Publishing Others

You’re going to need a bit of backstory to get through this post.

When I was fifteen years old, I was selected to be in a “young writers” program back in Spain. This program taught us, kids from ages 9 to 20, a series of writing techniques and an introduction to poetry and all the necessary tools to one day become writers. The lessons were taught by some brilliant authors like Fernando Iwasaki, Pablo García Casado, Eduardo García and Rosa Montero, who made us write stuff and then read it aloud in class. That’s how I got to know what my friends were writing, and how many different voices fit in a classroom. The Andalusian School for Young New Writers made me realize that although I liked writing, what I really wanted was to get those voices to the public. And thus, when the journalists came to air a piece on us, I claimed on national TV that what I truly wanted was to be an editor and to publish all the people who deserved to be heard.

That philosophy has stayed with me and it’s what made me start this MSc in Publishing. After all the lessons and seminars and different events, I can understand a lot better how publishing works and how marketing, design, editorial and all other components are parts of a whole: an industry that makes money out of IP and that has strategy and numbers and an awful amount of both math and uncertainty of what the future brings. But underneath all that I saw echoed what my fifteen-year-old self thought publishing was – how what truly matters, in the end, is to bring stories and voices to people everywhere. Continue reading “Publishing Others”

The Challenges of Creating a Magazine

If someone told me that I would be making a magazine a year back, I wouldn’t believe it. And here I am, almost completing a literary magazine that has been both enriching and a delight to create.

When our course leaders informed us about creating a book or a magazine as part of our module this semester, I immediately decided to do a magazine. I always have loved reading visually appealing magazines designed to perfection. Though I decided to do a magazine, it was not long when a train of self-doubting thoughts troubled me. Questions like – Where will I find writers for my magazine? What about the design? The content? Will anyone be interested in my magazine? I felt overwhelmed.

I spoke to Nikki Simpson, Founder & Director of the International Magazine Centre and a die-hard fan of magazines herself, who encouraged me to take the leap. It is amazing to see how complex aBold Cover Designn idea may look in your mind but when you start working on it, you somehow put together different elements piece by piece, completing an entire project.

My first obstacle was to understand the objective of making a magazine and for what kind of a reader. My ideas kept changing multiple times until I finally found one after researching and talking with various people who have published or worked with a magazine. Creating the cover design and researching the USP’s for my magazine as assessment one coursework helped me immensely in visualising how to proceed with internal pages.

But wait. How do I approach people for submissions? My way of approaching may not be a comfortable one, but it indeed gave me an opportunity to connect with strangers online. Continue reading “The Challenges of Creating a Magazine”

New titles for 2019 in Forgotten Female Writers series

On International Women’s Day 2019, we are delighted to announce the next books in our Forgotten Female Writers series.

Look out for new print editions of:

Margaret Armour – Selected Poems
Eliza Brightwen – Wild Nature Won by Kindness
Catherine Carswell – The Camomile
Violet Jacob – The Golden Heart & Other Fairy Stories
Irresolute Catherine
Lorna Moon – Dark Star
Margaret Oliphant – Diana Trelawny: The History of a Great Mistake
                                       –
Stories of the Seen and the Unseen
Felicia Skene – The Inheritance of Evil
Annie Shepherd Swan – Thankful Rest

Margaret Oliphant: a force to be reckoned with

When I first began exploring titles for my Publishing Production project I was really struck by how many of Margaret Oliphant’s works I had never heard of before, and speaking with peers, family and friends I realised I wasn’t alone. When I came across the powerful and driven voice of the central character in Oliphant’s novel Kirsteen (1890), I knew I had to help bring this largely forgotten story to readers today.

Set in the early 19th century, Kirsteen tells the story of a refreshingly feisty Scottish woman who rejects the conventional path which had been laid out for her before she was even born. Described by the narrator as ‘one of those who make a story for themselves’, she was determined to shape a future for herself through her trade and natural skill; a sentiment echoed in Oliphant’s own life, herself a woman who wrote to support her large extended family.

Oliphant was an unstoppable force – her work being abundant and widely popular in its day, even favoured by Queen Victoria. It is easy to see why – Kirsteen celebrates complex and interesting women, with a powerful narrative driving the novel that makes it impossible to put down. She was truly a force to be reckoned with.

This book will be edited and designed by Elizabeth Eagan. Find and follow me on Twitter 

Catherine Carswell’s ‘Open the Door!’ – Republishing a Rebel

Catherine Carswell was a badass. Both personally and professionally she dealt with more than her fair share of strife. In her time, Carswell became well-known for her biography of Robert Burns, but not for the right reasons. Carswell’s biography was controversial – unlike previous works which praised and worshipped Burns, Carswell’s account of his life was frank and honest, detailing his faults and affairs. For this she received huge backlash from the many fans of Burns who rejected this portrayal, attacking her with sermons and apparently going as far as sending her bullets to use upon herself. So that was fun.

Personally, Carswell had faced turmoil from her first marriage to a war veteran named Herbert Jackson. They married very early in their relationship, only for Carswell to later discover that he suffered incredibly from paranoia – thinking himself sterile, Herbert accused his wife of betrayal when she announced her pregnancy, and threatened her life. Carswell made legal history when she managed to get the marriage annulled after establishing that her husband’s insanity was present when they first married. Again – fun.

Catherine Carswell was incredibly brave in both of these circumstances – brave enough to write so controversially, and brave enough to fight against the marriage she was in. Her novel Open the Door! first published in 1920, is reflective of this. The novel follows Joanna Bannerman as she grows and questions the attitudes instilled in her during her youth – religion, marriage, female identity, sex – subjects we are still questioning now. For these reasons I chose to produce this novel, and for these reasons she deserves to be celebrated on International Women’s Day. Genuine fun!

This book will be edited and designed by Lizzie Green. Head on over to my Twitter if you’re in need of GIFs or any general ridiculousness.

International Women’s Day – time to celebrate inspirational women!

For our latest project, we were tasked by having to choose a Scottish author who is out of copyright. I chose Mrs Margaret Oliphant, a popular choice as demonstrated by previous posts from my fellow peers. Below are a few reasons why I today am celebrating the wonderful Oliphant as an author, but more importantly, as a women.

M – ‘Margaret’ means ‘pearl’ which is often associated with the stereotype that all women like materialistic shiny things, such as diamonds and pearls. However, the name also stands for Saint Margaret from the 4th century, who represented the undercurrent of women determining their own destinies by escaping a dragon (an old folk tale of course, but symbolises a women escaping on her own. Similar to the heroines depicted in Oliphant’s own novels.

A – Author. I respect all writers of all kinds, but I have always had a strong respect and admiration towards female authors as unfortunately getting their voices and names out their is hard as the industry has, and still is, predominately male. Oliphant went on to write numerous successful novels. whilst still being a women in a man’s world.

R – ‘The Rector’. This is the title of the first story that features in her series ‘The Chronicles of Carlingford’. It so happens, that this story and another (‘The Doctor’s Family’) are the pieces of work I am publishing from Elephant, for Merchiston Publishers.

G – (not just a) Girl. She may of started of as a girl, but went onto become a driven independent women.

A – ‘A Literary History of England from 1760 to 1825. Oliphant did not only write fiction pieces, such as this non-fiction book. As the old stereotype goes, women can multitask.

R – Romance. The majority of Oliphant’s fiction novels fall into the ‘romance’ category.

E – East Lothian. She was born near Musselburgh, East Lothian.

T – Tales of the Supernatural. Alongside writing romance novels and non-fiction pieces, Oliphant was also very into all things supernatural, including writing some ghost stories along the way. Now who said you couldn’t do it all; Margaret Oliphant did.

 

O – Oliphant. I just love her surname. Especially as its like ‘elephant’, which my spell check keeps reminding me every time I type her surname.

L – Loved, lost and lived. Oliphant unfortunately has a sad home life, including three of her children dying at infancy, followed by her husband and then her remaining daughter who was buried in alongside her fathers/Oliphant’s husband. Despite all this pain and sorrow, she carried on. She relocated and put her engird into writing. She loved, she lost and she continued to live, which I will always find inspiring of anyone who has that kind of strength and determination.

I – Irish novelist ‘Emily Lawless’. Oliphant was a literary mentor too Emily, passing on her advice and knowledge to the up and coming author. Women supporting women.

P – ‘Passages in the Life of Mrs. Margaret Maitland’. Her first novel ever published (in 1949).

H- ‘Holy Land’. One of her articles which was published in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1854 (vol. 76). 

A- Aries. She was born in April (the 4th) making her an Aries which are known for being courageous, determined and passionate; which are very prompt too Oliphant herself.

N – Novelist. She went onto the publish over 120 novels from 1849 to 1897.

T – ‘The Chronicles of Carlingford’. These chronicles featured seven volumes and again *cough* *plug* *cough* is the chronicles I have decided to publish.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY! I leave you with these lovely words by the women herself, Mrs Margaret Oliphant:

Oh never mind the fashion. When one has style of one’s own, it’s always twenty times better