Smash Bear Publishing logo via https://www.smashbearpublishing.com

Through out my time on Edinburgh Napier’s Msc Publishing Course, I have been filled with both excitement and nerves ever since I learned about our module Publishing Placement and Personal Development. This module required students to attempt to secure a placement working with a publishing company throughout the semester and for most students, including myself, this would be our first real experience in the working world of publishing. Eager for my first exposure to a professional publishing setting, I began looking at different companies that I was interested in applying to.

After creating a twitter used exclusively to stay up to date with news and contacts in the publishing sector, I entered a social media spiral, continuously scrolling on different publishing houses profiles until I came across that of Smash Bear Publishing. Founded in 2020 by Loredana, Smash Bear Publishing is an up and coming London based small press that works with Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Horror and Paranormal Romance. What drew me to this company was finding out that their first book release was ‘Storm’s Child’ by John Ortega, a book that I had read just months prior and throughly enjoyed. Feeling like this was a clear sign that I should carry out my placement with this company, I quickly applied. 

At SmashBear Publishing, we produce and publish high quality books. We specialise in urban fantasy, fantasy, and paranormal romance but will also consider horror and Sci-Fi. As an independent publisher we want to help change the face of literature by bringing diversity and fair representation to our genres. We love books and we believe that everyone should be able to see themselves represented in their heroes.

Our Mission, Smash Bear Publishing

After some communication with editor Lore, I was welcomed into the placement by the friendly Smash Bear team and thrust into my internship which I carried out with two of my fellow publishing classmates. Although I was a little disheartened that this placement would be carried out at home, most of the time in my bedroom with my laptop, I was still grateful and excited for the experience I was about to partake in, knowing that in a post covid world that I was lucky to even get this chance, as well as how crucial and beneficial this experience will be to me in the following months when I begin to apply for a job in Publishing. 

My placement spanned over the ending of January, to my final project in May. After introductions with the team our first week of our internship promptly began as we were introduced to the world of acquisitions, a personal favourite of mine. For this project, we were given the first three chapters in a novel that had been submitted to Smash Bear, it was here we had to read said novel and decide whether we believed that this piece of work had enough potential to move onto the next stage of the screening process aka past the interns. The first draft I was given by Megan (head of acquisitions) was ‘The World Between Us’ by first time author, Diane Farrugia. After reading the first three chapters and being transported to a different realm I was super excited about this book and eager for the rest of it. It was then I made a report stating why I believed that Smash Bear should take on this author. For this I had to write on numerous categories, this involved a synopsis of the book, a pro and con list, marketability, potential profit and loss, a deeper look into the author and finally a conclusion which stated my answer, yes or no. 

After some more weeks of acquisitions, we moved onto the next part of our placement, editing. It was during these weeks of placement I learned that this is definitely not the part of publishing that I want to get into. Struggling at the beginning I was simply correcting the spelling and grammar of the authors works that we were given. However, after some weeks of editing Lore continuously pushed me throughout as she reassured me that no one will get offended if I don’t like a certain line or paragraph, but to do what I believe would be best for the author and the novel. It was towards the end of the editing portion that I finally gained the confidence and began to correct more than this. 

Our final project of our placement was to work together with the other interns and create a presentation on a novel that the team were already considering. After some time we decided to create our project on adult urban fantasy novel, ‘The Coldest War’ by Lucy Bannister. Throughout this project, Steph, DoDo and I had to demonstrate everything we had learned during our time at Smash Bear Publishing. This 10 minute presentation, given over zoom to the team involved us breaking down the publishing process as we gave a step by step run through. 

This project was a great way to end a fantastic internship, one that I will always remember and be thankful for in my future career when given tasks I previously had zero knowledge or experience in. Although sad it has came to an end, I will still continue to support Smash Bear Publishing and will be keeping an eye out for the books that I worked on in the process.