When the time came for me to find a publishing placement as part of Edinburgh Napier’s MSc Publishing degree, I was a little nervous. Imposter syndrome was definitely kicking in, and I worried that even if I was able to secure experience within the industry, I would struggle to be of use to the publisher. However, the opportunity of a publishing placement and the industry-focused nature of the course was what drew me to Napier’s degree in the first place, and I wasn’t about to let my nerves and feelings of self-doubt hold me back. So, I began reaching out to publishers in the hopes that somebody would be willing to take me on for an internship or placement. Despite many publishers replying that they weren’t taking any students on at the moment due to Covid restrictions, and others sending no reply at all, I was extremely lucky that I was able to secure two different placements. After submitting my CV and completing interviews, both Luath Press and Jasami Publishing Ltd, two independent Scottish publishers, agreed to take me on for remote placements to give me real-world experience of working in the industry.
Coincidentally, both Luath and Jasami had me working on projects relating to children’s books. Children’s publishing wasn’t necessarily an area of the industry that I had really considered before; when I imagined my future career in publishing, I tended to assume that it would be more adult-fiction based. However, I knew that it was best to gain experience in all areas, and so I was very excited to begin working with these two fantastic publishers.
During my time at Luath Press, I got to read a manuscript for an upcoming children’s book based around the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, as told from the point of view of a Jacobite child. I was then tasked with proofreading, creating a marketing plan and then a selection of marketing materials for the book. I quickly realised that when marketing children’s books, your target audience isn’t necessarily as straight-forward as it seems. Although the book is to be read by children, I determined that marketing should be geared towards parents and schools, as they will be the ones that can introduce children to the book.
Similarly, at Jasami Publishing I was given the task of editing the upcoming sequel to a children’s book about a rescued squirrel in Zambia. I knew that I had to pay close attention to ensuring that with any edits I made, I had the target audience of young children in mind. I was also in charge of contacting local schools and nurseries to find out if they would be interested in organising reading events with the selection of children’s books from Jasami, and my research for this made me realise how important children’s publishing is to connecting with the community and focusing on topics that can be greatly beneficial to children’s development and learning.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience working in children’s publishing. I learnt new skills that will be so valuable in my future career, and it was fascinating ensuring that the books are both written and marketed to the right audience. It’s definitely opened my eyes to how amazing it would be to work in children’s publishing when I graduate!