Work Placement at Luath Press

I recently completed a two-week internship for Luath Press, an independent publishing house on the Royal Mile. Committed to publishing well written books worth reading, Luath Press publishes across a variety of genres and topics. I had waited all year to secure a placement and was pleased to hear I was going to get the opportunity to spend time at Luath. I eagerly trekked through the pouring rain on my first day and arrived, breathless and drenched, ready to get to work. I’d spent the past year learning about publishing and it was time to see if my education had paid off.

After a brief introduction to the company by their director Gavin MacDougall, I was handed over to Louise Dickie, Publishing Manager and intern lead extraordinaire. She assigned me a variety of marketing and publicity tasks for my first week. I found this quite useful as I had not had much marketing experience in my previous jobs and was grateful for the chance to get some exposure to marketing from a publisher’s perspective. I designed a booklet that contained author and book information to be sent to festivals around Scotland and updated promotional materials for ScotlandsFest 2017.

I had a varied and comprehensive experience at Luath. Many of the tasks I was given I had only learned about but had never actually executed. I drafted blurbs for forthcoming publications, read through unsolicited manuscripts and had the opportunity to learn and use new software. I wrote an invitation letter to authors, updated information on AI sheets and helped edit a manuscript. Along the way, I was given valuable feedback from Louise and Jennie Renton, and was able to see what I was doing well and what areas I could improve.

My time at Luath was a rewarding experience. I was able to observe and participate in the day to day operations of a publishing company, and utilize the skills I had developed on my MSc publishing course. I welcomed every opportunity and task that came my way as it was a good chance to truly experience life in an independent press. Perhaps my greatest comfort was realizing that my time on the course was adequately preparing me to enter the world of publishing. Sure, I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’m pleased to know I’ve been given a good foundation.

I highly recommend a placement with Luath Press. The people are lovely, the views are great and the experience is invaluable.

Becoming a Publishing Postgrad: Advice for international and mature students on surviving a year abroad

I applied for this course last summer after years of considering a postgraduate degree in publishing. I specifically chose Edinburgh Napier University because I had researched the program and spoken with previous students about the course. It had been seven years since my undergrad and I was apprehensive about returning to higher education. I had crafted a comfortable life for myself and was hesitant to disturb it. But I was restless and I had always dreamed of living abroad and getting a master’s, so I summoned my courage, quit my job, and boarded a plane.

Pursuing a postgraduate degree is an ambition in itself. But pursuing a postgraduate degree as a mature student and one who’s moved thousands of miles away from home presents its own set of challenges. It’s doable and it’s a heck of a lot of fun, but you’ll run into some roadblocks along the way. If you’re a returning student, international student, or both, here are some tips and advice for how I survived my year on this course.

Find your friends. They’ll be your support. Go for drinks when asked. Get a coffee when asked. Find a society or a club and join it. I’d be lost here if it wasn’t for my friends. They become your family, your home away from home. You’ll be meeting loads of lovely people on this journey and your pals on the course will all be there at the front lines with you. Don’t let yourself feel alone.

Prepare for change. Seems like this should go without saying, but your life is going to change in so many ways when you come here. Explore your new surroundings, enjoy your new experiences, but don’t forget who you are and what makes you tick. Find ways to bridge the gap between your life now and the life you left behind. Do the things that make you feel like you or else you’ll end up feeling lost.

Get ready to be a student again. If you’ve been out of education for a while there’s a chance you’ll struggle with the transition back to full time study. I did. Classes and coursework will consume a great deal of your time but you’ll have to develop a structure or you’ll end up feeling a bit scattered. I wish I had pursued a part time job with a bit more gusto or had applied for earlier placements, as I think it would have helped me keep a better schedule.

Believe them when they say the year goes by fast. Make the absolute most of your time here. Seize the opportunities you can to gain experience while you’re on this course, because before you know it’ll all be over. This city has a lot to offer, so expose yourself to the publishing industry in Edinburgh as much as you can. Heed their advice and network, go to industry events and apply for placements.

This will be a challenging and stimulating year. It won’t always be easy but it will definitely be rewarding. This course prepares you for a career in publishing, but you’ll learn a lot of really practical and transferable skills as well. You might find it hard to adjust to student life, or to be so far away from home, but when you feel down just remember what you came here for. Keep working hard and keep pushing through because in the end it will have all been worth it.