Before I knew I wanted to study MSc Publishing, I thought I knew all I needed to know about the industry itself. There were editors, designers, marketeers, publicists, agents who acquired manuscripts and the authors who wrote them. I had a general idea of what various roles involved, and with that limited knowledge, I’d decided that marketing was ultimately the area for me. However, just as the course taught this loyal PC user how to use a Mac, the 6×6 event gave me a glimpse into the publishing departments I’d previously overlooked. So, here is a rundown of the event, and for any aspiring publishers out there, the reasons why I think the Society of Young Publishers is truly worth the subscription fee.

On 24th September, myself and a few course friends attended the 6×6 event at Edinburgh University.  In brief terms,  six industry professionals, all of whom represented different parts of the industry, had six minutes to give a presentation about their area of expertise. The speakers included: Ann Landmann, Birlinn (Sales), Jamie Norman, Canongate (Marketing and Publicity), Janne Moller, Black and White (Rights), Lauren Murray, HarperCollins (Editorial), Rebecca Bonallie, Canongate (Production), Richard Wainman, Floris Books (Design). Each presentation ended with a brief Q&A, and when all was said and done, or at least, the main part of the event was over, there was the opportunity to network over drinks at The Pear Tree. Overall, this event not only gave me the kind of industry insight I needed to consider other roles within publishing, but it also gave me the confidence in which to think outside of the box. Never before had I considered production, design not being a great strength of mine before starting the course, but here I was actively contemplating the role long after Rebecca had stopped speaking about it. It was if I was discovering the industry for the first time, and best of all, I was excited to learn more.

In many way, I’m so grateful to have attended this event when I did. Having been at university less than a month, I had felt understandably overwhelmed by the prospect of networking in a city that still felt foreign to me. Yet, this event gave me the confidence I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone, and without it, I may never have applied for the opportunities that have positively impacted both my studies and career prospects.

As I’ve probably made clear already, I’m a big supporter of the Society of Young Publishers and everything they stand for. For a small fee, SYP gives members access to invaluable content, including: their quarterly magazine, InPrint, free access to various industry centred events, a jobs board, and the chance to network without it feeling intimidatingly so. In turn, since that first event in September, I have since went on to help organise the annual SYP conference as a conference committee member, have enjoyed reading various InPrint issues, and have been mentored by Jamie Norman as a result of the SYP mentorship scheme. Therefore, whether you’re thinking of working in the industry, or you’re a publishing newbie looking to meet new like-minded people, I couldn’t recommend the SYP enough. After all, one event may be just what you need to start thinking outside of the box. So, what are you waiting for?