 4-5pm. This panel, organised by the Society of Young Publishers (SYP), will discuss how you can get your first role in publishing.
  • How to Get Ahead in Publishing – Wednesday 11th April, 5:15-6:15pm. Another SYP panel event, this one is aimed at those already in publishing looking to make it onto the next stage of their career and climb up the ladder.
  • Bookcareers.com clinic supported by The Publishers Association – Thursday 12th April, 14:30-17:00. Come and chat with an HR manager or publishing recruitment consultant at this careers clinic! Get advice on your CV and ask questions to the experts. Our Senior Recruitment Consultants Alison Redfearn and Christina Dimitriadi will be there and can’t wait to meet you. Be warned though – this is a very popular event and will be busy. Get there early and prepare to queue.

Networking

There are plenty of opportunities to network at the fair – at stands, in queues, sitting next to people in seminars… There are also networking events, and you are likely to see us hovering around – do say hello! We’ll be at:

Market Focus

This year there will be a Market Focus on the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) as they celebrate a century since their independence. The aim of the Market Focus is to showcase books and the publishing trade in specific countries and regions around the world, and to highlight and encourage business opportunities globally.

This is really just an introduction to what will be happening at the London Book Fair this year. Whether this is your first time at the Fair or your thirtieth, we look forward to seeing you there! Get your ticket here. Follow #LBF18 on Twitter for more updates.

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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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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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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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