The Year of the Publishing Postgrad – a summary

This time last year, I was cramming preparing for my final exams as an English Literature undergraduate at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. I was also reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood as it was the only thing able to distract me from my anticipation of hearing back about my application to Edinburgh Napier’s MSc Publishing course. Yes, grizzly murder was the antidote to my constant nerves. (Reading about grizzly murder, that is.) I didn’t have a Plan B for my life after graduation, so it was essential that I was accepted as a Publishing Postgrad. And thank goodness, I was.

The first official week of classes after induction cemented my commitment to the course and the publishing postgrad lifestyle, into which I was happily thrown. Magfest took place on the Friday of the first week, and to hear from giants of publishing (Vanessa Kingori! John Bird!) as an induction into the industry was incredible. It was also a great chance to network (a word that doesn’t terrify me as much as it used to) and meet with new classmates, who would become friends, hostel roommates, and publishers that I genuinely admire.

Following the first week of introductions, we quickly got stuck into trimester 1 projects. With a live market research group project, individual product reports and case studies, the next few months would fly by in a whirlwind of paper, paragraph styles, and publishing news.

A personal highlight of trimester 1 was being part of the social media team for our market research project on the Martin Rattler Activity Book. Our research took us to Gorgie City Farm, the National Museum of Scotland, and fascinating, bookish corners of Twitter. More significant than the goats and galleries, though, was the opportunity to see how market research comes together on social media. I’ve taken away a lot from the experience, which has since helped me gain a social media internship with Linen Press.

While the first trimester ended with a festive whimper of proud exhaustion, trimester 2 began with the sound of a starter’s gun. It was all go from the first day back. With a placement module, a live book project, and a magazine to publish, January to May were incredibly busy, and so rewarding.

In the midst of all the madness was a trip to London for The London Book Fair, which I can honestly say was one of the most fun, hectic, and surreal experiences I’ve had. Walking into the Olympia, I was instantly consumed by the electric atmosphere of meetings between publishers, authors, illustrators, book buyers and everything in between. For the next three days, I soaked up as much publishing genius as I could, including talks from Penguin Random House on branding, and Michael Morpurgo on his new children’s book.

Back in Scotland, it was back to business. Over the course of the next two months, I achieved what I thought was beyond me. Three amazing classmates and I published KNUT magazine (DIY or Die, baby), a product and brand of which I couldn’t be more proud. I secured a placement with freelance editor Jennie Renton, who has since become an editorial inspiration. And finally, I edited, typeset, designed and published a book. A whole book.

As I write this approaching the end of an exhausting but exhilarating year, I have nothing but gratitude for the MSc Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier. It has given me so many new skills, enhanced my existing ones, broadened my knowledge, and given me some incredible experiences within and without the classroom. It has also introduced me to people I hope to continue to work with for years to come.

For any prospective students thinking of applying, I 100% encourage you to do so. Throw yourself into the course, take advantage of every opportunity, and by the end of trimester 2, you will surely have found your feet.

Placement with Jennie Renton

Edinburgh’s West Port is enchanting. Having been used to the flatness (and wetness) of Glasgow, the dips and peaks of the windy, winding streets just past Grassmarket have become one of my favourite things about the city. My reason for being in West Port, too, is equally exciting.

Main Point Books is one of a few second-hand bookshops in the area, and for the past few weeks I’ve been an editorial intern with Main Point’s owner, Jennie Renton. Jennie works freelance for several publications, and also Luath, so I was prepared to enhance my skills and gain insight into the world of freelancing. She also created Textualities, an online and print compilation of fiction and the book trade. Working from the back, and at times the very front, of such a beautiful, book-filled space has been surreal in the best way possible. Being surrounded wall-to-wall by books is surely the most inspiring work environment.

Though I’m only four weeks into my placement with Jennie, I’ve already learned from and contributed a fair amount to her editorial commitments. First up was an afternoon of proofreading. Evergreen is published by the Word Bank and Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust, and is a re-imagining of Patrick Geddes’ magazine of the same name. I proofread the third issue, for which Jennie did the typesetting. I had the freedom to make comments on changes or corrections that I felt were appropriate, which Jennie and Sean Bradley (the editor) then checked over. As nervous as I was to justify my comments, they were supported by Jennie and Sean, who were very encouraging.

My editorial work continued when I got the chance to work with prolific Scottish author, Angus Peter Campbell. Luath is due to publish his new novel, and I was set to work with Angus on the blurb. The process was fascinating and painstaking – redrafting the all-important blurb alongside Angus was exactly the kind of editorial experience that I was eager to get my hands on. I hope to have the chance to work closely with authors in the future, and as I continue my placement with Jennie, I’m sure the opportunity will arise again.

While I still have a few weeks left of my placement, I’m finding being around Jennie (and her colleagues, clients and customers!) very useful. Genuinely passionate about the book world and the written word, Jennie provides a great learning environment. Encouraging with tasks and constructive with feedback, she demonstrates a level of skill and enthusiasm that I hope to emulate throughout my publishing career.

I can’t say with certainty what I’ll be doing on my next visit to Main Point, but I can say that I’m excited to make my way to West Port again for the placement experience of my bookish dreams.

 

Interview with Video Production

 

Hello Rattler-teers! Book Week Scotland may be wrapping up, but we’re still hard at work with our market research. Today we had a chance to talk to the creative team behind our series of podcasts: Video Production! Watch to find out how they go about bringing you these lovely interviews.

See you soon,

The Social Media Team

Twitter: @Martin_Rattler
Facebook: @martinrattlerbook

Meet the Martin Rattler Project Manager

Hello Rattler-teers!

Next up in our series of video podcasts is an interview with Claire, who is managing the whole Martin Rattler market research project. Expect insights into project management, the postgraduate publishing experience, and manatees!

See you soon,
Social Media Team

Facebook: @martinrattlerbook
Twitter: @Martin_Rattler

Interview with Social Media Manager

Hello Rattler-teers!

Our video production crew have been busy interviewing each of the team managers to talk about what we’re all up to.

First up is Social Media, and team manager Jenna sat down to chat about our projects and her favourite rainforest animal!

See you soon,
Social Media Team

Facebook: @martinrattlerbook
Twitter: @Martin_Rattler

Hello old Rattler-teers…

…and welcome new explorers!

mr_social-media

Martin Rattler and his friends from the Amazon are back, and this time they will help you become an explorer by solving riddles and challenges in a new activity book from Merchiston Publishing. Here you will find books and authors connected to Edinburgh, as well as illustrations and characters from the novel.

MSc Publishing class of ‘16/17 will be visiting local primary schools in connection with Book Week Scotland to see what P6 and P7 think of the activity book. We are really looking forward to hearing children’s attitudes towards reading, and their feedback will contribute to our market research.

The torch has been passed on, and the new Martin Rattler team consists of Social Media, Event Management, Podcast Production and Design groups.

If you would like to follow Martin and his friends, and to see podcasts introducing the teams, we will be posting regular updates on Twitter and Facebook throughout Book Week Scotland and beyond.

See you soon!

Martin Rattler Social Media Team – Ceris, Christina, Jenna and Lauren

Facebook: @martinrattlerbook

Twitter: @Martin_Rattler