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Talking through my hat
57 minutes | Oct 27, 2020
53: People and technology: the future of making books
This year has shown once again how technology is vital to the making of books - and that our needs can change in a heartbeat, but also that people are always at the heart of what we do. Join our panel to discuss questions like: does tech ever change what we're trying to do, or just how we do it? how do we balance the development of skilled publishing teams with the use of new technologies? where do these two aims align, and where do they not? how do we equip our teams to make best use of their skills? The panel discussion was streamed on YouTube, followed by a live Q&A on Twitter under the event hashtag #TalkingThroughMyHat. The panel Anna Faherty Anna (she/her) runs StrategicContent, a writing, training and strategy consultancy, where she collaborates with a diverse range of clients to scope, develop and deliver print, digital and in-gallery experiences. Formerly course leader for the Kingston University MA Publishing, Anna now teaches at City University, London and the University of the Arts London. Chandi Perera Chandi is CEO at publishing automation business Typefi, and has over two decades of publishing and media technology experience. He has acted as a technology consultant to corporations and government agencies around the world, and is a frequent conference speaker in the areas of content management, publishing, media, XML, structured content and digital rights management. He is a board member of a number of industry bodies and has degrees in Engineering and Computer Science. With Australia's second wave or lock down due to end towards the end of October, this is the longest Chandi has spent in once place without travel since the mid 90s! Nick Coveney Nick (he/him) is Publisher Relations and Content Lead for UK and NZ at Kobo and, before that, was Digital Innovation Director at HarperCollins. He is an experienced Digital & Marketing leader for products, digital transformation and marketing campaigns within the media industry, trade publishing and information services. John Pettigrew (host) John (he/him) is a recovering editor and Founder and CEO at We Are Futureproofs, a cloud platform that enables book teams to proofread on-screen effectively for the first time. Futureproofs arose from his frustration with the tools and workflows that were available to his team, a frustration that led to innovation! John wears a hat and spends time on Twitter as @John_Pettigrew. This session is one of a series of three during this year's virtual Frankfurt Book Fair.
55 minutes | Oct 20, 2020
52: Publishing people: build teams and careers in 2020
This year has shown once again how important our teams and business relationships are - and that our needs can change in a heartbeat. Join our panel to discuss questions like: is there such a thing as a career these days, and how do you build one if so? what changes are happening in our workplaces, and how do we make the most of them? how do we address the fact that the publishing business doesn't properly represent our country, communities or readers? what do you do when the unexpected happens? how do you build an effective publishing team, whether you're a member of the team or its manager? The panel discussion was streamed on YouTube, followed by a live Q&A on Twitter under the event hashtag #TalkingThroughMyHat. The panel Nancy Roberts Nancy is the founder of Umbrella, who use data and technology to overcome corporate bias and provide equality of opportunity at work. She also leads the Technology and Content team at Maverick, providing strategic and operational consultancy to publishers. Suzanne Collier Suzanne is THE person to see if you want to get ahead in book publishing. The founder of BookCareers.com, she is fully qualified in Career Development and Guidance, a Registered Careers Professional and helps people every day of the year no matter what the career challenge. She provides redundancy support and consultancy for a number of publishers and hosts a weekly bookcareers podcast as well as a job club to support unemployed publishers. Suzanne is a past winner of the Pandora Award and has been shortlisted twice by the Independent Publishers Guild for services to publishing and by the CDI for her work on the bookcareers Salary Survey. Her book How to Job Search in Book Publishing will be published later in the year. She describes her passions as careers, diversity, flowers and Dagenham and Redbridge FC. John Pettigrew (host) John Pettigrew (he/him) is a recovering editor and Founder and CEO at We Are Futureproofs, a cloud platform that enables book teams to proofread on-screen effectively for the first time. Futureproofs arose from John's frustration with the tools and workflows that were available to his team, a frustration that led to a business that aims to make all editors' lives better! John wears a hat and spends time on Twitter as @John_Pettigrew. This session is one of a series of three during this year's virtual Frankfurt Book Fair.
56 minutes | Oct 14, 2020
51: Publishing innovation: how do we manage change?
This year has proved, more than ever, that it's impossible to predict the future. But given change is inevitable, how do we manage and prepare for change? Our panel discusses questions like: how do we identify where change is needed in our business? how do we get our teams on board with the idea of change? how do we pick our battles and make sure the most important changes happen? how do we know things are heading in the right direction? The panel discussion was streamed live on YouTube, followed by a live Q&A on Twitter under the event hashtag #TalkingThroughMyHat. The panel Bec Evans Bec Evans is a writer, speaker and business founder. While working in publishing she turned her side hustle Prolifiko - a writing productivity coach - into a startup. As a consultant she helps businesses innovate and coaches people to build the skills and confidence to make their ideas happen. Her first book, How to Have a Happy Hustle: The Complete Guide to Making Your Ideas Happen won the Startup Inspiration category at the 2020 Business Book Awards. Emmanuel Kolade Emmanuel Kolade is the Founder of Shulph, a book technology company focussed on multi-format reading experiences. He comes from technology industry where he has spent the last 17 years specialising in human-centred design to build digital products. Prior to founding Shulph, Emmanuel was a senior management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where he led the firm's digital experience practice to deliver digital transformation programmes for some of the UK and world's leading brands. Sam Missingham Sam Missingham is an award-winning book marketer and publishing commentator. She is the founder of The Empowered Author, a book marketing membership service for authors. Before this she worked at HarperCollins UK as head of audience development and, before that, worked The Bookseller and was co-founder of FutureBook. She has won several book marketing awards, been shortlisted for the Digital Book World commentator of the year, and was runner-up for the Pandora award for sustained contribution to publishing. She speaks regularly about book marketing and publishing strategies around the world, and loves speaking to students and mentoring people entering publishing. Tim Williams Tim Williams is the Managing Director of Edward Elgar Publishing. Tim joined Elgar 11 years ago and runs the business with his brother-in-law. However, Tim's career began in retail and consumer goods, with a spell in management consulting, before joining the industry with LexisNexis. Edward Elgar is an independent family-owned publisher, with offices in the UK and USA. The company publishes 450 book titles a year across the social sciences and law and has won numerous awards for its digital platform and author focused publishing service. John Pettigrew (host) John Pettigrew (he/him) is a recovering editor and Founder and CEO at We Are Futureproofs, a cloud platform that enables book teams to proofread on-screen effectively for the first time. Futureproofs arose from John's frustration with the tools and workflows that were available to his team, a frustration that led to innovation! John wears a hat and spends time on Twitter as @John_Pettigrew. This session is one of a series of three during this year's virtual Frankfurt Book Fair.
25 minutes | Apr 16, 2019
50: Why start a publishing business? (Best Bits)
For episode 50, I've looked back at the past year of interviews and put together a compilation of some of the best bits - or, at least, some memorable ones for me! In this episode, I look back at why people set up a publishing business, whether it's a small publisher, a tech business or something else. Reasons range from being made redundant, through frustration with how the industry works, to a simple passion for doing something else. This episode features extracts from interviews with Emma Barnes (episode 3), Alison Jones (episode 7), Ken Jones (episode 8), Bec Evans (episode 17), Justo Hidalgo (episode 18), Nancy Roberts (episode 20), Kate Wilson (episode 22), John Bond (episode 28) and Dominique Raccah (episode 29).
30 minutes | Apr 9, 2019
49: Passion and idealism (Hugh McGuire interview)
Hugh McGuire is co-founder and Executive Director of the Rebus Foundation, the founder of Librivox, and the founder of Pressbooks, which helps publishers and authors easily create professionally designed print and ebook editions of their books. Before that, he worked in the world of electric power and alternative energy, but he's been trying to bring the world of the book together with the (better) world of the web since about 2005. He's particularly driven by the intersection of book publishing, open licensing, and distributed collaboration. In this episode, we talk about the idealism that led to (and fed from) his founding of Librivox, and how his experiences with PressBooks and Rebus differed from that initial example. Also, how for-profit and not-for-profit organisations differ, how his vision for the future of the web has developed, and the support mechanisms that a 'vision' person like Hugh needs to put in place to ensure that things actually get done!
30 minutes | Apr 2, 2019
48: Follow your customer (Miral Sattar interview)
Miral Sattar is CEO and Founder of LearnSelfPublishingFast and of Bibliocrunch, an award-winning marketplace that connects authors with vetted editors, designers, marketers and more. She's worked in the media industries for 11 years, including launching several digital initiatives at Time. She's written for and been featured in Time, Forbes, Consumer Reports, CNN, and New York Daily News. She's also launching another new business, Bearily Bear, selling cuddly toys that read audiobooks to children. In this episode, we discuss how initial business ideas change when they encounter customers, how to learn what your customers actually want, and the excitement of working in an industry that's going through huge changes.
32 minutes | Mar 26, 2019
47: Readers, users and scale (Emmanuel Kolade interview)
Emmanuel Kolade is the founder of Shulph, a book-technology company focussed on multi-format reading experiences. He comes from technology industry where he has spent the last 17 years specialising in human-centred design to build digital products. Before founding Shulph, Emmanuel led PricewaterhouseCoopers digital experience practice to deliver digital transformation programmes for some of the UK and world's leading brands. He's also worked for a wide range of large and small businesses from National Rail to digital payment companies, as a designer and user-experience consultant. In this episode, we talk about the experiences that drove him to found Shulph, the ways books and book-buying will evolve in the next few years, and the balance between building a business for revenue and building a business for users.
29 minutes | Mar 19, 2019
46: From German Literature to blockchain (Sebastian Posth interview)
Sebastian Posth is a serial entrepreneur and consultant for the publishing industry, with a focus on digital publishing and innovation. His interests always feature the hot topics, currently including data analytics and blockchain technologies. Sebastian has been working for 15 years in a variety of roles to transform these new technologies into useful products, services or tools for the publishing industry, with the aim of supporting media companies to develop and implement a digital business model that suits their needs and helps them grow. In this episode, we talk about his journey from studying philosophy and German Literature to publishing technology, including the crucial role that a photocopier played. Also, how digital sales and distribution are vital for the publishing business, how to convince publishers to adopt new technologies, and the balance between pursuing new stuff and maintaining your existing business.
30 minutes | Mar 12, 2019
45: Access to ideas and nature (Helen Bagnall interview)
Helen Bagnall is co-founder of Salon London, co-founder of the Transmission Prize for artists who promote bold, beautiful ideas, and also Director of the Also Festival of ideas. Before all that, she worked as a writer for Sony Pictures Entertainment, looking after characters across a range of platforms. In this episode, she talks about how Salon London helps people to spend time with new ideas, and how the Also Festival gives even more space for this, because you need time to properly learn and integrate ideas. And being exposed to ideas across science, philosophy and culture are important if you want to be truly creative. Also, one of the big advantages for her team is that, because they work on ideas every day, they are continually reassessing how they work and live - a challenge for book publishers of all shades, too, I think!
29 minutes | Mar 5, 2019
44: Keeping a broad focus (Lorraine Shanley interview)
Lorraine Shanley is co-founder and President of Market Partners International, who are consultants for the changing environment of publishing. Before MPI, Lorraine worked at Barnes & Noble, Book of the Month Club and HarperCollins, and now also serves on the Advisory Board of New York University’s Publishing Program, and for five years chaired the Launch Kids Media conference at Digital Book World. In her spare time she writes articles on publishing, technology and social media, and regularly reviews audiobooks and books for several sites. In this episode, Lorraine talks about maintaining a broad focus and how having several distinct types of work means that everything stays interesting. We talk about how the business grew into the shape it did, some of the famous clients they've worked with, and how they introduced Jeff Bezos to the world of bookselling. Often, expertise lies in knowing who to ask questions of, rather than necessarily in knowing the answers.
35 minutes | Feb 26, 2019
43: Following the river (Richard Nash interview)
Richard Nash is a coach, strategist, and serial entrepreneur in new and traditional media. He led partnerships and content at the culture discovery start-up Small Demons and the new media app Byliner, and ran the publisher Soft Skull Press, for which work he was awarded the Association of American Publishers' Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing in 2005. Utne Reader named him one of Fifty Visionaries Changing Your World and in 2013 the Frankfurt Book Fair picked him as one of the Five Most Inspiring People in Digital Publishing. Last year he founded Cursor, a shared US publishing office for five of the world’s leading independent publishers and this year he will launch a book-and-wine subscription box called Rapt. As a coach, he works with artists, writers, and entrepreneurs, helping them navigate personal and professional transitions. In this podcast, he talks about his change-filled journey from soft-drink-company heir to publisher and entrepreneur, via avant-garde theatre. Along the way, he's learned a lot about learning, and been driven by a desire to do new things - or, sometimes, to do an old thing in a new and sensible way. And he's also found that there are times in life when things bounce and splash around, and others when the way broadens and becomes calmer.
36 minutes | Feb 19, 2019
42: Finding new voices (Kevin Duffy interview)
Kevin Duffy is co-founder of Bluemoose Books. Having been in publishing for 20 years back in 2006, he and his wife mortgaged their house to start Bluemoose, with the aim of publishing new and exciting voices. Since then, their books have been sold in 82 countries, and had rights sold to British TV and Hollywood. He also founded the Northern Fiction Alliance, and is an author in his own right. In this episode, Kevin talks about how Bluemoose arose from his bile and anger with the big publishing houses, and changes in the wider industry. Kevin believes that, if literature is about anything, it's about finding new voices and new talent, and he's passionate about that - a passion that comes through loud and clear in our conversation. He founded the Northern Fiction Alliance to give "regional publishers" (a term he hates) a voice against the London establishment, with its bias against voices that aren't from the parts of society it already knows.
34 minutes | Feb 12, 2019
41: Growing open literature (Sean Preston interview)
Sean Preston is the founder and editor of short-fiction platform Open Pen, whose self-titled magazine has been described as “More like a shot of absinthe than a boring pint of lager,” and is making its first forays into book production. He's a proud East Londoner, an ex-pro wrestler, a full-time thing-maker at a South London record label, and an occasional short fiction writer. We talk about the deliberately analogue, hard-copy, zine approach that Sean took and the motivations behind that, and how that vision has continued over the years even as they grow into social media, a successful website and live events. In particular, the way that the physical constraints of a printed magazine affect how you publish and how your authors are perceived - and how the infinite digital space gives room to grow. Also, how Sean has kept a free print magazine going for a decade through advertising and sponsorship, and how that model is evolving with their expansion into live events and now books.
32 minutes | Feb 5, 2019
40: From personal plaything to book business (Jens Tröger interview)
Jens Tröger, the founder of Bookalope is an experienced software engineer and computer science researcher with over two decades of industry experience including Microsoft Xbox, Intel Labs and Oracle Research. He is also a book lover, typophile and book designer for print and e-publishing. Bookalope weds his two passions (computer science and book design) in a set of intelligent tools that automate analysis, clean up, and conversion to and from various formats. In this episode, we talk about why he took a set of tools he'd built to make his own life easier, and turned them into a business. Also, about escaping life as a corporate drone, how to make AI useful in book production, and the fact that the customer is always right - even when they're definitely wrong.
32 minutes | Jan 29, 2019
39: Learn by building (Ron Martinez interview)
Ron Martinez is the Founder and Principal of design and product-innovation firm Invention Arts, and also a prolific inventor with >60 US patents and many more worldwide in the fields of media, mobile and social technologies, and commerce. He's worked in Intellectual Property Innovation for Yahoo!, and enjoyed a long and successful career designing, producing, and coding consumer software products, including pioneering interactive fiction, entertainment and educational software, massively multiplayer games. And when he was younger, he wrote fiction, young adult pathway books, and comics. In this episode, we talk about his journey from fisherman and writer to successful inventor and entrepreneur, via a brief flirtation with corporate life and even working with Arthur C. Clarke. He learned to program computers because he enjoyed writing unusual stories so much - so that he could create his own software to enable those stories. Now, he spends his time balancing "going deep" and "going broad", and he believes that "you are what you ship," as a business. That is, you are what you give the world.
28 minutes | Jan 22, 2019
38: Building a grammar for augmented reality (Michael Kowalski interview)
Michael Kowalski is the founder of Storienteer, which is exploring augmented-reality, as well as the programme director of the Confluence conference this February. Before all that, he worked as a software developer at the Guardian and was Head of Publishing for a digital initiative at News International, as well as founding two other businesses, Kitsite and Contentment. In this episode, we talk about what augmented reality, or mixed reality, actually is and what it could mean, as well as the delights and perils of building a business based on a technology that's only just emerging - where the task you're tackling is to establish the basic grammar and rules of the new world. Also, the complexities associated with a business that's supplying tools for other people to use to build their own products.
29 minutes | Jan 15, 2019
37: Just-in-time learning (Ryan Morison interview)
Ryan Morison is a serial entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across two continents developing and commercialising digital publishing solutions, from a digital reading ecosystem, through a multichannel content-management solution to an award-winning direct-sales platform. He's even run a successful crowdfunding campaign for a subscription-based website! Now, he runs publishing-technology company Erudition and direct-to-consumer music publisher Informance. In this week's episode, we talk about his journey from musician to publishing entrepreneur, the problems that a high-risk no-prisoners approach can cause, and his just-in-time approach to learning - seeking out what you need to know at the time, rather than spending valuable time on business books that aren't relevant. Two books he recommends in the episode are Winning without losing by by Martin Bjergegaard, Jordan Milne, and The origin of wealth by Eric Beinhocker.
34 minutes | Jan 8, 2019
36: Curation as marketing (Gary Price interview)
Gary Price is a librarian, author and co-founder of infoDocket (on the web and Twitter), now part of the Library Journal. Before that, he co-founded ResourceShelf and Docuticker, which he edited and ran for ten years. In addition, he's worked as a librarian at George Washington University and as Director of Online Information Resources at Ask.com. In this week's episode, we talk about the importance of curation in an information-rich environment, and how being that curator helps establish your authority and profile in the community. We also touch on the open web, the invisible web, and the present and future of libraries in an increasingly online world. His most recent collection of open web documents and reports is here.
33 minutes | Dec 18, 2018
35: Technology, process and people (Bill Rosenblatt interview)
Bill Rosenblatt is a media-industry commentator on intellectual property and technology, President of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies, and programme chair of the Copyright and Technology Conferences. In addition, he's spoken at the Davos summit, written a book about the business and practice of DRM, and come up through publishing from an IT background. In this episode, we talk about what it's like to work in publishing and media when you come from an IT background, and what it was like to start working in publishing after years of experience in digital publishing. Also, what digital transformation looks like, and how to use careful requirements harvesting to get insight into what your business could be like - and also to get buy-in from the team for that change.
33 minutes | Dec 11, 2018
34: Climbing a new ladder (Joanna Penn interview)
Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She spent more than a decade as an IT consultant, but is now much better known as a writer and independent publisher of thrillers and dark fantasy novels, an award-winning entrepreneur, a publishing commentator, and a podcaster and YouTuber. Her long-running blog, The Creative Penn, shares what she's learned and helps give authors the information and inspiration they need to get published. In this episode, we talk about starting a new business and a new career at the same time - and what it's like to go from a well-paid and safe career to launch into the unknown as a writer. Joanna talks about what being an independent publisher means to her, how she separates creative time from business time, and how she navigates the world of changing formats and channels.
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