Publishing needs to take a good hard long look at itself.

On 13/1/15 Suzanne Collier was on a Panel at the Society of Young Publishers (SYP) AGM  #SYPAGM15.  This is blog is slightly edited transcript of her talk.  The Salary Survey 2013 indicates that diversity is getting worse, with 93.7% of respondents classed as White, against the results of 2008, which reported that 90% of respondents were white.


If Publishing truly wants to increase diversity, then the industry needs to take a good long hard look at itself.

It needs to:-

  1. Pay competitive entry level salaries.
  2. Stop all unpaid work experience. Two weeks unpaid work experience should only be available to those still in education, with travel and lunch paid, otherwise all work experience and internships should be paid.   Also I would like to see the re-introduction of work experience for the under 18s.  When did it happen that under-18s were blocked from doing work experience on ‘Health and Safety Grounds’?  We need to open children’s eyes whilst they are in school as to what a career in publishing has to offer.
  3. Offer proper career structure. There are too many Editorial Assistants who want to move on or upwards but they are never given any training or support or the opportunity to be a Junior Editor.  Where is career progression?

But then I ask myself,

Why are a high percentage of people who register on the CV Clearing House ethnically diverse, yet they don’t seem to be represented in the publishing industry?

Why is it that those of a diverse background seem to “have issues” in the workplace.  I have spoken to at least 5 diverse people who didn’t make their probation period in a new role, or their probation was extended. In one case this seemed to be “nit-picking”.

When I was running a job club for unemployed people, why were the diverse people, some who had fantastic digital skills, with me the longest?  This included candidates who had completed an MA in Publishing.

And then I wonder, although Human Resources may be on board with Diversity, is everyone else in the company on the same page?

Do you know that someone who is Asian might come across as softly spoken in an interview to people they don’t know or are unfamiliar with?  So rejecting them because ”they won’t speak up for themselves at meetings” seems to be rather ignorant

Or that some cultures find it extremely difficult to praise themselves, so that “talking themselves up” at interviews is alien to them.

Or that someone who does not have English as their native language might talk very fast, almost gabbling, or they might be talking very slowly.  Do you know that this likely because of the way they were taught or it is the way their native language is spoken?

I do believe that we should recruit on skills and competencies but we don’t seem to be giving 100% of the population the same opportunities and understanding, based possibly on cultural differences.

I started in publishing straight from school, nothing special – Beal High School, Ilford –  the local comprehensive school, and I like to think that I’ve made some sort of contribution to the publishing industry (hell, I’ve even won an award for my contribution, so yes!) yet today someone from my background can cross publishing off their career list.  There might be many others like me, with so much to contribute, who are blocked from publishing because the industry is now only accepting graduates and above.

At the age of 22 and 5 days, back in 1989, I became the youngest person ever to Chair the SYP.  I never thought that my record would last as long as it has, and definitely not to 2015.  Yet at this moment, unless the industry changes, who knows when it might be beaten?

I would have also expected by the year 2015, for the SYP to have had at least one Chair who is of a diverse background, and my offer is this: – If you are a member of the SYP, are of a diverse background and would like to be considered as a future chair of the SYP, which is a two year process (at least one year on the committee, one year as Chair), then I am happy to personally mentor you for as long as it takes.

Publishing needs to change. We need to work together to make change happen.

Got big plans for 2015?

We know that the Christmas and New Year break is usually a time for you to step back and think about what you want for the next year.

Are you already making plans to change something about your career for 2015? You could be planning to do your current role better, chase promotion or change jobs, or tackle a work-related issue head-on.

If so, you’ll be pleased to hear that our offices will be open throughout the Christmas period (except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day).  So why not book a Career Development or Career Management Consultation and give yourself the edge on fulfilling your plans?

To book, just drop us a brief email at and attach your CV (it doesn’t have to be up to date or pristine) and we will book you in for a free no-obligation pre-screening consultation.  (The cost of the pre-screening is free; you’ll need to phone in on a normal BT line/Skype at a mutually agreed scheduled time). Spaces are filling up fast, so take action today.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May all your career dreams come true in 2015 and may you be paid the salary you so richly deserve. Salary Survey Publication

The results of the salary survey will go live on the website at

15:00 hrs GMT on Monday, 15th December 2014.  

Details of how the full report can be purchased will be published at the same time.



Are you networking in November?

Are you networking in November?  We couldn’t help but notice that within a week of our next HOW TO JOB SEARCH IN BOOK PUBLISHING, the organisations Book Machine, Byte The Book and the SYP Conference are all taking place.  So here is a great offer – usually only available to subscribers of our newsletter.

And you can add the Galley Club in there too… they have a meeting on 5th November featuring the amazing Chris McVeigh.

If you are attending any of the above events, then you can take £10 off the price of HOW TO JOB SEARCH IN BOOK PUBLISHING!  This is because you are probably well on your way to getting the networking part of your job search to the standard that we recommend.  Even if you are not, here is a great opportunity to come to probably the best day you can ever give yourself to help find the job that you deserve.

Just visit   and use the promotional code November14 and £10 will be taken off the cost of our unique one day course.

And don’t forget, if you are unemployed and have already worked in the UK book publishing industry, then you might qualify for a sponsored place on this course.  Please email your CV to us at, with a brief outline of your current situation and we will be in touch.

If you are not sure if this course is right for you, please email us at, and we’ll book you in for an informal telephone/Skype chat to talk through your current career needs.


LinkedIn – The best tool for your publishing job search

LinkedIn [in] logo - 2 color - png


With over 300 million users, LinkedIn’s population compares to that of the United States. To have all these potential contacts at your fingertips is invaluable for any jobseeker. But with every social network there are golden rules and pitfalls. Here are my guidelines for making LinkedIn the best part of your publishing job search.

1. Switch off updates.
If you are already on LinkedIn and want to try several new things while updating your profile, switch off ‘updates’ so your network and current boss don’t see what you are up to until you have finished making changes. Then, when you are ready, switch updates back on. Otherwise, every time you change your job title or add skills your contacts will get an email saying ‘Congratulate… on their new job!’

Switch updates on and off by going to: Account & Settings > Privacy & Settings > Turn on/off your activity broadcasts – and uncheck the box.

2. Always use your real name and a photograph.
It is a good idea to use the same profile picture you use on other networks, such as Twitter – if it is a genuine photograph of yourself. In the rules of marketing there are seven ‘touches’ before you get a sale. You are now marketing your personal brand, so you need to create these ‘touches’ within your job search.

If you are apprehensive about putting personal information on the internet, you don’t need to put your whole CV/resumé or career history onto LinkedIn – you can be selective and only list the skills and experience that you feel are important to get you your next role. You might not add in the name of your secondary school, for instance.

There is a lot of information about you already accessible on the internet; far better that you control your information and your brand than let others do so for you.

3. Choose your job title carefully.
Write a job title that closely matches the role or work you wantto do, not the role you may already have. This is because Human Resources departments and headhunters search for people by job title.

When I look through LinkedIn I see nothing but ‘Publishing Professionals’. What is a Publishing Professional? How many HR Managers do you think are searching for candidates using the job title ‘Publishing Professional? I can tell you now: zero.

So choose a job title that is relevant to the work you are looking for or which closely matches the new role that you seek. For example Editor, Editorial Manager, Editorial Director, Marketing and Editorial Freelance, Marketing Executive/Manager.

Your job title on LinkedIn is the best way to attract the right people to your profile. For instance, since I included the words ‘Career Guidance Strategist’ in my personal LinkedIn profile, I have had approaches from colleges and universities. When I added in the words Commissioning Editor, I had approaches from publishers. You don’t need to stick to only one job title; you can have several words and phrases up to around 120 characters.

4. Keep your profile relevant and add in your skills.
One of LinkedIn’s more recent profile sections is ‘skills’ and you should list all the skills that you have and that you want to use in a new role.

The skills option seems completely flooded with unquantified skills at the moment such as ‘publishing’ – which could mean anything. How the skills option develops or is used, or if it brings any real benefits, is yet to be seen: it could simply be a feature to let others ‘touch’ your profile and so you ‘touch’ theirs.

Always make it a personal policy to only endorse others who you personally know and are willing to endorse.

5. Ask others for recommendations.
Recommendations are testimonials or references written by others about good work or projects you have done.

You do not have to recommend in return, although some of your contacts may expect it. A recommendation gives your profile weight, as it shows that others are willing to commit to public a testimonial or reference saying that you have been good at your job. Don’t be afraid to ask others for recommendations – and, equally, don’t be upset if they refuse or ignore your request.

6. Connect with other people you know.
One of the most frequent questions I am asked is ‘who should I connect with?’
Start with current and former colleagues, but again only connect with people that you want to. Don’t feel obliged to accept every connection request and don’t connect with people that you don’t know.

Before you connect with someone, read their profile and under ‘Additional Info’ there may be an item which says ‘Advice for connecting with…’ See if there are any requirements that they have asked for when connecting – for instance, my profile says: ‘Please state the reason for requesting contact or indicate how I know you in your ‘Invitation to Connect’ request. If you do not use your real name on LinkedIn, please don’t expect me to connect. Don’t forget there is a group on LinkedIn which you are welcome to join’.

It is really important to connect only to those who you know or are really happy to connect to because, unless you have ‘hidden’ your connections, they can then see who you are connected to, and other people may take these as endorsements. It also means that in LinkedIn searches they appear connected to you, and therefore others may feel they need to connect with them too.

7.  Personalize your messages.
Always send a personal non-standard connection request unless you have already agreed with someone to connect on LinkedIn (although you might still want to remind them of your conversation).

In the UK, LinkedIn standard messages simply state:
‘I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.’
Where it would be much better to send:
‘Further to our conversation (or email or meeting or interview) I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn’.

If you want to connect with people that you don’t know personally, a more detailed message is best. For example if you are looking for an editorial role and you want to connect with a publishing recruitment consultant, you might want to send a message such as:
‘I am currently looking for a role within Trade Editorial, I’ve registered on your website, but would now personally like to connect with you on LinkedIn’.

Sending a personal message with a connection request should make all the difference, but don’t be surprised if people don’t connect with you or it takes them weeks before they accept your connection request; some people only add connections on a periodic basis.

8. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups.
There are thousands of publishing related groups on LinkedIn, and all groups have a page for Job Vacancies (unless the group owner has disabled this function).

Search for the groups that are most relevant to you but, if you are new to LinkedIn, make sure you have at least two connections – otherwise you will be flagged up to the group owner as a potential spammer. When joining a group, do check the group rules or protocols. For instance, the Bookcareers group on LinkedIn does not allow book or blog promotional posts and those who post find their posts quickly removed.

To ensure that your inbox isn’t flooded with emails from the groups you join on LinkedIn, do make sure that you set your email digests for each group according to your personal requirements. From some groups you might want to receive daily updates, another group you might want a weekly update, and some groups you might want no email updates from at all.

One of the best ways to get yourself ‘noticed’ on LinkedIn is to ask an appropriate question or post an interesting link you may have seen in to the ‘Discussions’ area. But, before you do, make sure you’ve monitored the group for a week or so, to see what others are posting and how you may contribute.

Find the LinkedIn group at:
Find the Publishing Talk LinkedIn group at:

9. Update your status.
Like Twitter and Facebook you can now update your status on your LinkedIn profile. You can make this public, visible to everyone on LinkedIn, or just to your contacts.

Remember though this is not Twitter; some people make the same status updates that you would find on Twitter but you have a different, more professional, audience on LinkedIn and sending all your tweets to LinkedIn is not appropriate.

10. Choose companies to follow.
You can follow companies on LinkedIn, so choose publishers and recruiters who you want to work for now, or aspire to work for in the future. The publishers who have pages on LinkedIn very often have their own career pages which are regularly updated with new vacancies.

If you’d like to know more about boosting your job search, why not attend our one day course
How to Job Search in Book Publishing

This article appears in the October 2014 edition of Publishing Talk Magazine, which is available as a free download for a limited time.

(c) Suzanne Collier 2014  

New grant scheme for entry level graduates

The Book Trade Charity (BTBS), as part of its closer collaboration with the Matthew Hodder Charitable Trust (MHCT), announced the first phase of a new pilot project aimed at encouraging talented younger people into the book trade though a programme of grants.

The initial phase will help those who are unable to get a foot into the industry where financial pressure means that they are unable to pay for travel, subsistence, overnight accommodation or even suitable clothing for interviews.  The scheme is available for under 30’s, who are resident in the UK, applying for a job in the UK Book Trade, primarily but not exclusively in publishing, who can demonstrate a financial need.

Grants of up to £1,000 will be available quickly to those eligible for the scheme.

The grants programme will then extend to cover support for appropriate internships later in the year.

BTBS will welcome applications either by the applicants or from companies, trade bodies or others acting on behalf of the applicant.  Further information and guidelines can be found at  or by emailing

Quote from David Hicks – Chief Executive, BTBS:

“The Book Trade Charity traces its roots back to 1837 and Victorian philanthropy, but we are keen to support the trade in ways which are relevant today.  This particular programme recognises that it is difficult for young people to get a foot on the ladder in today’s rapidly-changing industry and we will be delighted if our assistance can help overcome some basis obstacles.”

Quote from Tom Biggs-Davison, Chairman MHCT:

“This innovative project being launched by BTBS deserves support from the trade and we are delighted that the close relationship between MHCT and BTBS will enable this pilot programme to get off the ground; we are sure it will be to the benefit of many young people, and to the trade itself.”

Inside Book Publishing (5th Edition)

We are delighted to let you know that a new edition of INSIDE BOOK PUBLISHING by Giles Clark and Angus Phillips is now available.

Fully updated, this book is a comprehensive walk-through of the whole publishing process and the industry around it.  If you wanted to know exactly how book publishing works, including all the digital changes and influences, then do take a read.

It is a standard text book for any publishing course and we highly recommend it to all clients who are thinking about entering book publishing.  In fact, if you have been in the industry for many years, it could also serve as a useful handbook for updating your publishing knowledge.

There is also a chapter on job hunting in book publishing, of which we had an advance read, and it was spot on.

You can purchase a copy by clicking the link below.  In line with our ethical policy we are now using The Hive affiliate network for all future book purchases.


Does the drinking culture in book publishing affect your career?

Whether you like it or not, there is a drinking culture in book publishing.  You cannot go to a publishing event without the compulsory glass of warm white wine being served.  Quite a few of us on twitter talk about ending the day with ‘a large gin and tonic’ and I’ve worked for numerous companies where it was custom at the end of the day – or on completion of a successful project – to go to the pub or celebrate with alcohol in the office.  Both London and the Frankfurt Book Fairs are drink-fuelled events, where often the best deals are concluded in the bar, or at a boozy dinner.

The days of the traditional alcohol-led publishing lunch may be all but over, but you cannot deny that when you work in book publishing, there are numerous opportunities to drink alcohol throughout your career.

But what if you don’t drink, either for religious reasons, health reasons or personal choice, where does that leave you?

I’ve been to several publishing parties over the past few months where the welcoming drinks were restricted to white or red wine.  When my guest asked for water they were looked upon disdainfully.

If you are someone who doesn’t drink, and work at an office where the working day often ends with an alcoholic beverage, do you feel excluded because of it? Does it affect your career path because you are not seen as ‘one of the team’?

Perhaps you’re someone who wishes to cut back on drinking but finds it impossible to do so because of the drinking culture around you. When you’ve tried to say no, has your boss still pushed a drink into your hand saying ‘go on…just the one’? Or maybe, even worse, you’ve made a clear decision not to drink but someone has slipped Vodka into your orange juice to help you ‘lighten up’.

Is one of the factors holding book publishing back in the equality and diversity stakes the fact that those who don’t drink for religious reasons find themselves unable to pursue particular careers?  Would you employ a publicity assistant or publicist who refused to be at an event where alcohol was being served, or agreed to attend but refused to hand out drinks or help clear up glasses afterwards?

Alcohol has always been a part of book publishing. I’m not asking that it stop; only that we are more accommodating  and considerate towards those that don’t drink, rather than exclude them.

Are you a non-drinker in a book publishing career? Has alcohol affected your career choices? Or are you someone that drinks who finds it difficult to relate to those that don’t? The drinking culture in book publishing is the elephant in the room. Maybe it’s time to have an open discussion about it.

New Graduate Scheme for Editorial Designers

Bedford based design agency, emc design launches their first graduate scheme for want
to be editorial designers.  It offers a starting salary of £16,000.

emc design is one of the leading UK agencies dedicated to the publishing industry and
has been steadily growing over the past few years. The company has always had the
ethos of bringing in design graduates with the aim of training them in-house, on live jobs
from day one. Their culture is to nurture and develop already very talented designers
who have been taught the fundamental basics of good design at undergraduate level,
including typography, information design, layout skills and concept development. They
look for people who have the enthusiasm and potential to become the very best editorial
designers. They train and develop their designers in a proven scheme in the technical
and creative side of the job – teasing out an in-depth understanding of how form and
function balances when designing for the educational publishing markets.

They are committed to ensuring that they continue to grow the company to provide long-term
career opportunities for all their staff.

If you are interested in more information, please take a look at and download
the graduate information pack.  Applications close on 30th June 2014.

Mike Cryer, Managing Director, says of the scheme:
“We are very pleased that we are in a position to offer opportunities to graphic design
graduates in an interesting area of design. Taking on graduates and training and
developing them has been the best means of recruiting good designers for us. Getting
good creative people is essential to our plans for growth.”
“We work for the top UK educational publishers producing books and digital components
just within the publishing industry. So our expertise is in editorial design. This is a niche
area and often not recognised as the most glamorous area of design, however, it can
be the most challenging and rewarding. Young designers that join us generally say
they cannot believe how much they learn when they come here and what a friendly,
supportive atmosphere it is to work in.”

Publishing Careers YouTube Channel

The Publishers Association are continuing a campaign to promote the changing world and workforce in publishing with a new  PA Youtube Channel.

The first films are a series with the title Working in Publishing: A World of Content Creation and Delivery made up of interviews with young people working in the industry and demonstrating what an exciting business publishing is.

This looks a very exciting project and we look forward to seeing how it builds in the forthcoming months.