Tag Archives: SYP
SYP Alumni Event: How do you make a difference to your company when you are not the company’s decision makers?
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.
What happens when you mix four publishing professionals, good burgers and a pub quiz with pictures? A good night out, apparently!
Not far near London Bridge lies The Miller – a pub with excellent burgers and an interesting range of cider (including Frozen Strawberry Slush!)
Last week, four of the best and brightest that Atwood Tate have to offer went along for the annual SYP Pub Quiz in support of the Book Trade Charity (BTBS).
We called ourselves Atwood Great (modest!) and went head to head with 7 other teams of people starting out in the publishing industry.
What we thought would be a straight forward question and answer session turned into a feat of anagrams and guessing opening and closing lines! We did worryingly well on the children’s literature round, but the most team bonding happened on the ‘Say What You See’ – how many can you get from the picture below?
Unfortunately, we had to bow out early, but we had tons of fun! Thank you to the lovely team at the SYP for organising.
Want to get involved in an SYP event?
Society of Young Publishers (SYP) have a great events schedule and job board for the publishing industry. We recommend becoming a member! Some of our team will be at How to Succeed with Your Job Search so make sure to have your questions ready!
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
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/.
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.
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!
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.
With less than a week to go until the start of the London Book Fair 2018, here’s a collection of our top tips so you have a fun and successful time. These suggestions are aimed at first-timers, whether you’re coming as a student, job-seeker, intern or first-jobber, but it’s good to keep them in mind no matter where you are in your career.
Wear flat shoes
You might be tempted to wear heels, but trust me, you will regret this decision. The Olympia is huge, and you are likely to be on your feet all day. Dress code varies according to the sector you’re in, but you can’t go wrong with business casual. Your old gym trainers are probably a no-no, but a clean pair of flat shoes or boots will be fine.
Plan your time in advance
You might have meetings booked or be required to be on your company’s stand at certain times. Check the list of seminars in the programme so you have a rough idea of the things you don’t want to miss. There’s so much on and it’s such a big venue that you’re bound to miss things otherwise.
Plan some chill-out time
It will get exhausting walking around all day, so plan some time to yourself so you can sit down and have a cup of tea or some lunch. If you are nervous in crowds, plan somewhere you can go to escape for a while if you get overwhelmed. This is close to impossible in the venue itself, as the bathrooms and cafés are packed all day, so plan in advance somewhere you can go nearby. This is a tough event for anyone prone to anxiety in crowds, so be prepared and look out for friends and colleagues who might be struggling a bit.
Bring a portable phone charger
It goes without saying – you don’t want your phone to die halfway through the day. Download the Book Fair app for a convenient map and timetable of the event, and stay up to date on Twitter by following the #LBF18 hashtag. Take photos! Take pictures of stands you like as a reminder to yourself, or share them on social media.
Come to the Careers Clinic on Thursday
Remember to bring your CV if you’re coming to this event. Two of our consultants, Alison and Christina, will be at the clinic along with other publishing HR and recruitment professionals, ready to answer your questions and offer advice. This is the place to go if you are job-seeking. Other people around the fair and on stands are not there for recruitment purposes so it’s best not to go around handing out your CV outside of this event.
Remember to stay hydrated!
Bring a bottle of water (and maybe a snack if you’re super organised). It’s very easy to get hot and dehydrated, and queues are long and prices high at the cafes.
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.
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.
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:
- Byte the Book networking – Tuesday 10th April, 5-6pm in the Buzz Theatre.
- BookMachine networking – Wednesday 11th April, 4:30-5:30pm in the Buzz Networking Bar. Free drinks vouchers for the first 50 people there!
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.
A Publishing MA can be a big boost to your CV, due to the technical and theoretical knowledge it can give you, as well as the practical work experience you will gain. It is by no means a prerequisite for a job in publishing, but it can help when you enter an over-saturated job market. However, it’s not for everyone and lots of people get into the industry via other means, such as internships and work experience. Before you apply, you should consider whether the course is right for you.
What universities offer a Publishing MA course?
Some universities which offer the course include:
- Anglia Ruskin University – Publishing MA
- City University London – Publishing Studies MA / International Publishing Studies MA
- Edinburgh Napier University – Publishing MSc
- Kingston University – Publishing MA
- London College of Communications – Publishing MA
- Oxford Brookes University – Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies
- Plymouth University – Publishing MA
- University of Central Lancashire – Publishing MA / PGDip / PGCert
- University College London – Publishing MA
- University of Derby – Publishing MA
- University of Plymouth – Publishing MA
- University of Stirling – Publishing Studies MLitt/ Publishing Studies MRes
Things to consider
Fees vary between universities, but are usually around £6,000-£10,000. You will also need to fund living expenses. UK postgraduate students can apply for a loan of up to £10,280 (https://www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan/what-youll-get), and there are various bursaries available. See the websites of individual courses for more information about the financial support they can offer.
You may want to work part-time during your MA; however, if your course includes full-time work experience placements as well as studying, then consider whether you will have time to work alongside it.
What does the course cover?
What sectors of the publishing industry does the course look at – trade? Academic? STM? And what job roles/departments will you learn about – editorial? Production? Marketing?
If you are not 100% sure which area you want to go into, a Publishing MA can be a great way of finding our more information about areas you may not have previously considered. Then you can make an informed decision about your future career path rather than going in blind.
Links to publishing houses
What publishing houses does the course have links with? Ask where previous students have done placements and consider whether these are the types of companies you want to work for. Work placements and contacts at top companies are one of the most valuable components of publishing courses.
Other things to think about
- Are you the kind of person who likes working in an academic environment? Are you prepared for the exams and/or dissertation or would you rather gain your skills on the job?
- Will this help you get a foot in the door or increase your future earning potential?
- Have you already done some work experience in the publishing industry? This can help you make sure this is the right career for you – before you spend any money.
For more information about getting into publishing, please see our Work Experience and Entry-Level Resources page.