Ball launches remote work placements to tackle diversity

Ball launches remote work placements to tackle diversity

Publishing consultancy Speckled Pen is launching a remote work experience placement scheme aimed at encouraging diversity in publishing.

The London-based firm specialises in children’s Intellectual Property and provides bespoke services to publishers, licence and brand owners, and agents and authors to help them to develop their book brands.

Its Speckled Pen Pal scheme enables work experience candidates to work remotely to generate children’s book concepts. Founder Karen Ball (pictured) said: “In my field, and as a start-up company, there’s no reason why people need to find expensive accommodation in London in order to work with Speckled Pen. All I ask is that each individual has a passion for children’s books, a good internet connection and skype.”

The first two Speckled Pen Pals are Aa’Ishah Z Hawton, who is also working alongside Ruth Bennett of Stripes Publishing on its anthology of writing by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) authors A Change is Gonna Come; and Fiona Zechmeister, a graduate of Derby University’s Publishing MA. They will work with Ball to brainstorm, test ideas, build concepts and write storylines. They will be paid £50 a week and the placements last for two weeks.

Ball told The Bookseller: “There are a lot of people talking about increasing diversity in publishing and not doing much about it. I was thinking about proactive things I could do to improve that and this seemed like a win-win solution: I get talented young people who are passionate about children’s books working with me, and they get insight into an interesting part of the industry.”

She also highlighted the benefits of working remotely in terms of increasing regional diversity in publishing, adding: “The publishing community should be making a concerted effort to step outside London and engage with talent around the country.” Ball plans to keep running the Speckled Pen Pal scheme on a rolling basis.