Tag Archives: Q&A

Consultant in the Hot Seat: Faye Jones

 

 

Which three books changed your life?

  1. 1984 by George Orwell – I read this book for my English Literature A Level and then went to see a theatre production of it and it blew my mind. Everyone in my family has read it and we will often say that situations in the news can be “very 1984”. This is the first book that changed the way I looked at surveillance and made me think about how we’re always being watched by someone!
  2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – I read the Great Gatsby on holiday and managed to finish it in a couple of hours because I was hooked. I then went on to study it at Alevel before I read 1984 and it made me want to study English after I left school. I really enjoyed the Baz Luhrmann film adaptation as it’s quite true to the book but I would definitely choose the book over the film if I had to make a choice between the two.
  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time by Mark Haddon – I didn’t think that I would enjoy this book when I first heard about it but it was another holiday read that I couldn’t put down. I love the way that the main characters thoughts are narrated and the story is fantastic. I really want to go and see the theatre adaptation of the book so hopefully I can book tickets to see it soon!

Who would you invite to your fantasy literary dinner?

  1. Roald Dahl – would love to pick his brain about what his books are inspired by and how his upbringing in Cardiff effected his writing.
  2. W H Auden – I absolutely love Auden’s poetry especially Miss Gee, I would just sit and listen to him read his poetry all day if I could.
  3. Jacqueline Wilson – I grew up reading all of Jacqueline Wilson’s books and would love to meet her in person.

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

I graduated from university in July 2017 and while I was studying I went to weekly Lindyhop classes and became quite involved in the Swing Dance Society. It was sad leaving Reading after I graduated but luckily for me I got to move back 9 months later and started going back to Lindyhop classes straight away. I loved seeing my dance friends again and seeing how the beginners have improved while I was away.

If you could write ‘THE book’ on something, the definitive how-to guide on any subject, which topic would you choose.

If I had to write a book on anything it would be how to handle yourself in social dancing situations within partnered dances (if you can’t tell I really like social dancing). I think many beginners are worried about doing something wrong or stepping on another person’s feet but it is all about confidence! I would love to write a book that guided you through how to build up your confidence and eventually, ask a stranger to dance with you at an event.

True fact: My mother made me go to Ballet classes when I was 4 because I use to walk around on what I called my ‘tippy toes’ all day and everyone was worried that I would really hurt my feet.

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Atwood Tate Book Club: Halloween

 

Have you ever wondered what a team of publishing recruitment specialists like to read in their down time? Curious about our favourite books growing up? Welcome to the Atwood Tate Book Club, where we reveal what books have a special place on our shelves! For this entry, we peek under the bed and around darkened corners with our favourite Halloween appropriate reads.

Anna Slevin, Temps & Freelancers Administrator

Gentleman & Players by Joanne Harris .

Psychological thriller that really ramps up the tension in an all-boys school, written by a former teacher (of Chocolat fame) with two narrators and two time periods as a former tragedy comes back to haunt the school… Honestly one of the most disconcerting reads as hindsight and ignorance confuse the reader as the disturbing mystery plays out.

The Stuff of Nightmares by Malorie Blackman

Short stories that show schoolchild nightmares that ultimately reach a conclusion as the reality of a train crash hits home. Memorable a decade later! Dreamscapes are the perfect landscape for awful situations with terrible images that stay with you…

Charlotte Tope, Publishing Recruitment Consultant

The Virago Book of Ghost Stories volume ll

 

It’s not in print anymore so you’ll have to do a bit of searching to get a second hand copy, but a collection of haunting tales all written by women. I recommend Black Dog Penelope Lively. You’re going to have to read in-between the lines for this one!!

 

Faye Jones, Publishing Recruitment Consultant

The Woman in Black  by Susan Hill

The Woman in Black was the first horror book that I read after finishing school, and even though I couldn’t put it down I wanted to because it was so scary! I only read it at night time which was probably a bad idea and when the film came out I convinced my friends to try reading it before watching it in the Cinema. If you’re looking for a chilling read I would recommend the Woman in Black.

 

 

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Industry Spotlight: STM Publishing

Welcome to Atwood Tate’s industry spotlight series, where we go behind the scenes of each of our recruitment desks to give you the scoop on working with Atwood Tate. This week Clare returns, focusing on roles in STM publishingSTM word cloud

 

What does ‘STM’ means in publishing?

STM publishing refers to scholarly, Scientific, Technical, Medical and professional publishers.  In Atwood Tate, we work with a wide range of publishers from academic and scientific publishers, learned societies, open-access publishers and professional bodies to reach out to publishing professionals.  The content is often journals or books based, for journals, there are open-access journals and subscription journals.

What will be the academic requirement?

The majority of roles we work on require a scientific degree.  It is not often that a Master’s or PhD is required but for senior editorial positions, especially working on a particular scientific subject, it is likely that a specific academic background will be needed. However, for roles that are more operational or with a strategic focus, companies might be more flexible on educational background.  Some candidates have, for example, an English degree who now work in a managerial STM publishing role so never say never!

What roles do we work on within STM publishing?

We work on roles from junior to senior level.  From Editorial or Publication Assistant, to middleweight Production Editor or Commissioning Editor; senior level Managing Editor or Publishing Operations Manager and so on.  STM publishing is a big area and it is full of potential to transfer your expertise.

Is there good progression in STM Publishing?

STM publishing is fast growing and blooming quickly so there will definitely be good progression.  Through working with different portfolio of journals and academia, you will grow your network and gain a wider knowledge of STM publishing.  Currently, a lot of STM publishers are expanding and restructuring so there are definitely opportunities to grow your career in the field.

If you are looking for a job in STM Publishing, get in touch with Clare at clarechan@atwoodtate.co.uk.

Atwood Tate is a member of ALPSP (The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers).

Keep an eye out for ScholarlySocial @ScholarlySocial which has networking meetings.

 

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Administrator in the Hot Seat: Anna Slevin

If you could write ‘THE book’ on something, the definitive how-to guide on any subject, which topic would you choose?

This is also my one true fact to share but I wrote 6,000 words about cinnamon instead of a dissertation for my degree! It wasn’t definitive so I’d quite like to go back and do that someday. (It was a choice between cinnamon or coffee at the time but I didn’t want to end up hating coffee!)

What three books changed your life?

First Test by Tamora Pierce

Where a girl didn’t have to pretend to be a boy to do what she wanted! (Tamora Pierce started in the eighties and is having a revival at the moment) It didn’t so much change my life as shape it from the start because my mum read it to me when I was about six I think.

The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell

(Slightly cheating I know but I only picked it up because it was so thick!) This autobiography melded fact and storytelling the point where I went off and wrote about cinnamon and studied Creative Nonfiction later. It’s been adapted into several television productions each different from the last. It showed me that real life can be as interesting as fiction and imagination can be applied to everything. Even slugs.

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

I often give people the impression that I only read longer books or sprawling series, this isn’t entirely true because of this book. The amount of foreign literature in translation on British shelves is minimal – this is criminal. Kitchen is two novellas by a Japanese author that were somehow mainstream enough to be in English at my local library. Novellas are often underrated or undervalued, unfortunately they cost almost the same as much lengthier paperbacks. But some stories should be a certain length. Some stories need a certain style, a certain pace. Some stories are specific and individual and particular. But resonate. I now actively look for shorter fiction and translations.

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

 Walking between worlds. It’s something of a theme in Diana Wynne Jones from her nine-lived enchanters with the title Chrestomanci to Howl of the Moving Castle fame (the film is very different! In the book he’s actually Howell Jenkins from Wales in our world) and in Homeward Bounders while in The Merlin Conspiracy there is confusion with multiple Earths…

The way it can mean so many different things even to one author strikes me as something special. It normally makes the character appreciate the world they come from or find one they prefer! I like the idea of seeing how different societies function and being able to choose for myself, much like a good book…

Bonus Question

Who would you invite (and why) to your fantasy literary dinner party?

There’s a saying: “never meet your heroes” and a lot of the best characters can be very obnoxious… I’m actually reading The Immortal Dinner at the moment with Keats and Wordsworth in appearance but Wordsworth sounds like a very difficult guest at times!

Do you invite characters or authors? What would they eat? Does Bob Dylan count, having won the Nobel Prize? If this is a fantasy literary dinner party I would invite my dad and Bob Dylan to talk to each other because my dad would love that, and William Morris; I would invite my mum and Margaret Drabble because she introduced me to her, and Eric Hobsbawm; and I would quietly slip out the back door and ask my parents about it later as an after-party. I don’t know who would be making the food. My parents introduced me to literature for which I can never thank them enough so I think I’d rather they get the opportunity and I know I would have no regrets, facilitation being the better part of valour.

 

 

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SYP Alumni Event: How do you make a difference to your company when you are not the company’s decision makers?

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SYP Panel Help Aspiring Publishers to Kick-Start Their Career

In September, SYP London kindly hosted ‘Kick-Start Your Career: How to Succeed with your Job Search this Autumn’ for aspiring and entry level publishing candidates hoping to gain some career and work experience from established members of the industry. Speakers included our very own Associate Director Helen Speedy, who all brought their experiences and insights on how to build a successful career in publishing.

Did you miss the event? Perhaps you would like a recap! Helen Speedy shares her publishing career advice and experiences.

Explain your role and how you got there (approx. 5 mins each).

I am the Associate Director at Atwood Tate, a specialist publishing recruitment company based in Central London and Oxford. My job is to manage the Permanent team day-to day, who consist of seven consultants and an administrator, and make sure everybody is hitting their targets, having smooth relations with both clients and candidates and generally feeling happy. I am also the contact for senior publishing roles across the country, so a day can be talking through pipelines and business development with my team, or taking briefs from clients and sourcing appropriate candidates for the recruitment process.

I got my first job through talking to one of the speakers at the Oxford Brookes Careers Day towards the end of my MA, who gave me the contact details of someone looking for an Office Junior.

How do I get my first job in publishing?

There are a number of ways to get your first publishing job, and it’s worth trying a few to give yourself the best possible chance.

  • MA (plus work experience and networking)
  • Work experience placements that could lead to your first job
  • Through an agency – temping can lead to perm or to getting that work experience you needed but being paid properly along the way (also perm)
  • Networking events are a great way to build up your contacts and make a good impression before you’ve even made an application!
  • Proactive volunteering/personal work are also worth considering to boost your CV and stand out from the crowd. It is a lot easier to prove your interest in children’s illustrated fiction if your social media, blogging or volunteering backs you up!

What advice would you give your younger self, when you were just starting out?

Be more confident and don’t always assume that there are people better qualified than you.

What do you regret doing in your career?

I don’t have any regrets really. That may sound a bit complacent, but I have the philosophy that you make the right decision at the time and there is no point looking back. There are various points in my career when I could have taken a different path and I have turned down jobs and also taken roles that didn’t quite turn out to be what I thought. I remind myself that I made those decisions and they felt like the right choice at the time.  As long as you feel in control  and you are happy with your decision at that time, you should not have any regrets.  The only lasting regret I have is not calling out a bully, but I was young and in the junior position, so I forgive myself and it has given me the strength to help others confront difficult situations and not be scared to do so myself.

Associate Director Helen Speedy (second from left) after speaking on the panel

What’s the best career advice you’ve heard?

  • In terms of CV advice, make sure it shows the difference you made and the impact you’ve had, not just a list of your duties
  • If you’ve got lots of voluntary experience, internships and temp roles, try categorising rather than listing chronologically – tell a story and make sure the facts support the narrative.

How do you know if you should go for a role or not?

  • Can you tick 70-80% of the boxes (usually nobody has it all!)
  • Is it located in a sensible place for you to commute to?
  • Does picturing yourself in the role make you feel excited?
  • Do you think it would give you opportunities to learn?
  • What do you know about the company culture and how that would suit you?
  • If you’re not sure, try to have a conversation (with recruiter or name on advert)

Is it off-putting for employers if you apply for lots of different positions at the same company?

It depends on the size of company. It can be off-putting if it looks you are applying for anything and there is no real effort on any of the applications.  HR will begin to wonder how can  you be truly that interested in so many different roles with different skillsets! If there are different roles that catch your eye, find out if they will refer you if their role isn’t suitable. In a small company,you may get referred internally (I did for my first job and ended up with a better job than the one I applied for!)

Want to hear more about the SYP?

The Society of Young Publishers is a membership body for aspiring publishers and current candidates in the first ten years of their career. With branches in London, Oxford, South-West, North, Ireland and Scotland; the SYP is the biggest membership organisation in the publishing industry. For more details and to sign up, go to https://thesyp.org.uk/membership-signup.

 

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Industry Spotlight: Marketing and Publicity

Welcome to Atwood Tate’s industry spotlight series, where we go behind the scenes of each of our recruitment desks to give you the scoop on working with Atwood Tate. This week, Olivia returns, focusing on Marketing and Publicity roles.

marketing strategy image

Marketing

What do Marketers in publishing do?

Marketers are responsible for promoting a publisher’s products or services to their target audience, whether that be to individual consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B). Marketing can broadly be split into traditional (e.g. print advertisements, newsletters, flyers, brochures) and digital (e.g. social media, email, websites, paid search, SEO). The majority of marketing roles in publishing combine the two or are digital focused, so it’s advisable to keep your digital skills up to date.

Marketers have many different channels and techniques at their disposal and roles will vary depending on the nature of the product or service and target audience. For example, if you are marketing books to teachers you are likely to produce a lot of visually appealing marketing collateral and do a lot of direct mail campaigns. On the other hand, if you are marketing a medical journal to doctors you will likely target them with intellectually stimulating email campaigns.

Do you need a marketing qualification to work in marketing?

Absolutely not. It’s something employers might find desirable but a lot of people start out in an entry level role and build up from there. Some people choose a qualification once they’ve built up some experience and decided on an area to specialise in. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) both provide qualifications which can be studied for alongside a full-time job. Your employer may even cover the cost of the course.

Where can a marketing job take me?

Marketing is great in that the skills and knowledge you develop are very transferable and will be useful for so many employers and different industries. There are a wealth of marketing roles in publishing. Some people choose to stay in one area of publishing for most of their career while others move around different sectors, which is possible to do, especially if you have particular skills or a specialism which is in high demand.

As there are so many marketing roles there are lots of opportunities for career progression and chances to move into management positions or very specialised roles.

publicist author interview

Publicity/PR

What do Publicists in publishing do?

Publicists are responsible for managing relationships with authors and dealing with their agents. Their job is to secure press coverage for books in the print, broadcast and online media so they are expected to build strong press relationships. They are also responsible for organising and attending events with authors, such as book launches and signings, interviews, author tours and appearances at literary festivals. Publicists need to stay informed about new trends and developments in their area of publishing and they often attend editorial meetings and contribute to pitches for new acquisitions.

Is PR all about parties and schmoozing with authors?

Yes, you might get the chance to work with high-profile and celebrity authors. You may also work with new and debut authors, which can be just as exciting and rewarding. Regardless of author list, there’s a lot of hard work and relationship building which goes into making any campaign successful.

Do you need a big network of media contacts?

Initially no. In junior roles you will be assisting PR Managers with their campaigns and general admin. As time goes on, you will start to build up a network of contacts. If you are working on particular titles, this may become quite specialised. For example, if you’re working with cookery authors, you will build up contacts with cookery magazines and food bloggers.

What skills do you need to succeed in marketing and publicity?

Marketing and publicity roles are closely linked and require similar skill sets. Anyone who wants to succeed in one of these roles needs superb communication and relationship building skills. They are busy jobs so excellent organisation skills are also essential. Creativity is also important. Some publishers work with small budgets, so you have to be innovative and resourceful to come up with new and inventive ideas. Keeping up to date with trends in the market is also key.

Marketers in particular often need to have strong copywriting skills and a good eye for detail. Photoshop and InDesign experience is a plus, especially if working in a collateral heavy role. Software skills are important as there are marketing programs you will be expected to use, such as CRM, email, social media, marketing automation software and analytics tools. There are a wealth of programs which do different things so it’s good if you can pick them up quickly. Video and audio content creation skills are increasingly desired in publishing, especially when working with online products.

If you are looking for a job in Marketing or Publicity, get in touch with Olivia at Olivia@atwoodtate.co.uk.

 

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Administrator in the Hot Seat: Cheryl O’garro

  • Who would you invite (and why) to your fantasy literary dinner party?

Meg Cabot has been one of my favourite authors since my teens, so she is non-negotiable. Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Jane Austen because their ear for wit, satire and the human condition is just fantastic. I think if the three of them got together, the resulting literary effort would  be a masterpiece. I’m just there for the great company!

  • If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?

How long do you have?! Off the top of my head, I would have to say either Harry Potter (for obvious reasons) or Northern Lights (the first of the His Dark Materials trilogy.) Both of those for me really draw you into their world and allow your imagination to really flow in a way that isn’t often possible outside of fantasy novels. I first read them when I was 7 and 10 respectively, and I would count both among my favourite books.

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

The examiner telling me that my Masters’ thesis on the psycho-social benefits of hyper-engagement (a term I coined describing the adoption of arts consumption as a personality trait) had a strong and original voice and warranted elaboration. Who am I to decline that kind of professional and academic validation?! That is closely followed by my graduation ceremony in January.

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

Right now it would have to be Quicksilver- the ability to move at great speed would be so useful for travelling and completing tasks. I’d still have my 24 hours in the day, but could fit in so much more! 

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Atwood Tate Book Club: Back to School

 

Have you ever wondered what a team of publishing recruitment specialists like to read in their down time? Curious about our favourite books growing up? Welcome to the Atwood Tate Book Club, where we reveal what books have a special place on our shelves! For this entry, we go back to school with our favourite reads from our educational careers.

Julie Irigaray, Trainee Recruitment Consultant

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

The first book I read after having passed the French equivalent of the GCSE (around the age of 15). I was moving to another school and to a higher level, so I suppose I needed to read a book about the changes taking place when one becomes a teenager. This novel deals with dark themes like suicide, sex and obsessional love in such a delicate way and with such a rich language that I couldn’t resist. The mystery surrounding both the main characters and the narrator makes it even more mesmerising.

 

Anna Slevin, Temps & Freelancers Administrator

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard.

I read the play for fun around the time I was sixteen and bored at school. The way time merges together and the interplay of language between characters really captures the imagination. I’m still wondering if it would be anywhere near as good on stage!

 

Claire Law, Managing Director

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 

 

I did a course at Uni on Canadian Women’s literature and this and her other books had a great impact on my reading both for study and pleasure purposes from that point. I also decided to make a literary nod to her name when I set up Atwood Tate!

 

Helen Speedy, Associate Director

Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis (The Caucasian Chalk Circle) by Bertolt Brecht

I can’t remember whether Bertolt Brecht’s Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis (The Caucasion Chalk Circle) was one of my A-level set texts or an add on, but it remains one of the most influential plays that I have read. Our literature focus for German was Die Gerechtigkeit und das Gesetz, which translates as Justice and the Law.  When I got into trouble at school it was usually a rebellion in the face of injustice, so Brecht, who explores the concept of justice and the tendency for corruption to manipulate the law and even favour the criminal over the innocent, was appealing to me.  I recently re-read my other set text by Duerrenmatt, Der Richter und sein Henker (The Judge and his Hangman), and would recommend this as a quick and accessible read.  It’s a thriller (verging on noir) which delves into this issue of justice and (or versus) the law and I hope you can find it in translation somewhere if you don’t read German.

 

Charlotte Tope, Trainee Recruitment Consultant

Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman

I couldn’t put these books down – they delivered a great message, in a thoughtful way, to a young audience. Such an effortless read!

 

Faye Jones, Trainee Recruitment Consultant

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald 

I studied The Great Gatsby for A Level English and become completely immersed in the characters and history behind 1920’s America. Even though the first chapter of the book is difficult to get through, I always recommend The Great Gatsby to anyone who’s looking for a short read and the film is great as well!

 

Cheryl O’garro, Administrator and Social Media Coordinator 

The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan 

This 18th century satire from Irish playwright Brinsley Sheridan was one of my AS level set texts and I have been in love with it ever since.  The play follows Lady Sneerwell and her band of gossips and the hypocrisy of their behaviour. The two plots are amazing: Sir Peter Teazle and his new, much younger wife and their marital troubles (half of which stems from society rumours)  and Sir Oliver Surface who, wanting to write his will, sets out in various character disguises to test if brothers Peter and Charles Surface are as respectively good and bad as society claims. I picked up a leather bound 1903 third edition copy from an antique book shop in Dublin (where he was born) and I was so happy I nearly hyperventilated!

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Industry Spotlight: Production and Operations

Welcome to Atwood Tate’s industry spotlight series, where we go behind the scenes of each of our recruitment desks to give you the scoop on working with Atwood Tate. This week’s entry is with Clare Chan, who works on Science, Technical, Medical, Distribution, Operations and Production roles across London, the Home Counties and East Anglia. In this entry, Clare will be breaking down how to get into Production, Distribution and Operations in the publishing sector.

Production

production

What does ‘production’ mean in publishing?

There is a wide range of production roles in publishing, most commonly Production Assistant, Production Controller, Production Editor and Production Manager. Production itself can be varied– covering printed and digital books, printed and digital journals and more. The skill set of a Production Manager in trade books versus a professional publisher can be very different, so it is all down to the content of what is being published to determine what kind of production knowledge you should have or what duties you will be doing in the role. So a role in children’s books will probably be highly illustrated and need someone with a good eye for detail and 4 colour experience.

What will be the academic requirement?

There isn’t a specific requirement to get into production roles.  You will need to demonstrate substantial project and supplier management as well as excellent communication skills because the majority of the suppliers will be offshore.  You will also need to have good software skills, i.e. Excel spreadsheets, InDesign and Adobe CS, Biblio3 (especially for trade book publishers) or XML publishing (for digital publishing).

What background will the clients be looking for?

Your previous experience plays a significant role when it comes to applying for production jobs.  Production roles are not as fluid as one would think when it comes to switching roles.  For instance, if you wanted to become a Production Controller in a children’s book publisher, you should have novelty book production experience and also knowledge of European toy safety legislation.  And if you are to work for a journals publisher, you will be working as a Production Editor and dealing with external typesetters to get the journals published which often also requires copy-editing skills.  More details about Production Editor will be discussed in my next blog when I explore STM editorial roles – keep your eyes open for that!

Is there good progression in production?

There is a good progression and a clear career strucutre and you will also become a production specialist as you build up solid knowledge from previous experience. One thing to bear in mind is that production technology is ever changing so keeping up with new software and technology is essential.  The book industry is a great example: decades ago, it was all about off-set printing, but now we have digital printing as well as e-book and audiobook production.

What key skills do you need?

A good learning attitude is a must.  Good communication skills, project management, time management, account management as you will manage different suppliers (most often overseas) and there could be pressing deadlines from time to time so being organised is important too. Numerical skills are also important as you’ll could be working with Excel, calculating and negotiating costs for reprints and shipping etc.

Distribution and Operations

operations

What roles are there in the Distribution and Operations in publishing?

We deal with a range of distribution and operations roles. Examples of roles we recruit for include Inventory Assistant, Inventory Coordinator, Stock Controller, Supply Chain Manager, and Head of Operations. Distribution and Operations plays an essential part in a publishing house, monitoring the inventory and arrange reprint or stock movement when needed.

What skills or knowledge will the clients be looking for?

Analytical skills and excellent software knowledge. You will be using Excel spreadsheets a lot, including Excel formulas. Depending on the publishers, you might also need to have certain software knowledge.  Communication and organisation skills are also essential as you will be coordinating with in-house colleagues from Design, Editorial, Rights, Sales & Marketing as well as external suppliers.

Is there good progression?

Similar to Production roles, Distribution and Operations are also a specialist roles with good progression.  You may eventually lead the team and be promoted to Inventory Manager and Head of Operations.  Keeping up with the latest data management technology will also lead you a long way in the field.  Candidates with Production experience may move laterally into Distribution and Operations for a change in their career path. There are always new opportunities!

If you have any questions about Production, Distribution or Operations roles, feel free to get in touch with Clare at clarechan@atwoodtate.co.uk!

 

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