Tag Archives: women in publishing

Equal Opportunity and Diversity in Publishing

 

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Building Inclusivity in Publishing Event

On the 15th November our consultant Helen will be attending the Building Inclusivity in Publishing event, run by the Publishers Association and the London Book Fair.

The day-long conference will look at each component of the publishing industry and the representation of people in each area, from authors to consumers.

The day will encourage the attendees to re-evaluate their ideas of diversity and to see who the real audience are, by drawing on positive examples and personal experiences! By the end of the conference the attendees will know how to build inclusivity within the publishing industry!

As an Equal Opportunities company Atwood Tate are very keen on spreading the word on inclusivity throughout Publishing! Within our company we never discriminate against the candidates, clients or employees we work with, we encourage diversity in publishing! For more information on our Equal Opportunities and Diversity policy click here.

The Inclusivity conference will include panels and speakers from all areas of publishing, including authors, agents and booksellers. Here’s the Conference Programme.

Speakers Include:

  • Crystal Mahey-Morgan, founder, OWN IT! Publishing
  • Robyn Travis, author, Mama Can’t Raise No Man
  • Tim Hely Hutchinson, Group CEO, Hachette UK
  • Louise Clarke, Latimer Group
  • Diana Broccardo, Profile Books
  • Emad Ahmed, Creative Access and ex-News Statesman
  • Sunny Singh, academic and author, co-founder Jhalak Prize
  • Siena Parker, Penguin Random House
  • Jessica Kingsley, Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • Jazzmine Breary, Jacaranda

And many others! For a full list of speakers see here! Conference Speakers.

The panels and case studies look fascinating and we can’t wait to hear the thoughts of everyone who attends!

Be sure to watch out in the days after the conference for a summary blog about the event and the level of inclusivity in publishing, and please say hello to Helen if you see her!

In the meantime we will be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to cover the conference! Let us know if you’re attending.

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Claire Law nominated for Women in Publishing Prize!

Congratulations to Atwood Tate’s Managing Director Claire Law, who has been nominated for Women in Publishing’s Pandora Prize for significant and sustained contribution to the publishing industry!

The other nominees are Ursula Mackenzie, current chair of Little, Brown Book Group, and Lynn Michell of Linen Press.

The nominees for the New Venture Award for pioneering work on behalf of under-represented groups in society are Teika Bellamy of Mothers Milk Books, and Bel Greenwood & Lynne Bryan of Words and Women.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 9 Dec at a networking and buffet event at The Betsey Trotwood.

Order your tickets online. Members free, non-members £3. 7pm-9.30pm. Buffet food provided, pay bar. All women welcome.

Good luck to all the nominees!

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Diversity in the Publishing Industry – a workshop

In September I attended a fantastic workshop on Diversity in the Publishing Industry, hosted by The Publishers Association, in association with EQUIP, Creative Skillset, and Creative Access.

Building on events and discussions following the publication of the Writing the Future report published by Spread The Word. The workshop aimed to provide case studies and discussions on how to increase diversity and equal access to employment in the industry.

Danuta Kean started the discussions with her eye opening findings from her research with Spread the Word, looking into the representation of BAME writers and employees within UK publishing. Danuta discovered during her research that the turbulent change affecting the UK book industry in the last 10 years has unfortunately had a negative impact on attempts to become more diverse. Her findings demonstrated that Black and Asian authors are struggling for representation in the UK and there is a marked absence of ethnic minorities within trade publishing houses.
There also followed thought provoking, themed discussions on unconscious bias and an interesting case study from Kate, a Commissioning Editor at Harper Collins who talked about her involvement in the Diversity Forum in the company. There was also a chance to hear from interns from Creative Access who were able to share their first hand experiences of employment in the publishing industry.

The day ended with a practical discussion looking at the main challenges to increasing diversity and the strategies publishers can use to build diversity. As a group we discussed ideas such as the importance of education within schools to highlight the diversity of careers within publishing, banning unpaid internships which discriminate those of lower socio economic groups, better monitoring and recording of figures regarding race gender and sexual orientation of employees and industry accreditations to applaud those who maintain a diverse workforce.

The fundamental idea from the day was that publishers must move away from a homogenised workforce and employ individuals at all levels who have an understanding of the diverse communities within the UK and this is ultimately the key to remaining relevant and profitable.

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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

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Talking about the job market – at Women in Publishing (part 2)

Moving about in Publishing

Transferring your skills to another industry or sector can be tricky but think about networking to make contacts and hear about opportunities:

Organisations like WIP, Byte The Book, Book Machine, OPuS, SYP, The Galley Club all offer regular networking opportunities where you’ll be able to chat to others currently working in publishing in a friendly informal setting. The more people you meet related to the industry the more chance you have of being remembered and recommended.

Attend seminars, workshops and social events where publishing people are likely to be – Oxford and London in particular have a host of literary events, and you never know who you will run into!  Keep up to date with industry news – read the Bookseller, BookBrunch etc and follow the media, visit bookshops.

 

Moving sector

We’re often asked how to make the move from professional/academic/educational publishing into trade.  For many, trade publishing is still their ultimate goal, even though they have secured their first couple of jobs in other publishing sectors.  This is always a difficult one for us, or any recruitment agency, as companies come to us to get the person with the most relevant experience for their vacancy – it is our job to submit the best candidates.

Also, it is incredibly competitive to get into trade publishing.  At entry level the competition is very strong – most applicants having done a publishing BA or MA degree and supporting that with internships at various trade publishing houses.  So, for every job in trade publishing further up the career ladder there are plenty of Editorial Assistants and Assistant Editors, Production or Marketing Assistants already working in trade publishing ready to take them on.  It doesn’t get easier to get into the more experience you have!

However, nothing is impossible and this is the advice that we usually give to our candidates.

Try and do it sooner rather than later, within a year/18 months – otherwise you will become pigeon holed and will start getting used to the salary you are on.

There are a few questions you need to consider when you are applying for opportunities in a different publishing sector, think about:

Are you applying for jobs at the same level as you are now?

Are you looking for a step up?

Are you open to taking a drop in salary to make this move?

Even jobs at the same level as you are now on may well pay less money.

Professional publishing, for example, is always better paid than some other market sectors – particularly trade.  Unfortunately when making a jump across to another sector of publishing there is always the consideration of taking a drop in salary if you can’t offer a track record in that sector.

Think about how best to highlight your transferable skills. With regard to marketing, you may only have marketed to academics, but consider the principles of the marketing you undertook, the aims and objectives of that marketing with regards to who you wanted to reach, and how the results of campaigns were used or helped generate revenue. Some of what you have done may have some resonance with the person reading your CV, despite not being in the same market. The key thing is to make the person reading your CV look at your skills and your knowledge and commercial understanding of your current role and not be distracted by the content you have worked on.

 

Moving job roles

If you’re looking to move from Marketing for example into Editorial, try to gain as much relevant experience in your current role that’s related to the new ideal role i.e. do as much copywriting as you can, liaise with editorial teams and research the products that they are working on.

Look at your CV.  Make sure that anywhere there is a similarity between the skills used in your current job and the required skills of the job advertised, it is spelled out to the reader.

Within any job type, whether you are in editorial, production or marketing for example, try focussing on the processes of your job rather than the titles that you work on.

As a finishing touch add a profile paragraph at the top pointing out all these elements so your transferrable skills are the first thing that strikes the recruiting manager.

 

Moving up

It is the norm today that most move on every 2 -3 years, especially early on in your career – jobs are no longer for life.  You need to identify what skills you don’t yet have that are required for the next step up.  Some companies offer structured training programmes but some don’t so you’ll need to identify training options for yourself.

Speak to your manager or HR department about identifying the skills shortages and gaining the experience required or undertaking internal or external training that will give you the skills required.

Reading job ads and job descriptions is another way of seeing what skills are needed for that next role as well as speaking to us.

It’s sometimes a case of being in the right place at the right time so do keep an eye out on internal adverts and sign up for job alerts so you don’t miss things.

 

Read Part 1 here.

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Talking about the job market – at Women in Publishing (part 1)

Helen and I were invited to speak at the January WIP event and hopefully gave the audience lots to think about!  We outlined our thoughts on what the job market looks like at the moment – we’d say it’s pretty healthy.  Now is a good time to be job hunting, in the New Year lots of people change jobs and this creates openings.  We’re busy across most of the job roles – that’s Editorial, Production, Production Editorial, Design, Sales, Marketing, Rights and International Sales, Contracts etc in London, Oxford and with publishers dotted around the UK).

Helen covered some of the do’s and don’ts for job hunting – see more info in our previous blogs and on our website (What a good CV looks like; The Perfect Cover Letter / Writing an Arresting Cover Letter; Giving a good interview / Winning the Interview Lottery).

We also discussed the skills employers are looking for now and in next couple of years and how you can get them.  Generally for people looking for a first job in publishing it’s important to have some good office skills – MS Office, typing etc. do also get temping experience / work experience if possible.  For those looking to move onwards and upwards, make sure you’re getting digital – research the basics of metadata, this is going to be at the heart of what publishers do; get some basic excel and brush up on your IT skills and be aware of emerging publishing workflows. Check out our digital glossary and our blog series on HTML for blogging and normal people.

On the positive side, publishers are not just looking outside the industry for people with skills that are missing but they are training and reskilling people rather than bringing in new people for the sake of it, they understand the importance of experience. Very often techy people won’t fit into the very creative world of publishing.

The crowd was mixed in terms of some people were looking for a first job in publishing, some were looking to move careers into publishing, some were freelancers and most people are otherwise (very sensibly) keeping aware of what’s coming up in the job market and thinking about how to get the right skills to get the next job.  Here are some ideas for training if you’re lucky enough to be offered some:

 

Part 2 will be on Moving about in Publishing

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