I recently undertook my MSc Publishing placement with the Glasgow based publishing company Kennedy and Boyd, an imprint of Zeticula. This, however, was a work placement with a difference as unlike most of my MSc Publishing colleagues, I would be working for Kennedy and Boyd from home.
Whilst avoiding the potential pitfalls of endless filing, photocopying and tea-making, working from home came with its own set of (procrastination related) challenges. However, my resolve remained strong as I managed to step away from the kettle, keep the TV switched off and Indesign switched on.
I was delighted, and a little nervous, about being given sole responsibility for the marketing of one of Kennedy and Boyd’s forthcoming publications, Collected Stories and Sketches – the complete short stories, essays and sketches of R.B. Cunninghame Graham. This involved working on a wide variety of jobs including designing web pages, making AI sheets and designing front covers for each of the five volumes of Collected Stories and Sketches. I was also tasked with researching potential promotional opportunities for this new publication (keep an eye out for volume one in the Spring 2011 issue of The Bottle Imp, the ASLS’s bi-annual e-zine).
Industry experience is undoubtedly invaluable for anyone considering a career in publishing. As well as consolidating and expanding the skills learnt on the MSc Publishing course, working for Kennedy and Boyd brought home a few truths about working in the publishing industry in the middle of an economic downturn that cannot be fully appreciated through academic study alone. Time really is money, and with tight budgets and schedules to adhere to there is little room for sentimentality. This did much to alter my rather idealistic view of the industry – sitting up in the ivory towers of Craighouse, austerity Britain seems like a world away – and I now feel far more prepared to embark upon my career in publishing.