It’s all change in the MM/CVP office as Sarah, our Head of Production and Commissioning Editor of Channel View titles, is about to move back to her beloved hometown of Dawlish and will be working mostly from home from now on, with monthly visits to the office. We will really miss her and are very sad not to be seeing her on a daily basis. In this post we find out how she’s feeling about the big move…
What will you miss most about coming into the office every day?
My super wonderful colleagues/work family! 😊 We have a lot of fun in the office – I will miss Fridays especially when everyone is in with cakes/doughnuts and Spotify playlists. But will try to come up to Bristol for at least one Friday a month. I’ve worked with everyone (some longer than others!) for a number of years so I’m trying to prepare myself not to see their faces every day – it will be strange and not a welcome thought!
What will you miss about living in Bristol?
It’s a great city to live in – and I will miss many things about city life (including Uber and Deliveroo!) But for Bristol the street art and balloons will be missed. Just lucky I still get to visit regularly.
What are you most looking forward to about moving to Dawlish?
Being back with my crazy-big family will be lovely – and living by the sea again will be ace. I’ve missed it!
What do you think will be the biggest difference working mostly from home?
Well, there will be no-one forced to listen to my wittering apart from me so I will be monitoring sanity levels regularly 😊 I guess just the feeling of togetherness. Thankful for instant messaging though – should make it easier to stay in touch with colleagues and ask quick questions when necessary. Looking forward to sometimes working in my PJs if I feel like it – never felt it was appropriate in the office 🙂
Will you be bringing us scones on a monthly basis?
Of course! But you really have to put jam on first (even though it’s the Cornish way) and pronounce ‘scone’ properly.
We wish Sarah the best of luck with the move and are already looking forward to our first away day in Dawlish!
In February this year Callum joined the Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters team as our new publishing intern. In this post we find out a bit more about him and his work in the world of books and publishing.
What were you doing before you joined us?
I was working as a bookseller for Foyles and as assistant editor for The Cardiff Review, both of which I’m still doing.
Have you always wanted to work in the world of books?
I suppose so, though as a younger teenager I didn’t really read. When I was very young I had visions of being an author which was, I think, just because I didn’t like doing anything much that involved going outside, and to me an author’s life was probably spent indoors, at home, doodling or something similarly inactive. Between the ages of 10 and maybe 16/17 I wasn’t interested in reading at all and only began to come back to books in sixth form and at university (which is lucky, because I was studying English Literature). Since then I figured I may as well play to my strengths, which seem to be in books. So that led to bookselling more than once, working with The Cardiff Review, and now working with Channel View.
What attracted you to the internship initially?
A paid internship is (unfortunately) a rather rare thing. An internship in publishing based outside London is even rarer. I had been looking for experience in publishing for a little while but, like many people, it’s not always the easiest path to follow, short of uprooting your life to relocate and take a hit on your savings. So finding the position at Channel View was a stroke of luck. Also, I think it’s a credit to Channel View that they do run paid internships, when many much larger publishers who I won’t name do not pay their interns. I also liked the idea of working for a small independent business, because it tends to be a more friendly and flexible environment – which has turned out to be the case. Plus I’ll take any excuse to stay in Bristol.
Is publishing what you expected? Are there any surprises?
It actually is pretty much what I expected. Though ideas I had of publishing were usually based on my familiarity with trade publishing, which is obviously a whole different can of worms. Seeing things from the other side of the supply chain in some ways felt like peering behind the curtain. But most of the surprises came from the differences between trade and academic. For example, I had a decent knowledge of the way proofs and advanced reading copies work (from asking publishers for them many times…) but it hadn’t occurred to me that inspection copies would be such a large part of promoting academic books, though it seems obvious now.
Print books or ebooks? What are you reading at the moment?
Print books, obviously. I have nothing against ebooks but I am a bit of a materialist at heart. Print books are just nice objects and if nothing else a good kind of furnishing for a flat. Even when I was studying in Canada I ended up just throwing away clothes so that I could bring books back on the flight. Naomi Klein’s door-stop of a book This Changes Everything singlehandedly put my bag several pounds over the limit, so that sat on my lap throughout the flight. Though I do wish I had an e-reader specifically for magazines and journals because I don’t really feel the same way about them as objects to collect and they build up rather quickly.
Right now I’m reading a book called My Documents by the Chilean writer Alejandro Zambra. It’s a short story collection published by Fitzcarraldo, who are an amazing publisher that I have a lot of admiration for. I have been putting off reading this one for a while after being recommended it but since I picked it up two days ago I haven’t been able to stop reading it. I’m also reading The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, but that’s going a little more slowly, as it’s quite big and rather dense – but I’m enjoying it. And I also read a couple of monthly comics such as Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
Do you have a favourite book?
I don’t really like to choose but I adore Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin, and The Lonely City by Olivia Laing. The best book I’ve read so far this year is probably The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy.
What’s your favourite way to spend a day off?
Somehow days off always turn into work days anyway, which is maybe how I like it, since I keep doing it. I end up working through things for The Cardiff Review or trying to work on other projects or practise with the band I play in. If I’ve got nothing on then reading in the morning and spending the afternoon cooking something or other – nothing exciting. I also spend a lot of time at gigs, but you don’t need a day off to do that. Usually days off involve a lot of coffee.
With the welcome return of Elinor Robertson to our office next month after spending a year on maternity leave, we have taken the time to have a reshuffle of some of the main responsibilities within the business, and have a look at our job titles to make sure they truly reflect the work of each team member here at Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters. With a small business it is natural that we all wear many hats, and so it is nearly impossible to get a single job title to accurately cover all aspects of each person’s work. What is more important is that when we present ourselves to our contacts outside the company, our job titles reflect the level of responsibility that we carry, so that our contacts know who to talk to about any given issue.
Elinor Robertson will be returning to her job in charge of all matters relating to marketing. As the most senior person for marketing, her new job title will be Head of Marketing. Because she will be coming back part-time, she will be passing on her role as Commissioning Editor for our series Aspects of Tourism, Aspects of Tourism Texts and Tourism Essentials to Sarah Williams so that she is better able to dedicate her time to marketing all of our books globally.
Sarah Williams will take on all commissioning for the Channel View Publications imprint, and with her job as the most senior contact for all production-related issues, her job title will be changed to Head of Production. Sarah manages our freelance production contacts and liaises with all of our suppliers, as well as setting our production strategy and quality values, so carries the responsibility for ensuring that our books are always of high quality, whether they are print books or ebook resources.
Flo McClelland, Anna Roderick and Tommi Grover will keep their current job titles as their jobs are not changing so dramatically:
Flo McClelland is our Marketing and Publishing Coordinator and runs all our social media accounts. She also works with our designers and authors on book covers and with Elinor in the marketing department on all matters relating to marketing and publicity. Flo will be coordinating the work of our incoming Publishing Intern (more to follow later) and you will also come across Flo more often at conferences in the future, so please make sure you say hello if you see her!
Anna Roderick is our Editorial Director and is in charge of editorial strategy for the business. The subject areas we publish in, and the editorial tone of the business, are a constantly-evolving work; although we naturally stay true to our core beliefs, it is important for us to branch out into new fields and it is Anna who searches out these areas and discovers the inspiration for our future publications. She also commissions everything that isn’t commissioned by someone else, and attempts to make the rest of the editorial department do their admin. Together with Tommi she is half of our board of directors, and shares the legal responsibility for the business.
Tommi Grover is Managing Director, and has day-to-day responsibility for all matters relating to finance and the legal side of running the business. He oversees the running of all departments to make sure where possible that each of the heads of departments have adequate resources and skills. Tommi will continue to attend major conferences and book fairs and has commissioning responsibility for our Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights, and CAL Series on Language Education book series.
This is the 500th post on our blog since it first began in 2011! We started the blog seven years ago, not long after our website was updated. In this post we reflect on the blog and share some special highlights and interesting facts with you.
Our very first blog post…
…was written by our Editorial Director, Anna, who wrote about the Mobility Language Literacy conference she attended in Cape Town in January of that year. Since then, we’ve published hundreds of blog posts: interviews with authors and staff alike, guest posts written by everyone from our sales rep to Tommi’s mum, blog series such as an A-Z of Publishing and Publishing FAQs, conference reports, authors introducing their new books, visits to suppliers, our thoughts on issues in the industry, such as Brexit and the pricing of ebooks…and much more!
The majority of people who read our blog are in the US and the UK, but we have readers all over the world, in 146 different countries!
In addition to this, Sarah and Anna, who joined the company within months of each other back in 2002, celebrated their 15 year anniversary working at CVP/MM. Of course, the occasion called for a blog post, and we published an interview with both Sarah and Anna looking back on their first days, biggest achievements and favourite memories.
Our blog was originally created as a place to share news, but it has become so much more than that. We hope that it gives readers an insight into what goes on behind the scenes and allows them to get to know us and the company a bit better. We look forward to the next 500 posts!
This year marks 35 years since we published our first book. Naturally, this has got us all feeling a bit reflective, and in this post we wanted to share how each of us ended up working at CVP/MM, from Tommi’s story that arguably began at the age of 6(!), to Alice who joined us at the beginning of this year.
We’ve told the reasons behind the founding of Multilingual Matters several times before, so I won’t go into those details. I have always done some work for the company, whether it was helping to stick labels onto envelopes aged 6, or processing subscription renewals and sales after school aged 15 to earn a bit of pocket money, so the family business was very familiar to me and I was always interested in how the business of publishing books actually worked. On finishing my literature degree at Essex University, I knew I wanted to work in the book trade. I also knew that I didn’t want to work for the family business as that might feel too much like pressure. My parents were also adamant that they did not want to employ their children, for much the same reasons, they did not want us to feel like we were being pressured into the business. As I was living in Colchester at the time, I would often meet Dad at the Independent Publishers Guild monthly seminars in London. It was a nice chance for us to catch up, and for me to learn a bit more about independent publishing. After one of these monthly meetings Dad and I went for a drink in the pub close to the meeting rooms. It was clear that they were looking to recruit someone, and I was still looking for work myself. We avoided the subject for the first few drinks, and after the third drink one of us floated the idea of me coming to work for the family business…we were both a little sceptical as to whether we could actually work together without constant argument or worse, but agreed to give it a go for 6 months and then have a family meeting to decide whether or not it was a good idea…we never got around to having that meeting!
Why it’s Useful to Know More than One Sarah Williams
I am actually a Multilingual Matters’ reject! On a snowy spring day in 2001 I arrived for what turned out to be my first interview with Marjukka, Ken and Mike. I felt I had made a good impression but was concerned that my lack of a coat (it was April and I had a suit jacket?? 😃) and bus timetable may have counted against me! I was disappointed to learn that I’d narrowly missed out on the job. This left me to carry on at my government office job. I also moved house and changed telephone number shortly afterwards.
In the summer of 2002 MM/CVP had another opening but no way of getting in contact with me. Around this time I bumped into the other Sarah Williams from the government office in the supermarket (she lived on the same road, had the same middle name and her sister was also called Catherine). She told me that some place ‘possibly beginning with M’ were trying to get hold of me about a job. I called the MM office, spoke to Marjukka and the rest is history! 😃
I have always loved books, so a career in publishing should have been an obvious choice. However, in idiotic early-20s fashion I thought it was a bit of a cliché for someone with an English degree and so I loftily avoided all the publishers at the university careers fair (I have no idea what else I imagined I might do!) I met my partner at University and as he was staying on do a PhD, my main concern was to find a job that allowed me to stay in Bristol. Being utterly unqualified for and uninterested in the main Bristol industries of finance and engineering, I applied for every job in the local paper that I thought might have me, including training as a librarian at UWE and setting the crosswords for the Bristol Evening Post. One of those jobs, and in fact the only one to even ask me for interview, was journal editorial assistant at Multilingual Matters. I made my way out to Clevedon on the bus, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Coming from a very rural area, options for graduate level work experience were severely limited, and I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I left university. One day, I was sitting in the university library completing the references section on an essay, when the place Clevedon caught my eye. I had a feeling that Clevedon might be near Bristol, just about a commutable distance from my home. I looked up the company Multilingual Matters and promptly wrote to Tommi, asking if there were any work experience possibilities. I was immediately (and politely!) turned down flat – the company was too small and they didn’t need any extra help. A couple of months later, out of the blue came another email saying that they’d reconsidered and might be willing to have an intern. Naturally, I jumped at the chance and spent 2 months over the summer doing the work experience, as well as commuting 4 hours each day to get there and working evenings and weekends in a pub! I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the office, learnt a great deal and headed back to university with an interest in publishing and new skills, but also the knowledge that my placement wouldn’t lead to employment as the company was too small. The following February, as I was back in the library, another email from Tommi popped up. This one had the title “An Enquiry” which I thought sounded quite ominous and deduced that they were trying to sort out some mistake I’d made back in the summer! Luckily for me it contained a job offer, which I didn’t need to think long about accepting. I went down to the lobby to call my mum and stood next to the machine where users return books. On top of the stack of returned books was one of ours, Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, which I’ve always thought as a very strange but good sign!
I had just graduated with a degree in French and Russian and not quite knowing what to do with myself, I decided to move to France. I found a job teaching English to adults, got a CELTA qualification and lived there for two years. But I missed Bristol and eventually started to think about coming home and what I could do once I got there. Although I had enjoyed it, teaching wasn’t quite the right fit for me, so I began to think of other options – casting around for ideas, publishing was something I kept coming back to. Once back in Bristol, I did some work experience with a literary agent, but I was doubtful that there would be many opportunities in publishing for me in my hometown, having heard that ‘all publishing was in London’. Then one day my mum, an avid Googler, came across Channel View’s website. I sent Tommi a speculative email, not knowing that there did actually happen to be a (rare!) vacancy for an internship at exactly that time. To my surprise and delight, I was invited to come in for an interview and a couple of days later I was in the supermarket when I got an email offering me the internship. That was over three years ago now – time has flown!
I graduated from the University of Bristol just over two years ago, with a degree in History. Following my graduation I decided that I couldn’t leave lovely Bristol so stuck around and considered what I’d like to do job-wise. I had publishing in mind but couldn’t find anything that suited, so for the first year I tried a few different odd jobs – working in a pet shop, as well as for The Green Register (a not-for-profit organisation who promote sustainable building) and volunteering for a number of charities, before finally moving to London to give marketing a try. After a 3 month internship I headed off to India and then came back to Bristol with a fresh head. This time I was lucky – in my search for academic publishing roles I came across Multilingual Matters… I applied and got the position! I was particularly drawn to the small size of the company and the topics of publication, as I’d just begun a TEFL course. First impressions told me I’d come to the right place, with lots of quirky questions, tea, biscuits and entertaining playlists.
This month Anna and Sarah are celebrating their 15 year anniversary working at Channel View/Multilingual Matters. In this post we ask Anna a few questions about the last 15 years…
What made you apply for your first job at MM?
I’d love to say that it was a burning desire to work in publishing and a long-held interest in multilingualism. However, the truth is that I finished my degree and knew I wanted to stay in Bristol, so I applied for every job in the local paper that I thought might be interested in an English and Philosophy graduate, including setting crosswords and training as an academic librarian. Multilingual Matters invited me for an interview, and the rest is history!
Do you remember your first day?
My first day was spent ‘celebrating’ the departure of my predecessor Berni, who had worked for Multilingual Matters for 17 years (such a long time!) I made a banner out of old printer paper, and then we went for a very nice lunch with plenty of wine. So not an especially taxing day, but quite a good introduction to the culture at MM.
How has your job changed over the years?
I started as an editorial assistant for the Multilingual Matters journals. The office was very paper-based at the time – we printed out everything – and emails came in once an hour. I can still remember the excitement of the day the internet was on all day for the first time! We used t-cards to keep track of what was where at every stage in the process, which involved scissors and Pritt Stick, and I did some typesetting using an MS-DOS program that was probably older than I was.
Gradually I managed to badger my way into being allowed to work on the books, and when we sold the journals and Marjukka retired in 2008 I took over as Editorial Director. Now I commission books for 12 book series, as well as overseeing the strategy for our whole publication programme, and keeping an eye out for new and exciting things for us to publish. I also attempt to make Tommi do his editorial admin occasionally!
While the nature of my job has changed quite a bit since I first started, I’m still working with a lot of the same authors and editors: Colin Baker, Viv Edwards and John Edwards have all been constants throughout my 15 years, and authors whose journal papers I worked on 15 years ago are now writing books and editing book series for us.
What has been your biggest achievement/success?
That’s a really hard question! The recent publication of the 6th edition of Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism represented the culmination of five years’ work and it’s a book I’m very proud of, although the authors are both such a dream to work with that my input was minimal. It’s always nice when books you’ve worked on win awards, or we publish something really ground-breaking and innovative. But actually what gives me the most satisfaction is the smaller, on-going successes: when I talk down an author who is on the point of giving up because of a critical peer-review and help them see a way through it; or when we’re overwhelmed at a conference by people wanting to tell us how great our books are and how important it is that we as a company continue to exist. I also love doing workshops/talks for PhD students and it always seems like a real success to get lots of follow up emails and book proposals as a result.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
My favourite part of my job is my lovely colleagues, some of whom I have now known for a VERY LONG TIME. It’s an absolute joy to work in such a friendly, supportive office where all kinds of eccentricity are positively encouraged, and where the tangents go on for longer than the meetings. As with all groups of people who spend a lot of time together in a confined space, there are days when I could cheerfully murder the lot of them, but those days are few and far between. If they fired me I would probably keep on turning up for work anyway!
What’s your favourite memory (together?) of the last 15 years?
One evening in Frankfurt that may have involved a bottle or two of wine springs to mind, or a karaoke session in Leeds that got hijacked by an entire conference. To be fair there is never a dull moment sat next to Sarah! She once crushed a wine glass with her bare hands, her driving rage is terrifying, and she can run 100m faster than Usain Bolt if there’s a pigeon anywhere near her…
Here’s to the next 15 years! Check out Sarah’s interview here.
This month Sarah and Anna are celebrating their 15 year anniversary working at Channel View/Multilingual Matters. In this post we ask Sarah a few questions about the last 15 years…
What made you apply for your first job at MM?
I had done an English degree so publishing was one of the more obvious routes to take. I remember seeing the ad in the paper that specified a ‘seaside office’ which appealed to me as I’m from a seaside town. The ad also promised the possibility of travel which seemed very exciting!
Do you remember your first day?
Hmm, not the details but first impressions – everyone was very friendly and welcoming, it was a very quiet office and it was very nice to have a walk along the seafront at lunchtime! I also remember being excited but slightly awed by the amount there was to learn and how global the company was.
How has your job changed over the years?
I was a journal editor for my first few years and it was a good way of getting to know a lot of people in the field. I started helping with some proof-checking on the books and eventually took over supervising the cover design process and ebooks. I was also doing admin for some of the book series. When we sold the journals in 2008 I became production manager and commissioning editor for Tourism and Cultural Change. I’m now also commissioning editor for The Future of Tourism, currently looking after all the tourism series while Elinor is on maternity leave and get to one or two conferences every year.
What has been your biggest achievement/success?
When I worked on the journals the biggest achievement was getting all issues published in the year they were meant to come out! With book production (and this involves the whole company not just me!) steadily increasing our output from 39 books in 2008 to 60 books in 2016 felt like a big achievement. On the editorial front, I think any time you’ve actively commissioned a title and it goes into production is a great feeling!
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Production and editorial is a nice balance of detailed work with a more creative side. This is pretty much a dream job working with and for amazing people, so hard to pick one thing. Obviously getting to travel to conferences and hanging out with all our authors across the world is very cool!
What’s your favourite memory (together?) of the last 15 years?
Ha, Anna and I don’t get to travel together much (I have no idea why??!) but we have had one or two memorable trips – including one particular evening in a bar in Frankfurt and a karaoke-session in Leeds with a few of our authors/editors! We’re very good at celebrating at MM/CVP so any occasion is pretty memorable!
Congratulations Sarah! Watch this space for an interview with Anna about her experience of the last 15 years.
We at Multilingual Matters/Channel View Publications are very active on social media and have built up substantial communities across all our accounts. We enjoy interacting with our authors, publishing contacts, readers and people with a broader interest in the topics on which we publish, and have strong followings on both Facebook and Twitter, with nearly 2,000 contacts across our Facebook pages and over 15,000 on our two Twitter accounts.
Social media has also become an integral part of our marketing campaign for each book that we publish. In the weeks and months leading up to and following a book’s publication, we in the marketing department use our various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, this blog and YouTube) to announce its publication and publicise it as much as possible. It’s the easiest and most effective way of getting news to lots of people at once and on top of that, it allows people to engage with and discuss our publications, both with us and amongst each other. Of course, social media doesn’t come at the expense of our traditional marketing strategies and we still follow usual marketing techniques such as catalogue mailings, email newsletters, sending information to the book trade, attending conferences and book fairs and so on, but it does offer something new and different to our marketing repertoire.
When using social media to market a book, it’s a real advantage if we have an author who is active themselves on social media and can help us to spread the word. Authors are best placed to reach their book’s key audience as their own colleagues and peers are likely to be those interested in the research. We often find that some of our bestselling books are ones where the author hasn’t been afraid of get stuck in! For example, you could create a Facebook page for your book like our authors Christian W. Chun and Leanne White did, where you can keep people up to date with the book’s progress and share useful information and news, including the 50% preorder discount flyer we create for all our books. In addition, if there are any relevant events that tie in with your book’s publication, do let us know! For example, we’ve previously promoted Hongliang Yan’s book,Heritage Tourism in China, in conjunction with World Heritage Day. Facebook is also the main place where we post photos of office goings on, so your book may well end up in a photo like the one above of our commissioning editors with their books published in January. If you have any ideas for a relevant photo opportunity for your book, just let us know and we’ll see what we can do!
Twitter is a great place to get book news out to the right people, and we do try to “mention” relevant accounts with publication news where we can. If you have any ideas about popular hashtags used by the community you’re trying to reach or users who would be especially interested in your work, let us know on your AQ and we’ll include them in our marketing plans. Each of our books are assigned three or four tweets during the month following its publication giving a taster of what to expect from the book, and we also announce it on both Twitter and Facebook on publication day. By using relevant hashtags, the word about a new book gets out to people who might not have heard about it otherwise, and we often see people mentioning friends or colleagues with recommendations of our books.
We ask all our authors to write a piece about their book for our blog, which we schedule to coincide with its publication. This is a really good way to publicise the book and provide interested readers with a “behind the scenes” insight into how the book came about, giving authors a chance to sell their book beyond the blurb on our website. If you can send us photos or even videos to include in the post to grab readers’ attention, even better! We always announce new blog posts on Facebook and Twitter ourselves, but again, the braver authors are about sharing their post and telling the world about their work, the greater the number of views and the more engagement we see.
Nowadays social media is an invaluable tool for getting publication news out there, and we do our best to publicise your book as much as possible, but there’s no doubt that the more active the author is in promoting their book through their own channels, the better. So get Facebooking/Tweeting/Blogging/YouTubing!
As a small, independent publisher we are fortunate that most of our publishing decisions can come from the heart (‘do I like this book?’ ‘is it important?’ ‘is it new?’) rather than the head (‘will it make money for our shareholders?’ ‘will it help me hit targets?’). However one of the downsides of being such a small operation is that our margins for error are not huge, and when things go wrong, or the market takes a downturn, we don’t have a large university or a multinational conglomerate to cushion us: we stand or fall by the quality of the books we’ve published recently and the number of people prepared to buy them.
Until relatively recently we were unusual in publishing virtually all of our books in both paperback and hardback, with the paperbacks appearing at the same time as the hardbacks. If money were no object this is undoubtedly how we would choose to publish our books: making quality research widely available is why we do what we do, and publishing any other way is a wrench for us. I hate telling authors that they aren’t getting a paperback of their books, and none of us like to stand behind a conference table and hear how students can’t afford to buy our books. There’s little joy in publishing if your audience is small and getting smaller.
But about 18 months ago we were hit by the perfect storm of the continuing effects of the financial crisis on both library and individual budgets, increasing costs, and library ebook deals which meant that we were often receiving a tiny percentage of the income we did 10 years ago for providing the same product. In effect, large numbers of our books were no longer selling enough to cover our costs in producing them, let alone make us a profit. We were faced with a decision: do we throw our hands up, accept that there is no longer a role for independent academic publishers, and go and do something else? Or do we make changes to ensure that most of the books we publish at least pay their own way? And it’s sad but true that it’s easier for us to cover our costs on a book where we sell 80 hardback copies than where we sell 30 hardbacks and 100 paperbacks.
We recognise that this means we are producing books that are unaffordable for some people who might want to buy them – what do we do to try and make our books as affordable as we can?
We still publish over half our titles in paperback and hardback simultaneously.
We offer many and varied discounts and promotions. Anyone who has ever written for us is entitled to a permanent 50% discount on everything we publish.
When only a hardback is available, we price the ebook as if there were a paperback – not all publishers do this.
We offer substantial discounts at conferences, bigger than those of most of our competitors.
We review all of our books 6 months after publication and if sales of either the hardback or the ebook suggest that there might be a bigger market than we anticipated, we produce a paperback. We also take into account feedback from readers, librarians and our sales reps: if enough people are asking for a paperback, we produce one.
We keep prices down on our most popular books, rather than charging as much as we could for books that readers have to buy for courses or to keep their own work up-to-date.
As an author, you can give your book the best possible chance of being published in paperback by keeping the widest possible (realistic!) audience in mind when writing – might your research be of interest to teachers, policy-makers, parents? Are you writing to make your research accessible to scholars from other disciplines? Are you linking your research to wider debates so it will be of interest to readers not specifically working in your particular research context? When the book is written, let us know if there are specific courses that might use your book. And after the book is published, pass on feedback to us – if people are asking you for a paperback, tell them to ask us.
We’re always very happy to discuss any ideas our authors and customers might have for making our books more affordably or widely available. Please get in touch with me if you have any thoughts! Every decision to publish a book in hardback only is accompanied by a good deal of soul-searching in the CVP/MM office, but I do believe that if we are to continue to publish important books, to innovate and lead the field, and to be a small force for good in the world, we do sometimes have to take hard decisions.
In February we welcomed Alice to the Channel View/Multilingual Matters team as our publishing intern. In this post we find out a bit more about her and what she gets up to in the CVP/MM office.
What attracted you to the internship initially?
I had been thinking a lot about academic publishing and was really keen to gain some experience and discover if it was for me. After spending a lot of time googling various companies and positions, and how I could get involved, I stumbled across the internship with Channel View. This seemed perfect for various reasons. Firstly, I loved that fact that it was with a small company, where I could hopefully gain a better understanding of how everything worked. The topics of publication also drew me in – especially as I am currently undertaking a TEFL course, which many of the books relate to. Furthermore, the company is based in my favourite city (Bristol), the role seemed varied and interesting, and I felt that the 6 month length would be sufficient to really get involved.
Is it what you expected? Has anything surprised you about publishing?
I’ve always found it hard to imagine how everything works in publishing, so it was difficult to know exactly what to expect. It’s so interesting to see how everything is run and to see each step from the proposal of a book, to its production, completion and marketing. One thing that I found surprising – or impressive – is how small the Channel View office is and yet how much seems to get done and so smoothly. I’m also amazed at how much travelling is involved – someone always seems to be jetting off somewhere exotic to a conference!
What does your day-to-day job involve?
The first and foremost thing that I do in my day is to check the info box and reply to any emails. This is the main email address for Channel View/Multilingual Matters and so it can receive a variety of emails from people all over the world. The most common emails that I receive are from lecturers requesting inspection copies of books to review for courses that they are running. In this case I check the information that they have sent and arrange for the inspection copy to be sent out to them. Other emails range from queries from prospective authors, people asking to be added to our mailing list, questions about the website and order enquiries. Once I have seen to these, I move on to another task, which can vary depending on what is needed at the time. Examples of what I get up to include completing the CIP data (the bibliographic record created by the Library of Congress for a book prior to its publication) for books that are in production, adding contacts to our database, confirming orders that people have placed online and putting together contracts for authors/editors.
What’s your favourite part of the internship?
Perhaps my favourite thing is that I always seem to be learning and taking on new tasks. Even when responding to emails in the info box, the variety of requests and queries means that there’s often something I haven’t come across before! I especially appreciate being given more responsibility as time goes on, and getting an insight into everyone’s roles and how it all comes together.
Do you prefer ebooks or print books? What are you reading at the moment?
I definitely prefer print books – getting a used book out of the library is the best. At the moment I’m reading ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’ by Haruki Murakami – I find his writing style to be very unique and really enjoy all of his books.
What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?
I grew up in Dorset, going on walks with my parents and spending time by the sea, so I spend a lot of my time outdoors. This naturally fits in with my love of exploring and travelling – I’m always trying to get away to new places and see new things. When I’m not outside I am very happy to be spending my time cooking, seeing friends, felting, reading or doing yoga. I also work part time at a small pub, which is fun and sociable!