The SYP Annual Pub Quiz

Last night Inspired donned our thinking caps once again to attend the SYP Annual Pub Quiz held at Shillibeer’s Bar and Grill near the Caledonian Road. Our consultants arrived ready and raring for a fantastic evening of quizzing with rounds covering Literature, Film & TV and Geography to a Guess the Link and Pot Luck, all literary themed of course! Our personal highlight was the Dingbat picture round in which we scored a rather respectable 16/18 – a favourite pastime of Inspired and so we had had a lot of practice!

At the half way point, The Inspired Quizmeisters were going strong with a solid score of 36/50. We had the prize in our sights, a rather large pile of books, what more could a young budding publisher want?


In the second half the competition really got underway and it was a close fight to the end with the top three teams scoring within one point of each other. The Inspired Quizmeisters came a not too shabby 8th, beating our previous best. We may have some ground to cover in preparation for next year and perhaps a couple of trips to our local to practice…but watch this space!

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and wish to thank the SYP for putting on a great evening, see you next year!


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



The SYP Recruiters Evening

Last Thursday we participated in the Recruiters Evening, a fantastic event organised by the London Committee of the SYP. At this event, we had the opportunity and privilege to present alongside other publishing recruiters to a full house at The Phoenix Club in Soho.

The events put on by the SYP are so fantastic for those at the start of their career and are an extremely helpful tool. This evening was all about giving everyone an initial overview of the publishing recruitment and exactly what it is we do. With recruiters in different corners of the room, those in attendance were then free to both come up and ask us any question they liked or even to just mingle and socialise with their peers. For the attendees, it was a great chance for them to pick our brains about CVs, interviews and the seemingly daunting application process. For us, it was the perfect opportunity for us to offer guidance and top tips as well as reassurance that although getting a step into, or step up in, this industry is difficult, it’s such a fantastic place to be that it’s well worth the effort and we see success stories all the time.


Those in attendance were all at varying stages of their careers and included everyone from students to individuals looking to change departments as well as others looking to change from their current industry into a new career in publishing. It’s always so fantastic to be involved with events such as these and to meet such passionate and bright individuals in the nascent stages of their career, and indeed, the future of the publishing industry.

Next up on the publishing calendar is of course London Book Fair, from the 8th – 10th April where the SYP is presenting two seminars within the People Development Seminar Stream which yours truly, Inspired Selection, is sponsoring. This seminar stream is fantastic for publishing people at all stages of their careers and in any department to ensure your career is #Futureproof. We hope to see everyone there and look forward to working with you in the future!

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

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The SYP Launches a Brand New Mentoring Scheme for 2014..

See details below of a fantastic new initiative launched by the Society of Young Publishers for 2014:

“The Society of Young Publishers is delighted to announce a new mentoring scheme for
young publishing professionals in 2014.
Intended to help young SYP members to build contacts and advance in their chosen
field, the scheme will feature successful, dynamic young mentors from five different areas  of publishing. In a departure from traditional one-on-one mentoring arrangements, each will mentor 5–10 young professionals in their own area of expertise over five group sessions, meeting in London roughly every 2 months for the remainder of the year.

Confirmed mentors include: Auriol Bishop, Creative Director at Hodder (design and
brand management); Sophia Blackwell, Marketing Manager at Bloomsbury (marketing
and publicity); Chrissy Charalambides, Key Account Manager at Penguin Random
House (sales); Hellie Ogden, Agent at Janklow & Nesbitt (author representation); Max
Porter, Senior Editor at Granta (editorial skills); and Mark Richards, Editorial Director
at John Murray Press (editorial skills).

SYP Vice Chair Federico Andornino said: “Talking with our fellow SYP committee
members – all young publishing professionals in the early steps of their careers – we
realised we needed a tool to help those who find themselves in a similar situation.”

SYP Chair 2014 Helen Youngs added: “The SYP’s aim has always been to inspire and
help people learn and progress in this ever-changing industry, and we could not be more thrilled to have such a fantastic group of mentors on board.”

SYP members under the age of 30, who have been working in publishing for between
one and five years, will be able to apply for the scheme by emailing a CV and cover letter  to by 7 March 2014.

More information on the mentor scheme and how to apply will be available on the SYP’s
website: Press enquiries should be directed to Rebecca
Needes at”

SYP AGM 2014

The Society of Young Publishers’, or SYP, AGM took place this week at the beautiful Stationer’s Hall in the heart of the city. This venue is especially fitting for the SYP as the historical Stationer’s Company can be considered the ancestors to the modern publishing business. This beautiful building dates back to 1673, when after the site burned during the Great Fire of London, the company had the opportunity to build a new and grander Hall. Throughout the centuries, new generations of Stationer’s Company have adorned the building and we felt most fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to meet in such an impressive and historically rich setting.

The Hall

The evening kicked off with our 2013 SYP Chair, Lottie Chase, giving her farewell speech rounding up what a fantastic 2013 the SYP had with a successful series of events including career speed dating, a sell out of London Book Fair seminars, the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize and the launch of the Gilbert Collection honouring Matthew Gilbert who had on his bucket list to get published before he died. Lottie gave an emotional speech about her time as chair for 2013 along with vice-chair Andrew Turner and ended with her publishing take on the poem ‘if’ by Rudyard Kipling. Lottie also said farewell to the 2013 committee and welcomed in the 2014 team including our very own Esme Richardson and Chelsea Vernon!

SYP Networking

After a quick networking break we were back to the hall for the big debate on ‘Why do people buy books?’, on the panel were Annie Eaton – Publisher at Random House Children’s Publishers, Nicolette Jones – Children’s Book Editor at The Sunday Times, Anna James – Librarian and also book blogger at Go Book Yourself, Louise Corcoran – Supervisor at Foyles, Stratford & Gareth Howard – CEO at Authoright and chaired by our 2014 Chair, Helen Youngs. The panel started off by discussing blurbs and reviews, does this affect whether someone will buy a book or not? The panel were in agreement, people generally buy books because what they’re told; for example, it’s usually if something has been recommended to them by a friend or someone they trust. Onto the subject of book blurbs, this has to be quite a considered approach for publishers as they need to be able to sell the contents of the book but not give too much away as this can put people off. For the young adult market @caseforbooks says that it is important for teenagers to have confidence that they will enjoy the book which is why that blurb is so important.

Panel Pic

One of the most interesting questions of the evening was – ‘Can you manufacture a best seller?’ Gareth Howard pointed out that this is the role of a publisher; but as Nicolette Jones highlights, it used to be enough for a publisher to run a slick marketing campaign with guaranteed results but now publishers have to come up with more creative ways of doing this. To finish off, the panel discussed Amazon – why should people pay RRP for books? Anna pays RRP for books because in all the years she has been reading, she wants good books, rather than cheap, bad books; Nicolette Howard receives a lot of free books but will still buy a lot of books from book jobs as they add value to her experience with knowledge and events. Gareth Howard disagrees, Amazon is publishers’ biggest customer, yet they criticise. Perhaps the best point of the evening in defence of RRP, is that publishers need to be trying to portray that books have an intrinsic value and worth – by selling books at huge discounts, the public begins to no longer believe they have much value.

In summary, it was a fantastic evening of thinking about yet another facet of the publishing industry, consumer behaviour. This seems to be something that is becoming more and more prevalent with each event we attend and was a noticeable theme at FutureBook this year. With all the advancements in technology, consumer data is becoming more and more accessible which will allow publishers to tailor their business to the public’s tastes.

A huge farewell to the 2013 SYP committee and welcome 2014, we’re so excited for the year ahead!

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

SYP Conference 2013

Last Saturday we attended the fantastic SYP Conference at Oxford Brookes University. The day was jam packed with some excellent speakers from each corner of the industry as well as opportunities to network and meet new people.

For us (and probably for many others), the real highlight of the day was the keynote speech from Mr Youngsuk ‘YS’ Chi, Chairman of Elsevier and Director of Corporate Affairs for Reed Elsevier. YS gave an inspiring speech on his thoughts on the publishing landscape today and what young professionals should be thinking about at this stage in their career. To discuss the current publishing landscape, YS employed 10 ‘E’s that he felt best portrayed the current state of affairs: Electronic, Excessive, Easy, Expansive, Enigmatic, Experimental, Experiential, Ephemeral, Empathy and Eternal. Following this very interesting insight into the industry, YS opened up to the floor for questions about his life, career and how he got there. Key take home messages for us were: ask great questions, show passion, don’t be afraid to learn and ultimately surround yourself with people you trust and believe in.

SYP Conference pic

Next we headed to the seminars where we learned about everything from current trends in academic publishing to how technology is used to continue to engage audiences; interactive apps and gamification models are increasingly being used as tools for e-learning within children’s, academic and educational publishing. Gaming is hugely motivational – people will engage and actively strive to voluntarily overcome unnecessary obstacles, with this in mind we can use psychology to turn gaming into in educational resource. Eric Huang of Made in Me talked about working with partners in order to get the most from technology and used the example of their new app – ‘Sneak’, nominated for a BAFTA award to engage children. The use of technology within publishing is definitely an opportunity, not a threat; we can use this to create an all round reading or learning experience with the ability to step away from the real world into an augmented reality type situation.

Technology was also another key topic in other seminars, however, rather than talking about how it can be used for creating engaging content, other industry experts discussed how it can be used to improve communication channels within the workplace. The ideas they put forward were how you can use social media platforms such as ‘Yammer’ that can be utilised across platforms and ensure employees feel like they have open forum to communicate company wide. Also, with the world rapidly changing, the more ‘informal’ modes of communication can be better for actually making sure you reach your colleagues and they pay attention and can see missives from whatever type of device they are using.

It was now the end of the day and we headed to the main lecture hall for the final panel with the topic still to be revealed. When we arrived, it was announced that Matthew Cashmore, Digital Director at Blackwell’s,  Alex Ingram, career bookseller,  and Lindsey Mooney, of Kobo,  would be on the panel discussing the future of publishing sales with Samantha Missingham, Head of Events at HarperCollins, moderating.

Following Matthew’s engaging presentation, the panel quickly devolved into a lively debate regarding the future of publishing sales and whether it’s possible to compete with Amazon. Matthew’s analogies ranged from huskies to music, radio to TV and on into film. Matthew became impassioned and insisted that “YOU CAN” beat them within your niche market.

What it all boiled down to was something that was also touched on in an academic seminar held earlier in the day: whilst we must adapt to the change, it’s no reason to panic. Publishing has been around for over 300 hundred years and knows how to change and survive – and we’ll do it again. This also relates back to YS’s ‘Eternal’ ‘E’ from the morning and is something that publishers have started to remind themselves and each other, leading to such a great feeling of excitement and hope for the future.

It is a fantastic time to be in the industry; as YS said – the publishing landscape is ‘eternal’, there is a lot that is changing but the book itself is not going to go anywhere. We should use digital transformation as an opportunity – there has never been a more exciting time to be in publishing.

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

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SYP Pub Quiz

pub-quizLast week Inspired Selection put our thinking caps on at the publishing social event of the year, the SYP Annual Pub Quiz held at Shillibeer’s Bar and Grill. Along with our Consultants we also took along some of our fantastic candidates and battled our way through the rounds which included famous literary locations, pot luck, food and drink and of course, the ever popular picture round. These were interspersed with ice breakers from our fabulous host and ended in a member of the winning team announcing to the room ‘I am Spartacus!’ (as you do).

The prizes on offer looked rather tempting, with varying sizes of ‘piles of stuff’ and although we weren’t victorious in winning a pile we had a great night and definitely learnt a lot. Huge congratulations to the winners, the Specific Penguins and thanks to the SYP for a lovely evening.

Can you afford to do it? Can you afford not to do it?


The unpaid internship is the elephant in the room of creative industries. Many of us may silently ask – Is it OK for publishers to offer unpaid internships? What is expected from them? What are aspiring publishing professionals meant to get out of them? Last night, the Society of Young Publishers hosted a lively discussion around these questions with a fantastic panel of speakers: Ellie Pike (Penguin), Tabz O’Brien-Butcher (NUS), Suzanne Collier ( and Julie Hadwin (Creative Skill Set).


The issue with offering unpaid internships is not just whether it is fair or not to have young adults working for free but that with so many of the internships being offered in London the cohort being able to take them up is almost exclusively people with family or close friends in London where they can stay free of charge. Therefore, internships can be seen to exacerbate the North / South divide and act as a further barrier to diversity in publishing rather than helping people to access the industry.


However, totally unpaid internships are often a couple of weeks long and Suzanne has done a lot to make this standard. There are several options in the industry to take on longer salaried internships such as the fantastic 10 week Penguin internship that Ellie introduced us to. Short unpaid internships, or work experience placements, can be wonderful opportunities to gain insight into the publishing industry, ask questions to people in it and to get hands on experience which can be used as great interview material. Moreover, as the industry is in such a time of change, gaining skills from outside it in paid work can add value and be highly transferable when returning to publishing.


If you are embarking on an internship, unpaid or otherwise, the best advice is to speak up if you’re asked to do anything you don’t feel comfortable doing and to make the most out of anything that you do. Be a sponge. As Suzanne said, if you’re asked to do the photocopying, find out what it is you’re photocopying and find out how that fits into the wider picture of the publishing process. Every second counts and the more you make out of your internships by being proactive, it’s very likely that the fewer you’ll have to do before you’ll nab a place in a paid, permanent role.


So what are your rights as an Intern? You have a right to gain valuable experience from a short period of time in a publishing house that will benefit you and your job search.



SYP Conference 2012 – Beyond The Book, Closing Debate

Closing Debate

‘Crossing Boundaries’, the SYP 2012 Conference closing debate, surmised many of the questions and discussions that had gone on during the day. The blurred boundaries of traditional publishing and online content, books and art, the classroom and the virtual space and the illiterate accessing literature were just some of the topics covered on Saturday between the walls of the London College of Communication.

William Higham

Will Higham, MD of strategic insight consultancy The Next Big Thing, loves printed books and his parents are librarians, as he reminded us on several occasions. He is not willing digital to take over the printed world but he has some very interesting thoughts on this potential change. “What is a book?”, he asked. A brave move to a room full of publishers but a good move nonetheless. Using the various forms of Dickens’ Great Expectations, Higham’s powerful rhetoric forced us in the audience to question this Its original format was of course the serialised magazine, evolving through the hardback into the paperback. Our current anxieties around the emergence of the ebook are nothing new; they are reminiscent of Victorian concerns around the shocking appearance of Dickensian literature in the format of the masses, the book. We are in a time of change as publishers but this is nothing to be feared as we will always have, as we always have had, books – stories, intellectual property, text communicated effectively to the public.

Erica Wolfe-Murray

You can have your cake and eat it, according to Erica Wolfe-Murray, MD of Lola Media. In fact, not only can you eat it but you can use its ingredients to make something yummier and more profitable. Using cake ingredients as a simile for intellectual assets, she explained how an individual, team or company can increase its revenue streams and its market by identifying how its assets, i.e. skills, personnel, resources, can be used to create new things to a wider audience. You can take some of the ingredients of a humble Victoria Sponge and make meringue, a luxury food that cannot only be eaten at ‘tea time’ but as dessert for any meal or used for turned into a Pavlova, a whole new food in itself.  In this time of economic unrest, we publishers need to think about this, just as other industries do: ‘how can we use what we already have to make more money?’ How can we reach a wider audience? How can we add value to our products? How can we go above and beyond what is expected of us? How publishing houses will actually address these questions will be interesting to watch… the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

Bobby Nayyar

While we must bear our bottom lines in mind, a sentiment encouraged by Wolfe-Murray, we must also remember the importance of social enterprise. This was brought to our attention by the final speaker, Bobby Nayyar, founder of Limehouse Books and manager of Equality in Publishing. We must remember that we are in a community and as publishers, i.e. ‘making content public’, we have a social duty to produce a high quality of work. Nayyar argues that design standards are dropping as budgets tighten and ebooks become more prominent. We have a duty to ensure that books are still made to a high standard and with care. While ‘going digital’ may be a cheaper way of producing text and lend itself to exciting, interactive opportunities, we need to ask whether digital formats are accessible to the whole public. As Julia Kingsford said in the opening debate, there is a significant proportion of the public who don’t have access to these formats. Although publishing is a business and must be profitable, it is also a service. And we must make sure that we are servicing the public with high quality, accessible content.

SYP Conference 2012 – Seminar 3: Interactive and Social Reading

Seminar 3: Interactive and Social Reading

Andrew Rhomberg – Founder & Managing Director of JellyBooks.

The interactivity gap between the author, publisher and reader is narrowing. The digital revolution has given readers the opportunity to decide how and when they wish to consume such content. JellyBooks & Inkle are two of many companies providing users with a vehicle for that consumption.

Andrew Rhomberg, founder and Managing Director of Jellybook opened the discussion by introducing his company JellyBooks. Andrew likes to think of his company like a sweet shop, a place where the consumer can sample 10% of a book for free and if they like them share their great finds with a wide audience.

 “JellyBooks encourages you to sample and not buy the book”

Andrew reminded me of a scientist, JellyBooks is very much a working project for him and he likes to think of each stage of development as a series of experiments to create a virtual bookshop experience where the consumer is in control.  The reader is free to browse and discover books, so much so that the more recommendations a title receives the bigger the discounts, something which is usually controlled by the retailer.

discounts for sharing books – get the reader to do the marketing”

Book Clubs and award ceremonies naturally play a part in bestseller lists but with added reviews and recommendations come the power for the consumer to play a part in a title becoming a big hitter which is something that everyone in the publishing process should consider.

Jon Ingold – Creative Director at Inkle

Jon joined the discussion by focusing on how we perceive ‘the book’ to be and then questioning that perception. Inkle’s latest project was the well reviewed and raved about the

Frankenstein App, in collaboration with Profile Books.

“In Frankenstein you take some of the author’s decisions

about language based on approach to a story”

Jon’s key point during the discussion was the need for innovation and how we should continue to ask ourselves – what comes next? We are taught to read a book from page 1 to the final page through to completion but is that really how best to enjoy content? He argued that this was a cultural approach to reading and what the app and other digital content did was to reinvent this.

“No moral concept when not listening to an album all the way through, #

why isn’t it the same with books?”

Text in Jon’s opinion is a boundary between the writer and reader. Jon declared ‘the book’ as we know it dead and that it was time to revive our reading experiences. If you didn’t enjoy a chapter in a book wouldn’t it be great to be able to tell the author and consumer an ‘abridged’ version of their work. Of course this sparked debate; one delegate argued that this would destroy structure, meaning and thus effect the way we interpreted books. Jon advised that this wouldn’t be destruction, merely an alternative and that user interface was important in how we digest content.

Both Jon & Andrew inspired the audience to question our reading experiences both currently and in the future, understanding our reading habits and how this can be enhances in the digital age.

SYP Conference 2012 – Seminar 2: Beyond the Textbook

Andrea Carr – Managing Director, Rising Stars

Andrea left university as a linguist, started off as a publishing assistant at Octopus and stayed there for 15 years working across editorial, sales, and rights and ended up in marketing. Ten years ago she took the opportunity to set up Rising Stars and moved from the *glamorous* trade publishing arena into the dynamic, challenging and creative area of educational publishing – she says she’s never looked back. Andrea’s sheer passion for educational publishing is infectious; she is involved in injecting technology into schools in the form of iPads, computers and Interactive Whiteboards and surrounds herself with forward thinking educators so she can market her products to deliver. Marketing to children is also a huge part of what Andrea does in order to achieve and be successful; she describes them as a demanding but hugely rewarding market.

By immersing herself in being at the forefront of educational publishing, Andrea has learnt how to create eBooks, interactive software and wider content; she has seen the textbook become increasingly irrelevant where digital content is the present. An inspiring talk showing us all how rewarding a role in educational publishing can be…

Pedro Moura, International Sales Manager for Macmillan

Next up was Pedro to give us an insight into the ELT publishing market, he explained the huge importance of the English Language for things like travel, study, jobs, business and international relations – in fact Pedro had to complete an IELTs qualification before coming to the UK.  He gave us some interesting stats on English speakers:

–          There are 1 billion people learning English worldwide

–          400 million people speak English as their first language

–          800 million people speak English as a foreign language

The ELT market is mainly dominated by CUP, OUP, Pearson and Macmillan and they are seeing a distinct shift into course books becoming much more interactive and they have to come up with unique ideas for marketing new online based platforms. Pedro’s approach to digital was positive; there is a great deal of investment in digital and it is a huge growing market:

–          By 2015 3 billion people will have internet access

–          Governments are encouraging digital – particularly with reforms for Italy and Spain

–          E-readers and tablets are becoming mainstream – and are being used increasingly for educational purposes

–          Distance learning is growing – using online resources

–          Teachers prefer interactive course books

Pedro is passionate about the ELT market and is already seeing a rise in print/digital sales – he thinks the textbook will continue to exist but it will take on a much more interactive and digital format.