1 What's your company called?
Alysoun Owen Consulting.
2 What services or products do you offer?
We are a publishing consultancy, offering strategic advice alongside hands-on project management, most notably for large-scale and digital projects. My background is commissioning and digital development. I am adept at translating business needs into high level briefs for technical teams. We have two full-time members of staff and a network of specialist associates for editorial, design, data, IT, marketing and sales. We like solving publishing problems and getting things done efficiently and cost effectively. We are acknowledged to be speedy trouble-fixers when projects have gone awry.
3 How can you help IPG members?
We can support IPG members by helping out when things might be going awry, or if additional resource is required at short notice; by setting up new projects, systems and creating documentation; and by training in-house staff in how to run successful projects. We are particularly interested in supporting large and long-term projects and working closely with internal teams.
Look at our website
to see the full range of services we offer and who we have worked with. In addition to regular clients including Oxford University Press and Bloomsbury, in the last year we have worked with Faber & Faber and Springer Nature. Other recent clients include Class, Pearson and the Institute of Physics.
4 What do you enjoy about working in publishing?
I love the variety: the range of projects and roles we take on and the publishers we work with. The aim of most projects is the same: finding out what the market wants or needs, delivering it successfully and making money at the same time. That’s a challenge, but it drives me to think of new and better ways to achieve those things. I enjoy mixing creativity with common sense and business acumen. A particular skill of ours is turning a business or publishing requirement into a technical brief whilst working to a tight budget. I still manage to do some commissioning and writing, and I enjoy managing my own company and the flexibility that provides.
5 What do you think is the single biggest opportunity and the single biggest threat for independent publishers right now?
The biggest opportunity is looking beyond the book. Many publishers are already doing this effectively by providing services and experiences to readers well beyond the standard print, ebook and audio products. I’m involved in this with Writers’ & Artists,’ which offers great print products but also events, a community website, advice (free and paid-for), subscriptions and partnerships with relevant organisations, and we are looking at how to extend and develop the brand over the next five to ten years. It’s been going for more than 100 years already, so it’s a great property to be associated with.
The main threat is the industry’s inability to innovate quickly enough, to take enough risks and to invest in new ways of doing things. As a consultant, I’m in the privileged position of seeing how processes, structures and managing projects could be improved, and how one company might learn from what another has implemented. I’m always on the lookout for best practice. I learn a lot from my clients too, and enjoy applying the lessons learned over many years for other clients’ benefit.
6 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
The collegiate nature of the IPG and the opportunities it provides to network and learn is invaluable. I really enjoy the conferences: both the practical advice and inspirational talks from the wide variety of speakers.