NO COFFEE-MAKING SKILLS REQUIRED
Why you should always intern at a small independent publishing house.
My placement at Vagabond Voices was filled with opportunities and a fantastic way for me to learn, what in reality it is like working in a publishing house. Working as a Sales and Marketing assistant, my job was mainly to publicise the launch parties of the company, sell books and think of interesting ways to promote titles and authors. I had the opportunity to meet Scottish celebrities, was invited to gigs and was networking with some fantastic authors and interesting people weekly!
This role was particularly interesting as it allowed me to be creative and really harness my ideas about promotion and how to get the word out about specific titles. By far the highlight of my experience working for Vagabond Voices was when one of my creative ideas was put into practice and became one of this publishing houses’ most influential marketing campaigns for one of their biggest names Chris Dolan.
Chris Dolan is a well-regarded name in the Glaswegian writing community. Having written for TV series such as River City and Taggart, Dolan decided to tackle crime for his second novel Potter’s Field. This gritty drama begins with the bodies of two youths being found amongst the cherry blossom in Kelvingrove Park. With a stark contrast of beauty and the grimy underbelly Glasgow harbours, Dolan explores a city he clearly knows well touching on its brutality and corruption.
With such an interesting novel to work with, I had the idea to expand on the disturbing setting of the crime scene in the novel and promote Dolan’s story in the actual park. I contacted Glasgow City Council for the necessary permissions to work in Kelvingrove and had the idea to chalk out the outlines of the bodies found there, to shock and intrigue passers-by.
With help from the author this idea grew with a song that Dolan wrote himself dedicated to the main character, Maddy’s Theme (he is certainly a multitalented individual). We therefore decided to use this opportunity in the park to take images and create essentially a promotional film for the book that we could share and expand upon during our marketing campaign.
Using social media, we tracked everything we were doing, publishing it for the world to see. This guerrilla style marketing campaign generated a lot of media attention and allowed people to get involved with the book and find out about this great author. People love to read about places that they know well, and the local residents of Glasgow’s West End were interested to explore this gritty novel set at their doorstep.
It was all in all a fantastic experience and showed what a massive impact one idea can have when people band together to make it happen. It also showed me the influence and freedom you can have in a small publishing house. I felt like my time at Vagabond Voices made an impact to the brand and author in a way I’m unsure I would have had in a larger company. There was no photocopying or coffee making involved at all!