MSc Publishing & the Napier Big Read

DID YOU KNOW…?

MSc Publishing spearheads the #NapierBigRead!

A group of dedicated Publishing students work with their Programme Leader to share the joy of reading! Their aim is to connect staff and students at Edinburgh Napier University through the shared experience of reading a book. This year we’ve asked everyone to vote on the next #NapierBigRead!

The #NapierBigRead Shortlist!
  1. Dark Star – Lorna Moon
  2. Olalla – Robert Louis Stevenson
  3. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
  4. The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan
Which one will you vote for?
We invite all students and staff across all our campuses to VOTE for our next #NapierBigRead!

Voting stations are on each campus, with our #NapierBigRead team on hand – on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – to answer any questions.

We launched the 4 shortlisted titles during Book Week Scotland and our election campaign is on NOW!

There is still time to vote. (Vote as many times as you like!)

Your vote counts! Please VOTE!

#BigReadBigVote

Books for Schools Initiative: Craigroyston Primary School

Last Monday, our group had the exciting opportunity to provide new titles to Craigroyston Primary School for our Books for Schools Initiative.

Craigroyston is known for encouraging their pupils to enhance their literacy skills, and supply this initiative by participating in book festivals all year-round. Such events include the Edinburgh International Book Festival, World Book Day, and Book Week Scotland. The age of their pupils ranges from four to twelve, with those in Primary 7 receiving a book of their choice upon leaving.

In 2017, the Deputy Minister and Education Secretary of Scotland, John Swinney, described the school as: ‘A shining example of innovative practice for how we take forward our literacy agenda.’

Craigroyston is situated in Muirhouse, an area of Edinburgh currently in redevelopment after a 2016 report revealed it to be the sixth most deprived ‘datazone’. That hasn’t stopped … Continue reading “Books for Schools Initiative: Craigroyston Primary School”

MSc Publishing: A Year in Review

As I’m drawing to the end of my publishing degree I can’t help but look back at all the things I’ve learned.  I came into this degree confident that I knew everything about this industry. I truly felt that I wouldn’t be starting from nothing and instead would be building on knowledge I already had. I mean how hard can it be to make books? As it turns out there’s a lot more to publishing than meets the page and there have been some serious highlights throughout this course.

One of the most interesting highlights of the course was the 2019 London Book Fair in March. This was a fantastic opportunity to see the publishing industry at its finest.  Not only were we given the platform to network with some of the biggest publishers, it was also an opportunity to listen to some deeply interesting panels about current issues facing the industry… Continue reading “MSc Publishing: A Year in Review”

Storytelling in Action at Luath Press

During my placement at Luath Press, I had the opportunity to test my publishing knowledge in a fast-paced office setting, and to feel that I made significant contributions to the company’s publishing process. From assessing and cataloguing newly submitted manuscripts, to designing covers, to preparing final proofs for print, I was able to take part in a very wide variety of tasks, and I feel that I have learnt a great deal.

In my first week, I had the opportunity to devise a marketing plan and to draft cover ideas for a series of artbooks by photographer Alex Boyd. This I enjoyed a lot, since it challenged me to use my Creative Suite skills in a practical setting. Returning to Luath a few weeks later, I was pleased to discover that my idea to market Boyd’s three forthcoming books
in a visually similar manner had been carried through.

In both weeks I also carried out a degree of research and social media planning and built a database of publicity contacts for in-house use. I was shown the ins and outs of ONIX software and learnt about mail systems and newsletter distribution, things which had only been touched upon in the classroom. I also discovered quite a lot about the process of organising ePub files for print and ensuring authors remained happy with any proposed layouts (not always an easy task!).

Out of all the tasks I undertook, what I took the most pride in was the opportunity to use my editorial skills in assessing newly submitted manuscripts… Continue reading “Storytelling in Action at Luath Press”

For the Love of Magazines

I’ve always loved magazines. Sport, lifestyle, fashion, indie, trashy, whatever – if it’s printed on glossy paper, I’m pretty much guaranteed to read it. Before I’d finished high school, I’d even considered studying journalism. Magazines have been on my radar for a while, but once my opportunity to be a writer passed, I had kind of dismissed a career within the magazine industry altogether. Fast forward a few years and I found myself on the MSc Publishing course, considering a career within my other passion: books. However, I could never pin-point quite what I wanted to do with a career in book publishing. Editing? No chance. Sales? I know I can sell things, but I don’t exactly enjoy it. Nothing within book publishing was really igniting a spark. In our second semester, we were given the opportunity to produce our own product; a book or a magazine. I, of course, chose a magazine. Kudos has to be given to Nikki Simpson here – her unfaltering enthusiasm and adoration of magazines totally rubbed off on me and gave me the confidence boost I needed, I think!

I loved the whole process of creating my magazine – deciding on a focus, finding interviewees, sourcing photos (which would eventually come in handy for my placement!), designing a layout, writing features – I loved it all. I took full creative control and decided to do everything myself. My magazine isn’t the best magazine ever printed, but what it did was help me decide – finally! – that I wanted to pursue a career in the magazine industry. Editing a magazine is a lot less taxing and a whole lot more enjoyable than editing a manuscript.

When it came to choosing a placement, I had quite a difficult time. I didn’t have the confidence to approach a magazine publisher myself, so I spent a lot of time waiting around hoping for one to come up. In the end, I ended up applying for mainly book publishers, and was lucky enough to get a place with one of them. But, as such things happen, the programme then advertised a placement with a magazine publisher! 24 hours later, I was sitting in the office with Sue Hitchen, an absolute superwoman and managing director of The Media Company. The Media Company publishes a monthly food magazine, Foodies, and the annual Edinburgh Festivals magazine, as well as organising Foodies festivals in several cities across the UK … Continue reading “For the Love of Magazines”

Nine Days at Luath Press

Walking up the Royal Mile on the first morning of my placement at Luath Press, I had a dreadful feeling that I’d forgotten everything I know about publishing. Would I have to bluff my way through the next two weeks? Would I be exposed as a clueless fraud? Turns out I didn’t need to worry…

The first thing I learnt was how unfit I am, and after walking up what felt like hundreds of stairs, I found myself sitting breathless in Luath’s office, learning all about the company’s history from director Gavin MacDougall. It was a relief to find another student starting work experience at the same time, and we were each given a very helpful checklist of tasks we were likely to complete during our time. As Luath host work placements regularly, they were well prepared, and reading through the list I was excited to complete a range of marketing, publicity, and editorial tasks.

DSC_0706
A sunny walk up to Luath

During my nine days at Luath, I got the opportunity to see how a small team work so hard on multiple books at once. Everyone always seemed so busy, and there was always work to be done. I had the chance to work on so much, from drafting marketing plans, AI sheets and press releases, to putting together a newsletter, to creating events posters and invites. Some of this felt familiar to me, and some of this was completely new, but with access to the shared drive, featuring Luath’s super extensive Wiki, and templates for pretty much everything, getting down to work was made fast and easy. The feeling that I would be out of my depth soon faded.

Of course, there were challenges – they’re part of the experience. … Continue reading “Nine Days at Luath Press”

Publishing Others

You’re going to need a bit of backstory to get through this post.

When I was fifteen years old, I was selected to be in a “young writers” program back in Spain. This program taught us, kids from ages 9 to 20, a series of writing techniques and an introduction to poetry and all the necessary tools to one day become writers. The lessons were taught by some brilliant authors like Fernando Iwasaki, Pablo García Casado, Eduardo García and Rosa Montero, who made us write stuff and then read it aloud in class. That’s how I got to know what my friends were writing, and how many different voices fit in a classroom. The Andalusian School for Young New Writers made me realize that although I liked writing, what I really wanted was to get those voices to the public. And thus, when the journalists came to air a piece on us, I claimed on national TV that what I truly wanted was to be an editor and to publish all the people who deserved to be heard.

That philosophy has stayed with me and it’s what made me start this MSc in Publishing. After all the lessons and seminars and different events, I can understand a lot better how publishing works and how marketing, design, editorial and all other components are parts of a whole: an industry that makes money out of IP and that has strategy and numbers and an awful amount of both math and uncertainty of what the future brings. But underneath all that I saw echoed what my fifteen-year-old self thought publishing was – how what truly matters, in the end, is to bring stories and voices to people everywhere. Continue reading “Publishing Others”