Cluttered into an attic at the top of several flights of stairs, Luath Press, located only a couple of doors short of Edinburgh Castle, represents a small but impressive publishing house. Luath Press publishes a wide variety of books, including, but not limited to, poetry, travel, fiction, and history. During my time there, with the approaching Scottish referendum looming large on the horizon, they were particularly focuses on their political line.
Their tiny but bustling office frequently plays host to a large number of people over the course of the day – part time staff, interns, deliverymen, authors, and others all hurry in and out of the building. Despite all the apparent chaos, things still manage to get done, and beneath all the hectic hurrying lies a cool determination that allows the staff of Luath Press to pull everything together in the end. Indeed, in my two short weeks there, four books were launched in association with Tradfest, and I watched a number of books continually develop before my eyes.
On my first day in the office the owner, Gavin MacDougall, presented both me and the other intern, Emily, with an extensive checklist of tasks to attempt to complete over the course of my placement. Some of the things I was able to complete included creating AI sheets, press releases, blurbs, and evaluating manuscripts. The staff were so friendly and helpful, and so patient with my frequent questions, that my nerves quickly faded as I fell into the fast pace of the office. I quickly learned to keep a checklist by my elbow at all times, and to multi-task as was required. There was also a handy list on the shared server, updated frequently by the full-time members of staff, of things they needed doing if they hadn’t given us something specifically. Besides my checklist, my other constant companion was a nice cup of tea, which, to dismiss the stereotype of the internship experience, I was not requested to make once, but was offered frequently! I always found myself at the end of the day surprised by what I had accomplished, and what a wide
variety of tasks I had managed to work on.
My placement at Luath Press was a great experience, with the friendly staff creating a welcoming environment that allowed me to try things I had no previous experience with, and to gain confidence in a number of areas. It really demonstrated how an actual publishing house functions day-to-day, and put into perspective the theory aspects I had learned through the MSc Publishing course. It was a pleasure to be there!