Marketing and Publicity Placement at Canongate Books

The opportunity to complete a work placement as part of our degree is definitely one of the most exciting aspects of the Publishing course. At the beginning of this year, I was delighted to secure a ten-week internship with the Marketing and Publicity department of one of my favourite UK publishers, the “fiercely independent” Canongate Books. Canongate works to unearth and promote the most diverse and exciting voices – and after a couple of months on the team, I have come to admire how much planning, effort, and creative thought happens behind the scenes to ensure the success of every new title.

With two full days per week, my internship was an intense and invaluable learning experience. Although I had received a list of potential tasks, I quickly found that working in Campaigns involves doing something new and exciting almost every day. One morning I would be drafting Twitter moments based on the newest reviews or pitching upcoming audiobooks, another – accompanying a Canongate author on her visits to local bookshops. If there is anything I know for certain after my time on the team, is that Marketing and Publicity is an excellent choice for anyone who dislikes routine.

Throughout the placement, I had the chance to practise my design skills by learning how to create effective promotional materials. I designed and put together showcards for festival and bookshop events, created press releases, and used Adobe programs to design quote card templates or put together pack shots. One of the highlights of my internship was seeing a showcard I designed in the local Waterstones – it was easy to be enthusiastic about the ongoing campaigns with the knowledge that my work is of actual use to the team, and that I take an active (if small) part in promoting the books that I am genuinely excited about.

I also appreciated the opportunity to use various industry-specific software and online tools. Whilst the Publishing course provides us with many practical skills, there are some aspects that can only be learned in a professional environment. Once I start a full-time publishing job within marketing and publicity, it will be invaluable to know Biblio and NetGalley or to be able to create effective newsletters on MailChimp.

Besides helping with the ongoing campaigns, I was glad to assist with the activities that are part of daily department work. I mailed out hundreds of review copies and catalogues to journalists and bloggers (allegedly becoming a master of folding press releases). I searched through piles of newspapers and magazines to scan any Canongate mentions. While these tasks might sound mundane, it is ultimately not only a necessary but also a rewarding part of Publicity work – sending review copies is crucial for building relationships with journalists and bloggers, and seeing the resulting reviews and social media engagement reminds that this work is always valuable.

As Canongate has offices in both Edinburgh and London, every two weeks I would participate in weekly department meetings that gathered all Marketing and Publicity employees to discuss the ongoing promotional activities. During a larger, monthly meeting, I had the fantastic opportunity to learn how book campaigns come to life, with all the details, challenges, creative ideas, and teamwork involved in the planning stages. On two occasions, I also sat in the meetings of the Production department and could observe the impressive team effort involved in delivering the final product.

As much as the Publishing course aims to give us the knowledge and skills to enter any publishing sector, it is also a lot about discovering what makes us tick – and over the last few months, through various projects that involved managing events and social media and finally through my placement at Canongate, I came to realise that Marketing and Publicity really is one of “my” areas, allowing me to use creative ideas, writing, and design to bring the books I love to a wider audience.

Interning at Canongate was a great experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone looking to gain valuable skills and insights into the campaigns process. The wonderful Publicity team were always friendly and ready to answer my questions – and I got to work in the same room with Sylvie the (cutest) Dog!


Go check out some of Canongate’s amazing latest (and upcoming) releases (click on the cover to learn more):

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the-half-sister-ebook-cover-9781786891259

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Upcoming Release: A Hardy Woman by Violet Jacob

“She was a hardy woman now,” Violet Jacob writes in her story “Thievie,” describing the character Janet: a woman “unremarkable in feature, yet remarkable in presence,” determined to take her future in her own hands. As part of my Publishing Production project, I decided to collect seven short stories and a novella by this wonderful – and largely forgotten – twentieth-century Scottish author, all featuring her most unconventional and fascinating female characters. Titled A Hardy Woman, this collection will include fiction from The Fortune-Hunters and Other Stories (1910), Tales of My Own Country (1922) and The Lum Hat (published posthumously in 1982).

The book will be edited and designed by Alice Piotrowska. Feel free to contact and follow me on Twitter and check out my Goodreads profile.

Napier Big Read: Participating in a Promotional Event

At the beginning of this trimester, all Publishing students were offered the opportunity to participate in the Big Read initiative.

The Big Read was launched in 2015 at Kingston University, as a scheme that aimed at increasing student engagement and initiating conversations through a shared reading experience. Every arriving student received a free copy of Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, and the project sparked very positive reactions from both the staff and students. Edinburgh Napier University joined the Big Read initiative last year, promoting Matt Haig’s The Humans.

For this year’s Big Read, we decided to do something a little different to Kingston, and our project puts students at the centre. We are using Detective McLevy’s Casebook, a collection of short stories by a 19th-century Edinburgh detective James McLevy, said to be the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. The Publishing staff and students at Edinburgh Napier University produced this special edition back in 2012, tying it in with the 125th Sherlock Holmes Anniversary and launching it at the first ever Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival. So, even from the choice of the book, #NapierBigRead is truly student focussed.

I knew immediately that I wanted to participate in the Big Read project. As a fan of Sherlock Holmes and detective fiction in general, I was fascinated by the book itself, and delighted at the prospect of being involved in a real-life promotional campaign. As part of the events team I still have a lot to organise before the book’s official launch, but last Monday I had the opportunity to participate in an off-campus event which proved to be a brilliant hands-on marketing experience. Continue reading “Napier Big Read: Participating in a Promotional Event”