During my placement at Luath Press, I had the opportunity to test my publishing knowledge in a fast-paced office setting, and to feel that I made significant contributions to the company’s publishing process. From assessing and cataloguing newly submitted manuscripts, to designing covers, to preparing final proofs for print, I was able to take part in a very wide variety of tasks, and I feel that I have learnt a great deal.
In my first week, I had the opportunity to devise a marketing plan and to draft cover ideas for a series of artbooks by photographer Alex Boyd. This I enjoyed a lot, since it challenged me to use my Creative Suite skills in a practical setting. Returning to Luath a few weeks later, I was pleased to discover that my idea to market Boyd’s three forthcoming books
in a visually similar manner had been carried through.
In both weeks I also carried out a degree of research and social media planning and built a database of publicity contacts for in-house use. I was shown the ins and outs of ONIX software and learnt about mail systems and newsletter distribution, things which had only been touched upon in the classroom. I also discovered quite a lot about the process of organising ePub files for print and ensuring authors remained happy with any proposed layouts (not always an easy task!).
Out of all the tasks I undertook, what I took the most pride in was the opportunity to use my editorial skills in assessing newly submitted manuscripts… I was given to understand that this was not usually a task for placement students, and so I felt a greater need to rise to the challenge, and I feel that I was successful in that regard. I was also able to hone my proofreading skills and knowledge of BSI marks when, on several occasions, I was tasked with proofing final draft manuscripts before they were sent to print.
The most exciting part of my placement, however, was that, with a fellow intern from another university, I was able to accompany the Luath team on a mini expedition to an event at the Scottish Storytelling Centre for one of their authors. Not only was her talk fascinating, but we were also able to meet her devoted readership, and to have a dialogue with her afterwards about how she wanted her forthcoming book to be marketed. Since the work focused on historic gardens, she even invited us to her own, remarkable, garden for tea and cake!
My time at Luath was highly informative and an invaluable opportunity to use and expand upon what I have learnt so far as an MSc Publishing student, and I expect to carry what I have learnt there into my future career.