So far, MSc Publishing has offered me many opportunities to in and out of class to learn more about how the publishing industry works and how to navigate it. At Magfest, The SYP Conference, and London Book Fair I had the opportunity to hear from many different people sharing their own insights and of the industry and how they work within them. Each speaker was mightily passionate about their work and spoke so energetically about upcoming projects, underscoring the importance of having passion to work successfully within this industry.
Of the many talks I attended at London Book Fair, one which stands out for me was… …that of Guy Gadney discussing his upcoming project, adapting John Wyndham’s 1953 sci-fi novel The Kraken Wakes into an interactive game. A columnist for The Bookseller, Gadney explored the ideas of storytelling and narrative and discussed his project’s website toplayfor.com, and using AI characters as a storytelling device. During the session’s Q&A portion, Gadney was asked to give advice on how to be noticed in one’s preferred industry. Gadney stressed that it was always important to speak up to your favourite creators and let them know of your passion for their work and the industry. Furthermore, he stated that it is important to be aware of what you’re good at or where most of your skills lie, even if you have not yet had any experience working in the industry. Knowing what you can do despite a lack of experience highlights your passion for the industry and the effort that has already been put into selling your skills to employers.
When it came to applying for placements this trimester I consciously put Gadney’s advice to use as I found it was a great starting point for structuring my emails. I did my best to come across as enthusiastic in my applications, but I found that could be difficult when I was contacting a publisher’s generic email address and I didn’t have at least a contact name to work with.
Fortunately, I did have a recognisable contact in the form of Fraser Allen, CEO of White Light Media, content creators, marketers, and publisher of their very own project Hot Rum Cow. I had recently witnessed Allen talk during a marketing session at The SYP Conference, as well as previously buying a copy of Hot Rum Cow at Magfest. I explained how I enjoyed his talk and the magazine. I then explained that I believed my skills were mostly editorial, but I was open to any placement opportunities they could offer. I thanked him for his time and sent the email. The next day I received a reply thanking me for my email and my interest in the company while offering to pass on my email to the editorial director to try and arrange something. A few emails later I had secured a two-week placement in June.
Suffice to say, I am very glad of the opportunities and advice I’ve been given so far during this course. Putting professional advice to practical use as I have just described is a validating experience and makes me more aware of my own development in understand how to communicate within the publishing industry.