Tag Archives: SYP

SYP: How to Make a Bestseller 2016

SYP: How to Make a Bestseller 2016

On the 26th of November our Senior Recruitment Consultant Karine Nicpon will be attending the SYP: How to Make a Bestseller Conference.

It is sure to be an insightful day and one that we can’t wait to hear all about! If you’re attending let us know via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram and be sure to say hello to Karine if you see her!


Leave a Comment

Filed under

The Beginners Guide to Networking in Publishing (and other industries)

Networking. It’s not many people’s favourite activity but we all have to do it. Charly Salvesen-Ford of the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG) and I recently gave a “Masterclass on Networking” to the SYP Oxford, and below are the highlights of what we talked about.

But why do I have to network?
Publishing is a very collaborative industry and it is very relationship driven. Networking can get you anything from free books, to book club members, to new business opportunities, to job offers.

  • People are more likely to remember you if they’ve met you and can put a face to the name.
  • People are more likely to remember you, and therefore recommend you to others if they’ve spoken to you in real life
  • People are more likely to remember you, and therefore be willing to help you if they’ve met you in real life.

Ok. Quick! Tell me what I need to know in 30 seconds.

  • Be brave and fake it till you make it – I bet 90% the people in the room are just as nervous as you are! Seriously, people are often just as shy as you are, and being nice to them in real life, will make them feel better about themselves and therefore good about you.
  • Baby steps – challenge yourself to get just one business card. Voila! You have networked. Next time will be easier and you can get two.
  • Practice – The more you do it, the less scary it will get. I promise.
  • Just do it!!! – Networking is one of those things that you learn by doing.

Maybe a little bit more detail…
Even the most extroverted people know how intimidating walking into a room full of people can be… and a room full of people that all seem to already know each other is a million times worse! Quick tip for that? Get there for the start of the event as opposed to “fashionably late” and cliques won’t have had time to form.

Claire Louise and Charly’s Top Ten Tips for Networking Success

Before the event

  1. Bring business cards, and be ready to accept them too.
    If you’ve got no business card, bring a biro or a Sharpie – that way you can improvise if necessary, or can jot notes to remind of you of things that you will associate with the new contacts. Note: We say biro or sharpie, rather than ink pens because some cards are glossy and hard to write on. Keep spares in your name badge holder/lanyard if you have one.
  2. Look at the delegate list.
    You will often have access to a list of who is at an event. If you have a quick look over it, it may help you recognise people in the room. There may also be specific people that you’d like to be introduced to – why not ask an organiser (or an experienced industry person) if they can point them out or introduce you. You will sometimes know who is going to an event beforehand, in which case it’s worth doing some prep.
  3. Engage online if it is encouraged by the event.
    For example, IPG events love to use hashtags – it’s a good icebreaker for before an event “I’m going to this, do say hello!” and to start virtual conversations that can transfer to real ones if you find the person you are tweeting alongside.

During the event

  1. Just say hello.
    It can be difficult to know how to open a conversation but it’s usually absolutely to fine to start with the basics – say hi and smile! First impressions really count, so a smile can be a winning accessory – even to people you don’t speak to on that occasion.
  2. Give yourself a target of people to meet / cards to obtain.
    Remember though ultimately it’s quality not quantity. Make it a challenge and a game and get invested. These don’t have to be big challenges. For example, if you are super nervous, set yourself the goal of one conversation. Little steps. Next time it won’t be as daunting.
  3. Ask questions
    If the networking follows a talk/conference, ask what they thought about a panel. People like to be asked questions about them and what they do – it’s often an interesting and useful conversation springboard if you ascertain how long someone has worked in the industry.
  4. Speak to people you wouldn’t normally speak to.
    You never know when something/someone’s going to be important and it would be boring if we only spoke to people like ourselves. (It can be tempting to hang around with a group of friends. You will see your friends again, this is the time to work on your career.)

After the event & general thoughts

  1. Do your follow up!
    If you exchanged cards, send a “nice to meet you” email a day or so later. If you said you would send them something, SEND IT!
  2. Don’t forget to tweet the event (using the hashtag) to say “great event” afterwards. A thank you is also always appreciated – events take a lot of organisation! (And if you write a blog follow-up, again, mention the hashtag and organiser in a tweet with the link)
  3. Don’t panic.
    Everyone is human and we don’t all get it right all the time. That’s fine.

Do you have any further tips or networking tricks? Do let us know in the comments, or jump into the conversation on Twitter (@atwoodtate, @kempcl, and @ipghq).

clk-new Charly Ford


Filed under Advice, Industry News & Events

The Kim Scott Walwyn Prize

On Wednesday 20th May this years’ winner of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize was announced to a room buzzing with publishing talent at the Free Word Centre in Clerkenwell.  The prize is in its 10th year and was set up  in the memory of the inspirational Publishing Director Kim Scott Walwyn. It is managed by the Prize Committee and Book Trust and is run in partnership with the Society of Young Publishers and the Publishing Training Centre. The award was originally founded to recognise women who had made an exceptional contribution to the industry and attracted nominations from high level professionals, with past winners including Lynette Owen and Claire Alexander. However, in more recent years the focus has shifted to the rising talent within publishing and to qualify for entry you must have no more than 7 years’ publishing experience.  The Kim Scott Walwyn prize is an important opportunity to recognise and encourage women who are demonstrating outstanding potential early in their careers and although there is always controversy surrounding awards that are aimed at a specific gender, race or demographic, until equality of the sexes is achieved in employment, this prize remains relevant.

Keynote speaker, Kate Mosse, firmly validated the importance of the prize, particularly as it is open to self-nominations.  She encouraged the audience to do things to make things happen and asserted that it is not unladylike or vulgar to promote yourself and women need to become more comfortable with being self-confident.  She urged us to understand that in celebrating your own achievements you can help other people.

Kate Mosse

Mosse, who was one of the founders of the Orange Prize for women’s fiction (now the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction ) is clearly passionate about women and minority groups gaining a stronger voice in the higher echelons of publishing and literature and believes  “we are better with a plurality of voices”.  Whilst clear that she doesn’t feel the publishing industry is diverse enough and needs to learn and be better, Mosse did credit the industry as being one, by nature of what it does, in which we feel that our voice counts. Mosse’s speech was both a rallying cry and a valedictory statement for minority prizes. She left us with the comparison that without literary prizes world changing books of quality might not continue to be published and without prizes for women and other minorities, the equality and diversity of the workforce, which is key to growing a stronger industry, might not be achieved.

The 2015 shortlist was certainly diverse with entrants from different disciplines and sectors: from production in scientific publishing through to children’s books commissioning and a literary agent who came to publishing as a second career.

Congratulations to the five shortlisted entrants (listed below) who were all worthy of the award and a big well done to this year’s winner Rebecca Lewis-Oakes.

Shortlist for the 2015 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize

  • Brianna Corbett – Production Archivist, Taylor & Francis Group
  • Rebecca Lewis-Oakes – Editor, Puffin Books
  • Anna James – Books News and Media Editor, The Bookseller
  • Nisha Doshi – Senior Commissioning Editor, Cambridge University Press
  • Jo Unwin – Literary Agent, Jo Unwin Literary Agency

Leave a Comment

Filed under Industry News & Events

The SYP AGM 2015


The Atwood Tate team were out in force last night attending the SYP AGM at the Stationers’ Hall near Saint Paul’s. It was the first AGM for all of us (Claire, Stef, Alison, and Katie) and we were intrigued to see the beautiful building and historic architecture, which didn’t disappoint.

It was good to see who’s on the SYP committee for 2015. There are some new faces and some people in new roles – we wish them the very best of luck.

The panel of speakers debated the theme of diversity in publishing and it was interesting to hear insights from different parts of the industry. The speakers were Kyle Cathie, MD of Kyle Books; Seonaid Mcleod from the Publishers Association; Suzanne Collier from bookcareers.com; and Abigail Barclay from Inspired Selection, who did a great job stepping in at the last minute.

As ever there were no magic answers to the big issue of creating a more diverse workforce in the publishing sector. The debate ranged widely over a number of topics, including: the importance of networking; the appropriateness of unpaid internships; salary levels; understanding of cultural differences; maternity leave; the NUJ; the portrayal of a diverse range of characters, especially in children’s books; and the importance of keeping libraries alive. The final point received a cheer all round!

A thought-provoking evening in an inspiring setting.


Leave a Comment

Filed under Industry News & Events

The Five Realities of Recruitment in Publishing

Back in January, I had a lovely chat with then-SYP Oxford Co-Chair Emma Williams about publishing employment myths, legends and unconventional career paths. The interview was originally posted on the SYP blog.

I am reposting it here (with a few small updates).

The Five Realities of Recruitment in Publishing

Reality One: You don’t have to do a Publishing/English/Humanities degree to go into Publishing.

Although there are a variety of fantastic qualifications out there which will certainly provide a good start to a career in publishing, having a degree, MA or other academic qualification is by no means the only way in. Real world experience is very valuable, and whether you are a Scientist, Financial Analyst, or a Language specialist, there are many opportunities for people with different skillsets to find satisfying work in Publishing. Claire Louise herself has worked in various roles previous to working at Atwood Tate, and we discussed the impact of how early employment in social work, rights administration and qualifications in computing have given her skills that she can now use daily to match up employers and employees successfully. Claire Louise says:

“Along with experience, employers look for people with passion and a willingness to go above and beyond. Look closely at everything you had done up till now, and make your transferable skills obvious in your application.”


Reality Two: An interest in literature is helpful, but you’ll need to look beyond a book to get ahead.

The importance of HTML, XML and other ‘techie’ skills shouldn’t be underrated by applicants in the current publishing environment. The explosion of blogging, social media, digital and other computer based skillsets are useful and relevant skills to develop, regardless of your job role (editorial, production, publicity and many other areas within a business may use the same skills for a variety of purposes), and will help to boost your own visibility and, of course, that of your future employer. For instructions on HTML, there’s a series of helpful articles here on the blog.


Reality Three: A role in Editorial is not your only option. There’s so much more to apply for!

The move to digital, e-books, e-readers, new platforms and social media have all encouraged new types of publishing companies to launch and develop, and within them, work in areas that are perhaps less obvious or familiar. Those interested in moving into the Industry might want to consider Licensing, IT, Digital Content, Database management, Publicity, Social Media/Communications or a number of other options, as well as the more typical publishing job roles. For more information check out the PressForward live blog of the SYP conference 2013 at or on Twitter at #SYPC13. A glossary to the world of publishing can be found on the Atwood Tate website.


Reality Four: When applying for a Job, the most important thing you will do is write a specific, appropriate and interesting covering letter.

So, when you need a job, it seems logical to approach the matter by statistics- the more you apply for, the greater your chance of getting one, right? However, if you rush through the application, without taking care to review the job specifications, weigh your own interests and skills, and evaluate the chance of a good match, it could all end in … well … rejection. The cover letter is your one and only chance to put this in written form, and stand out from a crowd of applicants. When done correctly, it should clearly show that you have both the skills and interest to do the job in question to a high standard.

Therefore spending time working through the points that the company are looking for and matching them to your own experience and skills will allow you to present a strong, clear and persuasive cover letter. This should be a real priority, and should be done carefully for every single application you send out! Have a look at our guide to the perfect cover letter.


Reality Five: Make friends, don’t alienate people!

Publishing is a very social industry, and so networking and people skills are important. Self-development, career development and an awareness of the larger industry trends as a whole can be worked on through talking to contacts, friends and colleagues that you make along your journey through the industry. Attending events, working on blogs, using twitter, joining groups and getting involved with things in your local publishing community are all free/low cost ways to get experience and make friends. It’s a lot of fun, and you never know when additional learning gained in this way might be helpful in a current or future role.

For example, Claire Louise has recently co-founded a book group which has coincidentally brought together people working in all areas, companies, non-profits and other areas of publishing through their love of books, and there are many other groups, courses and events held in the UK including SYP, OPuS, BookMachine and many more.


Have some thoughts of your own to share? Why not comment below, or get involved on Twitter (@AtwoodTate), or find us on FaceBook.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Company News

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under Industry News & Events

Administrating at Atwood Tate


On August 15 2012, I began my contract role as administrator for Atwood Tate – the centre of publishing recruitment. I had read all the books, attended the events and completed those all-important internships, so gaining some solid administration experience would prepare my CV for editorial roles in the publishing world.

Gaining office experience is considered to be an essential skill to have on your CV, so I could not have placed myself in a better environment to learn about the various different publishing houses and how they operate. Therefore, I’m posting a blog today to… well, tell you my story.

As administrator, one task that is central to my routine is processing the dozens of registrations that come in every day. When you register at Atwood Tate or have already registered, it’s me who (usually) reviews your CV and passes it onto the relevant consultant. I come across 50 – 70 CVs a on a weekly basis, so if I was to give you any advice, I would say that if you have gained any publishing experience – whether it’s one week or one year, make it crystal clear on your CV. It’s also helpful if you elaborate on your experiences and highlight your area of interest (editorial, publicity, production etc.) The clearer you are, the clearer I am about who to send your CV to.

Trade, Educational, Distribution are all ‘publishing terms’ that have been introduced to me during my publishing journey. Having been an English teacher, ‘Educational’ has always been familiar to me however, there are many fields to publishing and these terms – Trade, B2B, Production, Production Editorial, Operation, Distribution etc, are the many identities publishing has tucked up its sleeve. So whether you’re coming to register with us or are starting an internship/job, please make yourself familiar with these key words and what they mean (and do not assume that B2B is the name of a boy band!)

Monday mornings are always filled with catching up and coming face-to-face with all the emails that accumulate over the weekend. With registrations complete, it’s onto temp work. As an agency, Atwood Tate also recruits candidates for temporary roles for companies such as Elsevier and Macmillan. With the market being remarkably tough at the moment, it’s always worth taking on a short-term contract with a publishing house (and getting paid!). So whether you’re considering registering with us or have already registered, don’t forget to tick the ‘temp’ box for up and coming temp opportunities.

Five months have passed and one of the greatest skills that I have acquired is that of knowledge.  From weekly meeting to eavesdropping consultant conversations, I have grasped a good understanding that the publishing world is an ever-changing environment. The words ‘digital’ ‘merging’ ‘e-books’ ‘bloginars’ ‘vlogs’ etc have never been so prominent. Yes, E. L. James’s 50 Shades of Grey may have stained the sheets a little, but to be honest, she too has made her mark and has arguably given life to the erotica genre. Publishing houses are continually developing and adapting and it’s absolutely essential that anyone wanting to go into publishing can identify these changes and recognise why they are occurring. As I used to say back in my teaching days, ‘you MUST do your homework’ before you even set foot onto the doors of the publishing world. The internet has become a good friend to us all, so do your research and note down any ideas/thoughts you may have and put them on the table to gain a few brownie points. Publishers are always looking for the next big idea, so don’t be shy.

Whilst on the road, I have had the opportunity to attend a few events with Atwood Tate. Recently I attended the Society of Young Publishers 2012 Conference in London which brought publishing enthusiasts face-to-face with their publishing gurus. The Folio Society, Macmillan, YUDU Media, Rising Stars, World Book Night, Jellybooks, Somethin’ Else and others came together to share their perspectives on publishing. Seminars were held to give members the opportunity to speak directly to individuals who live and breathe publishing. You’d be surprised just how many people are willing to tell you their story and establish a network for you to extend your connection. Following them on Twitter and interacting is always a good start.

A year ago I had graduated from my MA and decided I wanted to be on the other side of the classroom and work on educational books for secondary schools. I quickly applied, applied and applied again for as many internships as I could and found myself completing four wonderful internships with Ebury Publishing, John Blake Publishing, Intelligent Media Solutions and Sweet and Maxwell which has enabled me to taste the most exquisite flavours of publishing and acquire the greatest knowledge that I will ever know.

As my time as administrator slowly comes to an end, Atwood Tate has taught me many things as a colleague and as a candidate. While the publishing profession may be competitive and difficult to get into, it goes without saying that recruiters like Atwood Tate work their hardest to find the best people for the job. The one lesson I’ve learned is that the publishing world IS forever growing and moulding itself neatly to the emerging trends taking place today. It’s incredibly exciting and has become an appropriate time to make that move into the new dimension. We all know they’re looking for fresh faces and fresh minds and with plenty of perseverance and hard work, there WILL be just about enough room for all of us!

Make 2013 your year. For now, thank you for reading.

I look forward to receiving your CV!


(Follow Atwood Tate on Twitter @AtwoodTate)

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Company News

New Year, New Publishing Job?

January is always a time to review the past year and think about what we’d like to change for the year ahead.  For us working in recruitment here at Atwood Tate it’s a busy time as people are sprucing up their CVs with a view to finding a shiny new job.  Companies are assessing their needs and we’re getting lots of new job vacancies in.

It’s a good time to plan your job hunting process to make sure you’re in control and not just leaving things to chance.  When the right job comes in, we can help both sides (you the candidate and the publisher as our client) to manage the recruitment process and keep things running smoothly.  For us it’s vital to manage expectations for both parties and ensure we find the right person for job and the right job for the right person!

Your CV:

Get this up-to-date and obviously typo free!  Start with a full version of your CV but do tweak for each particular role you apply for to highlight the main skills that fit that particular job.  Make sure you’ve added achievements from the past year and what your objectives are for 2013.Tips on our site for the ideal format.

Cover letter:

Ditto the cover letter – again each application needs to be really specific, don’t forget to mention the name of the company and outline why you’re interested in that company and the role.

Online presence:

Make sure your details are in the right place so anyone involved in recruiting for a new member of staff can find you.  So that’s getting your profile to 100% on LinkedIn and up-to-date so that recruiters can find you.  If you use Twitter are you tweeting relevant messages and sharing industry news?

RSS feeds:

Set up RSS feeds for those websites that advertise the kind of jobs you’re looking for eg The Bookseller and The Guardian.


If you’re not too exhausted after the Christmas parties, get out there and do some networking.  There are lots of organisations offering fun and informative events, here’s a few of my favourites:


Byte the Book


The Galley Club


Society of Young Publishers (SYP)

Women in Publishing (WIP)

Hope to see you at an event soon.  Wishing you a wonderful New Year.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice

Ella Kahn

Ella co-founded the Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency with Bryony Woods in 2012. DKW is a dynamic and reactive boutique literary agency providing a personal and professional management service to authors of outstanding fiction and non-fiction. Previously, Ella worked at Andrew Nurnberg Associates for three years. She has an MA in Publishing from University College London and a BA in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic from the University of Cambridge. She was Chair of the Society of Young Publishers in 2011 and has also volunteered as the SYP’s Treasurer and Events Officer. She became a Freeman of the Stationers’ Company in 2012.

Ella is actively building her client list at DKW and would love to hear from authors of commercial/literary fiction for both adults and young adults. She enjoys working editorially with authors who are bursting with energy and ideas. She has a particular interest in historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction; above all, she’s looking for high-concept, plot-driven books with exceptional voice, engaging characters and intriguing settings that will take her to new, richly imagined worlds, unusual times and far-flung places.

Ella is passionate about her work for the Society of Young Publishers, which aims to provide advice, enthusiasm, and networking opportunities for anyone trying to break into a career in the publishing industry or progress within it.  They run monthly speaker meetings and social events, including seminars on careers in publishing at the London Book Fair and a charity pub quiz; an annual conference addressing topical issues; and publish a quarterly magazine called InPrint with a wealth of articles on publishing topics. Their website is soon to be relaunched in a shiny new incarnation, with more information than ever before about SYP events not only in London, but also Edinburgh, Oxford and Leeds, a blog, a careers guide, job and internship adverts, and lots more.

1. As the publishing industry is evolving what challenges have you come across in terms of your strategy as a new literary agency?

I wouldn’t say we’ve come across challenges so much as opportunities! At a time when a lot of the big mega-agencies (and publishers!) seem to be merging, there seems to be a counter-trend of agents breaking off to set up on their own, and we certainly saw lots of advantages in doing this. Being small and new, we can provide a truly bespoke service to our clients, as we can be much more nimble, creative, flexible and dynamic in the way that we operate than is perhaps possible in a bigger, more corporate agency. Publishing is a very relationships-based industry, so creating a very personal company brand was important for us – Bryony and I are the agency, and we want this to come across to both publishers and authors.

2. Do you hunt for new writers using social media and/or blogging?

Yes, in a way – another advantage of the way the publishing industry has evolved is the opportunity provided by social networking. Twitter is an extremely important tool for us – it allows us to reach a much wider audience to share what we’re doing and what we’re looking for, and I don’t think we would have created such a buzz on our launch day without it. It really helps our discoverability – I’ve noticed a lot of the authors submitting to us (and we received a good 200 submissions in week one between us) are also following us on twitter. So it’s more that we try and make it as easy as possible for authors to find us through social media than that we actively search for writers using social media. We will look at potential clients’ social media/web presence though, so it’s important to appear professional!

3. What are the advantages of working with a literary agency given that there are now structures in place for self-publishing?

Many! But to put it succinctly – having an agent allows an author to focus on their job – which should be to write. The big self-publishing successes get a lot of headlines, but are really still very rare – and you have to put a lot of energy into marketing your books to make them a success. Nothing gives you more likelihood of success than having the financial and creative backing of a major publishing house, with their expertise in design, marketing, production, publicity and sales – not to mention the still-crucial and rigorous editing process, and their far-superior distribution. And an agent is still the best way to get your work in front of a mainstream publisher – they will fight for you every step of the way to the bookshops and beyond, making sure your contracts are as tight as possible, that your work is exploited in as many different ways and territories as possible, advising you on the best way to develop your career, making sure you get paid on time – so you can sit back and indulge your talent for words!

4. If you could travel five years back in time what advice would you give yourself?

It’s just over 5 years ago that I joined the Society of Young Publishers as an undergraduate, and that’s definitely the best thing I could have done at the time – I got my first internship in publishing through the SYP and I learnt so much through their events and the people I met – it really opened my eyes about the opportunities available in the publishing industry – that a career such as being a literary agent even existed! – and it opened doors to help me make that possibility a reality. So my advice to myself (or anyone else in a similar situation!) would be to keep renewing my SYP membership and take advantage of everything they have to offer!

5. How much time do you spend reading per day?

Probably at least two hours, on average, but often more – it’s a massive perk of the job! I’ve had some really exciting submissions in the first few weeks since DKW launched, and my clients are working on some fabulous projects, so keeping on top of it all requires at least a full day reading and editing a week at the moment. Any travelling or commuting time between meetings automatically becomes reading time – I don’t go anywhere without my e-reader loaded up with manuscripts. And I like to try and make time to keep up some ‘leisure’ reading too, as it’s important to know what’s out there on the market and to keep my reading brain fresh by simply reading for pleasure – after all, the joy of being absorbed in a good book is why I do what I do in the first place.

6. Lastly what advice would you give to any new aspiring writer?

Be professional and do your research. It’s easier than ever before for authors to find a multitude of informative websites, blogs and books about how publishing works, how to get published, and how to find an agent – so there’s really no excuse for shoddy and unprofessional approaches. Remember an agent – and indeed an editor – is someone you will have to have a very close personal relationship with, so be targeted in who you approach to find the right fit. Make sure your online persona is friendly and approachable, so that we can get a sense of your personality, but keep it professional.

Keep writing. And if you don’t get anywhere with a project, put it to one side and try something new. To succeed, you have to have both beautiful prose and a great story – a trickier combination than you might think, but impossible if you don’t persevere, or if you get stuck on one project. You have to experiment before you find the writing voice and the idea that will work for you, but once you’ve found these, there’s no reason why you can’t succeed if you also have professionalism and perseverance!

A huge thank you to Ella for taking the time to talk to us about writing, working for a literary agency and the Society of Young Publishers.  The information she has offered here should hopefully be an inspiration to all aspiring writers. You can find Ella on Twitter @elladkahn and @dkwlitagency.

1 Comment

Filed under Industry Voices