As part of the MSc Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier University, we had the opportunity to complete one module in the form of a work placement within the publishing industry. This significantly appealed to me when considering the MSc programme and I was thrilled to have this opportunity to enhance my skills and knowledge. Publishing placements are a way to demonstrate to employers that you are excited about and committed to a career in publishing, and many hiring managers look favourably on those who have undertaken them. However, the act of reaching out to publishing companies to enquire about an internship was daunting, to say the least. What did I have to offer? And why would they want to take me on? Larger businesses probably wouldn’t read my email and smaller companies, who might need the extra pair of hands, probably didn’t have the time to train up a new team member – particularly one that was only there temporarily. I had all these thoughts and more when applying for a work placement, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Reaching out to local Edinburgh publishing companies turned out to be a lovely and rewarding experience. Not only did I hear back from a few companies offering me a placement with them but even of those that couldn’t, most took the time to thank me for applying and wish me luck in my search. From those that responded positively I chose to work with Scotland Street Press, a local Edinburgh independent and I had such a fantastic experience with their team. 

This internship has helped me to distinguish between what falls under marketing and publicity, respectively, and confirmed to me that this side of publishing is what I would most like to begin a career in.

Working with their Marketing and Publicity Manager, they were keen to find out what I would like to learn as well as letting me know they envisioned me helping with. I was also fully supported in working remotely or coming to the office, depending on what I was comfortable with. When in the office, Rita the office dog was a real highlight! I was able to sit in on weekly meetings to hear about decisions being made across different departments in the press, potential acquisitions and how well current books were selling. While at Scotland Street Press, I also learned about a few of the grants and funding opportunities that organisations such as Creative Scotland and Publishing Scotland offer and the team were happy to share insight into the application process. I was therefore able to learn a little bit about the process of applying for this funding and how important it is to small independent publishers.

As part of my marketing and publicity duties, I was able to turn my hand to a varied set of tasks. I learned how to do ad-setting across social media channels to run campaigns for two new titles, The Queen’s Lender by Jean Findlay and Elizabethan Secret Agent: The Untold Story of William Ashby by Timothy Ashby. I also prepared several social media posts for two different book launches, organised a giveaway competition and suggested new online reviewers to reach out to. Additionally, I listed launch events online and pitched upcoming titles to various contacts. This gave me new insight into how to pitch different titles to distinctive audiences, and how to find new angles to appeal to each type of reviewer. This internship has helped me to distinguish between what falls under marketing and publicity, respectively, and confirmed to me that this side of publishing is what I would most like to begin a career in. During my placement I was also offered the chance to attend Book Machine’s virtual email marketing course, to learn more about how to make the most of this channel. This was also a great opportunity to meet some new faces in the (very welcoming) publishing community!

While I have now had to wrap up my time with Scotland Street Press, I am so grateful to everyone on the team for letting me be a part of their publishing process. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating of any questions I had, and they have some very exciting projects coming up that everyone should keep an eye out for. If any publishing hopeful is nervous about applying for work placements or internships, the publishing community in Scotland that I reached out to for my internship were nothing but kind, supportive and encouraging of me in my search. Keep an open mind about what you’d like to do (as the outcome might surprise you) and remember to take the time to thank someone who has reviewed your request and given feedback!