Live Publishing Project: Turadh

Since January, I have been part of a wonderful group who have been working hard over the last few months to get Turadh, an ethical and wellbeing magazine based in Edinburgh, ready for publication. This experience has been incredibly worthwhile and not only will we soon have the first issue as a physical copy, but it has also helped open my eyes to another side of publishing.

At the beginning of the Publishing MSc at Edinburgh Napier University, when I thought of a career in publishing: I thought of books. Magazines weren’t something I had ever considered, despite spending a small fortune on them every month. However, within the first day of the course we had already been given the opportunity to attend MagFest, the international magazine festival held in Edinburgh, later in the month. Fast forward a few months to where we were given a choice in modules, and I immediately chose the newly structured Magazine Publishing option. So, why the change in heart?

The Magazine Publishing module now gives students the opportunity to work in a much smaller group than previous years, meaning we would have a more practical experience creating our own magazine. The Turadh team is made up of five students, meaning that we were all able to pitch in and got more of an opportunity to improve upon the technical skills that we had built in the first trimester of the course. Our small group now have experience creating a layout for a magazine, checking resolution of images, communicating with collaborators, and editing content so that it suits a house style, among other skills.

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Given that one of the aims for Turadh was to give local artists and businesses a platform to showcase their work, the fact that we have been able to use content from so many amazing local contributors has been unbelievably exciting. Seeing how this magazine has transformed from obscure ideas of pastel theme colours to a magazine full of recipes, guides to the city of Edinburgh, and much more, has been such a rewarding and educational experience.

I will soon be beginning a placement at Foodies magazine in Edinburgh, an exciting opportunity that the Magazine Publishing module has helped me to prepare for: both with technical skills and also with the experience our team now have in working with collaborators, such as illustrators and writers. The skills I have learned creating Turadh have been vital in acquiring this placement and have also opened my eyes to the magazine publishing industry, and the opportunities it presents.

To get a sneak peek of our magazine and for any updates on publication details, you can visit turadhmag.wordpress.com

The Importance of Print: Neilsen Book’s UK Children’s Summit

Back in March I was able to attend the London Book Fair. This is staged annually where Publishers from all over the world can interact. Alongside some of the most prestigious international publishers negotiating sales, there is also a number of extremely interesting talks and seminars going on from various industry officials over the course of the three-day event.

Children’s publishing plays a major part in the fair, with many prominent publishers in this industry present (pictured above is Usborne’s amazing stall). On the final day of the fair the Neilsen Book’s UK Children’s Summit, which I was lucky enough to be able attend, was held. They presented the latest data concerning the children’s book publishing industry and we were able to gain an insight into how the industry is progressing in this area.

The day was packed with insightful talks: from industry experts like Steve Bohme, the Research Director at Neilsen Books, to Joanna Feeley from TrendBible, who detailed how trends such as how our house layout can affect reading habits. These all gave a specific insight into a different area of the industry, and one that made a particular impact on myself was Cally Poplak’s, of Egmont Publishing, presentation on their research project ‘Print Matters More’. This presentation detailed Egmont’s most recent study, which was conducted in partnership with Foyles, in order to gain an insight into how children can be encouraged to read more.

The project was aimed at fifteen families with a child who was a reluctant reader. They were given a £10 voucher for their local Foyles every week for six weeks, during the summer holidays. In return, the families promised that they would spend 20 minutes every day reading together. According to Poplak “Being read to is a key factor in becoming an independent reader” and this was evident in the data presented.  The children throughout the weeks went from being reluctant readers, because of factors such as a disinterest in books or struggling with the level of content, to clearly engaging with books and enjoying the time that they spent reading.

Seeing the way these children began to connect with reading in such a short space of time, not only within the allotted being ‘read to’ time but also individually, was unbelievably heart-warming. It was a showcase of how both being read to and the whole experience of choosing a physical book contributed to their enjoyment of reading overall.

The take away from this talk was definitely that given the opportunity, all of these children began to not only enjoy reading so much more but also their reading skills improved vastly. It was clear to see the connection in how well readers connected with books when they were also being read to by an adult regularly. It was incredibly interesting to identify how the experience of picking a physical book from a bookstore affected these children’s desire to read, not only with parents but eventually on their own. These children were not only reading more but also for enjoyment, rather than finding it a chore as they had often found before. ‘Print Matters More’ gave an inspiring insight into the barriers behind children’s reluctance to read, and what the Children’s publishing industry can perhaps do to remove these barriers.