One of the most exciting aspects of this course for me was the placement opportunities that we would be given the chance to undertake. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in and use my skills in a real-life publishing house.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long and was given a placement with Scotland Street Press in October. Scotland Street is a small, Edinburgh based publisher who publish literary fiction, memoir and travel books. There’s a wide variety; and with one of the books being a 2017 English PEN award for translation, there’s a lot going on. It was set up by Jean Findlay and she continues to work as head of publishing. I was nervous about starting, as we had only recently begun the course and I had absolutely no publishing experience whatsoever. I was also concerned about how I would manage to juggle the placement with my studies, and my part-time job, especially considering how early on in the programme we were.
I need not have worried though, as on my first day I found myself settling in and adjusting to the ways in which the press is run. Being so small, it is all hands on deck and I can say that since I started there, there is not much I’ve not done. I expected that as with most small Scottish publishers that I would be asked to perform a variety of duties and work across many of the different areas of publishing, but the experience I’ve gained has been exceptional.
I’ve worked on marketing campaigns and contacted the press, helped to organise and worked at a book launch, which also let me meet many interesting people, and I’ve proofread and typeset manuscripts. Being able to dip my toes in to all these different areas at an early stage has really helped me narrow down what area of publishing I’d like to go into in future. Working for such a small press was not something that had originally appealed to me, but seeing how varied the day-to-day work life can be when you have to juggle so much has made me reconsider. Jean has been very supportive and always provides feedback so I can see areas for improvement.
My time so far has been extremely worthwhile, I’ve still got lots to learn but feel that working at Scotland Street has taught me so much.