My Luath Placement

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A snippet view from the window above my desk.

After my hike up the Royal Mile, and more stairs than my legs are used to, I was greeted at the door by fellow Napier student, Jules. After waiting for the arrival of the second intern — another fellow alumnus from Glasgow University — we were introduced to Luath’s director, Gavin MacDougall. Gavin gave us a synopsis of Luath’s history and development, and an overview of the publishing process. We were then issued with a checklist for a number of tasks that could arise during our time with Luath. This checklist was the foundation of my placement, and allowed me to shape my own experience, and enhance my editorial portfolio. We were then allocated a desk and provided with a guide that was created by a previous intern, which proved incredibly useful for navigating the shared drive. I was then quickly given documents for proofreading and so, in keeping with Luath’s fast paced operations, my workload began almost immediately.

From reading previous blog posts I knew I wouldn’t just be photocopying and making coffee runs but playing an active role in live projects — however, I hadn’t anticipated to what extent! At the beginning of the week Gavin issued me with a manuscript by an author due to come in for a meeting on the Friday. On previous work experience I had attended meetings, but my level of participation had never surpassed the role of whiteboard-scribe. The Friday meeting consisted of only Gavin, myself and the author. This opportunity gave me a better understanding of the texts that Luath seeks to publish, and an appreciation for their audience. It gave me the chance to offer my own thoughts on the manuscript, in terms of writing style, plot and characterisation, directly to the author.

Due to Luath’s relatively small size, I was involved with a number of departments outside of editorial. I created AI sheets, cover designs, postcards, press releases and spreadsheets. I had produced prototypes of these documents whilst at Edinburgh Napier, which gave me very useful background knowledge, but the opportunity to create these for ‘real-life’ books, gave me great practice. Given the hands-on attitude required to work at Luath, I spent a couple of days with a Luath freelancer, Jennie; working remotely in her bookshop — a quick jaunt past the Grassmarket. We worked together to organise a series of Fringe Events, contacting people of interest to talk on a number of issues. This gave me insight into the practicalities of events management, of which I had no previous experience.

My two weeks with Luath showed me first-hand the lively and dynamic operations of an indie press, which gave me the perfect opportunity to put into practice all that I had learnt at Napier. I was introduced to a range of software, skills and people I was totally unfamiliar with, which has given me great confidence for entering the publishing industry. I am incredibly grateful to the Luath team for their patience and support, and for providing me with such an incredibly learning opportunity!

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Author: ruthnicolson

I am a book fanatic with a frightening caffeine addiction. I did my undergraduate degree in English Literature, in my hometown, at the University of Glasgow, escaping for a year to Illinois. Not much makes me happier than a good book, and so after graduation I hope to again venture abroad and work for a literary fiction publisher.

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