My Placement with Luna Press Publishing

One of the qualities I most wanted to work on at the start of my MSc Publishing course was time-management and organisational skills. I loved the idea of being responsible for finding a placement by myself and choosing a publisher that best suited the sort of skills that I wanted to improve. It seemed as if smaller publishers tended to give their interns more responsibilities and autonomy over their duties whilst on placement. I also wanted to better understand the running of and issues that affect smaller, niche publishers both due to personal interest for a future career and to assist in the writing of my dissertation on that topic.

Luna Press is a small company dedicated to the publishing of science fiction, fantasy and academia; it is run by the author Francesca Barbini. Before myself, Luna Press had never taken on a student on placement due to having only been founded in 2015. Despite this, Luna Press has already produced books that have been shortlisted for awards. I met with Francesca to discuss whether I would be a good fit for Luna Press and whether Luna Press would be able to offer the sort of work experience that would be useful to me.

My placement consisted of mostly work from home with a few in-person meetings to check in. I think this sort of structure helped me to learn to prioritise my work for university and deadlines for my placement. I kept Fridays free to work on my weekend blog posts for Luna Press and this gave more structure and enabled me to keep on top of both. I really enjoyed being able to have a creative outlet and have importance placed on my opinions and advice which was the basis for many of my articles. My placement with Luna Press had a great deal of emphasis on bringing together work and my MSc Publishing education; consolidating my skills by making them transferrable was very useful for me. For example with InDesign, I was able to show my new skills learned whilst at university and be given advice on how to hone them whilst on my placement.

I was given one-on-one feedback and a real insight into the day-to-day running of a small publisher. I mentioned that I would find looking over some contracts interesting as we had looked at some in class and I was curious to see how they would differ at a smaller company. At the next in-person meeting I was shown a few examples and Francesca offered to go through them with me and explained some of the more complicated clauses and spoke about the negotiations and process that those involved went through to arrive at the final contract. This led to a discussion about how Luna Press conducts business and the ways they offer authors something different to larger publishers. Francesca wants everyone that works with Luna Press to be able to feel like family. This was a huge incentive for me when I was researching publishers to do my placement with. When I came across the website for the company, I was very interested in the “Luna Family” page and the dynamic there. I felt very much as though this rang true to my placement because I was always asked what would best help me and what responsibilities would most fit in with my schedule. I cannot wait to see what Luna Press achieve next and hope to stay in contact to see those well-deserved successes in the future.


Check out Luna Press Publishing!

Photo: One of our in-person meetings to discuss the placement progress. These took place in cafes and bars and were informal.

National Bookshop Day 2017

One of my favourite things about my Publishing degree is being surrounded by like-minded people. It has been so wonderful to make friends with people that will likely become colleagues in the future. My friends and I decided that we would do a bookshop “crawl” of the city for ♯NationalBookshopDay. Now, being the disorganized bunch we are; we headed off into the city without any research or much planning at all. In my opinion, the way some of the best days happen.

When we first arrived; I searched “bookshop” on Google maps to find the nearest shops to visit. In an uncharacteristic move for me, I took charge of route planning and led my group to a closed bookshop. Feeling defeat we took shelter in the safety of Edinburgh’s Waterstones. We did feel, however, that after so much discussion both in and out of class, on the importance of supporting independent bookshops that we would not buy anything at Waterstones and thus we moved on to the tour.

Lighthouse bookshop was the place of our first purchase and I think I speak for the three of us when I say that it became an instant favourite. I spoke to the bookseller as I made my purchase and he informed me that one of the novels I had picked up was a signed copy as the author had recently moved to the city herself. I am so excited to read Laia Jufresa’s Umami as anyone who knows me well will know that it falls right into my favourite literature category. I absolutely love reading literature set in countries I have never been and learn about cultures I haven’t yet experienced. Umami caught my attention with a beautiful spine on the Lighthouse Books’ shelves and it’s setting in Mexico City.

We then walked to armchair books where we met a friend and ran into other Publishing Postgrad students all chatting about National Bookshop Day purchases and enthusing over the atmosphere of Armchair Books. I loved the wall to wall, over spilling of books everywhere and the impossibility of uncovering every available title for sale. Conveniently, Armchair Books is located next to another bookshop, which is where our group explored next. Peter Bell Books is, in my mind, a perfect place to buy gifts. In my case, I gifted myself a copy of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus just in time for the RSC’s showing of the play broadcast to cinemas only a week later. Whilst in this bookshop I found countless books about the history of Glasgow and Edinburgh; these would make perfect gifts for my grandma and mum, as they are interested in family history.

We finished our bookshop crawl at a used bookstall at the Grassmarket near to where we would catch our bus to take us home after a successful day. I hope this becomes a tradition every ♯NationalBookshopDay in the future. Despite the numerous closed bookshops and our geographically challenged failings at finding some others, we had a wonderful day, even if our bank-balances did not enjoy it as much as we did.