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A day in the life: Marketing in Academic Publishing

I am Sophie Eminson, a marketing assistant at Springer Nature, and a book blogger at www.romanticsrebelsandreviews.wordpress.com, where I also share insights into the publishing industry and job hunting tips. I am also the Communications Officer for the Society of Young Publishers 2019 committee. I currently work on the biggest journal in the world, Scientific Reports, and am looking forward to sharing my experience of marketing in academic publishing with you.

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Bloomsbury Academic

Becoming part of the ‘content machine’: Interview with Maria Giovanna Brauzzi, Bloomsbury Academic

“A publishing house is a fragile organism, dear sir,” he says. “If at any point something goes askew, then the disorder spreads, chaos opens beneath our feet. Forgive me, won’t you? When I think about it I have an attack of vertigo.” And he covers his eyes, as if pursued by the sight of billions of pages, lines, words, whirling in a dust storm.”

Italo Calvino, If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller

Starting her interview with this great quote as she’s a passionate Calvino devotee, Maria Giovanna Brauzzi is Assistant Editor on the Education list at Bloomsbury Academic. Francesca Zunino Harper asked her some questions to know more about what working at an academic publisher involves on a day to day basis.

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Tech in Publishing

Marketing in Humanities and Social Sciences Academic Publishing: a perspective from the London office of Harvard University Press

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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Digital publishing

Digital publishing is now “fabric”, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy

This is a guest blog post by Steve Connolly, Publishing Director for FE and Digital at Hodder Education. This blog post first appeared on the Publishing Training Centre Blog.

When we pause for thought to contemplate the evolution of digital publishing, it is clear that a revolution has taken place in the way that content is produced and consumed. However, it is equally remarkable (and healthy to note) that print product still drives much of what the publishing industry produces and monetises. The most notable player in terms of driving the eBook revolution (now slowing to an evolution) is Amazon: a major disruptor in online retailing, positioning and recommending product, manufacturing innovative hardware (yes – Kindle was innovative in terms of adopting established technology and making it a mass market device), driving down prices and providing publishers with new ways of packaging and distributing their IP. In addition, mobile technology is now so prevalent worldwide that it cannot be ignored as a means of consuming content.

So, other than driving this rapid growth in digital consumption that can’t be ignored, what does mobile technology represent for publishers? It has promoted the creation of universally adopted (adapted in Amazon’s case) standards in the shape of ePub, and has forced us all to think in terms of the creation of our content in new ways. Any publisher who fails to think in terms of scalable and standards-driven workflow / outputs is not necessarily going to go out of business, but they will seriously hinder their ability to leverage their IP to its greatest potential. Others who have posted on this site have pointed to the ways in which copy-editing has evolved, with most editorial tasks now being completed on screen, including standard mark-up and tagging of content using consumer tools such as Word. This is a quiet but fundamental shift; and where we start to standardise the ways in which we describe elements of content (form and function), we have the foundations of a workflow that results in content that can be re-used with greater efficiency in a myriad of contexts – print, online, mobile, XML, interactive games and assessment etc.

For many of us working in what is ostensibly a creative industry, standards can seem to be the equivalent of watching digital paint dry. In my journey from being a print publisher to someone who creates and helps others create interactive content, I have discovered the importance of standards (tagging, XML, epub etc.) in the planning, generation and distribution of a range of published products – from interactive etextbooks to standardised assessment engines. All of this originates from a set of principles that were agreed across our business and were applied at each point in the supply chain. Some of what we do is driven by international standards and some by our own proprietary rules, allowing us to provide the market with innovative and high-quality content-led services at a faster rate and at lower cost than would have otherwise been the case.

Decisions on “digital” require a multi-component model that considers at least eight aspects, such as:

  • Developments in technology – what’s important and (importantly) what’s not?
  • Market expectations
  • Business expectations and rules
  • Analysis of the competition
  • Defining your product
  • Workflow and content creation
  • Return on investment
  • Marketing and selling

Steve is a tutor on the PTC’s flagship course for editors in the educational, academic, scientific and professional sectors, Commissioning and List Management (CLM) happening next on September 25 – 28 2017.


Inside freelancing: Louise Le Bas, Editorial

Louise Le Bas is a Senior Associate at Just Content, with experience across the broad range of formats, media and sectors spanning academic (books and journals), professional and education. Here Melody Dawes interviews her.

1) What do you offer and who are your clients/have you worked with?

I specialise in education and professional publishing, though I do also do a bit of work on the academic side of things. Most of my clients are education or vocational skills awarding bodies or publishing houses whom I offer a range of services from a classic commissioning and development editing service to project management, and from time to time the odd research and consultation report. I also do a fair amount of work on digital products which includes e-learning project management and website management and development. 

2) What’s your background/experience and what made you make the move to freelancer?

I’ve worked in publishing for coming up to 14 years now and taken a fairly traditional route really – from Editorial Assistant to Co-ordinator, to Publishing Editor, Commissioning Editor, Publishing Manager and Publisher. A move to the north from London (I live in Leeds) and the desire for a more flexible lifestyle was the catalyst behind my change from in-house work to the freelance life. I also found the constant change between projects and changing quite appealing as it keeps things varied.

3) What are your greatest achievements so far?

It has to be the volume of projects I’ve covered in the last few years – a few of which have been pretty large undertakings for high profile clients. I think the best thing about freelancing for me has been the exposure to a wide range of different project and client types which has enabled me to get a really wide range of different experiences and really added to my knowledge, skills base and confidence. 

4) What are the challenges you’ve faced?

I think when you first start out it’s important to put boundaries down in terms of how much work you feel you need to take on – there is always the temptation to say yes to everything in case that’s the ‘last project you ever get offered’ – it never is! I think there is also the need to develop a slightly different way of manning your finances along with balancing off the busier periods with the quieter ones – but these are very navigable once you get in to the flow of things and change you mind set.

Other challenges are probably around getting the contacts and leads and building your confidence around negotiating terms and fees. It’s key to remember the skills and experiences you have and to be confident.

5) What’s changing within your area of freelancing, and how do you see the role of freelancers in this area developing?

It feels like the types of work needed by freelancers tends to go in waves – I think that recently there has been a wave of development support and list research needed but this now seems to be levelling off a bit in place of the need for more general edits and project management. Education publishing tends to be dictated by government funding and qualification review schedules so you can almost set your predicted busy periods and types of tasks by the types of reviews likely to come up. 

It does feel like there is an increasing trend for publishers to use freelancers as the amount of change and uncertainly we’ve seen in the economy in the last few years has made it much more appealing for publishers to have less fixed costs. That said, whilst I ‘d like to see this continue, there is some uncertainty in the education space at the moment which may well effect the amount clients have outspend on product development an freelance support. Let’s hope not as I really think having a pool of experienced, flexible resource is vital and compliments an in-house team well when work peaks hit….

6) What tips would you give to someone wanting to go into/who’s new to freelancing?

I would probably say don’t do it too early in your career. I personally think a lot of the value I have to add is the years of experience I have, especially the thorough understanding of how the in-house processes work so that I can best slot seamlessly in to these and really support the client.  That said, when you do reach the right time (for both professional and personal reasons) definitely go for it as it offers a completely different professional experience which allows you to experience a wider slice of the publishing landscape than you’d perhaps get if you are working in the same one role for years. 

I’d also say make sure you have a good network of possible clients (old employers, contacts in other publishing houses) before you take the plunge, and if possible line up your first project/contract.  You need to make sure you have a financial barrier in place as you get started and be ready to plan your finances a bit more once you get on your feet (tax returns, pension plans, do you want to be self employed or start a limited company).

I’d also say think about where you want to work and ensure you’ve got the right facilities and equipment so you can get started. Do you want to work at home or rent some communal working space? Is it viable to split your working time between home and a cafe maybe? 

I think the key thing to realise is that it really is possible to be self-employed and continue building your career. With a bit of luck and good portfolio of clients and different types of projects you can, in fact learn more, more quickly than you did in-house. 

This is a guest interview from Melody Dawes. Melody has over 15 years of education publishing experience and is the Managing Director of Just Content, a freelance services consultancy working mainly with education publishers.

FutureBook 2015: Our recent posts on the academic book of the future

At yesterday’s FutureBook Conference 2015, Sam Rayner chaired the discussion: ‘The new publishing: the academic book of the future’. The panel was comprised of Richard Fisher (Formerly of CUP), Suzanne Kavanagh (ALPSP),  Lara Speicher (UCL Press) and Anthony Cond (Liverpool University Press).

To join in on the action, we’ve collected together some of our best posts on the future of academic publishing:

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Book publicity: trade vs. academic publishing

This is a guest post by Mollie Broad. Mollie is a PR Assistant at SAGE Publications, a leading independent publisher of journals, books and digital media.

The publishing industry encompasses hundreds of different roles within countless disciplines and subjects. Across the industry, PR works to draw attention to the respective publishing programme. However, when generating publicity for books, it is in the approach where the differences between academic and trade publishing lie.

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14 things we learnt about the future of academic book discovery

On Tuesday night London Book Fair held their Tech Tuesday event during Academic Book Week. With the overarching question: ‘Academic book discovery; will the role of the publisher enhance discoverability in the future?’ The panel was comprised of Tom Hatton, founder of RefME; Simon Kerridge, Director of Research Services at University of Kent; Martha Sedgwick, Executive Director of Product Innovation at SAGE, and Simon Tanner, Digital Humanities academic at Kings College London.

The panel discussion was guided by 4 key questions. Here are our 14 top things that we learnt from the night.

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On outsourcing and adapting to changes in Academic publishing

To celebrate Academic Book Week, we’re running a series of posts on Academic Publishing. This is a guest post by Zeba Talkhani who works for production and editorial project management agency, Out of House Publishing. Out of House help publishers produce the best possible print and digital content in the education and academic market, and was set up to fill the gap in the industry by providing effective production assistance to busy publishers.

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Sales Manager [JOB POSTING]

Based at the University of Bristol, Policy Press is a leading international publisher of social science books, journals and digital products with a strong social mission and a reach beyond traditional academic markets.  We are looking for a dynamic Sales Manager to lead on sales and distribution strategy and to increase sales in line with our business growth targets.

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