Centre for Publishing
  • Post By Category

  • Archives

  • A A A

    FutureBook 2014 (Part 1)

    By Caroline A Murphy, on 18 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!

    Placements, Book Fair and World Book Night

    By Laura A Lacey, on 27 April 2013

    It’s been a busy few weeks for us UCL publishers. We’ve been on work placements, essay-writing, job hunting, dissertation planning, World Book Night celebrating and London Book Fair-ing.

     

    Most of us are in the middle of our 5 week industry placements. So we are in publishing houses across the capital, with a couple further afield: everywhere from Penguin to Bloomsbury, and literary agencies to digital publishers. A lot of us have also been given the chance to work in different departments, including editorial, marketing, publicity, sales and production. We’ve been getting a taste of what it’s like to work in a real life publishing house and putting into practise all the skills we’ve been learning in the past months, as well as learning some new ones.

     

    header_logo_date_animation

    15th-17th April was The London Book Fair, which many of us were attending for the first time. It was certainly a unique experience! Some students were there as representatives of their work placement companies but we all got time to wander around in awe and soak up the atmosphere. Some of the seminars were particularly interesting, including SYPs ‘How to Get Into Publishing’ where our very own Samantha Rayner was a speaker and some of our class were involved in the organisation. I’d like to say a big thank you to all the publishers, agents, printers, authors, speakers and organisers who made us feel so welcome and put up with our questioning when they almost certainly had better things to do.

    And lastly, a belated Happy World Book Night for Tuesday. A couple of our students were givers for the event this year, handing out 20 copies of one of their favourite books. Congratulations to Julia Kingsford for making the event run so smoothly and thanks again for the inspiring lecture she gave us a couple of months ago. Long may WBN continue!

    Read all the books you wish you’d read…

    By Laura A Lacey, on 29 March 2013

    Oyster last year announced they had raised $3million to create a service for eBooks that works along similar lines to Spotify. They seek to oystercollectively license eBooks from publishers: including fiction and non-fiction, and everything from bestsellers to classics.

    Oyster have partnered with media and technology companies, as well as publishers. This mirrors the growing trend across the creative industries as owners of intellectual property seek to exploit their copyright in all possible formats, and sellers try to provide services above and beyond simple content delivery.

    The trendy-looking New York-based team (pictured) are focusing on Access, Discovery and Mobile:

    ACCESS: By adopting a subscription model they believe readers will be able to enjoy books more freely, dipping in and out of new authors without investing money: ‘This leads to a more fulfilling experience built exclusively on taste and relaxed reading’.

    DISCOVERY: They realise that discoverability comes down to many factors and a lot of chance. They believe by combining ‘discovery with consumption’ they are removing frustration that comes from receiving recommendations in many locations.Readers will enjoy the process of discovery by sharing the same library with their friends, with no need to hunt for links.

    MOBILE: Their claims as far as mobile goes are perhaps less easy to agree with: they claim their market research has shown that all readers (from avid to casual) ‘love reading on smartphones’. This has certainly has not been my experience. Perhaps it will be in future – as mobile devices become larger and more comfortable to read on it is thought ‘phablets’ will be one of the most prolific devices for sale.

    Only time will tell if their venture will be successful and how many publishers will be willing to give up their content for a limited fee. Currently it is in testing mode with just a few. Their aspirational aims certainly sound idyllic:

    “We are building Oyster for an audience that aspires to read more. Read all the books you wish you’d read. We hope to bring books to the center of people’s lives through a beautiful product and the feeling that the world is your oyster.”

    An Appreciation for Indexing

    By Laura A Lacey, on 22 January 2013

    By Stacey Riley, an Aspiring Agent

    Did you assume that indexes were computer generated? Me too!

    This week the UCL MA Publishing class was given a talk by guest speaker Ann Kingdom from the Society of Indexers. She delivered an interesting and detailed presentation on how an index and indexers work.

    Indexing is one of the final stages of the production process and indexers are often squeezed for time, having to produce their work under pressure. Ann defines an index as being ‘a structured sequence – resulting from a thorough and complete analysis of text – of synthesised access points to all the information contained in the text.’ It is this ‘thorough and complete analysis of the text’ t
    Ideally, an indexer should be familiar with the subject of the book he or she is working on. Indexers often have high academic qualifications or industry experience in the specialised area. They are required to read the text and, using their skills and knowledge, decide what to index and what terms to use. Unlike a full-text search, which retrieves too much information, an index tells you the most important references and indicates which aspect of the topic is dealt with. Indexers also bring together synonyms and metonyms used in the text.hat requires human intellect and decision making that a computer isn’t (yet?) capable of.

    The decisions made by the indexer have to fulfil users’ needs. For example, they might have to consider which is more user friendly: ‘strings’ or subheadings.

    Clegg, Nick 110–112, 115–116, 120–125, 126, 135–144, 150, 152, 159, 165–172, 187

    or

    Clegg, NickSociety of Indexers: Information from A to Z education 110–112, 115–116
    family background 120–125, 152
    language skills 126, 150
    as MEP 135–139
    as MP 140–144
    as party leader 165–172, 187
    television appearances 140, 159, 166, 171

    They may also be required to edit their index, whether this is because of limited page allowance for the index specified by the publisher, or because the index is not as efficient as it could be. The above entry, for example, could be edited to combine subheadings as below:

    Clegg, Nick
    education 110–12, 115–16
    family background 120–5, 152
    language skills 126, 150
    political career 135–44, 165–72, 187
    TV appearances 140, 159, 166, 171

    Ann also gave out some examples of ‘how not to do an index’. This included one that was simply an alphabetical list of every recipe that appeared in a soup cookbook – and, as a result, wasn’t very useful. If you had a particular ingredient you wanted to use, you would have to read through the entire list to see which soups contained that ingredient.

    Additionally, Ann also mentioned the occurrence of circular referencing in some indexes. For example:

    Geese, wild see wild geese
    Wild geese see geese, wild

    This too is of no use to the user, apart from creating a bit of humour!

    For more information, see the Society of Indexers’ website and The Indexer: The international Journal of Indexing