The process of getting published is often clouded in mystery, and for aspiring authors, it can be especially difficult to find out exactly what landing a book deal entails. To demystify the process and dive deep into the inner workings of the publishing world, Women Who invited two trailblazing women in the industry, literary agent Emma Paterson (of Rogers, Coleridge & White, one of the top literary agencies in the UK), and publishing powerhouse Sharmaine Lovegrove (head of Dialogue Books and former Literary Editor at Elle UK) to walk us through everything – from how to go about getting an agent, to understanding what editors and publishers are looking for, and how to get started if you chose to go the self-publishing route. It was a conversation filled with practical advice and inspiration to get you started.
These days in order for brands to stand out, they need to do more than just sell a product or service to customers, and the smartest businesses are recognising the importance of cultivating online and IRL communities. Women Who brought together three women who know first-hand what it takes not only to build a brand, but to build an engaged community around it. Nazifa Movsoumova (founder of Modern Society), freelance journalist Ellen Atlanta (former Comms and Community Manager at WAH London) and brands and communications specialist Malin Persson (former global brand developer at GLUG) candidly shared their tips, tricks and insights on the importance of fostering a meaningful community around your brand, how to do it via social media and IRL experiences, and the power of forging a voice that truly resonates with your customers.
Thank you to the wonderful Ace Hotel for hosting us. Here are a few photos from the evening below – enjoy!
Women Who took over the beautiful Spring Studios to bring together three influential women working in the fashion industry for an insightful discussion. Panelists Alice Casely-Hayford (fashion editor at Refinery29), Forbes 30 Under 30 alumna Georgina Harding (co-founder of lifestyle e-commerce platform Semaine), and Holly Swayne (fashion features editor at Farfetch) shared their thoughts on the business of fashion, the future of the industry as it relates to sustainability, and how to get your foot in the door – even as a freelancer. From tips on how to build a brand from the ground up, to the importance of e–commerce and traditional retail working together to create a unique customer experience, we covered everything about the inner workings of the industry and the pressing questions about its future.
We're on the hunt for a talented freelance graphic/web designer to work with us on an ad hoc (and ongoing) basis, creating beautiful visuals and graphics for the Women Who community. You’ll be familiar with the existing Women Who branding and aesthetic, and have strong ideas on how to further elevate it.
- Creating digital assets e.g. social media graphics, GIFs, newsletter templates, event flyers etc.
- Strong art direction skills.
- Solid knowledge of Squarespace, and able to create custom Mailchimp templates.
- Capable of working with/creating Keynote assets.
- Photography skills an advantage, but not essential.
Thursday 14th June
w/c 25th June
Start of July
To apply for the position please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your CV/portfolio/link to your personal website and details of your day rate, using the subject Designer Application.
Interviews will take place in London or via Skype. As this job will be on an ad hoc basis/involve remote working, applicants need not be London-based, but must be able to make occasional in-person catch-ups in London.
This article was originally published on It's Nice That.
I’ll be honest: when I initially wrote and self-published Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women just under a year ago, I had no idea what I was doing. Surrounded by DIY zine culture, and looking for a way to make Women Who – the creative community I was about to launch – stand out, playing to my strengths by writing something seemed like the obvious thing to do. So I did, creating a travel-sized career guide for working women with an initial print run of 250 copies, which to my astonishment sold out in two days. Fears of being left with piles of unsold books abated, I eventually produced another run – yet even when a kind stranger DM-ed me on Instagram saying she had a friend in publishing she thought I “ought to meet”, the penny didn’t drop that I was onto something.
Fast-forward a few months, and said friend is now my editor (Michelle Kane, publishing and PR director at 4th Estate), and I have the luxury of one of the world’s best publishing imprints in my corner. In something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, it feels like testament to the power of community – and social media – that my scrappy self-published endeavour landed me a proper book deal (and a new lick of paint in the process). For version 2.0, as well as adding a few additional chapters, I decided to cast my net a little wider when it came to advice. Contributors to the book now include fellow 4th Estate authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Anna Jones, as well as The Gentlewoman’s editor-in-chief Penny Martin and artist Quentin Jones (to name a few) – essentially a wish-list of women I’ve long admired from afar, and was lucky enough to persuade to share their career insights with me.
Over the past 12 months, Women Who has gone from a one-woman machine to… well, it’s still a one-woman machine, although the generosity and warmth of the community that’s sprung up around it often makes it feel like it’s much bigger than just me. Since it’s launch last July, I’ve hosted events and workshops with the likes of Kate Moross, Camille Walala, and Pip Jamieson, where we’ve covered everything from how to set your rates as a freelancer, to how to protect your creative work. I’ve thrown huge parties, such as the 170-strong International Women’s Day social I hosted with print designer Kelly Anna, and more intimate gatherings, like a recent ten-person field trip to the V&A Museum’s new Balenciaga retrospective. Hundreds of emails, conversations, late nights, book edits, and design tweaks later, here’s what I’ve learned about work, creativity, and making your ideas happen.
NOTHING WILL WORK UNLESS YOU DO (ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE SELF-EMPLOYED)
After a talk I gave about Women Who a while back, a woman in the audience asked me whether I’d encountered any common traits among the women I’ve met and worked with over the past year. I often think when people ask this question (or at least when I do) it’s in the vague hope of a Da Vinci-esque code that once cracked, will fast-track their careers and put them on the road to riches – but the truth is there is literally no secret route to success, besides working really bloody hard. The main trait the creative women I’ve met through Women Who have in common is simply that they’ve put in the hours – and not over a few days or weeks, but for months and years on end. Real sustained success doesn’t happen as a result of stunting on Instagram. In order to succeed, you need to do the work. Sorry about that!
NO WOMAN IS AN ISLAND
I’m very independent and tend to want to figure things out on my own, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. Recently, I was suffering from a serious mental block on an ostensibly simple task, and it had gotten to the point where I wasn’t able to focus on anything else because I was so obsessed with this one problem. Eventually I had the good sense to email a few friends to get their opinions, and ended up exchanging a few emails with one friend in particular. She didn’t deliver the answer on a plate per se, but our conversation gave me a fresh perspective on my problem that definitely led me there. My advice? Don’t be afraid to open up your creative process to others – you don’t always have to go it alone.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Every single time I’ve gone against my gut instinct when it comes to decision-making, I’ve regretted it. Your intuition is a powerful thing – don’t ignore it, ever.
REMEMBER YOUR VALUES
If you always endeavour to do the thing that you think is of genuine value to yourself and to others – whether creatively, professionally or socially – you can’t go wrong. For me, the politically explosive events of the past 18 months have highlighted just how important values are in a world that increasingly seems to be run by people who are devoid of any, and have reminded me of how indivisible wider social and political issues are from the day-to-day hustle of being a working woman.
This article was originally published on Guardian Careers.
When it comes to getting ahead at work, your ability to argue your corner and defend your ideas can be as important as the ideas themselves. Don’t let an inability to advocate for yourself be the reason your hard work and talent goes unappreciated. Here’s how to hold your own in any work scenario.
BUILD A BUSINESS CASE
Whether you’re suggesting a new social media strategy or hustling for a pay rise, put your commercial hat on and gather evidence that supports your point of view. This could range from effective strategies you have observed elsewhere or recent successes you’ve had at work. If you present an argument that’s backed up with relevant data – such as statistics or examples of quantifiable contributions you have made to the company – you will find it easier to convince people of your ideas.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Find out who the people you need to convince are and what their agendas might be. Put yourself in their shoes – is the person who has the final say in signing off on your idea trying to meet a target? Are they dealing with a sudden change in management? Or worried about the safety of their job? An obvious but often overlooked truth is that the success of your ideas will depend on your ability to understand other peoples’ needs. I started my career working in ad agencies, and every boss reiterated the importance of being aware of the environment in which our clients were operating.
On a related note: make sure you’re talking to the right person. If you are in a relatively junior position, there might be a few levels between you and the decision-makers in your company. If that’s the case, make it as easy as possible for whoever is acting as a go-between to sell your idea further up the chain. Put together a PowerPoint presentation or a case study, and try to pre-empt and address any pushback they might face. Make their life easier and they are more likely to look favourably on your idea.
MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
It’s all very well doing your homework and being prepared, but the way you present your ideas is almost as important as the ideas themselves. Whether you do it consciously or unwittingly, littering your sentences with caveats and apologies in an effort to seem more agreeable is a sure-fire way to undermine your credibility. Qualifiers like ‘I might be wrong on this but …’, or ‘… does that make sense?’ don’t scream confidence. The same goes for using the word “just” as a way to soften the impact of your words. Instead of saying ‘I just feel like’, say ‘I think’; instead of ‘I was just wondering …’ ask ‘Can you let me know?’. Notice the difference? Stop apologising for having the audacity to have an opinion.
A useful trick if you’re shy about speaking up in meetings is to “say something at the start, even if that’s simply a matter of joining in the pre-meeting small talk”, says Pilar Peace, creative director at ad agency Mother. Often, the longer a meeting goes on without you having said anything, the more pressure you feel to dazzle with whatever you do eventually say, which can make you clam up even more. So break the ice early on. It’s a figurative and literal throat-clearing, so the sound of your voice doesn’t come as a surprise, either to you or to the rest of the room. Try it – it’s a game-changer.