Tag Archives: oxford diary

Oxford Publishing Society: 21st Century Publishing Careers

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

Faye & Alison and Oxford Publishing Society


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

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

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

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

Saskia Watts, Marketing Specialist, VitalSource (Ingram)

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

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

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

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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:


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Museum & Cultural Publishing: an evening with OPuS



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.



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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PPA Business Class: Marketing Conference


The PPA has launched a new series of half day conferences specifically for senior professionals – this one on Friday 21st October is for Marketing and one in November for Tech.

See: www.ppa.co.uk/events/businessmedia2016 for more details.

Here’s a taste of what will be covered:

Shiny Happy People

Faced with an increasing array of new marketing tools and the requirement for smarter, savvier marketing to cut through the noise surrounding customers, getting the right skills has never been more important. Our panel of experts tackle the key issues:

  • Business strategist…customer insight expert…innovation leader…what is the role of a marketing director in 2016?
  • What marketing skills are needed right now?
  • How do you address the digital skills gap?

Other sessions on:

  • Subscriptions
  • ‘Community’
  • Putting The Commercial Into Content Marketing

Speakers include:

We’re pleased to be an official sponsor for both events and Olivia Constantinides from our London office and Claire Louise Kemp from our Oxford office will be attending the Marketing one, so do request a meeting or get in touch on the day.

Let us know how if you’re attending by using the PPA twitter hashtag #PPABusinessClass. Don’t forget to add @PPABusiness and us too @AtwoodTate!



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Careers in 21st Century Publishing


Atwood Tate are pleased to be sponsoring the OPuS event tonight, Careers in 21st Century Publishing.

In the fast-moving world of publishing, “jobs for life” are an anomaly and transferable skills essential. But how easy is it to progress in publishing and move between market sectors and different roles? What are the key elements you need to build your career? Is it possible to succeed outside traditional publishing companies?

Focusing on their own specific work experience in moving onwards and upwards from entry level jobs, 4 speakers from a wide range of companies will give a unique insight into the diverse profession loosely referred to as “publishing”.

Confirmed speakers:
• David Spencer: Publisher, Social Sciences, Elsevier
• Emily Brand: Managing Editor, Bodleian Library Publishing
• Robbie Cooke: Marketing and PR Manager at Rebellion
Further speakers to be announced.

Drinks & Networking from 6.15pm
Presentations 7-8.30pm
Willow Buildings, Oxford Brookes University
To register, go to http://www.opusnet.co.uk/events/forthcoming-events/careers-in-publishing

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BookMachine: Next Five Years in Publishing


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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Narrative… Text… What Next?

The Oxford Publishers Society (OPuS) recently held an event looking at Transmedia publishing in a Brave New World, and Charly (one of the committee members) has once again very kindly done a little post-game analysis for those of us who couldn’t go. Over to her!
Charly Ford

November’s OPuS event, Narrative… Text… What Next? Transmedia publishing in a Brave New World, showcased interesting and dynamic approaches to storytelling.

First up was White October, held in high esteem for the award-winning online tool Lambeth Library Challenge (winner of a Nominet Internet Award 2013). Dave Fletcher entertained and informed the audience by showing us the interactive documentary Pine Point, online feature Snow Fall (available via The New York Times website) and an extraordinary Arcade Fire music video. All of these were not only fascinating but also gave an insight into creative ways in which technology can be harnessed to give the consumer an interesting experience with content.

Graham Nelson and Emily Short gave a presentation on interactive fiction – fiction that the reader is able to control to some degree. We enjoyed a live demo of the ‘Inform’ system and gained an insight into the Versu ‘living stories’ that are being developed by Linden Lab. It was interesting to see a digital playing-out of the classic ‘choose your own’ concept and it certainly gave the audience food for thought.

Richard Fine’s talk focussed on video games. A game developer himself, Richard showed us a sneak preview of his current project Infection – last rites and explained the idea of ‘Ludonarrative dissonance’ – essentially a concept that means a video game player won’t always act within the story that the game wants to tell. This is definitely worth further investigating for anyone interested in the gamification of content.

Last, but not least, were Jen Porter and Kirk Bowe from BeyondTheStory (only hours before their presentation at the Futurebook conference in London). BeyondTheStory focuses on dynamic storytelling experiences and we were given a preview of their work with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and heard about the success of their The Almighty Johnsons companion app. Anyone involved in digital publishing should keep their eyes peeled on Porter and Bowe’s work – it will be interesting to see the ways in which publishers will continue harnessing technology to maximise their content.

So, what indeed is next for publishing? We can’t be entirely sure but I’m confident that all of these ideas, and other influences from surrounding creative industries, will play a significant role in shaping the next stage of our industry’s progress.

A big thank you to Charly for taking the time to write this post. I highly recommend you sign up to receive the OPuS newsletter and we’ll hopefully see you at future events!

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Life in Publishing: it’s more than just books (and tumblr)!

SYP logo
What are you doing tomorrow (Saturday 23rd November?) Coming to the SYP Conference I hope!

Atwood Tate are proud to be sponsoring the conference this year, and there are some fascinating things being talked about, as you can see from the session outlines. Both Kellie and myself (CLK) will be there delivering some sessions, and generally being ourselves throughout the day.

A full poster about the day can be downloaded here:
Poster for SYP conference

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Around the world in 6 BookMachine Events

BookMachine logo
6 cities, 6 speakers, one night.

Never ones to do things by halves, BookMachine are pulling out all the stops on September 25th to celebrate the beta launch of their new people discovery platform BookMachine.me.

The events are taking place in New York, London, Toronto, Barcelona, Oxford and Brighton. Top speakers include Eric Huang (Made in Me, who we interviewed a little while ago), Julia Kingsford (CEO, World Book Night), Sophie Kahan (Kobo), Emma Barnes (CEO BiblioCloud/Snowbooks), Julietta Lionetti (Consultant) and Brett Sandusky (Bdigitl Media Labs).

Early-bird tickets are on sale now. Guests at each event will be greeted by a host, and each city has local sponsors supporting the event with drinks, prize draws and special offers.

In a rapidly evolving industry, BookMachine is a great way to informally meet with fellow industry professionals, pick up and discuss new ideas, kick-off brand new projects and expand your network of contacts. We’ll be at the Oxford and London events, so hopefully see you there!

Find out more at http://bookmachine.org/everywhere

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Networking – How To

Bookmachine Oxford is happening tonight and it is a great opportunity to do some networking, help your career, and just have fun with lots of like minded people. But no one ever actually teaches you how to network, which can make it a rather scary prospect. Not to mention, you’ve often paid to be at an event, so you want to get the most out of it!

Plus, when you are hideously shy like I am (really, I am, don’t laugh!) the thought of going to a networking event can turn you into a gibbering wreck and leave you huddling in the darkest corner you can find.

All the advice I have ever been given over the years boils down to “fake it till you make it” and “be brave”, but I know that’s easier said than done, so I thought I’d point my fellow wallflowers in the direction of a few tips and tricks I’ve found have worked.

Firstly, the very lovely Lucy J has 5 great tricks, including:

  1. Walk up to people and say ‘hello’. Scary but effective.
  2. Practice how you introduce yourself. Short but sweet (try not to ramble!) ‘Hello, my name is Claire Louise, I am a recruitment consultant…’
  3. Talk about the other person. An oldie but a goodie, this is fail safe.

There are other great tips here and here, but above all, remember, like the spider in the bath, people are often just as shy as you are. By being nice, you will make them feel better about themselves and therefore good about you.

Do you have any tricks that you find help when you’re at event? Do share in the comments.


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