“We’d like you to have a go at writing an article for the Sunday Herald.”
That was my introduction to my work placement in the PR department at Scottish Book Trust in the run-up to Book Week Scotland 2016. It was 9:08 in the morning, I’d just been given a tour of their lovely Tardis of a building, and forgotten all but two names.
That same day, because I already had tickets to attend their World’s Collide tour, I found myself filming Leigh Bardugo’s author confessions and answering her and Rainbow Rowell’s questions about my Cambridge Satchel. I remember thinking: This is only my first day!
The newspaper article, which emerged to be a literary tour of Scotland, took half the placement to complete, partly because, at the time, I had been living in Scotland for only a few weeks, and never ventured outside Edinburgh. It was entirely research based – I consulted Google Maps a lot – and the fact that it was published with very few edits made me really proud. It came out the Sunday before Book Week Scotland and I kept skipping over it at the newsagent, looking for something squeezed into a corner, not sprawling across a double-page spread. I bought two copies and smiled the whole day.
My other duties included compiling a database of adult book bloggers, requesting press passes, and finding quality author photographs online or from literary agents. I wrote press releases for Dave Hook of rap band Stanley Odd who would be bringing the power of rhyme to schools across Scotland.
In my final two weeks I wrote two Christmas blog posts: one a bookish Christmas gift guide and the other a round-up of celebrity book recommendations for Christmas. Each time I look back on the placement, I am surprised and grateful for the range of activities I got to experience
I felt very comfortable at the Scottish Book Trust. I spent my afternoons eating lunch downstairs in a cardboard grotto lined with books and festooned with fairy lights. The people were supportive and kind, trusting me to get on with my work without monitoring me too closely. It was a team I felt I would be happy to join in a more official capacity and it is reassuring to know, even as I study to enter the publishing industry, that there is a host of appealing opportunities in peripheral organisations also vital to the ecosystem of the book.
By Kellie Jones