Upskilling Tips for Publishing Events
By Meghan Capper, Tanvi Jaiswal, Misha Manani and Georgia Stack
Publishing events are a valuable resource for many in the industry. They offer great ways of connecting with industry hopefuls and professionals – whether through watching a panel or attending a workshop. They are also a key way to expand your commercial awareness, from learning about business innovations to emerging trends. In this issue, we are discussing our recommendations for publishing events and our top tips on making the most of them. There’s no need to worry if you can’t attend in person, as we are also exploring our favourite virtual events!
Annual Society of Young Publishers (SYP) Conference: The SYP is a country-wide volunteer-run initiative which supports junior and aspiring professionals across the UK and Ireland. Its annual membership is £30 but £24 for students and is open to anyone interested in the industry.
The London Book Fair (LBF): The second largest book trade event in the world is the perfect opportunity to make connections with industry professionals. The event has publishers, literary agents, authors and printers all in one place with numerous seminars across the three days. The event can be accessed by purchasing tickets which are worth their price.
The Bookseller Marketing and Publicity Conference: With a variety of themes every year, the conference primarily focuses on the marketing sector of publishing and tries to look at the challenges faced by the industry on this side.
The Bookseller Children’s Conference: This specialised conference is for aspiring hopefuls interested in children’s publishing and looks at how current situations affect this sector of publishing. They also focus on conversations surrounding social media and the dynamics between readers and authors for this audience. The event is paid and tickets can be bought here.
Society of Young Publishers Events: The SYP hold various events throughout the year such as book clubs, career sessions, panel discussions and networking. This is a brilliant opportunity to meet new publishing hopefuls and employees and become more engaged in the industry. Keep up-to-date on their calendar of events which is updated regularly. There are also regional committees, for instance, London, Oxford and North, which means there will be events held locally.
Market Your Marketing: Ellie Pilcher, Head of Fiction Marketing at Bonnier Books, has a series of hour-long YouTube videos delving into the publishing world. These recordings of her live online events – consisting of workshops, interviews and Q&As –are free and accessible to all. Ellie shares tips on how to utilise social media to promote books, advice for side hustles, cover letter writing and interviews.
Hachette UK’s Opening the Book: These are free virtual events as part of their diversity and inclusivity programme. The project demystifies the industry by interviewing publishing professionals who speak transparently about their first-hand experiences. There are 10 panel discussions hosted by Sharmaine Lovegrove, a figurehead for industry diversity and publisher at Dialogue Books.
New Writing North (NWN): The Newcastle-based group champions emerging northern writers and publishers by producing a number of programmes, events and literary prizes yearly. They host writing workshops both online and in-person free of charge (or sometimes for a small cost), and their very own Zoom book club. Although this initiative is focused on creative writing, being aware of groups like NWN is a good way to broaden your industry knowledge, highlighting work outside of London.
Additional Events: Get into Book Publishing (paid), BookMachine (paid and free), Publishing Hopefuls (recordings – free), Creative Access (CA) Masterclass, Orion Publishing Group (recording – free), CA and Penguin Random House (PRH) Work in Publishing (recording – free) and How to Get into Publishing (PRH) UK (recording – free).
Top Tips and Advice
Always have a notebook and pen to hand: Whether you show up for a virtual event or attend a book fair or masterclass in person, it is great to write down what you have learnt. They may even share their contact details at the end, so follow up!
Build a tailored following on social media: Follow publishers, publishing organisations and those who work in publishing on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. This will keep you updated on the latest news and events in the industry. The algorithms will also change the posts on your feed to align with your interests. Start by using inspiration from the publishing events listed earlier in this article.
Keep an eye on The Publishing Post event articles: These are updated fortnightly for each issue. The team writes about the upcoming events which ensures you don’t miss out. These include author conversations, literary festivals, career-related talks and panel events either virtually or in person.
Thank you for reading issue sixty-one. Join us again in issue sixty-two, where we will cover the first definition in our publishing dictionary series: Literary Agencies.