Andrew’s tips for a long placement (AKA, what he learned from Scotland Street Press)

The majority of placements offered by publishers are short affairs. Thee standard length appears to be ten days or the equivalent of that. Indeed, the placement module of Napier’s MSc Publishing course only requires ten days’ worth of placement for the main assessment. How ever you may come across one or two in your time that can last a lot longer. A prime example is the PrePress Projects internship which usually runs for 13 weeks over thee summer months. A long placement is what I found myself entering in October 2017 when I was one of the students picked for the Scotland Street Press internship. I have continued in that placement ever since. I think a long placement can have some serious benefits for a student, especially if you start it near the beginning of your studies as I did. In the beginning I was incredibly nervous when I started. After all, I had only just started my MSc really. What could I offer a publisher at this stage? The answer was, as it turns out, a lot. Every time I learned something in class, I could apply it to my internship.  As my abilities grew, my contributions grew until I could handle some serious responsibilities.

Now as I come to the end of my time at Scotland Street, I can take away a wealth of experience and many examples of work I can take to publishers and say, “I did this”. I would like here to pass on some of the tips I’ve picked up on how not only to survive a long placement (or placements in general) but to take full advantage of it. Continue reading “Andrew’s tips for a long placement (AKA, what he learned from Scotland Street Press)”

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The First Feeling of Accomplishment

‘So, Andrew, you can use InDesign, right?’

That’s not the exact wording, but that is what I was asked on my first day as an intern at Scotland Street Press. My response was a hesitant yes. I started at Scotland Street at the end of October and had begun learning how to use InDesign for the AI sheet assessment. However, I was still very inexperienced and I’ve never been particularly confident with computers But I didn’t let that stop me. I put my head down, carefully worked away and a week later I had completed my first ever advert.

Skip forward to December and my first piece of work in the publishing industry was released for the world to see. I sat down with a coffee on the 2nd of December 2017, turned to page 6 of the Scottish Review of Books and there was my half page advert. So, in my first few months in the industry I’ve secured an amazing internship and I’ve had my work featured distributed through a national newspaper. And that is a really good feeling.

I fully believe that knowing when to say yes is the key. When I agreed to make the advert for Scotland Street, the honest truth was I wasn’t confident in my abilities. As I have already said I’m not naturally good with computers and I’ve had to work hard to learn what I do know. InDesign has presented a very new challenge, but it’s one that I’ve begun to enjoy. And the more I learn, the more the confusing grids of measurements, paragraph styles and tools begin to make sense and even feel natural to use. A part of that has come from making that advert. I didn’t think about what I didn’t know. Instead I took what I did know and applied it, learning the rest along the way.

I’m so grateful to Jean Findlay for taking me on at Scotland Street and getting me to make that first advert. I feel like my work matters there and I can put to use all that I learn in class. With the opportunity to apply the theory I feel more and more confident in my abilities. And it all started with a hesitant ‘yes’. Some of our guest lecturers, such as Jonny Gallant from Alban Books, have made it clear that accepting invitations and opportunities has been vital to their careers. You never know what you may be asked to do, and what benefits may come from that. Because the first time worked out so well, I feel confident enough to say yes again and take advantage of whatever comes my way. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some work to do. The next advert is due by the end of January, and I fully intend to make the next one even better.