Postgraduate Publishing studies at Edinburgh Napier University. INDUSTRY APPROVED Publishing degrees (accredited by the Professional Publishers Association and Creative Skillset). MSc Publishing was the first Publishing programme in the UK to be accredited by the Professional Publishers Association (PPA). It is now accredited by Creative Skillset (only one of two courses to hold this award). MSc Magazine Publishing is the only course of its kind in Scotland and is the only publishing course in the UK to be accredited by the PPA. The PPA is the lead body for best practice in training, development and people management for the magazine and business media industry.
As you might have seen, the #NapierBigRead is well and truly underway and we are ramping up activity in the lead-up to our book launch on:
World Book Day – Thursday 1 March.
Copies of Detective McLevy’s Casebook will be available for all students and staff across the whole university!
More details can be found on our website: www.napierbigread.com, where you will see information on our recent activity, including an event at the National Records Office, a presence at the ALIEN conference, and even a mention on the BBC.
Our most recent endeavour, the #bookstohomeless initiative, is also proving to be a great success. See the video below for more details.
On 26th October 2017, The Society of Young Publishers Scotland and The University of Edinburgh’s publishing society, PublishEd, held an evening with six speakers from six publishing companies. The aim of the evening was to provide a six-minute insight into each speaker’s role within the publishing industry.
The first speaker was Rosie Howie from educational publisher, Bright Red. Rosie explained her role as an editor throughout the processes of book production. Her useful tips were to do structural editing first in terms of formatting and style before the first draft of the final typescript is ready for a detailed copyedit. She stressed the importance of peer reviewing the author’s work, particularly in educational publishing, and in working through changes with the author to get the best results for an educational book. The next stage is where copyediting takes place before being sent to production for typesetting. Another tip I learned was that up to five proofreads of the manuscript should be carried out before signing it off as error-free and sending it to production – signing your name against poorly proofread copies is not good for your reputation as an editor! It was extremely helpful to hear the daily tasks and challenges of the editor and the importance of their overarching role within a publishing house.
The second speaker was Laura Jones, a production freelancer and one half of TheList 100′s number one publisher, 404 Ink. Laura opened up the idea of production as a possible career option which before now, no one had really explained to me. She described her role in producing and designing the books for 404 Ink and the benefits – and challenges – of working as a freelancer. It was very insightful to hear how someone in my position just a few years ago has become so successful in creating her own company, and the enthusiasm she has for her role within the publishing industry was inspiring. Laura also very helpfully explained that you don’t always have to know what aspect of publishing you want to work in from the outset and that this can often be determined from trialling different areas within a smaller publishing house to discover your strengths, which was very encouraging.
Jamie Norman, campaigns assistant for Canongate, was the third speaker of the evening. Jamie discussed the importance of pitching to the marketing and publicity of a book and of having a strong hook to your pitch to really capture and hold your buyer’s attention. A useful tip I learned from Jamie was how to tailor emails to the outlet or brand that you are trying to reach and to keep email pitches succinct, leading with the most relevant information for maximum effect. Jamie discussed some of his best tried and tested marketing techniques; competitions with unique prizes saved for publication week, extensive social media campaigns for top titles, and physical advertisements which, although expensive, can be invaluable with the right design. Most importantly, I learned how crucial it is to be prolific in your marketing.
Speaker number four was Vikki Reilly from the sales team in Birlinn. Vikki really opened up the option of sales to me as a career choice in a way no one had really done before. Her passion for sales and bookshops was infectious. She described her role as being at the centre of everything, liaising with people of all departments because she was in the position of having the most market knowledge through working with book buyers on a daily basis – and spending most of her time in bookshops. She also explained her responsibilities in organising and running promotional events, traveling, and working with non-traditional outlets like whisky shops. The variety in this role was really appealing to me and was something I had never really considered before but will definitely think about now. Another top tip from Vikki; just try new things and don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself!
The fifth speaker of the night was Janne Moller who has the very interesting job of travelling the world and selling rights for Black and White Publishing. Her key role is in selling translation, audio, and large print rights which means she has to know as many commissioning editors and publisher’s lists as possible to know who to sell to. She has the exciting role of travelling to major book fairs around the world and liaising with new people from all countries. She also described the challenging aspects of her job such as back-to-back meetings with literary agents and commissioning editors. One thing I learned from Janne was about the use of literary agents who are a type of sub-agent some publishers may utilise to sell their books in other territories much more easily. Another was literary scouts who know their clients (publishers) very well and can pick out books they would want to publish to save publishers time. It was interesting to find out about these sub-roles in publishing which I had never been introduced to before, as well as the extensive role rights managers have to play within a publishing company.
Lastly, Mairi Oliver took the opportunity to discuss the issues of diversity within bookselling. Mairi works for the radical and diverse bookshop, Lighthouse Books in Edinburgh. She discussed the importance of her role as a bridge between the publisher and customer and the need to know your books and customers really well to get the right books to the people who’ll love them most. As a diverse bookseller, she expanded on the necessity for publishers to rethink their lists in order for minority groups to be given a larger platform within the book industry for their voices to be heard. She spoke about the need for publishers to include more women in their lists and argued for more female writers to be put forward for literary awards. It was genuinely uplifting to hear someone so passionate and dedicated about these necessary changes within the industry promoting them to fellow publishers and publishing students who are in the privileged position to make them.
Overall, the evening was completely inspiring for me, a new publishing student, in broadening my understanding of the different roles within the industry from a bunch of excited, enthusiastic, and extremely friendly people and instilled in me that same enthusiasm for a future career alongside them in the publishing industry. I’ll definitely be going to more events hosted by PublishEd and the SYP!
When it was time to announce my plans after accepting the offer to join the Publishing MSc at Napier, the conversation always went the same way. “I’ve decided,” I’d say, “That I’m going to go for the publishing postgrad.”
“That’s great!” they’d reply enthusiastically. Then, inevitably, the pause. Then – “So, uh. What does that involve?”
It would be my turn to hesitate. “Oh, you know. Making books and stuff. Editing. Printing. That sort of thing.
They’d nod and smile and tell me it sounded great, and none of us would be any the wiser. I had read the Napier website and this Publishing Postgrad site, and I’d searched around a little. I knew my explanation was lacking, but, despite that, I could not shift the image in my head. I’m sure every reader of this post will recognise it: the author in their study, tapping away at their keys, sending out the printed manuscript to hundreds of different publishers by post and waiting anxiously for an acceptance letter. The publisher receiving the big envelope, becoming engrossed by the story, and deciding to go ahead. The editing, taking out all the mistakes, and then, somehow, a cover appears and suddenly the book is in bookshops. A romantic, cinematic notion to be sure, and one that absolutely did not prepare me for the myriad of jobs that realistically need to be completed before – and after – a book is published.
I have now been on the MSc Publishing course for almost ten weeks, and have been thoroughly disabused of the above notion, learning parts of the publishing process of which I had never even dreamed.
I applied for MSc Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University pretty late on last year. I had graduated with an Honours in English Literature and was a bit stuck on what to do. This course was suggested to me by a careers advisor. I applied after doing a bit of my own research, and was accepted to the course to start in September 2016. Initially, it was daunting, as any would any masters course would be, and in the run up to my start date I began looking online for some more information about what I would be doing.
It’s hard to go through blog posts and material that may not be relevant by the time you start, so here’s a list of what I believe to be important and that won’t change in the near future. Hopefully this will give you a bit of help if you are about to embark on what’s, no doubt, going to be one of the quickest years of your life. Continue reading “Advice on your new publishing world!”
One of the first events I attended after starting the MSc Publishing course was Magfest, a self described ‘international magazine festival and conference’ that is held in September every year. Organised by PPA Scotland (the Professional Publishers Association Scotland), the event is attended by magazine publishers and enthusiasts, featuring a range of international speakers.
At the start of the year I began the MSc Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier University with the idea that I wanted to work in editorial, more specifically on Young Adult works. In order to get there I figured I get work in a the rights department as a stepping stone. In fact, that had been my plan since I was 19: get a job in a legal department and move over to the editorial department. This plan came when I realised that publishing was an option as a career choice. Thanks to an article by Julie Strauss-Gable at the time about working at Penguin, I realised this was a path I could follow and therefore set my eyes on that path. That was the plan, but within a few weeks of beginning this course I realised that this path was not the one I wanted to follow. Having had a plan for five years it took a lot of courage to decide to go a different route.
Often people overlook the other sides that make publishing a successful business. If you were to ask a member of the public what they are to think of when it comes to publishing they would probably say editing. It’s what people know, yet there are so many more departments involved in the production process of books. Between the marketing and the design department there are so many ways to help make a book just as beautiful and as appreciated as you can, and discounting any of these roles is just a terrible way to start a course, something I learned very quickly.
I’m sorry to say that while I knew that other roles in the publishing industry existed before I joined the course, I never really considered them in a meaningful way. I had my plan so I stuck to the plan. Logically I knew that there were other sectors of publishing that existed, and obviously there were other departments, yet at no point had I considered I could work a design or marketing position. As two fascination sides of publishing, I only now wish I had studied them before I came to the course: just think of how much I could have learned in those five years. Yet, surprisingly the aspect of the course that made me happiest, was the legal side, something I never thought I’d want to pursue as the end goal. It had always been a stepping stone in my mind, something I would endure not something I would want.
This new pursuit added to my already deep love and experience of working in theatre has lead me to paths I could never have imagined five years ago. As it is right now, I am hoping that someday I will work with the rights of both performing and publishing theatre. Thanks to the studying I have done over the course, I realised that this path was an option, from talking to Samuel French for my essay in first semester to a wonderful talk by Susanne Collier who helped me to realise that there are options out there you never would have thought of, even weekly lectures with Alistair McCleery in first semester which helped me rediscover my love for law: this course has shaped my path in ways that in September I never could have imagined and in ways I never want to forget.