Tag: Abbie Headon

Event report: BookMachine Meets Jessica Kingsley Publishers

BookMachine members have enjoyed a series of ‘BookMachine Unplugged’ events in 2018 and 2019, in which panels of experts give their views on key publishing areas such as tech, production, editorial and marketing, but last week we were treated to the first in a new series of events entitled ‘BookMachine Meets…’. The aim of these events is to showcase the skills and experience of one particular publisher, and on 30 May 2019 we gathered at Hachette HQ in London for the first in the series, to meet Jessica Kingsley Publishers and learn some of the secrets of their success.

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Public Speaking for Introverts

Public speaking for introverts: tips from someone who understands

This article is a little different from the pieces I usually write or commission for BookMachine, but I think the topic of public speaking deserves a place here because most of us in this industry need to do it from time to time. Whether it’s making a presentation at an in-house meeting, or speaking at a conference in front of 400 people, it’s always scary – but it’s worth doing if we want our ideas to be heard.

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Small presses: a vibrant sector with lessons for all of us

Abbie Headon runs Abbie Headon Publishing Services, and offers a range of skills including writing, editing and commissioning, alongside social media, website development and publishing management. She champions fresh approaches to solving the industry’s challenges and can be found mingling at most publishing events. Abbie’s also BookMachine’s Commissioning Editor and sits on the BookMachine Editorial Board

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Tech in Publishing

A call to action for truthful inclusivity in editorial and publishing

Francesca Zunino Harper is a linguist, translator, and publishing professional. She worked in the British and international academia researching on comparative literatures,  translation, and women’s and environmental humanities for several years. She now works in the Humanities and Social Sciences area of publishing. You can follow her @ZuninoFrancesca.

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Quantum 2018

Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference [event report]

On Monday 13 November, over 120 people came together for the second Building Inclusivity in Publishing conference, organised by The Publishers Association and the London Book Fair. Over the course of 2017, many writers and publishing staff from under-represented communities have expressed their frustration with our industry’s love of a panel discussion, which can often take the place of any actual progress. It’s appropriate, therefore, that the strap line of this conference was Reflecting All: Effecting Change, and that a real sense of ‘But what are you actually going to do about this?’ ran through every session.

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Consent or coercion

Consent or Coercion – shape your fate in an age of change [REPORT]

Yesterday evening, members and friends of BookMachine and Unite gathered at St Bride Foundation for a panel discussion on the subject of change. There’s perhaps no better place to think about how the publishing industry has changed over the years than this historic building, tucked away just off Fleet Street, the former heart of the London newspaper industry – and no sign that the process of change that silenced the Fleet Street printing presses is likely to stop soon, if ever.

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BookTube 101 with Sanne Vliegenthart

BookTube 101 with Sanne Vliegenthart

This is a review of last night’s BookTube event by Abbie Headon. Abbie is Commissioning and Digital Development Editor at Summersdale Publishers. Her book Literary First Aid Kit was published by Summersdale in August 2015. Everyone in publishing knows one thing: that BookTube (as the community of book vloggers on YouTube is known) is important. What most of us don’t really know is how we can use it to bring our books to a wider audience – or even how book vlogging actually works. On 29 March 2017 we were treated to a fact-packed presentation from YouTube star Sanne Vliegenthart, aka booksandquills, at The Library Club in London, here are some of her tips.

Tips for making great BookTube videos

  1. If you’re a total beginner and don’t know where to start, the first thing to do is watch videos and start learning the language BookTubers use, such as ‘TBR’ and ‘book haul’, to get a sense of the kinds of structure you could try.
  2. Reach out to vloggers whose work resonates with you. BookTubers like talking to newbie video makers, and there are often meet-ups where you can connect with people who’ll be happy to share their expertise with you. You might even make friends with someone who will work with you on a collaborative video that you can share, connecting their audience to yours.
  3. Be as clear as you can about what viewers will find on your channel, such as books on a specific genre. You don’t have to only vlog about this topic, but having a central theme will help you build an audience who are into the same stuff as you.
  4. Organising your content into thematic playlists is a great way to showcase your content. It means people won’t only see your latest videos when they go to your profile page: you can have a playlist of Book Hauls, or vlogs about a specific book genre, for example.
  5. Creating good thumbnail images with a consistent style will ensure your channel is instantly recognisable. You don’t need Photoshop to create stylish thumbnails: free online resources such as PicMonkey do the job just as well.
  6. Always post on the same day of the week, with a minimum of one video every week.
  7. Don’t feel obliged to vlog about the books that everyone else is talking about – the internet is vast and there’s space for every interest, whether it’s Dutch fiction, the classics, or whatever you feel most passionate about.

Tips for publishers who want to work with BookTubers

An impressive £45,000-worth of books have been sold through affiliate links to The Book Depository on Sanne’s channel, plus an unknown figure through other bookshops. This is an exciting opportunity for publishers, but we can’t just bombard vloggers with books and expect instant success.
  1. Take the time to research vloggers and find out who is most likely to be interested in your book. Don’t contact somebody until you’ve watched at least three or four of their videos: you need to know what makes them tick before you get in touch.
  2. Send a personal email, telling the BookTuber about your book and why you think they will like it. This is much more effective than just sending a press release. And always always email before sending anything: it’s a waste of your marketing budget to send books that a vlogger isn’t interested in.
  3. Think of specific events coming up that they might want to vlog about, and suggest how your books fit into these. (It helps if you’ve done your research and you already know the vlogger always makes videos about Valentine’s Day reads, for example.)
  4. Offer suggestions, but be open to vloggers’ ideas: it’s not your job to tell them what to put in their videos. (Remember, nearly all BookTubers are making videos as a hobby around their full-time jobs, from sheer passion.)
  5. Vloggers like backlist as well as frontlist, so don’t ignore jewels in your back catalogue from previous seasons.
  6. Remember the BookTube community is small and well-connected, so don’t pretend you’re offering someone an exclusive if you’re actually not – you will be found out!
  7. Ebooks are easy to send but have nothing to offer as a video experience. A beautifully produced print copy, maybe accompanied by relevant goodies such as a postcard, bookmark or edible treat, will work much better on camera.
  8. What can you offer vloggers? Of course, BookTubers love books, but you could think outside the box and offer a personal, fun experience that relates to the book, which in itself becomes material for the BookTuber’s social media output.
  9. There are lots of views on whether payment is necessary or appropriate. Sanne says that if you’re just offering books or an experience, there’s generally no need to pay. But if you’re setting a specific date for the video to be published and specific guidelines about the content, then yes, you should pay. Remember, you’re not just paying for the vlogger’s time (Sanne puts in at least 8 hours per video, not including time spent reading the book she’s vlogging about) but also the access to their audience.
There’s a world of fabulous book vlogs out there, and I’m sure the BookMachine community has plenty of budding BookTubers in its ranks. I hope these tips inspire you to explore Sanne’s YouTube channel and the wider world of BookTube – and maybe even to set up your camera and join in! If you do, we’d love to hear from you. Lights, camera, book… and… ACTION!

The code less travelled: Why I became a Rails Girl for the day and why we should all care more about coding

Recently, I seem to have encountered coding at every turn. It all started with an article by Jasmin Kirkbride here on BookMachine, back in April. Today’s children are the true digital natives among us, and now that computing – actual coding, not just learning how to use a computer – has been introduced to England’s National Curriculum it seems likely that when they reach the workforce they’ll be bringing a confident knowledge of coding with them. Now not all of us are going to become code whizz-kids ourselves, but Jasmin is one among many who argue that if we don’t at least learn the basic principles of what goes on under a computer’s bonnet*, we risk becoming increasingly out of touch with our future colleagues.

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Editing tips

5 Tips from the Secret World of Editing

This is a guest post by Abbie Headon. Abbie joined Summersdale Publishers in 2010. In her role as Managing and Commissioning Editor she writes, edits and commissions content across a broad range of trade non-fiction titles. Her book Poetry First Aid Kit was published by Summersdale in 2013, and her Literary First Aid Kit is due to hit the world’s bookshelves in August 2015. Editing is one of the Dark Arts of publishing. For proofreading and copyediting, there are books and courses that explain all the quirks and twists, but editing – and by this I mean structural editing, where you take somebody’s manuscript and help them make it better – does not fit this model. For me, editing is where the magic happens. And editing has a lot in common with magic: it takes a lot of practice, and it works best when you see its effects, but not the details of how it was done.

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