Here are our top tips if you are job searching and going to the London Book Fair (LBF).
1. Don’t expect to find a job at the London Book Fair. If you are coming it is to seek information, look around and keep up with developments. Be prepared to potentially make contacts and network. Our tips for networking will help.
2. Exhibitors. Unless they are recruitment consultants or training providers they are unlikely to be at the LBF for you; Exhibitors are there to buy and sell and do deals. A publishers’ output for the next few years may rely on the business they do at the fair, so bear this in mind if someone is curt with you if you are asking questions. Likewise if you are going from stand to stand trying to pitch your unpublished novel to a publisher at the LBF.
3. Do not go around handing in your CV. There is probably no one on the stand who is from HR and even if someone does accept your CV it is unlikely to make it back to the office. Much better to check their website afterwards and see if they accept speculative applications, before emailing your CV to the office instead.
4. Do go through the list of exhibitors (search by category, rather than alphabetically is useful) and make a note of which stands you want to see. Check out the floorplan too so you don’t walk endlessly for miles – we have been asked to point out that you should WEAR, FLAT, COMFORTABLE SHOES!
5. Do look at the stands of the exhibitors that you want to see, noting the following:-
- Look how busy they are. This could be an indication of how well they are doing at the moment.
- Notice how many staff are on the stand.
- Look at the stand design and layout. Is it good or bad? Would you do anything differently? These are always useful discussions for future sales and marketing staff to have at job interviews.
- What book or series are they promoting at the moment? Look at the walls and the sides of the stand. What are their lead titles? Again, excellent points to discuss at an interview.
- If they have catalogues or brochures to give out and you are up to carrying stuff, then take one. (Check they are free; and bear in mind that the copies of books on the stands are not for retail sale – this is a trade only fair). Although you can view publishers’ catalogues on line, taking a hard copy to an interview speaks volumes.
- Check out the competitors of the publishers that you want to work for. What are they doing differently? Is it better?
- Make some notes so you don’t forget what you have seen!
6. Do go and look around all areas of the exhibition, so that you are informed of new developments and opportunities.
7. Do go and visit the recruitment consultants if they have stands, especially if they have had your CV for a while and you haven’t been put forward for anything. Putting a face to a name is a great way to remind them that you exist.
8. Seminars. There are lots of free seminars going on throughout the fair (over 270!). Here are our favourites:-
How to Get Into Publishing
How to Get Ahead in Publishing
Introduction to Publishing
The War for Talent
The Changing Face of Publishing
Making Change Happen
A Spectrum of Experience
Futureproof Your Career
9. Parties. Towards the end of the day you will notice a number of standing setting up for drinks parties. If you are fortunate enough to be invited don’t get drunk and use our tips on networking to see you through the event. Networking events include Book Machine and Byte the Book.
10. Follow up! If you’ve made any useful contacts at the fair, don’t waste the opportunity and follow up promptly.
If the concept of ‘networking’ fills you with horror, here is our survival guide…
When you’re next at a publishing event or conference imagine that, if you put your hand on the shoulder of the person next to you, you would have a connection to all the people they know; and likewise they would have access to all your connections. If everyone put their hand on the shoulder of the person next to them, the chances are you’d have most of the publishing industry covered.
What does it mean – this networking business? It simply means that if someone in the room has a question or problem there will most likely be someone in the room who will either be able to answer it or they will know someone who can. It is a bit like ‘phone a friend’ on ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ Imagine having that kind of network or support system at your fingertips and being able to call on it? That is why people say it isn’t what you know, but who you know that is important.
If you are thinking this is all a bit like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, then you are right. But as social networks have evolved, more emphasis is being placed on the power of face to face networks – particularly as so many people I know on Facebook are either leaving or de-friending people they don’t really know in real life.
Book publishing relies on connections and networking, from the beginning to the other end of the spectrum where directors are socializing and sharing information with the directors of other publishing companies. Unlike almost any other industry, publishing is one where we find ourselves regularly talking to, socializing or sharing information with our competitors. Now these connections weren’t made when someone became a director, they were probably made very early on in respective careers. For example, the majority of editorial, sales, rights and managing directors I know now, I knew when they’d just joined publishing and were assistant level or very junior. Obviously, during that time I have nurtured friendships and professional relationships, and during that time I have asked favours of them, and they have asked favours of me. Now all of this didn’t happen by accident – you have to work at it.
How do you introduce yourself to a complete stranger? Do you pitch in with your ‘Elevator Speech’ (i.e. what you might say if you got in the elevator on the ground floor with the managing director and you were both going to the 15th, and he or she asked you what you did. What would you say?) Far better to introduce yourself and latch on to something that you may have already seen or heard today.
Here are my top ten tips to get you started:
- Don’t pitch. When you introduce yourself don’t go straight into your elevator pitch, ask a question about something related to the event. E.g. what did you think of that last presentation? Isn’t this a lovely venue, I haven’t been here before, have you? Hello, have you been to one of these events before? I don’t think we’ve met before, I’m (insert your name) and offer your hand to shake.
- Stay focused. Engage yourself fully in the conversation; don’t keep looking over the person’s shoulder for the next interesting person who comes in the room.
- Make eye contact and smile. Everyone is nervous when first making contact, but making eye contact and smiling will help calm your nerves as well as theirs.
- Be memorable. When asked about yourself, aim to say something they will remember about you. For example, if you are an author’s conference and everyone is an author, how will they remember you? What are you an author of? What genres do you specialise in?
- Listen. Talk but don’t talk too much. When you’re talking, you are only hearing things you already know; when you’re listening, you are hearing things you may not already know.
- Choose your moment. Exchange business cards at the appropriate moment. This is unlikely to be when you first say hello.
- Circulate. Give yourself a target to meet and talk to at least six new people at every event. If you stand in a huddle with the people you already know, you are unlikely to make any new contacts.
- Follow up! Email the person within the next three days and say how good it was to meet them. If appropriate, add them to your LinkedIn network and follow them on Twitter.
- Make it personal – nothing is worse than sending ‘round robin’ or template emails, where it is obvious that you have sent the email to everyone but changed their name. This particularly applies to LinkedIn- make sure you are personalising your connection requests, not sending the standard ‘I would like to add you to my network’.
- Stay in touch. Don’t lose people from your network, keep in touch with maybe an occasional email when you hear they have had good or bad news (been published, promoted, or made redundant) or if you are going to the same event again – ask if they are going too. Make sure you are in contact aside from when you need their support, advice or connections – please don’t be one of these people who only gets in touch with others when they need something.
UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS TO Zarina who tweets as @canadian_turtle for coming up with the best suggestion – How to job search in book publishing.
Bookcareers.com will shortly be launching a one-day course on how to job search in publishing. It will combine all the expertise from their Job Club in one day and is aimed mainly at people who already have work history in publishing, rather than those who are just graduating (although new graduates will be welcome), and we are asking for your help in choosing an appropriate name.
It will cover everything from CVs, Covering Letters, Interviews, Networking, to Social Media, Recruitment Consultants, Where to find jobs and lots of other snippets and valuable information you need to know.
The working title is ‘Job Club in a Day’ and other suggestions have included ‘How to Propel Your Publishing Career’ or ‘Everything you needed to know about finding a job in publishing’ or ‘Job Search Boot Camp’
So please get thinking! If you like one of the suggestions we’ve already mentioned and wish to modify it, please do so.
Closing date 7.00 pm 10th March 2014.
Terms and conditions
*Prize consists of place on the course only; you will be responsible for your own travel expenses. Sandwich lunch and refreshments will be provided.
You must have the right to work in the UK to accept the free place.
There is no cash value; this prize is not transferable.
bookcareers.com will have unreserved rights to use the name generated without any further cash payment, royalty or claim for the title.
The Society of Young Publishers have relaunched their Mentoring Scheme. Intended to help young SYP members to build contacts and advance in their chosen field, the scheme will feature successful, dynamic representatives from five different areas of publishing. In a departure from traditional one-on-one mentoring arrangements, each will mentor 5–10 young professionals in their own area of expertise over five group sessions, meeting in London roughly every 2 months for the remainder of the year.
A fantastic and experienced group of publishing professionals, across design and brand management, marketing and publicity, sales, editorial, and author representation, will mentor throughout the scheme.
Confirmed mentors include: Auriol Bishop, Creative Director at Hodder (design and brand management); Sophia Blackwell, Marketing Manager at Bloomsbury (marketing and publicity); Chrissy Charalambides, Key Account Manager at Penguin Random House (sales); Hellie Ogden, Agent at Janklow & Nesbitt (author representation); Max Porter, Senior Editor at Granta (editorial skills); and Mark Richards, Editorial Director at John Murray Press (editorial skills).
SYP members under the age of 30, who have been working in publishing for between one and five years, will be able to apply for the scheme by emailing a CV and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org by 7 March 2014.
Applying for the Scheme
More information on the mentor scheme and how to apply will be available on the SYP’s website, thesyp.org.uk/mentor-scheme.
This really is a big thank you
for adding your details to our Salary Survey and circulating the questionnaire to others. So if you contributed, emailed, tweeted, facebooked, or cajoled publishing colleagues and friends, then please give yourself a huge round of applause.
What happens next?
Your work has ended and ours really begins. First of all we have to tidy up all the literal responses, the questions which said ‘other, please state’ and aim to batch them together for analysis. By doing this we very often see which responses are actually from people who didn’t qualify for the survey (e.g. freelancers, those not employed by UK publishers or literary agents) which we remove. During a survey we may remove up to 50 spoiled or erroneous responses.
Then we start analysing the data, which often throws up more anomalies, and aim to do a first data run by the end of January 2014. Then we verify the data, looking for other inconsistencies. If you supplied your email address this is where we might contact you for clarification of answers, before running the data for the second time, hopefully by the end of February 2014.
Usually by the time we’ve got to the third data run, Suzanne is pulling her hair out, has aged 50 years over night, and is swearing that we will never, ever, do another salary survey again. (This is Suzanne’s 9th Salary Survey, so have no fear, this doesn’t last and there will be another). Particularly if we are now well into March 2014. We hope to publish the results and final report some time during March or April, but as this depends very much on the process of analysis we are not yet able to name a final date at this point. In the meantime we will aim to keep you updated with our progress via our twitter account @bookcareers.
Thank you again for all your help. This survey would not be possible without your contribution.
Our friends at the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) have launched a mentoring scheme aimed at SfEP members and associates who have the appropriate basic training (two specified courses). The SfEP pays half the cost of mentoring, and each mentee is allocated their own mentor, an advanced member with many years’ experience. Mentors use a selection of real jobs on which they provide individual feedback and guidance.
Some mentees will have no experience at all and others may already be getting work. Mentoring is meant to bridge the gap between basic training and regular work, though it is also suitable for people returning after a break or those who feel their knowledge is patchy.
If you are new to proofreading or editing there are now even more reasons to join the SfEP and take advantage of the training and mentoring on offer.
Full details can be found here
Oxford Brookes University in association with Creative Skillset are holding a Publishing Fusion Workshop – an innovative course for Publishers from all sectors (with one to three years’ experience) who want to adopt best practice from other media industries and improve their creative, digital and business skills.
The Workshop is set to be an exciting few days of learning and discussion on subjects such as:
- creating ideas
- why business models matter
- building digital brands
- creativity in publishing
There will also be sessions on international markets and collaboration, creative leadership, and games development.
At just £300 for all four days teaching, two nights’ accommodation, and meals, the Workshop – subsidised by Creative Skillset - is filling up fast. Click on this link for more information and to reserve your place!
Further details and how to book your place.
We’re making a few changes to the bookcareers.com website and one of the major changes is that we’d like your contributions. So if you’ve been on a training course, undertaken work experience or had the ‘interview from hell’ with a publisher, we’d like to hear your stories (and we will guarantee anonymity if requested). We’d also like to know about any other publishing career resources you use, whether it is a blog or job site, and we’ll add any that are relevant to our list of resources.
Our first contribution is from Aneeka Naik, a student who recently undertook work experience with Hodder Headline. Read how she got on…
Publisher/Imprint: Headline Publishing, part of Hachette UK.
Department(s): Publicity and Marketing
The placement overall was very structured and didn’t involve admin tasks such as photocopying and filing as much as I expected. I was placed in the Publicity and Marketing departments; my job role included carrying out social media research in order to help the publicity department improve their use of sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Other jobs included creating Pinterest Boards, mailing books out for review, creating show-cards for events, and checking newspapers and magazines for reviews of recently published books.
The greatest benefit of the two weeks was being able to learn how to use Adobe Indesign to create two press releases. While the functions I learnt were rather basic it is definitely a starting point in helping me stand out in my CV. I was also able to work with programs such as Gorkana Media Database and Biblio3. Everyone was really friendly and were happy to answer any questions or clarify tasks if I didn’t understand.
Aneeka found this work experience opportunity online at http://www.hachette.co.uk/Articles/Careers+Pages/Work+Experience+and+Internships.page
Aneeka is currently in her final year at Brunel University and is looking for a job which starts in September 2014. If you are interested in employing Aneeka please contact us.