Category Archives: Masterclass series

Why self-publishing should now be considered part of publishing

We’re super excited that Alison Baverstock is coming to speak to us next week about self publishing!


For those that can’t make it, please do check out Alison’s Guardian article Ten ways self-publishing has changed the books world.

What’s Your Story? – Publishing Publicity and Networking Event

Although it started off as a cold, wet October evening, our moods were immediately brightened by the sight of wine and biscuits upon arrival. This was a great way to get everyone mingling around and networking, even before the talks started.

Once everyone had arrived we went through to a performance room in Martin Hall where we were greeted by our hosts for the evening: Ruvani De Silva and Bobby Nayyar.

Ruvani gave the first talk. She is the publicity manager at Zed Books – a niche publisher focussing on political books with an international focus – and was here to talk about publicity in a niche market.

To be a good publicist, you need to be:

–          Social and interactive

–          Well organised

–          Excellent communication skills

–          Good writing and copy-writing skills

–          Attention to detail

Zed Books is a small publisher with only ten staff that publishes around 10 books a year. Working in a niche market means that the publicist has limited resources, so creativity is important in a book’s success. A publicist would need to be inventive in creating a brand for the company to maximise exposure and getting people in the know about their products. It is important for people to know who are as a company, not just your label on the spine of a book. So, it is also necessary for a publicist to have a thorough knowledge of the front and back list of the company to let people know what your company does.

As resources are limited in niche publishing, social media and the internet are fantastic sources for publicity, because they are free. It is also a good way to connect with authors. Working directly with authors is a mutually beneficial process in publicity. Authors tend to like the professional approach of a niche publisher and it will be a more co-operative experience. Most authors will have an online fan base, so social media is crucial in spreading the word of new releases to these fans and maximising the publicity.

Overall, this was a great talk, giving us an insight to what it is like to be a publicist and showing us that there are more careers in the publishing that are equally as important as editorial.

After the success of the Publishing Master-Classes held earlier this year, we were lucky enough to welcome back Bobby Nayyar, the host of “Publishing Startups: Five Key Lessons”. As well as being the Managing Director of Limehouse books, Bobby is also a fellow of Equip who help promote equality in UK publishing. This time round he was here to hold the second talk of the evening and teach us the importance of networking, using the following five steps:

1. Figure out what your existing network is – who do you already know, and who do you know because of them?

2. What’s your story? – Work out what makes you stand out from other people. Try to casually sell yourself.

3. Know the difference between open and closed questions – Closed questions can only be answered with yes or no, whereas open questions allow people to expand and make for a more involved conversation.

4. Know when to move on – When networking it is important to know when and how to enter and leave a conversation.

5. Following up – if you gain contacts, make sure you e-mail them as soon as you can, so they don’t forget you and so that you make a lasting impression.

Using websites such as Twitter and LinkedIn are great ways to build your network and keep up to date with what is going on in the industry that you are interested in pursuing a career in. It also allows potential employers to see what you are involved in, and gain a basic idea of what kind of person you are.

After the talks, we were encouraged to practise our new networking skills, and Ruvani and Bobby were kind enough to stay behind and chat with us about further events with Equip and internships with Zed books.

Find Equip and Zed Books on Twitter:



Publishing publicity and networking event!

We’re very excited about our publicity and networking event tomorrow night!

Ruvani de Silva, Publicity Manager for Zed Books will be giving an overview of what it’s like being a publicist and working for a small, niche publisher. Her talk will be followed by a short exercise led by Bobby Nayyar, from Equip, to give members an opportunity to develop their networking skills (and hopefully have some fun). 

The reigning publishing pub quiz champions…

Second year publishing students Hannah Gransden, Joseph Amoah, Victoria Lawrance, and Leah White celebrating their victory in Suzanne Kavanagh‘s publishing pub quiz at the Career in Publishing event. They were very kind and shared their spoils with the rest of us.


Read and understand instructions

The most important thing to remember from the second masterclass in our series – ‘A career in publishing: all you need to know,’ by Suzanne Collier and Suzanne Kavanagh – is to “read and understand instructions,” although there is much that was learnt besides that.

These two lovely ladies tested the brains of us publishing students with quizzes on the industry, brilliant asides (what is the future of publishing? Will we eventually need anti-gravity space readers?), and thought-provoking ideas on how to get into it and how to advertise you!

A predominant theme running through was that publishing is not as elusive as it seems, even if it is quite exclusive. Networking is required to get in, but they still need to hire because they need to expand and improve upon their services. Ultimately,  publishing is ‘an industry like any other, and it’s aim is to make money.’ Worrying about the elitism and gatekeepers, it’s easy to forget that!

Statistics comforted students though, as they showed that publishers were still recruiting educated individuals – that degree isn’t a waste! They also showed that certain sub-sectors were still struggling to be filled, so don’t focus on being an editor: maybe it’s not what you think it is, and maybe you’d be better elsewhere! Keep an open mind, and get as much as experience as you can (just don’t get caught in the free labour cycle!).

The main points we took away were that you are never too old to stop learning, so expand your skill sets; make contacts – you never know when you might need them (or them you!); get experience from all areas, and then make up your mind; use every tool possible to market your passion (Facebook, Twitter, blogging sites, and LinkedIn are just a few named free tools that can help with this!), and finally just have fun – the industry is filled with papers, long hours, coffee and cakes, so if you really want to work there, get a sense of humour and prove that you’ll pull out the stops! Who could refuse you then (with a good CV, of course)?

All you need to know for a career in publishing

Thanks to the lovely Suzanne Kavanagh for sharing her very informative slides from yesterday’s fabulous masterclass (there are also some other really useful slides available on Suzanne’s slideshare account):

The Masterclass series continues: How to get a job in publishing

After the resounding success of our very first masterclass series, we are delighted to announce that our second master class will be held on Wednesday 2nd May. Suzanne Collier from Bookcareers and Suzanne Kavanagh from Creative Skillset will  be discussing how to get a job in publishing. More details about the event can be found on our flyer:

Masterclass with Bobby Nayyar

The first in a series of masterclass events and workshops got off to a flying start yesterday, with Bobby Nayyar from Limehouse Books talking to students from all years about his experiences of the trade.

Students were treated to an intense and hilarious brainstorming session, inverting a lot of misguided preconceptions about the industry and how it functions, what costs really worked out as on average, how Limehouse interact with their authors and customers, as well as useful tips on how to best utilise various forms of marketing and advertising to reach your target audiences!

All these key aspects and more come under the following five headings:

  • Financial
  • Logistical
  • Legal
  • Creative
  • Personal

Our power hour concluded with a few helpful hints and tips about how to get started, and a cheeky Q&A session at the end! It was a fun and interesting session, and we thank Bobby for his graciousness in hosting the first masterclass and imparting his knowledge to us budding publishers!

Watch this space for upcoming events!

To find out more about Bobby Nayyar and Limehouse Books, look up their website at, follow them on Twitter via @limehousegroup and @bobbynayyar, or alternatively, check them out on Facebook (search ‘limehousebooks‘).

Join us for the first event of our Masterclass series

We’re very excited to launch our Masterclass series on Wednesday 25th April. Bobby Nayyar from Limehousebooks will be discussing publishing startups. Details of our first event can be found on our flyer: