Tag Archives: recruitment

Working In the Book Trade: The Business of Selling Books

Did you know that the UK is the world’s biggest exporter of books?  Publishing is a large and growing industry and the total number of books published in the UK last year was 173,000.  Publishing businesses in the UK alone have a collective annual turnover of £6 billion, making the UK the fifth biggest market in the world after the US, China, Germany, and Japan. On average, the UK publishing industry employs 30,000 people directly and roughly 70,000 people indirectly spread across over 8,000 publishers. Publishing is now a multimedia business and last year digital books accounted 15% of the 360,000,000 physical and eBooks sold. Ebook sales have dropped a little in recent years from 17% to 15%, perhaps because they are being rapidly displaced by digital audio books! These figures give you an idea of the size and importance of the publishing industry.

Earlier in the month, Parissa Bagheri from Atwood Tate was invited back to her alma mater, the University of Greenwich, to attend an event they were holding to discuss Working in the Book Trade: The Business of Selling Books. The panel of speakers included CEO of Bonnier, Perminder Mann, CEO of Hachette, David Shelley, and the Ex-Chairman of Blackwell’s Bookshop Trevor Goul-Wheeker. These leading figures in publishing and the book trade shared their experiences and journeys into publishing, offering advice to those in the audience looking to do the same.  We know a lot of our followers are aspiring publishing professionals or still young in their publishing career, so wanted to share their insights with you too.

CEO of Hachette David Shelley was first up in telling the audience about how he entered the industry. David’s parents owned a second-hand bookshop, so he was exposed to the sales side of publishing from an early age. He began his career as an Editorial Assistant for Alison and Busby (a well-established small publisher).  He kept the company running for 5 years and encompassed problems along the way, such as the book distributor going bust and relocating the office near to Brixton near to where he lived. The owner of Little, Brown asked David if he would consider buying a few books a year as an Editor and he joined the company, which eventually led to his promotion to Publisher, then Head of Division, and finally to his current role running Hachette UK!

Hachette publishes 5,000 books every year and has a staff of 18,000. David explained that the editorial departments receive 1,000 applications for every editorial assistant job, whereas the sales team often only receive around three direct applications. He emphasised the importance of exploring different sectors; foreign rights professionals get to read, travel and correspond with authors whereas, production departments, whilst equally driven and creative focus more on the people and processes in the background. David also advised that publishers are looking for people who are keen to work in finance, also stating that the first two to three years of entering the industry is all about grafting your way through. It is necessary to differentiate yourself from others, don’t rely on just the contacts you have. Don’t be afraid to be bold and fearless in your first year, don’t undersell yourself, and be proud and show off your achievements. People love to mentor younger people, so offer to have coffee with them to show your passion and interest!

His tips for a good cover letter are:

  • Look up the books that your target publisher is publishing and research its heritage
  • Brilliant quality writing – this is a reflection of how well you can communicate
  • Talk about your favourite writers, what are they doing?
  • Be thoughtful and considerate
  • Don’t follow the rules strictly, break rules and disagree!

Bonnier is the sixth largest publishing company in the UK and its CEO Perminder Mann also talked about her experience in the publishing industry. Growing up, she spent much of her time reading, making sure to build up her English vocabulary. She spent time interning and eventually had an interview with Macmillan for a role in its in Special Sales department. She was offered the job, which she explained was quite challenging, but she used the opportunity to gain as much knowledge as she could. Perminder was then promoted in sales and travelled throughout the UK to meet buyers. Later she moved to Transworld (now part of Penguin Random House) as an entrepreneur in a five person team, and faced the problem of not having as much contact or support, constantly having to juggle between having a career and being a mother. She survived that and then moved into children’s publishing, but was travelling too much and decided to move out of publishing altogether.  Publishing isn’t quite like any other industry, though, and she ended up returning when she was offered a position at Bonnier.

Perminder talked about how at Bonnier you don’t have to choose between a career and family, as you can work flexibly she has put benefits in place such as a good a maternity policy.  This is something that Perminder is extremely passionate about given her own experience throughout her career and she is now in the middle of improving paternity pay and continuing to champion equality.

Finally, the ex-chairman of Blackwell’s Bookshop Trevor Goul-Wheeker took to the floor to explain how he fell in love with the publishing industry. Trevor started off as a bookseller and fell in love with the book trade, partly because of the people involved in it. Blackwell’s is a well-known book retailer, but as the digital publishing industry gradually took over, Blackwell’s was forced to start closing stores and were closing 16 high street shops every day. Currently, the UK bookshops account for 41% of books sold with ecommerce accounting for 35% of book sales. However, Trevor stated that bookshop recommendations are still the number one influencer when people are choosing which book to buy.  He believes that bookshops still offer customer engagement and a valued experience and that bookselling and publishing go hand in hand.

All three speakers did emphasise that you do not need a masters to get into publishing; most publishing companies prefer more hands on experience, which shows a variety of skills.  They also all agreed that ecommerce and ebooks are slowly taking over from print as they are easier to access and to read on the go. Audio books are now attracting a new demographic of “readers” and enabling publishers to tap into a new market. Publishers are already and will continue to learn about and develop in the area of audio.

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Have you referred a friend yet?

details of the refer a friend programme

Did you know that if you referred a friend, you could receive £200 in vouchers?

If you see a vacancy that doesn’t quite match your requirements, but you think you know someone who will be interested, then simply forward the relevant vacancy details to a friend or colleague. If they’re not already registered with us and they are successfully placed into a new permanent role, you will receive £200 in vouchers of your choice when they have completed 3 months in their new position.

Terms & Conditions

  1. The candidate must reference you in their application to us.  Or if you forward us their details, you must mention the vacancy title and reference number.
  2. Only candidates who are not currently registered with Atwood Tate may be considered.
  3. The offer will only apply to the role they are recommended for and not if they are placed within a different role at a later date.
  4. Payment will be made once the referred candidate has completed a period of three months in the role.  We will contact you to confirm this and get details to supply your vouchers.

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Welcome to the team Cat and Novia!

We are delighted to announce that we have two new team members! The team is very excited to welcome back Catherine Roney, (after some time out) Cat will be working on permanent roles in London and the Home Counties. The fabulous Novia Kingshott will be supporting Kellie Millar on the Temps/Freelancers desk as a Senior Publishing Recruitment Consultant.

                                                     Catherine Roney


Catherine first joined Atwood Tate after working for Octopus Publishing Group as an International Sales Executive. Responsible for selling International rights as well as supporting the International Sales team, Catherine has a keen understanding of the publishing industry. Originally from Western Australia and with a love of all things book-related, Catherine is excited to re-join the team after taking an extended maternity leave.

Catherine’s s focus at Atwood Tate will be in Marketing, Publicity, Product Management and Customer Service, covering all sectors in London, the Home Counties and East Anglia.

catherineroney@atwoodtate.co.uk 0203 574 4429

Novia Kingshott

Throughout her recruitment career, Novia has focused solely on temps as she loves the fast paced and urgency the temps recruitment process requires. Novia is very experienced in placing top notch candidates within healthcare, medical, government and legal fields. With a passion for publishing, Novia is looking forward to offering her 5 star customer service to candidates and clients alike.

Novia will be supporting Kellie Millar on the Temps/Freelancers desk as a Senior Publishing Recruitment Consultant.

NoviaKingshott@atwoodtate.co.uk 0203 574 4421

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Industry Spotlight: Temping

What is temping?

Publishers contact us to book temps when they need an extra pair of hands to help them meet a deadline or when they are extra busy. These roles are also urgent with almost immediate starts. Our clients also need temps to cover sick leave or to cover whilst a new permanent team member is being recruited.  They may even consider the temp! Temp roles can range from 2 days up to 6 months and can be extended further and even lead to a permanent role.  

Temping with Atwood Tate

The Temps/Freelancers team cover roles across the entire publishing industry including trade and educational, Academic, Science as well as professional and B2B, digital and print.  They also cover administration, finance, HR, marketing, and sales.

The team are:

Kellie Millar (Temps/Freelancers Manager) kelliemillar@atwoodtate.co.uk

Novia Kingshott (Senior Recruitment Consultant) NoviaKingshott@atwoodtate.co.uk

Anna Slevin (Temps/Freelancers Administrator) annaslevin@atwoodtate.co.uk

Anna is a former Atwood Tate temp herself and had a few admin placements in Accounts Payable and Publications Teams. As she can testify temps are paid weekly on Fridays and receive holiday pay which goes into a “pot” they draw from when they go on annual leave. Temps can be paid by hour or have a day rate depending on the job.

Our clients aren’t all publishers but have a busy publishing team. These also include a royal academic society, a charity or even a standards or ratings publisher. A lot of the time when temping, skills are readily transferrable and employers are more flexible regarding your work background. Marketing roles are particularly easy to transfer across or specialist knowledge such as science or law can be very useful in editorial for those specialist subject publishers.

How will temping benefit me and is an extension guaranteed?

Sometimes temps cover a role more senior or more junior than they would typically expect. This could be in a different area to one they have worked in before or one they do because they love what the publisher works on and the job. Temping is great for exploring the industry and various companies.

Temp roles will often say “extensions possible” this is because roles can be extended for more days and weeks or a contract on the publisher’s payroll could be offered. There are no guarantees but it does happen and you are more than welcome to apply for internal vacancies while working for that publisher which may not be available to the general public.

Candidates do come to Atwood Tate specifically wanting temp or freelance work but quite often they are looking for a permanent job but don’t yet have the required experience so the Temps team can help to get that ‘foot in the door’. Once a candidate has a bit more experience in publishing, the Permanent Team can help look for a permanent role in publishing. Kellie and Novia can help you to build up that in-house experience.

What is the recruitment process for temping?

A role comes in. We tell you about it / You express interest. We put you forward. If the client chooses your CV you can start working immediately or there may be a telephone interview or even a face to face interview. Interviews are less formal and shorter with temp roles.  

As a Temp: work hard + submit timesheets + be paid on Fridays = WORK IN PUBLISHING!!!

(You also learn a lot no matter how well you know the role and get to work with some really lovely people.)

With contributions from Anna Slevin

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Welcome to the team Parissa!

We are delighted to announce we have an amazing new trainee consultant, Parissa Bagheri! Parissa has joined our London office where she is learning the ropes before becoming a fully fledged Publishing Recruitment Consultant. Parissa is supporting Karine Nicpon on editorial in London and the Home Counties.

 

Parissa Bagheri

Parissa graduated earlier this year with a Masters with Distinction in English Literature, looking for a role in the publishing industry. Her interests include reading, writing, health and fitness and travel. She is currently reading Everything I know About Love by Dolly Alderton and her favourite film is Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Parissa joined Atwood Tate as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant in October 2018 where she works on Editorial roles in London and the Home Counties.

parissabagheri@atwoodtate.co.uk

0203 574 4431

See our Meet the Team page for more information and contact details for all our consultants.

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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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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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B2B Job Focus: Market Reporters

Do you remember our article about B2B reporters? Today we will look at a specific category of journalists: Market Reporters!

Market Reporters

Market reporters (or Pricing/Price Reporters) are journalists with distinct duties. They assess commodities prices and write market commentaries and news on specific markets.

Commodities are substances or products that can be traded. Single commodities markets include metals (gold, zinc, steel), energy (fuel oil, natural gas) or agriculture (rice, wheat, corn).

Market reporters talk to trader and investors to establish a list of prices, either on a daily or weekly basis. They also need to develop solid relationship with commodity analysts, forecasters, financial planners and company CEOs and expand and maintain this network.

Investors rely on market reporters for information about what to buy, sell or hold. As their analysis has an impact on the stock market, these journalists can be influential. They need a great deal of diplomacy as well as resilience and communication skills.

Typical duties

Market reporters are expected to:

  • Develop an expertise of their industry, build strong contacts within it and attend relevant conferences, meeting and events
  • Assess prices and write commentaries and news about the industry
  • Interview professionals and travel when required to attend meetings
  • Keep up to date and report on foreign markets
  • Have a good head for numbers and be meticulous with the data they collect

Background

Our clients are open to graduates with the following degrees:

  • Journalism
  • Finance
  • Business
  • Economics.

Of course, employers will expect you to have excellent writing and numerical skills. For senior positions, a relevant track record in the industry is necessary.

This article was the last of our series on B2B Job Focus, we hope you enjoyed it!

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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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