When I first heard about the industry placement module, I was pretty worried, given the continuing coronavirus lockdown restrictions. The time and hard work I had put into my passion for joining the publishing industry seemed to be dampened by the new normal that is the zoom workplace. However, like any good member of the publishing industry, I knew I would have to adapt. I had to wade through a sea of rejection emails that wished me well in my process of finding a work placement, but these emails made me more determined. They made me realise that faceless emails are not the only means of contacting people in the industry.

Since beginning the MSc Publishing course at Napier, I have learned two important things about the publishing industry and my own ambitions. One, I love marketing and PR. Two, Twitter is one of the most valuable networks and should not be squandered. I reached out to thi wurd through Twitter direct messages, had a great chat with their Chief Editor, Alan, and secured myself a placement – all from my desktop computer in my living room.

thi wurd is a Glasgow-based publisher that focuses on literary art and quality fiction. Since then, the publisher was founded in 2006 and has produced several magazines and anthologies that showcase writers and artists’ efforts alike. I will admit that I had only learned about them early last year, but I was able to see how refreshing their work truly is. Their focus on the relationship between art and literature aligned with my passions, and I knew that thi wurd was a team I wanted to be a part of.

The current project that I would be a part of was the fourth issue of their self-titled literary magazine. From the first board meeting that I attended, I was introduced to the rewarding challenge that is magazine publishing. I was, and still am, given a range of tasks that would support the PR and Marketing team.

My first task was to gather research about a band that I am a big fan of Frightened Rabbit and their album The Midnight Organ Fight. The research would be used for a blog post, promoting and discussing one of the works included in the magazine. While this could be seen as a rather mundane task, I found it quite fun to dig deep through those pages of google where no one else goes to find interviews, articles, and reviews. Here, I could exercise my existing research skills and provide my own opinions on what I found – my input being strongly encouraged by Alan.

thi wurd is an exciting publisher in that they also offer a variety of fiction writing classes, where writers can come together and share their work and perspectives. I was glad to have the chance to join one of these events and lend a hand by reading out the class’ prompt and spark discussions. The environment of the class was surprising. I imagined that it would be a strictly professional setting, but there was plenty of chatting, and all of the members welcomed me as a new face.

Since my placement will be continuing into mid/late April of this year, I still have plenty of opportunities coming my way. So far, the most engaging task I have undertaken is working closely with Katie, one of the key team members at thi wurd. I put my administrative skills from this course to good use and helped collate a spreadsheet of journalists, organisations, and bloggers to be sent the new PR materials. Like the research I carried out, I had to do some lengthy digging to find relevant contacts aligned with the upcoming publication and enjoy discussing it.

So far, I have found this industry experience to be a fantastic opportunity. I spent so long being worried, and even scared, that I would not secure a placement due to COVID-19, but I have been able to thrive with thi wurd. My role is small, but I am using all of the knowledge I gained from the publishing course and, really, that is what is important for me.