This is an interview with Tahira Rahemtulla, a senior editor at Unambiguous Edit. Tahira is hosting a writing contest, That’s Write!, as a lead of Unambiguous Edit, in collaboration with TLAC Printing and Publishing, BookMachine, and Wildfire Studio.
1. Tell us a little bit about Unambiguous Edit. Is it a book editing company?
Unambiguous Edit is an online editing service; we used to focus just on books, but our clients were so pleased with the quality of edits and service, we had a lot of demand for other editing services. So now we offer editing for all documents.
Host of November’s BookMachine NYC, Bree Weber, talks to speaker on the night Jake McGraw, Director of Operations at Refinery29.
Grab your tickets for BookMachine NYC here.
1. Can you give us a bit of background – who are you and how you came to join the R29 family?
After receiving my computer science degree in 2006, I was attracted to the world of internet-based startups to have an outsized impact in a small company. I have worked as a full-stack software engineer for a variety (from 2 to 200 employees) of New York based companies across many different business verticals. In 2013, I transitioned to management; I now direct multiple teams, focusing on technology strategy and defensibility.
BookMachine Oxford host Charly Salvesen-Ford talks to Beth Cox, freelance editor and consultant specialising in children’s books, and the star of our event on 6th November.
Grab your tickets for BookMachine Oxford here.
1) What is the best part of your job?
The variety. I love the fact that every day is different – one day I can be copy-editing a manuscript, the next delivering training, the next working on a book layout, the next planning an event, the next plotting how to change the face of children’s books with Inclusive Minds co-founder, Alexandra Strick! And that’s a minor snapshot of the range of things my job involves.
Host of November’s BookMachine NYC, Bree Weber, talks to speaker on the night Miral Sattar, founder of BiblioCrunch.
Grab your tickets for BookMachine NYC here.
1. What’s your background and how did you get involved in the publishing industry?
I’m an engineer by background, love to write and publish, and also love help other people publish. So, obviously, a natural fit for me would be to combine all three into my own company.
Host of November’s BookMachine NYC, Bree Weber, talks to speaker on the night Joe Regal, co-founder of Zola Books.
Grab your tickets for BookMachine NYC here.
1. How did your background as a literary agent lead to Zola Books?
What I saw as an agent was that with the rise of digital books, authors were stuck with a royalty rate I didn’t feel was fair – 25% of net – but the problem came not from publishers as much as a retail environment where publishers were being squeezed by an increasingly small group of increasingly powerful retailers, and the publishers were passing on that pain to the writers out of self-preservation. It seemed really clear that in order to continue to serve writers, I needed to become involved in an effort to bring more diversity to retail, so that publishers would have more outlets for their books, enabling them to continue to nurture writers struggling to start careers…or struggling to maintain careers.
Host of November’s BookMachine Brighton, Sarah Juckes, talks to speaker on the night Emlyn Rees, a fiction and non-fiction author, editor and director of the Dark & Stormy Crime Film, TV and Book Festival.
Grab you tickets for BookMachine Brighton here.
Inspired Selection are kindly sponsoring BookMachine London with Sam Missingham on Tuesday 22nd July. This is a guest post from Suzy Asbury, Managing Director, about the changing world of publishing.
While some sectors within publishing are changing quicker than others and in different ways, it’s safe to say that all are changing fairly rapidly.
Publishing is becoming content creation and content is becoming interactive rather than words on a page. Roles are changing too; marketing is ripening into a data and product driven team and editors are evolving into more technical versions of their former selves. It is almost impossible to move into a job that you’ve already done and the advice I was given at the outset of my career is now the very essence of publishing careers – do something to stretch yourself, not just something you can already do. Take it by the horns and don’t be afraid; a new challenge whether it’s with your current employer or a new one, is the best way to keep on top of the industry and to get ahead.
The market post recession is a completely different place to be in the jobs market. We are finding at Inspired Selection that our candidates are much more focussed on company’s strategic direction, digital plans and growth opportunities. They want to be surrounded by inspirational and visionary people. They are not just looking for more money but an opportunity that is going to stretch them. Career progression is EVERYTHING now.
There has never been a better time to be in publishing. Publishing is pushing all its boundaries. Inspired are sponsoring this event with the BookMachine as it exhibits a great example of how innovative publishers are becoming. Sam Missingham is going to demonstrate how challenging a traditional model can gain you immediate and new access to talent in authors as well as to the readers themselves by creating a virtual community who gather in cyberspace, drawn by their interest in the books.
Inspired are very excited to be in our 15th year. With such a strong team in place at Inspired, we too are growing in the UK and Internationally. This year will see more consultants start with us; coming from publishing backgrounds we train our consultants in recruitment skills. The mix of skills, passion and knowledge makes us a great place for you to come and talk to us about your career and how to get ahead.
Laura from BookMachine also asked what we thought the top skills were that publishers are looking for so I have included a link to our blog where we summarised this following #lbf14.
To get in touch do visit our website www.inspiredselection.com or call us on 02036686733 for a confidential chat.
Sam Missingham is Head of Events at HarperCollins. She organised the Romance Festival, which was the first publisher-agnostic virtual event organised by a publisher. She is kindly presenting it as a case study at BookMachine London on 22nd July. We wanted to find out a little bit more before the event.
1) What initially sparked the idea to host the Romance Festival as a virtual event?
Talking to the editorial team from HarperImpulse and Avon – they told me that romance authors and readers were very digitally engaged – which got me thinking as to how we could connect with them and add value to the conversation.
2) Do you think we’ll be seeing many more virtual events over the next few years?
Certainly from HarperCollins, I’m hoping to run similar publisher-agnostic events in crime, fantasy, teen and possibly some other areas too. The Romance Festival showed that if you focus on what readers and authors would like out of an event, delivering a virtual festival with these elements is a fairly easy way to connect, engage and add value.
3) How could the book industry and rights networks adapt to, use and benefit from virtual events?
I’m sure more of our interactions and deals could be done using online platforms like Google Hangouts. As an industry, I’m not sure we are maximising the potential offered by these free communication channels. But, I’m also a great believer in touching the flesh, so long live Frankfurt and London Book fair as far as I’m concerned.
4) What is next for the events team at HarperCollins?
I’m organising an event with George RR Martin and Robin Hobb. To say it’s an exciting event to work on is an understatement.
5) Finally, could we please have a sneak peek of what you’re going to talk about at BookMachine?
I’m going to talk about the Romance Festival as a case study, so what our objectives were, how we went about it, things we learned and then results. Very happy to be very open and answer any questions along the way.
Jacks Thomas is the Director of The London Book Fair and she will be BookMachine London’s speaker on 27th February. I caught up with her to find out what the new plans are for LBF14 as well as getting a bit of an insight into the running of the fair.
1. What’s new for LBF this year that visitors must make a note to see and do?
Firstly, new dates! This year’s Fair starts on a Tuesday, rather than starting on a Monday as it has done in recent years, which means our Publishing for Digital Minds Conference will now take place on the Monday before the Fair.
Korea is Market Focus country, so there will be a full programme of professional and cultural events showcasing Korea, and we also have bestselling writer Sun-mi Hwang as our Market Focus Author of the Day. We’re very lucky once again this year as our other Authors of the Day are Terry Pratchett and Malorie Blackman. I would definitely suggest visitors go to their talks on the PEN Literary Salon.
This year we have a brand new academic theatre located in LBF’s Academic & Scholarly zone called The Faculty @ LBF and LBF’s dedicated area for authors has been expanded and re-launched for 2014 as Author HQ, with a three day events programme for self-published writers to learn more about the industry. We are also launching Gaming @ LBF, a dedicated space for developers and publishers to connect.
Don’t miss the virtual golf tournament either…more on that anon!
There will be over 250 free-to-attend events in LBF’s “Insights” seminar programme, with a staggering range of topics, I would highly recommend visitors attend some of these sessions.
2. Can you give us a bit more detail on the International Publishing Industry Excellence Awards, and why they fill the gaps that other awarding bodies aren’t fulfilling?
I take your point but the key difference with these awards is that they look out from the UK to the rest of the world. To win, you will be operating outside the UK. So these awards fill a gap in that they celebrate international achievement across the whole business of publishing and a truly global view of the book world. The awards will hopefully be simple, slick and celebratory a fab opportunity for the UK publishing industry to recognise and showcase the achievements of their international publishing industry colleagues.
The awards cover everything from digital innovation, translation and copyright protection, through to trade, academic and children’s publishing. There are 15 categories, and both companies and individuals are eligible to enter themselves, or put forward a nomination. PLUS! We’re really pleased that broadcaster and author, Gavin Esler has agreed to present the evening.
3. How do you ensure there is a balance between exhibiting companies and publishers that have huge marketing budgets – compared to those who are still integral to the industry, but can’t justify the marketing costs to be there (smaller publishers/service providers)?
We try to balance this by offering a number of exhibitor packages. For example, we always have Small Press stands which are ideal for first time exhibitors or smaller companies to have a ‘taster’ of the fair, we have the start-up zone in Tech Central and with the new-to-show industries such as Gaming, Brand Licensing and Comics Pavilions we have very competitive packages in association with the respective Trades Associations Industry partners.
Altogether, a stand can be pretty much as large or small, fancy or simple as the customer decrees.
4. Over the last few years the scholarly, educational and seminar programme seems to have got a lot bigger. Why do you think this is and do you think exhibition events, like LBF, are expected to provide this as part of the overall offering?
In the K12 arena, technology is increasingly ubiquitous in lecture theatres and the classroom and a number of the most exciting digital innovations are happening in the educational sector. The boundaries between education and what is entertainment are now much less defined, with new ‘edutainment’ initiatives are being launched every year. These new policies and techniques are debated at the IPA Education Conference; What Works on day 3 of the book fair.
In the academic, professional, STM sectors, we know that change is fast and that these sectors often lead the way in innovation. We very much wanted to get a dedicated show floor feature going to complement the seminar stream in the conference programme, which is why we’ve launched The Faculty @ LBF. We are absolutely delighted with the feedback we have had and that is in no small part due to the partnerships we have with ALPSP and the PA.
5. Once all the hard work is done for 2014, what will you be doing during the book fair itself? Do you get to participate as an observer, or are you running around on call?
Hopefully – enjoy it! I always refer to the way it evolves once we are at Earls Court as watching a small village being built. I love seeing behind the scenes. As to what I will be doing, I very much hope to get to the Great Debate, the Faculty, The Children’s Hub, The Digital Theatres, The Bic Bar, at least a dozen of the 240 seminars and, of course, the IPA Education Conference, our new London Writers’ Fair on the Friday and kicking off the week with the Publishing for Digital Minds Conference. In between all that I will look forward to the Korea Market Focus Pavilion Opening Ceremony, meeting our authors of the day, and getting to talk to our exhibitors and visitors. Hopefully I will also get time to buy guests the occasional drink or two at the Club at the Ivy Pop-Up, which is back for its second year. All of this should help me to prepare for The London Book Fair 2015 which – in case you missed it – is at OLYMPIA!
If you want to hear more from Jacks make sure you’ve booked your BookMachine London ticket!
Ahead of BookMachine Oxford on 27 February I posed five quick questions to our guest speaker Matthew Cashmore!
1. Which words would best descibe your approach to your role as Digital Director at Blackwell’s?
Do cool stuff, do it really well, really quickly and make a profit.
2. What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Doing cool stuff with books – which I love and any visitor to my house / library will attest to.
3. What was Blackwell’s greatest achievement in 2013?
Starting a skunkworks for digital development in Shoreditch.
4. Do you have a prediction for the book industry in 2014?
We will continue to sell books, more books, more interesting books and people will continue to read them.
5. Is there any advice you would give to publishing/bookselling professionals that are getting involved with digital?
Digital amplifies what you’re good at AND what you’re bad at – don’t do ‘digital’ if you’re not passionate and great at what you do.
Matthew Cashmore is the Digital Director at Blackwell’s. He has a key strategic focus on finding and executing new opportunities and guiding a digital step change – making Blackwell’s the architects of the digital academic future.
Tickets for the Oxford event are available here.