Tag Archives: networking

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

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

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

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

Helen’s experience hosting interns

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

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

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Literacy in a Digital Age | Beanstalk Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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Consultant in the Hot Seat: Claire Carrington-Smith

Introducing our new Oxford-based consultant, Claire Carrington-Smith! Claire, along with Alice Crick, works on roles outside of London and the Home Counties.

Claire sitting in front of afternoon tea with lots of cakesWhich literary figure would you be?

Definitely Matilda Woodworm, because like me, she is a bookworm. Matilda also taught me about feminism, as both Matilda and Miss Honey are strong female characters, and were very inspiring to me growing up. Roald Dahl was one of my favourite authors as a child, and I remember wanting to be just like Matilda!

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

Other than Matilda’s telekinetic super power, I would also love to be able to time travel to a magical and distant land like Lucy in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This the first book I remember falling in love with I was a child, and it’s still is one of my favourites.

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

The past year has been very eventful as well as moving house I left publishing to working as a Recruitment Consultant at Atwood Tate! Leaving publishing after 10 years was such a big decision, but I am so excited to be here and the new challenge it brings. I’m really enjoying it so far.

What is on your birthday wish list?

It sounds really boring, but I have just had my birthday and I got a running jacket and some new trainers as I have just started running. It’s definitely a new years’ resolution I hope to keep up!

Claire Carrington-Smith is responsible for Editorial, Production, Production Editorial, Design, Distribution & Operations roles in all sectors (excluding B2B) in all UK locations outside of London, Home Counties and East Anglia.

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants cover, go to the “Meet the Team” page:

https://www.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/about/meet-the-team.aspx

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PPA Independent Publisher Awards 2017

Speaker talking to audience in front of projection of PPA independent publisher conference 2017

Last month, we were delighted to be one of the sponsors of the PPA Independent Publisher Awards 2017. It was an exciting day and a great occasion to catch up with a lot of friendly contacts, clients and candidates, and the Independent Publisher Conference in the morning was as always full of talented speakers and valuable insights.

Jim Bilton, Managing Director at Wessenden Marketing, was the first to take the stage. He offered the audience a unique insight into the key industry trends in 2017, which has been a challenging year. He observed a massive drop in turnover and headcount growths (these figures were compiled from the benchmark Publishing Futures survey taken by 99 publishers). Key Industry Metrics graphThis has of course affected both our clients and candidates and confidence has reduced particularly in smaller publishers (only 44% are more confident than a year ago). B2B publishing, remarked Jim, is much more global and ad-driven than consumer publishing, and low print. Overall B2B has a solid profitability. Jim gave the audience valuable advice to overcome challenges and adapt to a changing media landscape, and he concluded on a positive note as 2018 should be a promising year with key indicators picking up.

Another crucial piece of information that morning was the session about the imminent GDPR. Simon Morissey, Partner at Lewis Silkin, talked us through users’ implied consent in online marketing. The GDPR will give users more control and choice over their data. This will be a challenge for the publishing industry but Simon pointed out that challenge creates opportunities. He also advised strongly that publishers start thinking about their marketing GDPR strategy now, not in May 2018 but now!

This enlightening morning was followed by the PPA Independent Publisher Awards. I was proud (and I confess a bit nervous!) to give away the award for Publisher of the Year. It was a great afternoon in very nice company. Congratulations again to all the winners of this year and thanks to the PPA for organising such a wonderful event! Bring on 2018.PPA Independent Publisher Awards winners

For more information about the PPA see their website here.

Karine Nicpon, Lead Consultant (B2B roles)

t: 020 7034 7905

e: karinenicpon@atwoodtate.co.uk

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/karine-nicpon

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