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I did my time! Four weeks of it… at The Bookseller! by Mirjam Coenraads

Elisabeth NWilkes18 December 2015

The_Bookseller_Logo

When the call for a paid three-day a week internship at The Bookseller came, I simply had to try and obtain it — I joined this programme with the intention of learning how to sell books better and with a developing personal interest in digital publishing it seemed like a perfect match. The Bookseller has such a sexy history in publishing altogether and is clearly on second-base terms with the future of it, so for the internship (with a focus on marketing and events) to culminate with the FutureBook conference felt like getting the keys to a dingy London flat together.

In the weeks leading up to FutureBook, I was working closely with the Sales and Marketing teams at their Southwark office. Anna, Sophia, and my direct chief-in-command Blake Brooks made me feel extremely welcome and appreciated, and fed me biscuits and endless streams of tea. Maria Vassilopoulos (one of us, one of us!) would always find the time to have a chat and then feed me more biscuits, bless her. That might sound a bit trivial, but I take these little things as a sign of a positive office environment which fuels everyone to tackle whatever lies ahead for the day. And boy, did we get to tackle things!

From phoning guests and clients to designing conference programs and other bits and bobs of marketing material, to finding the perfect venue for a Rising Stars social event where publishers and authors could mingle whilst enjoying their first mince pie of the party season. Every day I spent with The Bookseller was a wild ride of different tasks. But hey, I’m the kind of girl who doesn’t mind that rattling safety bar on a rollercoaster. So, bring it on!

We roped in a couple of UCL volunteers to help stuff some goodie bags and it was great to represent the MA together. More volunteers, from other MA programmes as well, joined us for Author Day and FutureBook and Zoë Sharples has a more detailed post about this from an earlier date. Read it here for a more detailed overview of these events, because to be frank — I was running around with Blake, clipboard in hand, doing 20,000 things at once, having the time of my life. And I will cherish that for quite some time, because it made me realise that when it comes to the publishing industry I want to make things happen, whether it’s selling books or getting bums on seats.     

If that sounds like you too, be sure to apply the next time The Bookseller requires an intern. Just be sure to expect anything! Be proactive! Dive in and get stuff done! And, perhaps most of all, have fun!

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FutureBook 2014 (part 2)

Caroline AMurphy19 November 2014

Here’s some key information taken from the FutureBook conference 2014 by Rachel Mazza (@mazzie191)

Sidebar #1 A few figures from the presentations…

  1. The biggest growth in ebooks, predicted by Nielsen global survey trends, is in nonfiction and children’s
  2. According to the same survey, fiction ebook sales are plateauing
  3. Between the US and UK, 30% of publishing is English language based
  4. A growing number of younger people (16-24 age group) are now purchasing ebooks
  5. However age 45+ is still reading the most ebooks
  6. More males are also starting to purchase ebooks
  7. 27% of UK consumers buy both ebook and print

Sidebar #2 Unbound

The company Unbound is doing something interesting. Co-founder and CEO Dan Kieran explained that Unbound puts the power into the hands of readers via crowdfunding an author. Once the goal is met, the author will write the book and once completed it will be published by Unbound in ebook or for print-on-demand. This idea is fascinating because it allows authors to know if there will be interest in a book before time is spent on it and they can see exactly how large their audience is. However, can Unbound provide the visibility for the author and longevity for their work that traditional publishing can? I regret not having the opportunity to ask if any publishing houses have contracted any of the authors whose works were funding through to publication. It’s definitely something to check out: http://unbound.co.uk

Sidebar #3 Publishing subscription model

There seemed to be some disagreement between the speakers as to whether or not subscription was something consumers were interested in.

Senior Publicity and Digital Campaigns Manager of Headline Ben Willis believes subscriptions are a great business decision. Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin isn’t convinced subscription is what consumers are after since many do not re-read.

For further info on the matter: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/tom-weldon-book-readers-don’t-want-subscription

Sidebar #4 Hack Pitches and Big Ideas sessions

Companies and creative individuals had the opportunity to share their plans for innovating the publishing world.

-The winner of the Hack Pitch was “Voice” – an organization that developed an X Factor style contest with the winner receiving a contract to read for an audiobook. Contestants submit clips of themselves reading selected passages and people can vote on whose voice they enjoy listening to the most.

Some people to follow on the good ‘ol Twitter:

@marissa_hussey (Marissa Hussey—Digital Marketing Director at Orion)

@booksandquills (Sanne Vliengenthart—Digial Coordinator Hot Key Books)

@dan_kieran (Dan Kieran—CEO of Unbound)

@BenWillisUK (Ben Willis—Senior Publicity and Digital Campaigns Manager of Headline)

 

For more highlights check out #FutureBook14, if you haven’t already.

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FutureBook 2014 (Part 1)

Caroline AMurphy18 November 2014

By Rachel Mazza (@mazzie191)

futurebookAbility to fervently Tweet and absorb information about the publishing industry at the same time during the FutureBook conference…Skill for the CV?

Yes, actually! According to nearly every speaker at the 2014 FutureBook conference, skills like managing social media and carefully selecting what content is passed on to consumers are what “new voices” in publishing are doing…so its good to know my drained phone battery, from all the live Tweeting, served me well.

What else are publishers looking for? Well Marissa Hussey, Digital Marketing Director at Orion, told a room full of them what publishers should be looking for. Since we all need jobs, I bet you are interested in the scoop on this as well…

Got skills?

– Tech savvy

– Adaptable

– Emerged in social media

– Innovative

– Creative

– Willing

– Analytical

– Logical

– Resourceful

And above all else, Hussey said she looked for curiosity in applicants.

Keynote speaker George Berkowski, author of “How to Build Billion Dollar Apps”, touched upon this subject as well when he said the “smart creative” type would be well suited to the publishing industry. This means that publishing would benefit from engaging with people from computer science and engineering fields.

That led me to wonder if tech skills should be something we students are learning before we go into the workforce. Right now, we aren’t expected to know how to code or create an app, but wouldn’t it be great if we did? From the sounds of things, tech knowledge in publishing will be required in the near future.

Digital content isn’t going anywhere, so the more we know about it, the better. Knowing what to do with digital was another hot topic. Apparently there is no one right answer. As Carla Buzasi, Global Chief Content Officer of WGSN, said “people consume media in different ways on different devices”. Its true, I think publishers needs to be all over as many devices and platforms as possible. However, it should be done in an organized and focused a way that creates cohesion among any digital media they produce in order to establish a meaningful online presence consumers and authors can depend on.

Buzasi, among others, stressed the importance of discovering ways to make authors part of the key process of publication. She said it is not enough to simply tell them to Tweet or manage a blog. The publisher must provide support to authors on digital matters.

But again, to offer that support, publishers must understand digital media themselves and how to effectively use it. This brings us to the next panel I attended, entitled: What is the long-term role of social media in publishing?

Sanne Vliengenthart, Digital Coordinator at Hot Key Books and BookTuber, said it is important to find someone who knows the platform. The main idea amongst the three speakers was that having focused and consistent content that promoted community provided the best results. In her videos, Vliengenthart provides insight into the publishing process and talks about the thing that bring publishers and readers together: the love of books. At the end of the day, passion and dedication to books is what draws us all in, but we must be prepared for the rapidly changing, ever evolving business side of things as well.

Overall FutureBook was exciting. The upfront, honest and often humorous approach most speakers brought to their topics kept things fresh and fascinating…a day well spent!

P.S The biscuits served for tea were extra fabulous. I continue to be impressed by dedication to delicious sweets in this industry.

PSS. Check out Thug Notes on YouTube: http://thug-notes.com

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow evening, when Rachel relays some more key highlights from the FutureBook conference, including useful Twitter users to follow!