Every Thursday morning over the last three months I have stood alongside commuters, travellers and Scotrail staff on platform 15 at Waverley Station, waiting for the eight o’clock train to Glasgow. Once there, I would hurry across windy George Square and make my way to the office that Freight Books shares with its sister company Freight Design at 49/53 Virginia Street. Freight Books is a young indie publisher – only established as a business on its own in 2011 – with a backlist of eight titles and a number of novels, short story collections and poetry titles on its 2013 front list. However, Freight is probably best known in the literary scene for its biannual publication Gutter, a journal for new Scottish writing, which is edited by head publisher and director Adrian Searle.
I wanted to experience the publishing workplace at Freight because of the strong emphasis that the company puts on both beautiful design and editorial excellence, and also because I like the authors they publish. My main aim regarding the placement was to gain insight into a great range of publishing activity, and because Freight is a small press it was easy to get to know the publishing workflow through the variety of tasks that I came across here. Even though I was only in the office one day per week I could get a feel for the everyday business in a publishing house and follow the various steps towards the production of a book from manuscript submission to final cover design and promotional campaign. I got to experience that everyday promises new experiences and new challenges in a small place like Freight –‘monotony’ is definitely not part of the job description! One day I was reading a futuristic novel of a Glaswegian debut writer while on other days I was asked to research into a magazine column at the NLS or compile a database of independent bookshops in Scotland.
Next to offering me a fascinating, hands-on experience of several different areas of the publishing profession, my placement at Freight has helped me to gain skills and develop the proficiency and confidence needed in today’s publishing industry. If you want to know more about Freight Books visit their website: http://www.freightbooks.co.uk/ or follow them on twitter @FreightBooks