The Bookseller Children’s Conference 2014


This time last week, The Bookseller hosted its annual Children’s Conference at the South Bank Centre. With a fantastic line up of speakers from all areas of the Children’s market including: Greg Childs, Co-creator and Editorial Director of The Children’s Media Conference, Michael Acton-Smith of Mind Candy, Alison York of Nickelodeon UK to name a few.

To open the conference, Ann-Janine Murtagh of HarperCollins Children’s Books (winner of Children’s Publisher of the Year at this years Bookseller Awards) used a brilliant quote from her best-selling author, comedian David Walliams:

“But being a child is such a special fing. When yer a child, ya can see all the magic in the world.”

This was very poignant as not only did it highlight the importance of children’s publishers as gatekeepers, inspiring and nurturing a lifelong love of reading from an early age, but it also displayed what a magical and rewarding experience publishing for children can be.

The day was full of interesting and insightful talks providing vital information and research covering all aspects of the children’s publishing industry. Nickelodeon UK provided some interesting statistics on kids and their digital habits in a thought-provoking talk entitled ‘Me, Myselfie and I’ which covered the online behaviour and attitudes of children. The key finding from this research was that children prefer and engage with immersive experiences above all others, and so publishers should strive to achieve this when producing digital content.

The Bookseller’s own John Lewis then provided us with some exciting data on the Children’s book market in a comparison with the previous year which showed that in 2014 the market is up by 10%. He also touched on the importance of utilising your backlist as a children’s publisher by stating that there is no backlist in children’s publishing: if a child hasn’t read it, then it is a new book. He supported this by revealing that six of the current top best selling children’s books are not new titles.

The conference also included two panel discussions. The first, chaired by Charlotte Eyre of the Bookseller, was on Social Media and Kids. The panel consisted of Sanne Vliegenthart, Digital Co-ordinator – Hot Key Books, Sean Moss, Digital Marketing Officer – Walker Books and authors Matt Haig and Alice Oseman.

Key points of the discussion were:

  • Social media is integrated into the publishing process now and therefore it is no longer free as time is money and not always the most cost-effective way to reach children.
  • YouTube is the most effective social media platform for reaching young readers via book trailers, interactive videos and live streaming from book launches.
  • YA readers are mostly hanging out on Tumblr, yet it is more difficult to reach them due to the personalised nature of the platform.
  • To use social media effectively is to remember the social aspect and to start conversations; to be direct but remember your audience as a collective; and to be inclusive not exclusive as this cuts down the market outreach.

The second panel discussion, chaired by Anna James of the Bookseller, focused on Working Together – how we can be a more collaborative industry. The panel discussed initiatives that are working well in the industry such as PR relationships and collaborations schools and running interactive author events and book readings. They also discussed what could be better and the resounding answer was that publishers could provide more support to independent bookshops, which at the moment feel as if they are somewhat detached from the rest of the industry and don’t receive as much recognition from publishers for all the hard work they put in selling their titles.

At the end of the day the Bookseller had an exciting announcement: the launch of their YA Book Prize for outstanding fiction in the UK and Ireland. It is the very first prize of its kind and is open for short-list entries until December, with the prize winner to be announced in March 2015.

Overall, it was an insightful and motivating day with lots of opportunity to expand our knowledge of the Children’s market. It was so wonderful to experience the passion and enthusiasm those involved in Children’s publishing have and made it part of the industry we can feel proud to be a part of.

By Zoe Portway



An Inspired Guide to the Frankfurt Book Fair!

Excitement is building for this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair and here at Inspired Selection, our FBF team is busily scheduling in meetings with all our attending clients and brushing up on their German phrases!

Our Deputy Managing Director, Donald Smith, is a seasoned Book Fair attendee and has put together an engaging summary along with some top tips to all those who are jetting off next week. This is the first in a series of lead-up campaigns we are running so do keep an eye on our Twitter page too! #FBM14


So, it’s your first visit to one of publishing’s major events of the year! If you’re in Trade or Education publishing you’re likely to be making that long walk from the Book Fair entrance to Hall 8 or if your interest is in Academic or STM publishing you could be looking for Hall 4.2.

Once on site you will realise that there are quite a few different halls dealing with different publishing cultures from around the globe (that’s why the big publishers are called ‘global’).

There are a number of mini buses which travel between each of the halls, so if you get some free time, be sure to take a trip outside and you might find an open air market or two for some souvenir hunting!

The key point about the Frankfurt Book Fair is that it is a real centre of activity in the sale of rights between publishing companies worldwide and a terrific forum for publishing people to meet, formally and informally, and to attend a wide variety of seminars and talks about issues which are relevant to the industry today, e.g. Big Data, Open Access, Digital Publishing, Amazon ……..etc.

Most publishing companies will have a large presence of Rights sales staff, seated at tables on their stands and have walls displaying new products, existing products and increasingly screens to present their digital offerings.

Mostly the Rights team will have back to back meetings on half hourly pre-booked appointments with their customers.

If you are going as a Rights Assistant, then this is where you get the opportunity to meet and mingle with many of your international customers and learn the basics of your future career.

How can you find a potential customer to sell the rights in your new product in Brazil? How do you find someone to buy the overstocks of your English language titles in sub-Saharan Africa?

Come to Frankfurt Book Fair!

Each Hall has a plethora of coffee, snack and sandwich stations plus a few seated areas. Find the nearest one to your stand and this will help orientate you so that you can find your way back to the stand!

As a visitor to the Book Fair for the first time, you don’t have to be fluent in German (although it is an advantage) but worth having the following available:

Wo ist Halle acht                             Where is Hall 8

Ein kaffe bitte                                   A coffee, please

Zwie bier bitte                                  Two beers, please

Quittung                                            Receipt (for the above, dinner, taxi)


So, all set? Bags packed? Dummies ready? Sales material to hand? Got your Euros?

Enjoy your first Frankfurt Book Fair and remember, next year you’ll be an expert!


The Future of Science Publishing

On Tuesday night we made our way to the Glasshouse, Macmillan’s new offices at King’s Cross, where September’s Future of Science Publishing event was held. The event, run by WriteLatex, was sponsored by Scholarly Social and London Open Drinks and, as always, it was interactive, informative and show-cased innovation in scientific publishing. It consisted of six short presentations by entrepreneurs in the industry, all of whom have founded, co-founded or work for start-ups in the STM publishing and research industry.

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First up was Sumika Sakanishi, Product Manager at the Open Data Institute. Sumika spoke to us about the company’s promotion of “open movement” and their aim to “catalyse the evolution of open data culture”. It was an engaging summary, focusing on fostering collaboration, peer review, cost efficiency and innovation and new insights. Users of this resource gain an open access certificate and can avail of a self-guided questionnaire. They publish data, earn their certificate and then embed their badge; their data is now truly open. Questions from the audience challenged aspects of the business plan but overall, it seems successful with over 100 published certificates already recorded and this figure set to rise.

Natalie Jonk of Walacea took to the podium next to tell us about her brainchild, a crowd-funding platform for scientific research. The current problems she identified in the area of funding include age, politics, bureaucracy and the public lack of awareness. She aims to bridge these gaps with her start-up and encourage scientists with good research plans to work with them and gain funding for their projects. They help to create campaigns for these researchers, engaging with audiences to fund the research and taking a 5% commission on all projects they successfully aid. The goal is to engage the public with scientific research and, besides some natural early teething problems, this is an inspirational and commercially-savvy business model and we look forward to catching up with Walacea in the future to see their success grow.

Cofactor’s Anna Sharman spoke to us about her journal selector tool. With competitors including JANE, Edanz and Springer and Elsevier run platforms, Anna has moulded her online offering to address all the issues she has found with similar tools and aims to offer an appealing alternative. She focuses on manual curation, the simple addition of journal data and a focus on a broad scope of open access journals.

Andrew Dorward stepped in at the last minute, replacing a colleague, to present his online model, Book Genie. This is a research engine for “books on the go” and aims to improve research in Higher Education. It matches candidate requirements with published content and uses social media to identify trends and preferences. It has a B2B and a B2C business model; the latter catering to students and universities and the former to individual publishers to help index their content. Book Genie takes a 40% cut on the published content they sell. Andrew followed on from this by mentioning the crisis in the area of academic textbooks across the US and UK.

Their aim to make relevant content more accessible and at a 40% cut is a positive response to publishers taking the Open Access movement into consideration; the cut Book Genie takes will not be as much as that which is triggered by OA. They have benchmarked themselves against several search engines and hope that their model addresses issues that exist across the market makes Book Genie the “iTunes of academic publishing”.

Open Access image

Alan Hyndman of Figshare described how his venture started out as a platform for researchers to store, share, discover and research data. Their belief is that data should be available but that it also needs to look good. There is a DOI for everything uploaded to the platform and a range of tools for users to engage with, including “Figshare Viewer”, “Figshare Portal”, “Figshare Datastore” and “Figshare Innovations”. Figshare drives traffic to particular publishers’ sites and handles big data.

The final speaker of the night was Matias Piipari from Papers, “the citation tool of the future”. Through a series of demos, Matias showed us the workings of this model and how it allows users to communicate with other authors, retrieve references of interest and format citations. These “magic citations” can be used with practically any application and the goal is to establish it as a “quick launcher” for science.

It was a great evening, full of information and creativity. It is exciting to see the innovative ideas within the STM publishing industry and we cannot wait for the next event in the new year!

Did You Bag a Book for the Bank Holiday?

What better way to spend the long weekend than to settle down with a bestseller? Here at Inspired we spent some time leafing through the Bookseller Bestseller List on Friday to find our perfect Bank Holiday read. We then took ourselves down to our local bookshop to browse the shelves and found ourselves a few treats!


Here are our top four weekend reads:

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt                     

A story of loss, obsession, survival and self-invention, the Goldfinch combines thrilling suspense with a beautiful addictive story.

The perfect read for the night-owl.

Mad About the Boy – Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones is back and how we have missed her! Mad About the Boy is timely, touching and very witty.

The perfect book to curl up under a blanket and escape the rain with.

The Song for the Dying – Stuart MacBride

MacBride’s new novel is a heart-stopping crime thriller following a detective with one shot at redemption, at earning his freedom, at revenge.

A gripping thriller that leaves you hanging until the last page.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

An exploration of sibling love and conflict with an underlying mystery plot full of surprises from the very start. Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize this year.

A funny, clever and honest tale filled with ideas that will leave you thinking long after you’ve finished.










Little Library at London Bridge

After work last Thursday, we made our way to Gibbon’s Rent, a “transformed, long forgotten cut through from Magdalen Street to Bermondsey Street” in our SE1 neighbourhood. This urban jungle was created collaboratively by Team London Bridge and Southwark Council with the purpose of providing a leafy escape from the surrounding cityscape. We have attended events there before, most notably our successful wreath-making class last December, and yesterday was the launch of Little Library, an incentive to encourage reading and socialising in the garden.

Garden photo cubeleaves

As the below photos suggest, the library is a portable architectural creation which can be wheeled inside if needed, though the idea is for it to stay put all year around, open during the day and closed up at night but with a cubby hole through which night-time passers-by can drop off their literary offerings. It is an opportunity for those living and working in the area to donate books, swap one book for another or simply replace a book after reading. We think it will be particularly useful for sunny lunch breaks or after work on a winter’s eve when you fancy taking home a new book.

Little Lib BlackboardLittle Lib

Luke Jones of Mill and Jones won a tough competition to design the library and with the help of his partner and a blacksmith, he created this fantastic capsule of books with pull out shelves and blackboard noticeboards for notes and messages. When you drop off a book you could write a brief recommendation or leave a request for a particular title.

This is a great addition to our neighbourhood; tucked between The Shard and Borough Market, we are in the midst of a growing and exciting space, fast becoming the publishing hub of London! Next time you drop by the Inspired offices, make sure to check out the Little Library too.

Gibbons Rent

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

Romance isn’t Dead, it’s Digital!

At Inspired Selection, we were delighted to sponsor this week’s BookMachine Event where guest speaker Sam Missingham – Head of Events at HarperCollins – told us about the virtual romance festival which she created.

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For those of you who couldn’t make it, you may be asking yourself what a virtual romance festival is…. Should you be hiding your screen if you’re reading this at work?! Do you need to delete your browsing history after this?! The answer to both is absolutely not. Although don’t feel alone in asking, from welcoming people as they entered, we think that perhaps some of the attendees had similar questions before the talk began as well!

Let us explain. Sam Missingham’s innovation is an opportunity for fans and authors (both established and aspiring) of romantic books to engage with each other, brought together by their passion for passion which is the sole agenda. Over the course of two days, people with similar interests form a community and share thoughts, knowledge and experiences. Just like any other festival. That is of course, aside from the fairly crucial distinction that all parking, tents, yurts and glamping facilities are entirely cast aside and replaced by Google Hangouts and online forums.

This festival is much more about creating a strong ‘glampaign’ (if I may coin that term) than glamping. Sam had to attract the audience in order to create the community and in the essence of the event itself, this was done digitally. In keeping with festival season, the marketing had the look and feel of festival promotion and on first glance could be Glastonbury’s or Wilderness’ artwork but the way it reached the eager romance readers was all done online. To attend the festival was entirely free; you just had to register online. For Sam, the email addresses of delegates is priceless as this allows you to keep in touch and keep building and strengthening the virtual pillars of your new community.

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Blogs, tweets and likes were all crucial in generating interest for this event before, during and after it but the real winner that Sam keeps coming back to is the power of email. People read emails, they open and click through to links and above all with the right information you can target specific groups of people with specific content in them. Email addresses are the data that can truly develop business and a community that will become loyal to that business.

We jumped on board with the digital theme of the evening with no hesitation, offering a Kindle to the lucky winner of a Prize Draw which we ran as part of our involvement with the event. This seemed particularly fitting as there is a higher proportion of romance fiction read on e-readers than other genres as we sneak in a good love story on the train allowing fellow passengers to believe we’re deep in the tomes of War & Peace or similar.

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This talk came as refreshing respite in the current heatwave, hearing about such a highly successful business innovation that is purely built on the foundation of adding value to authors and readers. Beneath the digital and technical walls that surround this project, Sam has managed to take us back to what publishing is really all about and that is the love of books. How romantic!

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter.

Book Machine in Conversation with Sam Missingham – Sponsored by Inspired Selection

Tomorrow evening, July 22nd, we are making our way to Adam Street Private Members Club to hear Sam Missingham, Head of Events at HarperCollins, tell us all about the first ever virtual literary festival organised by a publisher. As sponsors of the event, Inspired Selection are very excited to attend and to be associated with such an interactive and innovative concept.


In June 2014, HarperCollins hosted the Romance Festival and it was a resounding success, allowing readers to follow and engage with world renowned authors through social media platforms.

Want to find out how they did it? Come and hear for yourselves! We will hear how authors were interviewed on Twitter, partook in Google Hangouts and had Facebook chats with fans. Social media engagement over the weekend reached impressive levels, including 4599 tweets using #Romance14 with a potential reach of 17.9 million users.

In a world where social media engagement is so important, this was a wonderful move by once known traditional book publishing to launch itself into the virtual realm. Instead of donning flower garlands and pitching a tent for the weekend, festival-goers could enjoy the event from the comfort of their own homes and take time to reflect on all that was going on and pick and choose what to “attend” without running through a muddy field!

We can’t wait to find out more and hope to see you there!

To book your ticket, follow this link:

There will be a competition on the night – be in with a chance of winning a Kindle by completing a short entry form on arrival!


Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter.







More Bucks for your Book – What Alternative Revenue Sources Work in the Digital Age?

This week Inspired Selection attended the final Byte the Book event before the summer break – ‘More Bucks for your Book – What Alternative Revenue Sources Work in the Digital Age?’ Eric Huang, co-owner and director of Made in Me, chaired the panel consisting of James Woollam (F&W Media), Xander Cansell (Unbound) and Asi Sharabi (Lost my Name). Eric started us off by talking about digital in the broadest sense, highlighting how the industry is changing and with this change, there are now revenue streams quickly becoming available that do not include selling physical books. It’s not about traditional publishing dying, he was quick to assure the audience; it’s about what we are doing right now and embracing new opportunities to create digital revenue.

 ebooks laptop

At F&W Media, known five years ago as David and Charles Publishing, a traditional print publisher, they knew they needed to make a change in terms of what their business was about, so they did three key things:


1.) Focused on illustrated non-fiction categories and created tailored communities within those categories in order to engage with and bring their consumers together

2.) Committed to a digital strategy

3.) Committed to becoming consumer focused


By launching an e-commerce business F&W Media were able to create brands in order to build relationships with their end consumers. They also started to sell companion products; this allowed them to shape their print business around digital products from just one commission.


Unbound took on a slightly different method, they are crowd funded and their main focus is the interaction with the author in order to allow that consumer connection. By combining interesting technology with emotion and what a book means to the author and the reader they have been able to create a 360° experience for both parties, building communities around each published product.


Asi launched ‘The little boy (girl) who lost his (her) name’ allowing people to create their own, personalised book; these are created digitally and then printed on A4 environmentally friendly paper and then sent to the user. Asi’s idea started as a hobby when he saw an opportunity to turn this into a revenue stream. Coming from a digital agency background rather than publishing, he has taken a different approach which has been hugely successful, showing us that innovation doesn’t necessarily have to come from publishing but it is these new ideas that are growing and expanding the publishing industry that we see today.


Fundamentally, different revenue streams have to be adapted depending on the product and also on the market but it seems there are a couple of key factors just based on these few examples from the panel discussion last night…


  • Free must be part of the package in order to compete with those already offering free content online, as well as in order to drive traffic but also, turn that traffic into revenue.
  • It must be about the consumer – whoever your market may be, the product, and the strategy must be tailored towards them and allow them to become fully engaged in a real, interactive community (not just a Facebook page)
  • Content is king – we hear this time and time again but it is a valid point, people won’t engage with content if it’s not interesting or not something they want to read – it must be high quality, it must adhere to the brand and it must add value (whether it’s free or not.)


Finally, if you’re looking at different revenue steams to support your book then one of the biggest things is a mind-set change. If you can see your vision and create a brand in which people can trust whilst tapping into your niche market then alternative revenue streams can absolutely be successful – just don’t forget it is all a part of publishing that we can all embrace.


Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter.


#Futurepub – New Developments in Scientific Publishing

On Tuesday evening, we made our way to the NESTA offices in Chancery Lane for a discussion on the new developments in scientific publishing, organised by John Hammersley (WriteLaTeX) . The event consisted of six “microslot talks” of five minutes each from a great panel, with time for a few questions for each speaker.


First up was Cheyne Tan from Blikbook who explained how his platform allows students who have questions and problems with research to ask each other and help each other out through an interactive platform. It started out in LBS and UCL and aims to improve content discovery and aids the universities in gleaning data from monitoring behaviour; how the data is shared between students and disseminated. The key point from Cheyne’s talk was the issue of “I don’t know what I don’t know” – this echoed through all five minute speaker slots and brought to the fore the issue of the lack of discovery avenues for those seeking information – how can they be led to unearth information that they never knew existed? In a society hungry for data, this is something that innovative science publishers are looking to address.

Joseph McArthur from Open Access Button took it from here and as well as filling us in on how Open Access Button works, he explained the importance they place on the stories that their users tell them of experiences, challenges and successes with their academic research. Everyone, from patients looking for information on their illnesses to academics probing for details and explanations, can use this platform and it is looking to grow and evolve even more.

Lou Woodley, Co-founder of MySciCareer, filled us in on what has been occupying her time during her current sabbatical – she is focussed on what preoccupies scientists; how can they keep up with all their papers and how can they secure grants? There is more of an interest now in talking about data. Career decisions is another big issue and MySciCareer records the personal narratives of what people have been through and the paths they have taken.

Richard Smith, Founder of Nowomics, stepped up to discuss how his platform helps life scientists to source research (a “twitter for genes”) and collates the information needed in one place through a twitter style feed. It searches for updates and publishes them and setting up an account is free. You can search by popularity and see what people are talking about and email alerts are also set up to further aid the discovery of more information.

Greg Tebbutt of Sparrho delivered an engaging microslot where he explained the purpose and work of Sparrho and how it came about for the same reasons mentioned above – you can search journals but this doesn’t help you find what you don’t know is out there! Again – the issue of “I don’t know what I don’t know”. On Sparrho, you can “love” posts that you like and get rid of what you don’t – Sparrho understands more about you by your activity and can consequently recommend better information and sources.

Cat Chimes, Head of Marketing for Altmetric, closed the evening’s event with an interesting overview of how they work. She opened with the line “Every researcher is a communicator” and went on to discuss the academic and societal impacts of research and how they are alternatives to metrics and do not replace the impact factor, they complement it. This is an article-centric approach, it searches blogs and articles to collate and deliver article-level metrics to journal publishers.

All six speakers gave excellent, informative and engaging accounts of their respective business models and it was refreshing to see how they are developing and improving user access to information in the scientific publishing arena. Even better was how they are keeping the stories and needs of the readers/researchers at the heart of it all – communication and interaction is key and with this in mind, there are so many more exciting developments and ideas to come! This linking of people’s stories to information is a nice way of connecting back to the roots of publishing; it is, after all, about story-telling.


Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

Byte the Book – What are the Latest Innovations in Publishing Today?



On Monday night we attended another fantastic Byte the Book at the Ivy Club in Soho. The hot topic of the evening was innovation and what it means to the changing face of publishing, and so we arrived eager to hear the brilliant panel’s thoughts on the elusive subject. With a slight change of line up, the panel consisted of Michael Baskhar (Digital Publisher – Profile Books), Theo Gray (Creative Director – Touch Press) and Sara O’Connor (Digital and Editorial Director – Hot Key Books) with Byte the Book founder Justine Solomons acting as chair for the event.

Justine kicked off the discussion by asking the panel to describe innovation in as few words as possible. Michael immediately expressed his suspicions of innovation as he finds the word has become clichéd in today’s digital climate. However, he did manage to come to a conclusion that in general innovation is something really new, really different and really useful. In sprightly opposition, Theo Gray only just having stepped off the plane eight hours before from the US, found innovation exhilarating. He explained that although innovation can be challenging, the lack of ability to predict the future is what makes it exciting. Sara joined Theo, to add that innovation doesn’t have to make money to be successful; it is as much about what you learn during the process as what you receive from the outcome.

What was perhaps most interesting from the discussion was the recurring theme that the way forward for the publishing industry is not so much based on product innovation but marketing innovation. For publishers, the need for innovation lies in marketing plans and brand management rather than innovating the content itself. Michael developed this idea explaining that the most important innovations are not the ideas but what you do with them. Theo expanded on this using Steve Jobs as an example; he didn’t invent the technology, he just made it better, and Theo recommends publishers do the same. Consequently, the resounding idea from the discussion was that the publishing industry needs to save its energy trying to come up with new innovative ideas for content, and should spend more time investing in the way they manage that content and market it to our audiences.


Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter