At the start of the year I began the MSc Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier University with the idea that I wanted to work in editorial, more specifically on Young Adult works. In order to get there I figured I get work in a the rights department as a stepping stone. In fact, that had been my plan since I was 19: get a job in a legal department and move over to the editorial department. This plan came when I realised that publishing was an option as a career choice. Thanks to an article by Julie Strauss-Gable at the time about working at Penguin, I realised this was a path I could follow and therefore set my eyes on that path. That was the plan, but within a few weeks of beginning this course I realised that this path was not the one I wanted to follow. Having had a plan for five years it took a lot of courage to decide to go a different route.
Often people overlook the other sides that make publishing a successful business. If you were to ask a member of the public what they are to think of when it comes to publishing they would probably say editing. It’s what people know, yet there are so many more departments involved in the production process of books. Between the marketing and the design department there are so many ways to help make a book just as beautiful and as appreciated as you can, and discounting any of these roles is just a terrible way to start a course, something I learned very quickly.
I’m sorry to say that while I knew that other roles in the publishing industry existed before I joined the course, I never really considered them in a meaningful way. I had my plan so I stuck to the plan. Logically I knew that there were other sectors of publishing that existed, and obviously there were other departments, yet at no point had I considered I could work a design or marketing position. As two fascination sides of publishing, I only now wish I had studied them before I came to the course: just think of how much I could have learned in those five years. Yet, surprisingly the aspect of the course that made me happiest, was the legal side, something I never thought I’d want to pursue as the end goal. It had always been a stepping stone in my mind, something I would endure not something I would want.
This new pursuit added to my already deep love and experience of working in theatre has lead me to paths I could never have imagined five years ago. As it is right now, I am hoping that someday I will work with the rights of both performing and publishing theatre. Thanks to the studying I have done over the course, I realised that this path was an option, from talking to Samuel French for my essay in first semester to a wonderful talk by Susanne Collier who helped me to realise that there are options out there you never would have thought of, even weekly lectures with Alistair McCleery in first semester which helped me rediscover my love for law: this course has shaped my path in ways that in September I never could have imagined and in ways I never want to forget.