Work Placement at Luath Press

I recently completed a two-week internship for Luath Press, an independent publishing house on the Royal Mile. Committed to publishing well written books worth reading, Luath Press publishes across a variety of genres and topics. I had waited all year to secure a placement and was pleased to hear I was going to get the opportunity to spend time at Luath. I eagerly trekked through the pouring rain on my first day and arrived, breathless and drenched, ready to get to work. I’d spent the past year learning about publishing and it was time to see if my education had paid off.

After a brief introduction to the company by their director Gavin MacDougall, I was handed over to Louise Dickie, Publishing Manager and intern lead extraordinaire. She assigned me a variety of marketing and publicity tasks for my first week. I found this quite useful as I had not had much marketing experience in my previous jobs and was grateful for the chance to get some exposure to marketing from a publisher’s perspective. I designed a booklet that contained author and book information to be sent to festivals around Scotland and updated promotional materials for ScotlandsFest 2017.

I had a varied and comprehensive experience at Luath. Many of the tasks I was given I had only learned about but had never actually executed. I drafted blurbs for forthcoming publications, read through unsolicited manuscripts and had the opportunity to learn and use new software. I wrote an invitation letter to authors, updated information on AI sheets and helped edit a manuscript. Along the way, I was given valuable feedback from Louise and Jennie Renton, and was able to see what I was doing well and what areas I could improve.

My time at Luath was a rewarding experience. I was able to observe and participate in the day to day operations of a publishing company, and utilize the skills I had developed on my MSc publishing course. I welcomed every opportunity and task that came my way as it was a good chance to truly experience life in an independent press. Perhaps my greatest comfort was realizing that my time on the course was adequately preparing me to enter the world of publishing. Sure, I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’m pleased to know I’ve been given a good foundation.

I highly recommend a placement with Luath Press. The people are lovely, the views are great and the experience is invaluable.

Becoming a Publishing Postgrad: Advice for international and mature students on surviving a year abroad

I applied for this course last summer after years of considering a postgraduate degree in publishing. I specifically chose Edinburgh Napier University because I had researched the program and spoken with previous students about the course. It had been seven years since my undergrad and I was apprehensive about returning to higher education. I had crafted a comfortable life for myself and was hesitant to disturb it. But I was restless and I had always dreamed of living abroad and getting a master’s, so I summoned my courage, quit my job, and boarded a plane.

Pursuing a postgraduate degree is an ambition in itself. But pursuing a postgraduate degree as a mature student and one who’s moved thousands of miles away from home presents its own set of challenges. It’s doable and it’s a heck of a lot of fun, but you’ll run into some roadblocks along the way. If you’re a returning student, international student, or both, here are some tips and advice for how I survived my year on this course.

Find your friends. They’ll be your support. Go for drinks when asked. Get a coffee when asked. Find a society or a club and join it. I’d be lost here if it wasn’t for my friends. They become your family, your home away from home. You’ll be meeting loads of lovely people on this journey and your pals on the course will all be there at the front lines with you. Don’t let yourself feel alone.

Prepare for change. Seems like this should go without saying, but your life is going to change in so many ways when you come here. Explore your new surroundings, enjoy your new experiences, but don’t forget who you are and what makes you tick. Find ways to bridge the gap between your life now and the life you left behind. Do the things that make you feel like you or else you’ll end up feeling lost.

Get ready to be a student again. If you’ve been out of education for a while there’s a chance you’ll struggle with the transition back to full time study. I did. Classes and coursework will consume a great deal of your time but you’ll have to develop a structure or you’ll end up feeling a bit scattered. I wish I had pursued a part time job with a bit more gusto or had applied for earlier placements, as I think it would have helped me keep a better schedule.

Believe them when they say the year goes by fast. Make the absolute most of your time here. Seize the opportunities you can to gain experience while you’re on this course, because before you know it’ll all be over. This city has a lot to offer, so expose yourself to the publishing industry in Edinburgh as much as you can. Heed their advice and network, go to industry events and apply for placements.

This will be a challenging and stimulating year. It won’t always be easy but it will definitely be rewarding. This course prepares you for a career in publishing, but you’ll learn a lot of really practical and transferable skills as well. You might find it hard to adjust to student life, or to be so far away from home, but when you feel down just remember what you came here for. Keep working hard and keep pushing through because in the end it will have all been worth it.

Exploring New Perspectives: My Placement With the TMSA




Earlier this year I was fortunate to be offered a placement with the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA). While they are not a publishing company as such, they do publish a variety of books and song books in association with publishers such as The Hardie Press, an Edinburgh-based music publisher, and Collins.

During my placement I got the opportunity to work in a variety of different fields – I conducted extensive market research for the upcoming event calendar, drafted social media posts and press releases for the new “101 Songs – The Wee Red Book 2” DVD, edited the DVD booklet, and even translated promotional material that will be used to market the TMSA’s publications as well as the association itself on the European mainland.



However, one of the most interesting experiences was the co-operation with The Hardie Press, a small, but successful company that has been in business for over 30 years.

Thanks to the great number of guest speakers who visited Edinburgh Napier University and the numerous publishing events I attended during my time in Scotland, I got a fairly good grasp of how most modern publishing companies operate, what their priorities are and how they choose their content.

Some of it can be quite daunting – for example the fact that quite a few publishers seem more interested in an author’s ability to build an author platform, engage with an audience or, to be brutally honest, their physical appearance (all of which has been mentioned on multiple occasions), rather than the actual content of their work.

While I understand these publishers’ rationale and am aware that the publishing industry is a commercial business – whether they want to admit it or not – I fear that this attitude will mute the voices of people who have important and beautiful things to say, but are unable to meet the aforementioned criteria due to mental or physical disabilities, an unwillingness to bare their lives on social media (which has been proven to have a negative effect on a great number of people’s mental health), or their inability to meet popular beauty standards.

It was therefore quite refreshing to work with a publisher who operates on a more traditional basis. The Hardie Press has no social media presence, maintains a very straightforward website and their decisions are rarely based on market research. While I am aware that this may not always turn out as well as it did for The Hardie Press, it is encouraging to think that a combination of the two may be feasible. The Hardie Press are currently attempting to bridge that gap.


Logo 2 red

It was one of my tasks to advise them on how to build a social media presence and improve their website. For this I designed a number of new logos for the company and even created a potential new website layout, which was a most educational and interesting task.
It will be exciting to observe how the company develops and I am glad I got the opportunity to be a part of the project.

I would like to thank my placement supervisor, Fiona Campbell, and everyone at The Hardie Press for making this placement a wonderful and instructive experience.

Immersion in the World of Publishing Rights & Contracts at Canongate


In May and June I was given the fantastic opportunity to complete a work placement at one of Scotland’s most successful and exciting publishing houses – the fiercely independent Canongate.

During the internship, I worked in the Rights & Contracts department. Rights is an area of publishing I am already interested in, so I was keen to develop practical skills to add to the basic theoretical knowledge I had gained beforehand.

My placement started with a meeting with Caroline, Senior Rights Executive, and Pauline, Rights Assistant. After offering me a tour through the various departments and introducing me to the staff, they gave me an overview of what I would be learning during my time at Canongate and answered all my questions about rights in general, and my internship in particular.


Over the few weeks I spent at Canongate I undertook a variety of tasks, including logging royalty statements, processing foreign editions, sourcing book reviews, and much more. Under Pauline’s supervision, I was trained in Biblio and learnt in detail about contracts.

It was a pleasure to go through Canongate’s bright red door every day and work within such a committed and dynamic team, surrounded with the many foreign editions of their titles overflowing on the shelves, and sometimes distracted by Office Dog Sylvie. The Rights department at Canongate is a key part of the company – there is great emphasis placed on selling rights internationally and indeed, they have built a strong reputation from doing so. I could definitely sense that I was part of a hugely committed and skilled team, passionate about bringing Canongate’s titles to an international audience.

Some highlights of my placement? I was fortunate enough to be in the office for the celebration of the launch of their new website, which was an exciting moment. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to attend rights meetings and hear all about new acquisitions, submissions and deals pending – this allowed me to gain an insight into the strategies involved. Finally, prior to the placement, sitting with Caroline during one of her meetings at the London Book Fair and learning about how she plans her pitches was particularly informative.

This internship has helped me solidify my understanding of publishing rights and contracts, and gave me valuable hands on experience in the world of rights. I’ve become more familiar with some of the administrative duties involved in a rights department, while also gaining awareness of foreign publishing markets as well as a taste of how a successful team works together to sell sub-rights.

The team were great, very friendly and supportive; I would like to thank Caroline, Pauline and Andrea for such a fantastic learning experience! ♦

You can follow Canongate’s Rights department.
Sylvie sporadically appears on @canongatebooks

Alice F.

Nielsen Seminar comes to Scotland!

Nielsen Book is hosting a Publishing Seminar in Edinburgh at Edinburgh Napier’s Craiglockhart Campus.

Working with Publishing Scotland, MSc Publishing is delighted to host this event and to support our students and publishers by sponsoring free places.

Nielsen is a leading global information & measurement company, providing market research, insights and data about what people watch, listen to & buy. They are an essential part of the publishing industry. (@nielsenbook)

This is a must attend event for any publisher who wants to learn more about Nielsen’s services and how they can help ensure your books are widely available and easy to discover!

View the agenda here:

This is a ‘Free Event’, but you do need to book in advance to reserve your place as space is limited.

A light lunch will be provided for delegates.

We are delighted to host this event – the first of its kind in Scotland!


Editorial at JPAAP

I started my first day with JPAAP without any clear idea of what goes on behind the curtains of academic publishing. I will shamefully admit to having been too tempted by the glamourous fiction market to have spent much time thinking about academia.

All I knew was that I was going to be working in the editorial team as a proofreader/copyeditor on their next issue. So, on my first day I took the lift up to the seventh floor feeling slightly intimidated by the thought of being a not-even-graduated student having to proofread the works of wise old men.


Kirsteen met me and my fellow student on placement and gave us a brief but thorough introduction on the project, introduced us to the staff and showed us where the tea and cookies could be found.

The next issue’s topic was Student Transitions, such as: transition between different levels of education, in to education and out of it, as well as international transitions, and the challenges these transitions bring. Safe to say it is a topic I am familiar with and have opinions on; making the editorial process interesting and interactive, both as a student reading and as an copyeditor. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a variation of papers, from theory based articles to opinion pieces and ‘On the Horizon’ papers, which report on emerging projects and emerging work.

I also got a small taste of html and Dreamweaver before I finished, something I’ve worked with before, but definitely needed a little reminder of.

Not only has the placement helped me enhance my skills in editorial, it has also given me a confidence boost for when I start looking at my dissertation’s bibliography. When I sit down to work on my own reference list and bibliography, I will be chanting: Even professors make mistakes!

Thank you to Kirsteen Wright for making me feel so welcome and for the chocolates I got on my last day! (They were delicious!)



You can find the issue here on JPAAP’s webpage.

Tonje H.

Twitter: @tonjehefte
Instagram: tihefte

My Placement with JPAAP

PrintFor the last few weeks I have been on placement with JPAAP – the Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, based at Edinburgh Napier’s Sighthill campus – which “aims to provide a supportive publishing outlet to allow established and particularly new authors to contribute to the scholarly discourse of academic practice.” The online journal publishes several issues a year, and the May/June issue I worked on had a special focus on student transitions, discussing topics such as: transitions from high school, college, or full-time work to university; from undergraduate to postgraduate studies; from overseas education systems to UK higher education; and the re-adjustment faced by students returning to university degrees after mandatory long-term work placements or internships.

I have long had an interest in academic publishing, which, together with my desire to focus on my editorial skills this year, meant I was delighted to secure the placement with JPAAP, but without knowing exactly what to expect. It proved to be an excellent learning experience however, providing first-hand industry experience, considerable editorial practice, a lot of learning and a great environment to work in. Journal Manager Kirsteen Wright was extremely supportive and made sure myself and the other intern were made welcome, and always felt challenged by the work but never overwhelmed.

My main responsibilities included proofreading and copyediting articles submitted to the journal, as well as dealing with layout and formatting to help get them ready for publication in both pdf and html formats. I also helped out with some administrative tasks, such as conducting surveys and emailing contributors and reviewers, and also sat in on Kirsteen’s Skype meeting with students looking for information on how to set up their own academic journal. Armed with templates and house style guidelines, I worked extensively on Microsoft Word, Excel and Adobe Acrobat, which I was already familiar with, and also did a lot of html coding on Dreamweaver, which was not something I had used previously but was great to get experience with. Kirsteen also introduced us to OJS, the Open Journal Systems that JPAAP uses to organise and publish its content, and showed us how to work and navigate it.

My placement with JPAAP gave me a chance to develop my editorial skills and offered an excellent overall grounding in the processes behind academic publishing; it was also fascinating to get a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the sort of journals that I have used to inform my thinking and coursework at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Not only did I learn a lot but it was also a genuinely nice environment to work in, so many thanks to Kirsteen for making us feel so welcome and giving us chocolates on the last day! I would highly recommend a work placement with JPAAP to anyone interested in academic publishing or editorial work in general.