One of the age old questions that students dread hearing whilst at University is “So what are you going to do after you finish?”
When I arrived in Edinburgh, I was fairly certain I wanted to be an Editor once I graduated. If you’d asked anyone else the same question during the first few weeks of the course, I’m more than confident they’d have given you the same answer – an Editor. Whilst Editors are at the heart of the publishing industry, the greatest lesson I’ve taken away from my first semester so far is that there’s more to publishing than being an Editor.
Despite not being the most creative person, the Publishing in Practice workshops have been a personal highlight of the course to date. This is where the magic happens, where the slaved over manuscript is crafted and shaped into the books we endlessly peruse in our nearest bookshop. After chipping away at our first assessment and creating my AI sheet, the thought of being an Editor moved further to the back of my mind and I start to get the inkling that maybe Production is the way to go.
However, as the guest lecturers come and go, they all leave an impression on you from their evident passion for their own department, whether it be Editorial, Marketing, Production, or Rights. Whilst Production had temporarily wrestled its way to be my number one preference for a job after graduation, Kirstin Lamb from Barrington Stoke decided that wasn’t to be the case. Following Kirstin’s enthusiastic introduction to the role Rights Management has to play in the publishing house, I began to reconsider whether production was really the direction I wanted to move. The importance of the contract and the exploitation of rights are essential for reaching a wider audience for your book, so naturally performs a vital role in any publishing house. Even though being a Rights Manager may not be as glamourous as an Editor, its significance to a publishing house’s success cannot be overstated.
So, guest lecture over, and it’s back to square one – what am I going to do after I finish? Maybe it’s rights, maybe it’s production, or who knows, maybe I’ll graduate and be exactly where I was when I came to Edinburgh, wanting to be an editor. What I do know is that I’ll change my mind every other day until I finally think, “Yeah, this is what I want to do”. But fingers crossed I’m not the only one who’s changing their mind like the weather.