Admittedly, the first thing I noticed as I reached the Hodder Gibson office, was the police tape winking in the early morning sunlight. The Managing Director was jolly however. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said brightly. ‘Probably just another fight or murder or something last night. Welcome to Paisley.’
Once inside however, the Hodder Gibson office is a haven of tranquility. As for the staff, it would be difficult to imagine three lovelier people working alongside each other. Tea was made immediately, and offered thereafter without restraint. This was definitely my kind of working environment.
I was quickly set to work, checking the proofs of How to Pass National 5 Art, which had recently come back from the printers, against the original corrections. The main task was also to improve the formatting of the images to make sure they were as big and bold as possible for a vibrant and dynamic look.
Over the course of my placement I was given a range of diverse experience. This included: writing copy-editing and proof-reading briefs, copy editing covers, editing data bases of author contact details, working with author contracts, and compiling what felt like the world’s largest data base of Scottish and UK media contacts for advertising purposes.
I quickly remembered that educational publishing stretched to subjects I had given up after GCSE! Tracing areas on ordnance survey maps for a Geography text book and following co-ordinances was one challenge that led me to access skills I had not used in a long time.
The staff took a lot of time with me. Everyday there were new lessons: budgets, sales, estimates, moving annual totals, how to forecast print run; in fact I learned more than I thought possible in ten days in a busy office. It was also very interesting to hear the history of the company, how it started, and how it had evolved to become what it is today.
One of the most exciting parts was sitting in on a meeting with the Creative Directors of Clyde Radio to discuss a potential voice advertisement. Hodder Gibson have just won the SQA past paper tender and are keen to create as much of a buzz around this as possible. The meeting involved discussing the prices of different celebrity voice overs and what music to play in the ad. All very exciting.
Other highlights include the MD, John, buying us lunch at his favourite pub in Paisley, and giving us a detailed account of its very ‘colourful’ history. My thanks go to the staff at Hodder Gibson for all their support, time and patience and for making the placement such an enjoyable and invaluable experience.
Images by permission of Hodder Gibson