Showing posts with label My working day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My working day. Show all posts

Monday 17 June 2019

Focus on NIAS Press: A day in the life of a publishing assistant. By Adela Brianso Junquera

The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), an integrated part of the University of Copenhagen, is an academically independent Nordic research and resource centre, focusing on modern Asia from a predominantly social sciences perspective.

NIAS Press is a globally focused publisher with the rigorous academic standards expected of a university press, but with the speed and decisiveness of a commercial publisher. Its lists cover all areas of Asian Studies, but it specialises in publishing innovative research on modern east and southeast Asian society.

This week, we'll be exploring NIAS Press in a series of three posts. In this first post, Adela Brianso Junquera talks about her working day.

Adela is a publishing assistant at NIAS Press. A master’s student of global health at the University of Copenhagen, she works part-time as a student assistant. In her free time, she is the co-editor of the global health blog, Eye on Global Health. Before moving to Copenhagen, she studied social anthropology and politics in Edinburgh.

So, over to Adela...

Friday 23 June 2017

My working day by Eldes Tran

My working day is an occasional series in which publishing professionals talk about their jobs.

Eldes Tran is an assistant editor at Epigram Books, Singapore’s largest independent publisher of local stories for all ages. She mostly edits nonfiction manuscripts, but also some children’s books. Apart from editing, she also acts as a project manager seeing a book through all stages, including making sure the right illustrator is picked, the layout is balanced, and deadlines are met.

Epigram Books is Eldes’ first foray into book publishing, but she has been an editor for 11 years in the US and Asia. She started at newspapers Newsday and the Los Angeles Times, and later spent six years in Hong Kong with the South China Morning Post and New York Times.

So, over to Eldes...

Friday 8 July 2016

A day in the life of Michael Cannings

A day in the life of…is an occasional series in which people working in the publishing industry talk about their typical working day. Here, Michael Cannings, one of the founders of Camphor Press, a British-Taiwanese publishing house specialising in books about East Asia, in particular Taiwan, explains there is in fact no typical working day in his life…

Friday 17 October 2014

A Day In the Life Of… Harrison Kelly, Managing Director of Flatcap Asia

Harrison at the Jaipur Literature Festival
A Day In the Life Of...invites people involved in book selling and the publishing industry in Asia to describe a working day.

Flatcap Asia is a Hong Kong based arts and literary PR agency for Asia. The company works with a range of global clients from the creative industries including BBC World News, ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, Random House UK, Harper Collins, BAFTA, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the British Council. Harrison Kelly founded Flatcap Asia in 2010.

“I usually start my day around 7am. I have a bad habit of reading all my emails on my iPhone immediately when I wake up whilst still sat in bed. If it’s a particularly busy day this takes up valuable time as I usually have to re-read them all again in the office before I reply.

On Monday mornings I like to arrive at the office for around 8am. Flatcap is based in The Hive, a co-working space in Kennedy Town, just a short 10-minute commute from my apartment on Hollywood Road.

When I arrive at the office, I re-read all my emails and reply to most of them before 8.30am which is when Charlotte, Senior Consultant at Flatcap Asia, arrives. Charlotte and I will then discuss how the campaigns for several of our clients are going, and set out the priorities and tasks for the week ahead.

At the moment we are managing a title campaign in the East Asian press for Tim Clissold’s latest book Chinese Rules on behalf of Harper Collins. As the books pages in newspapers are increasingly being cut, it’s our job as a PR agency to get the book and the author out of the books pages and mentioned across other sections of the media where the author may find a new readership – in the opinion pages, or the lifestyle pages for example.

We often have to think of creative angles to get a journalist’s attention and interest in writing about a book – particularly if it is a fiction or literary fiction title, which is only published in English and isn’t set in Asia or by an Asian author.

Mid-morning, I usually have a conference call with one of our regional clients such as BBC Global News to catch up with their team and update them on the PR campaign. Although we specialise in literature, we represent clients from across the creative industries whether it’s TV, film, journalism, theatre or education.

When lunchtime arrives – often all too quickly – I tend to head into Central two or three times a week to catch up with a journalist, a sponsor or a client. Public relations really is an industry built on relationships, so it’s always good to meet up with colleagues for a good chat and a nice lunch deal – of which there are many in Hong Kong.

At 2pm, I usually have a call with the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival team in Delhi. Through Flatcap I consult as Head of PR for the Festival, which is the world’s largest free literary festival welcoming 250,000 guests, 800 media and 250 authors over five days. It really is a huge logistical feat. My role is to set strategy and direction for the traditional and social media campaign of the Festival. I’m fortunate to have a brilliant team at Edelman India, another PR agency, that work on the ground in India handling the campaign on a day-to-day basis.

The rise of literary festivals in Asia is, in many ways, down to the huge success of Jaipur, which started with a handful of authors back in 2006. I actually began my literary PR career at the Hay Festival in the UK, before working at the Edinburgh International Book Festival right before I moved to Hong Kong. There is an indescribable magic in the air at literary festivals; it’s certainly an addictive energy for those five adrenaline-fuelled days in Jaipur each January. I am looking forward to visiting the Singapore Writers’ Festival later this month – but as a punter! – and seeing Naomi Wolf and Suchen Christine Lim, as well as browsing the Festival bookstore to discover the new contemporary voices of Singaporean literature.

Mid-afternoon I catch up with Jan and Louise who also work with me at Flatcap Asia. I don’t speak any other language except English, yet the company works on a daily basis in both Traditional and Simplified Chinese and so I am very fortunate to have great staff members who can execute this non-English language media activity on behalf of our clients.

Around 4pm, London begins to wake up and so when I see The Bookseller’s Morning Briefing ping into my inbox, I tend to take half an hour out to catch up on the latest trade news from the industry as well as having a look on Twitter to see what is driving the news agenda of the day.

Many in the publishing industry are nervous about the rise of e-books and the demise of print. Regardless of age, the data shows consumers still want print books. The key challenge for the industry is maintaining a workable revenue model which accounts for the changes in delivering published work to readers. I think it’s important to learn lessons from what happened to the music industry in the early 2000’s. Thought it’s hard to predict what publishing will look like in 12 months’ time, never mind in 12 years, I do think print will always maintain its place and be consumed alongside digital.  

In many ways, for marketers, the digital challenge creates an exciting opportunity as the traditional avenues of reaching an audience for a book are suddenly been disrupted (or complemented?) by other platforms, particularly social media, which allow readers to discover books, authors or genres they may never have come across in a bricks and mortar store.

Around 5pm, emails from our clients in the UK begin to come through and so I turn my attention to that. One client we work with a lot is BAFTA (the British Academy of Film and Television Arts). Since last year, BAFTA has been hosting a range of activities in Hong Kong, aiming to inspire the city’s next generation of aspiring film, TV and games professionals. It’s been great fun supporting them on the ground here in Hong Kong.

Towards the end of the day I tend to focus on more admin related activity. This can be boring things like sorting out my accounts or general business management, through to more fun stuff like pulling together coverage reports for our clients. I am working on two of these at the moment, one for StoryWorthyWeek, an annual storytelling festival in Hong Kong, and one for Susan Barker, the incredibly talented author of The Incarnations, which we recently represented. A coverage report gives the client an overview of the campaign to date as well as showing all the media coverage earned so far, as well as the reach and value of the coverage.

I usually leave the office on time at 7:30pm when I will head out for dinner with friends or head out to see a production by one of our theatre clients. There is a really strong English-language theatre scene in Hong Kong, and thanks to groups such as Liars’ League and Hong Kong Storytellers there is also a growing live literature scene too.”

Twitter: @HarrisonJKelly / @FlatcapAsia 

Wednesday 17 September 2014

A Day In The Life Of...Pete Spurrier, publisher at Blacksmith Books

A Day In the Life Of...invites people involved in book selling and the publishing industry in Asia to describe a working day.

Based in Hong Kong, but selling into all the major English language markets, Blacksmith Books publishes China-related non-fiction: biography; business; culture; current affairs; photography; travel. Founder Pete Spurrier is the company's publisher.

One of the best things about working for yourself is that you can set your own schedule. I started Blacksmith Books 10 years ago, and two years ago I moved apartments from Sai Ying Pun, an old district in the city centre of Hong Kong, to a rural village in the New Territories. The office remains in Central though, so after getting up, checking messages and dealing with anything urgent, I walk down the hill from the village and catch an express bus into town, avoiding rush hour. The journey takes 40 minutes and ends by taking a raised highway around the edges of Victoria Harbour, a good start to the day.

The Blacksmith office is on the top floor of an old walk-up building on Hollywood Road in Central, which is a great location, very convenient for meeting people. As an older building it has large windows, high ceilings and more natural light than newer ones. We do have decent tea and coffee but if people would rather not walk up the five flights of stairs (it is hot and humid Hong Kong after all) I’ll go and meet them in a nearby coffee shop.

New authors in particular often want to come up and see our office, which is a good idea from their point of view, and our printer will sometimes drop in with blueprints or proofs for checking.

We publish about 12 books a year, at any given time each book is at a different stage of editing, design, production, launch, distribution or promotion, so there is always a lot to do. During the course of the day I’ll be talking to authors, editors, translators and designers on one side of the publishing process, and bookshops, shipping companies, distributors and journalists on the other.

Emails come in at a frightening rate, including manuscripts which I move to a separate folder for reading later and then completely forget about.

If I have time, I’ll write a blog post or put something on the Facebook page, but I still find that traditional media usually works best for promoting books. Sometimes I’ll accompany a writer to a radio interview, or go on air myself, and I’ll come back to the office to find that orders have come in just because of that.

One of our new titles is the Yunnan Cookbook, and this was a particular challenge to bring to completion, as it involved two authors, two sets of photographers, an illustrator, a designer and an editor – and because production went on for so long, everyone involved was living or travelling in a different country by the final stages. Of course email helps, but at the point when we were choosing photos and finalising layout, one of the authors was incommunicado in the mountains of Yunnan, buying cattle in an ethnic minority village. Then, when she came back to the nearest town with internet access, she found that her email provider had been blocked in China. We got it all sorted in the end.

Our niche subject is Asia but it’s been good to find that readers around the world are interested in it. As our distribution has widened – we have just started selling into Australia this year, for instance – I find I’m spending more time co-ordinating shipments of books overseas. Once or twice a week I’ll go to our warehouse, on the western side of Hong Kong Island, to organise boxes of books to be collected by a freight forwarder or sent to the Kwai Chung container port. If the quantities are larger, pallets will be sent to the port directly from the printer.

Our biggest overseas market is the US, and books take five weeks to sail across the Pacific from Hong Kong, through the Panama Canal and up to New York. Our American distributor needs all details of new books eight months before their launch, which is often quite difficult to supply. I have to work backwards, taking shipping and printing time into account, and always keeping this production schedule in mind. I also have to keep track of how quickly books in print are selling, and order reprints at the right time, while watching cash flow to make sure it’s not too early to do so.

Another equation I have to juggle is deciding how many books to print each time: trying to balance the number of pre-orders from bookshops in each market with how many books I can keep in store in the warehouse, while still getting a decent unit price for printing a high enough volume. The printer helps out by keeping some in the factory until they can be shipped elsewhere, but not for too long. I am envious of other cities where space is cheaper to rent.

Before leaving the warehouse I’ll also fill a bag with books to be posted out later to mail-order customers. Because it’s so hard to sell books in mainland China, we don’t charge postage to anyone who lives there, so a steady stream of mail orders come in.

Back in the office, if it’s Friday, I’ll try to devote a couple of hours to getting the accounts up to date. Long ago, before Blacksmith started, I was a partner in a previous publishing business that went bust, and that was an expensive but valuable lesson. Now I try to make sure that I’m always up to speed with which clients are paying on time, which aren’t paying at all, which books are making money and so on. I used to think accounts must be boring, but when it’s your own venture, they become strangely engrossing.

When all the columns add up, I punch the air in victory – everyone else will have gone home by then. And then I lock up the office and go out for drinks.