My internship with Ringwood Publishing

When I first began my MSc Publishing degree I had no experience of working in the publishing industry. However, having had various jobs since my undergraduate degree working in sales, social media and customer service, I had developed transferable skills that helped me a lot coming into publishing as I got to grips with networking, the publishing community on Twitter and marketing. By the time trimester two came around I was eager to get started on the placement module which had appealed so much to me when I was applying for publishing courses the previous year. I was excited for the opportunity to combine the skills I had learnt in class with some practical experience in the industry.

When it came to securing an internship, I didn’t think twice before contacting Ringwood Publishing. Ringwood are a small, independent publishing house based in Glasgow and focus on publishing both fiction and non-fiction around the themes of sex, politics, football, the outdoors and more. With such a varied list I knew I wouldn’t tire of reading Ringwood submissions (something I can vouch for now), and having researched the company for my case study in trimester one I knew that they have a fantastic relationship with interns who take on key responsibilities and have more independence over the tasks they carry out than they would in a lot of larger publishing houses – it is easy to see why Ringwood has been quite a popular choice among some of my fellow publishing students this year. I was also drawn to Ringwood due to their dedication to new authors writing on niche subjects, and who are often overlooked by larger, more mainstream publishing houses.

I began my internship with Ringwood as a Marketing & PR Assistant which was very exciting – I didn’t have a lot of marketing experience at the time apart from what I had learnt in class so this was my chance to think strategically about events, target audience and promotion within a professional environment. Almost straight away I got involved in planning events and creating PR proposals, and I quickly found that in this role there is a strong emphasis on communication skills as you are the person generating interest around an event and ensuring its promotion. Being comfortable approaching potential collaborators and media contacts is crucial, and an aspect of the job that I have thoroughly come to enjoy – there is something satisfying about receiving a positive response from the perfect collaborator to your event. Along with this there were also opportunities to take on reader and proofreading tasks.

A highlight of this internship for me was becoming one of Ringwood’s Submission Managers. In this role I am involved in every aspect of the submissions process from considering manuscripts at every stage, to communicating with authors and liaising with readers. This has also been a great opportunity to sharpen my skills in reading and get into a copyediting mindset and I have really enjoyed taking an active role in such an interesting area of the publishing process.

Overall, my experience interning with Ringwood has been a great insight into different areas of publishing within a small, independent publishing house. It has given me a taste for learning as much as I can about the way that different publishing houses function and the different roles that are available in publishing leading me to take another shorter internship with the brilliant Think Publishing. This experience has been indispensable to me and I would truly recommend Ringwood as a fantastic publishing house to intern with for anyone who takes an open-minded, practical approach to learning and really wants to get stuck in.

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Photo: One of the best parts about my internship has been creating an event to promote Ringwood’s Scots-Irish backlist titles. Above are some of the books that will feature in the event.

Check out more of Ringwood’s vibrant backlist titles at http://www.ringwoodpublishing.com/

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Learning Through Comics

For the Publishing Placement and Professional Development module, I did my internship at Dekko Comics. These are educational comics created with an aim to make learning fun and enjoyable for children including those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, autism, and related conditions. Honestly, before my internship, I didn’t know much about innovation in the field of education and more specifically, how educational comics are turning out to be the ultimate game-changer.

Although educational comics primarily aim to communicate information, they are also in equal measure entertaining. In most schools around the world, as regards the academic subjects like biology, history, geography, mathematics etc. information is communicated in the same format. In this scenario, learning depends on the student’s ability to read, write and listen when the teacher is explaining the concepts in the classroom. But in the case of a student facing any learning difficulty, the ability to read or write quickly is affected and he/she lags behind in schoolwork, which in the long run, can possibly lead to the child developing low self-esteem. Secondly, both exam revision and schoolwork is something, which students do not necessarily look forward to. Hence, not surprisingly enough loss of concentration is of the most common problems faced by students.

Educational comics can provide a practical solution to these age-old problems and the simple reason for that is the way in which information is presented. It certainly does not look like a lesson. The knowledge thus imparted is narrated like a story as a comic format usually does. The sequence of a beginning, middle, and end aids the understanding. The information is also divided into chunks, which helps in engaging the reader. Importantly, the text is accompanied by visuals which are the characters in the story and they give meaning to the words.

In its prototype stage, Dekko was tested on five different schools in Scotland and different age ranges and learning types were used. All unanimously appreciated it and teachers found it to be great learning resource as students were able to both understand and retain the information. But creating this comic which doubles as a learning resource was no mean feat. The ‘colours’ used were considered as important as the humour in storytelling for an interesting mix of colours made the comic eye-catching and engaging. Dekko also uses dyslexia friendly font along with colour-coding important bits of information.

It’s about that time these comics find their way into the classroom, ultimately making learning enjoyable for teachers, students, and parents alike. Educational comics can benefit the education system as a whole for they have the entertainment factor, which the traditional textbooks lag. It might soon be the next big thing in academic publishing.

 

 

Festivals on Your Doorstep

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about UK publishing outside of London, thanks to the dedication and the hard work of organisations such as the Northern Fiction Alliance to get the voices of publishers outside the bubble of London heard. Unfortunately, before my time at Edinburgh Napier and studying my MSc in Publishing I didn’t even know that companies outside of London or Edinburgh even existed, let alone ones so close to me in the Yorkshire city I did my undergraduate degree in.

Hull.

Aside from the fact that I am now following all the right people on twitter to hear about such companies, one thing that helped me discover the literary scene in Hull was the urge to get a placement. It seemed fitting that I would head back to the place where I first learnt that publishing could be an option for me as a career path and started my journey to Edinburgh. To have my first placement with Wrecking Ball Press it completed a nice narrative circle for me, and as I learnt more and more about working in a small publishing company I also learnt about something else.

There is a thriving literary scene surrounding the area that had simplly seemed to pass me by before, and I like to claim that literature is what I love the most. I was beginning to hear of festivals because of the fact Wrecking Ball Press often helps bring such events into reality. Such as Lyricull, which celebrates music and song writing in Hull, and Humber Mouth a literature festival that focuses on literature and draws attention to the city of Hull and its passionate people.

Hull and Wrecking Ball pooled so much into their literature, art and culture ventures in the past year as they also celebrated being the City of Culture for 2017, (something I was gutted to have missed out due to the fact I graduated a year before this took place). With events happening every day to help spread the awareness of the city’s thriving culture, it simply proved that Hull has such a large wealth of talented people committed to the arts.

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Weeping Window – an art installation during the City of Culture 2017 (25th March -14th May on the Hull Maritime Museum), originally held at the Tower of London. A poppy tribute to those who served in the army.

However, learning all this got me thinking, what other cities have such thriving publishing, literature and arts scenes that are simply hidden by the size of London’s stake in the pool of festivals and companies? I was surprised at how much happens in Edinburgh when I moved here 8 months ago and it’s a capital city, so what else is out there that I simply didn’t know about before because I didn’t have the knowledge to find them and check them out?

Literature festivals help publishers, writers, readers, and even people who don’t count themselves as readers, to connect and share in their love of literature. It is platform that has helped Wrecking Ball showcase their works to a wider audience and I’m proud to know that these things were, and are still, happening in Hull. So now, wherever I end up, I will be on the look for festivals and events that will help keep me connected to literature as I pursue my career into publishing. There’s always something on your door step, you just have to look.

My Placement with Luna Press Publishing

One of the qualities I most wanted to work on at the start of my MSc Publishing course was time-management and organisational skills. I loved the idea of being responsible for finding a placement by myself and choosing a publisher that best suited the sort of skills that I wanted to improve. It seemed as if smaller publishers tended to give their interns more responsibilities and autonomy over their duties whilst on placement. I also wanted to better understand the running of and issues that affect smaller, niche publishers both due to personal interest for a future career and to assist in the writing of my dissertation on that topic.

Luna Press is a small company dedicated to the publishing of science fiction, fantasy and academia; it is run by the author Francesca Barbini. Before myself, Luna Press had never taken on a student on placement due to having only been founded in 2015. Despite this, Luna Press has already produced books that have been shortlisted for awards. I met with Francesca to discuss whether I would be a good fit for Luna Press and whether Luna Press would be able to offer the sort of work experience that would be useful to me.

My placement consisted of mostly work from home with a few in-person meetings to check in. I think this sort of structure helped me to learn to prioritise my work for university and deadlines for my placement. I kept Fridays free to work on my weekend blog posts for Luna Press and this gave more structure and enabled me to keep on top of both. I really enjoyed being able to have a creative outlet and have importance placed on my opinions and advice which was the basis for many of my articles. My placement with Luna Press had a great deal of emphasis on bringing together work and my MSc Publishing education; consolidating my skills by making them transferrable was very useful for me. For example with InDesign, I was able to show my new skills learned whilst at university and be given advice on how to hone them whilst on my placement.

I was given one-on-one feedback and a real insight into the day-to-day running of a small publisher. I mentioned that I would find looking over some contracts interesting as we had looked at some in class and I was curious to see how they would differ at a smaller company. At the next in-person meeting I was shown a few examples and Francesca offered to go through them with me and explained some of the more complicated clauses and spoke about the negotiations and process that those involved went through to arrive at the final contract. This led to a discussion about how Luna Press conducts business and the ways they offer authors something different to larger publishers. Francesca wants everyone that works with Luna Press to be able to feel like family. This was a huge incentive for me when I was researching publishers to do my placement with. When I came across the website for the company, I was very interested in the “Luna Family” page and the dynamic there. I felt very much as though this rang true to my placement because I was always asked what would best help me and what responsibilities would most fit in with my schedule. I cannot wait to see what Luna Press achieve next and hope to stay in contact to see those well-deserved successes in the future.

 

Check out Luna Press Publishing!

https://www.lunapresspublishing.com/

Photo: One of our in-person meetings to discuss the placement progress. These took place in cafes and bars and were informal.

Social Media Manager for Ringwood Publishing

logo ringwoodWhen I first looked at the various courses available, it was the Publishing course that caught my eye, mainly because of the work placement module. I was at the point where I tried a few different areas in the Media world and was excited to apply those skills in the publishing industry. In May 2017 after emailing several publishing houses around Edinburgh and Glasgow I was lucky enough to secure an internship with Ringwood Publishing. Most offers of work experience and internships during that time were based in London which made it impossible for me to apply. However, I was positively surprised when Ringwood got back to me asking me to come for an interview.

Ringwood Publishing is based in Glasgow’s West End and specialises in crime, football, politics, nature and a bit of Scottish fiction. It makes for an exciting mix and provides an insight into a diverse list of books to promote. The company is owned by 15 shareholders and is run mostly by interns. In 2017, I officially joined the Ringwood Publishing team in the role of a Media Manager. It was a varied role as I involved myself in other parts of the publishing process at Ringwood and had a chance to experience a little bit of everything during my time there.

After my interview, I was initially made a reader and co-editor and took those tasks on for a few weeks. This meant that I was also reviewing new manuscripts and creating AI sheets, providing an overview of books, characters and plots. Working with AI sheets came at the perfect time as it was one of the first things we were taught at Napier. It was an opportunity to use the skills I have learned in class and apply them in a professional setting.

Despite learning a lot on the Publishing course at Napier there are certain aspects of the industry that can only be taught in a working environment which was very exciting. I enjoyed working with other interns and learning from them, but also took pleasure in working from home and creating new and exciting social media content.

I truly believe that work experience while at university is an essential part of learning. I had an opportunity to work with some incredible people and made great friends; not to mention the experience itself. It boosts your CV and it also gives you a chance to see which areas interest you the most. I believe that my time at Ringwood was crucial to my increasing love for Marketing & Publicity. It gave me a chance to get a flavour for what it would be like to work with social media on daily basis and how to make it work best. This placement has led me to accept a freelance position at Artmag UK in October last year in the role of a Social Media Manager and Website Editor.  Those two roles were key to my securing an exciting new role at Whiterby. I have recently been offered a Marketing Intern position at Witherby Publishing and will start work on the 14thof May. It will be my first full time job and I could not be happier that it’s with Witherby and within Marketing. It is a dream come true and I cannot wait to see where this opportunity will lead me in the future.

 

 

 

Placement: Vagabond Voices

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After my very enjoyable stint at Scotland Street Press was over, I decided that I wanted to gain more experience in the publishing workplace. As a born and bred Glaswegian, I was extremely keen to see what my home town had to offer in the way of publishing houses, so it was logical that I looked to Vagabond Voices.

Established in 2008 by Allan Cameron, Vagabond Voices publishes ‘novels, poems and polemics penned at home or abroad.” With an excellent reputation of publishing translations, and with my background in French, this felt like the perfect fit.

I began my placement in January and it has been a joy ever since. Having before worked for a small publisher I was accustomed to the buzzy atmosphere and the variety of tasks that I’d be expected to perform but I learned more than I ever imagined.

Since I started there, I have only ever been encouraged and I have read many a submission and my feedback has been taken seriously, I have proofread and been given feedback and support on my work, and I have been given control of the social media channels, and given the freedom to create promotional images on Photoshop and InDesign which have been used.

Most surprisingly is the fact that Allan, the director has guided and encouraged me into undertaking more sales activities, something he feels I have an aptitude for. Sales was never a role I considered prior to this placement and I’m surprised at how much I love it. Creating relationships and rapport with buyers has been one of the most fun aspects of the role.

Overall, my time spent with Vagabond Voices has provided me with invaluable skills and knowledge and my confidence has increased tenfold. I will always be grateful to Allan and Dana for the time they invested in me.

Vagabond Voices Placement

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As part of our publishing course we have the opportunity to apply for practical placements in the second trimester. Thus, in December began the hunt for internships. The first people I e-mailed were Vagabond Voices, based in Glasgow, and I got a quick response from the person who runs the publishing company, Allan Cameron. I was beyond excited to hear from him and after a few more exchanges they took me on board and I began my placement in the middle of January.

Vagabond Voices are an amazing, small, independent publisher focusing on publishing translations and literary fiction. They recognize the importance of translated literature and the stories of different people and cultures. The publishing industry is currently discussing the issues of diversity and inclusivity and Allan has been trying to tackle all these problems for the last 10 years by translating a variety of stories into English.

I am also very interested in the power of the translated voice so this seemed like the perfect placement for me. I started my first day with great enthusiasm that has not waned since then. I utterly enjoy spending my Fridays there doing a variety of tasks. Dana, Allan’s right hand woman, understands how important this placement is for us and does her very best to make sure we make the most of it. She lets each intern try a bit of everything.

I started by helping out with the social media. I have always been a bit afraid of social media and marketing but I found out that tweeting and creating posts can be fun and engaging. I also realized that it takes much more time than I had thought.

I was also allowed to dip my finger into the submissions, an activity that I am still doing. I think this has been the best part for me so far. The sheer volume of submissions that a small publisher receives is staggering. There is always so much to read but I have found out that I really enjoy doing it. There is rarely a hidden gem in the pile of pages but every manuscript teaches you something new and I am started to understand how to separate my own literary preferences and the text itself. I have learnt that objectivity and decisiveness are key when reading submissions and practice indeed makes perfect.

With practice in mind, Dana let the interns proofread a manuscript that is to be published this year. This was an incredible and valuable experience as we were allowed to see quality writing and exercise our judgment in tweaking the manuscript. The amount of work that goes in editing and proofreading a piece of writing is amazing and a person needs to pay attention to every miniscule detail. It is definitely a task that appeals to me. I put into practice everything I have learnt so far from my course and definitely enjoyed the feeling of holding a manuscript and doing my best to make it even better if possible.

As a whole, I can only recommend Vagabond Voices. Allan and Dana are amazing people with a lot of knowledge and it is a privilege to work with them, pick their brains and have a chat about books and publishing as an industry. I have tried a variety of publishing tasks and I have come to understand a bit better how a publishing company works on a daily basis. What I would like to emphasize in the end is the way interns are treated at Vagabond Voices. Both Allan and Dana fully realize that interns are not paid and they do their best to make up for this fact. The hours I do on Fridays are flexible and Allan always says that we are to come and go as we please since we are not getting paid. This flexibility and way of thinking is vital for publishers who open their doors to unpaid interns. Dana has played a major role in my placement so far. She is the one that usually gives the daily tasks and she always tries to give us something new because she realizes that we are there to learn. She has offered us a range of work and at the moment she is preparing a feedback on our editorial job and all of this is on top of her actual work. This understanding and effort have really impressed me and I really urge everyone to go and check Vagabond Voices out as the work their doing is amazing.