Work Experience at Lighthouse Bookshop

21878820_1915901028730250_6186047585476673536_nIn October and November, I had my work experience at Lighthouse – Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop. Before arriving in Edinburgh, I was already interested in this bookshop, as it is a left-leaning independent bookshop. Their goal is to challenge the status quo and advocate for diversity, sustainability, free speech, and equality.

My aim for this work experience in a bookshop, was to find out what happens after a book is published. How do bookshops decide which books they want to have in their bookshop when they have so many choices? How do the books themselves influence their chance of being placed on a book shelf?


I was able to gain experience in different aspects of a bookseller’s daily work-life.

25286049_10214836582128764_1599288614_oI curated the Young Adult Fiction section of the bookshop. My goal was to introduce more diverse books in this section. Not all the books that I wanted to purchase were purchased. There were several reasons for this. While choosing books, I found out that I could not get some of the books as they were not available in the UK. Another reason is that the cover was not suitable for the audience. A final reason, is that the price was too high.

In November, the bookshop hosted the Edinburgh Radical Book Fair. In preparation for this event, I helped copywrite some parts of the flyer and assisted with the flyer’s design. During the book fair, I also got my first experience in chairing a discussion — I chaired the discussion on Political Multiculturalism and Immigrant Communities.

21827106_846841135482374_6556849867535155200_nFurther, I gained experience in retail and customer service. Using a cashier is really confusing at the beginning! Talking with customers about books is one of my favourite activities at the bookshop. It’s exciting to discuss books with them, and it’s so rewarding when someone decides to choose a book because you have recommended it to them.

Now, that my work experience has finished, I’ll be continuing to work at the bookshop as a bookseller.


About the author
I’m Sinead, an MSc Publishing student at Edinburgh Napier University. I work part-time as a bookseller at Lighthouse – Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop. My blog Huntress of Diverse Books focuses on reviewing and promoting diverse books. I’m also a co-host at Lit CelebrAsian, an initiative aiming to uplift Asian voices in literature.

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Placement: Scotland Street Press

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One of the most exciting aspects of this course for me was the placement opportunities that we would be given the chance to undertake. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in and use my skills in a real-life publishing house.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long and was given a placement with Scotland Street Press in October. Scotland Street is a small, Edinburgh based publisher who publish literary fiction, memoir and travel books. There’s a wide variety; and with one of the books being a 2017 English PEN award for translation, there’s a lot going on. It was set up by Jean Findlay and she continues to work as head of publishing.  I was nervous about starting, as we had only recently begun the course and I had absolutely no publishing experience whatsoever. I was also concerned about how I would manage to juggle the placement with my studies, and my part-time job, especially considering how early on in the programme we were.

I need not have worried though, as on my first day I found myself settling in and adjusting to the ways in which the press is run. Continue reading “Placement: Scotland Street Press”

Dyslexia Awareness Week

A reflection upon Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017.

Today we are currently in the last day of Dyslexia Awareness Week whose campaign this year has been #PositiveAboutDyslexia. There is still quite a lot of stigma around dyslexia and those who have it as is highlighted in the BBC Three short ‘Things Not To Say To Someone With Dyslexia’. So many of the common things that are said to people who have dyslexia are either dismissive or negative; things like telling dyslexia people that they ‘need to focus more’ and when someone mentions that they have dyslexia asking them to spell it. (Confession: I did misspell dyslexia at least three times while writing this post).

This week I was lucky enough to be involved in #DyslexiaStory campaign.  This was set up between Dekko Comics, where I am currently an intern, and Estendio a company who develop innovative support Apps for people with Dyslexia. I got to be there from the very start, being involved in the initial Skype conversation where we decided on the hashtag and how we wanted people to get involved.

The plan was to take this years #PositiveAboutDyslexia campaign and add to it a little. Allow people to poke a little fun at themselves, or share a proud moment. To share with us their own favourite #DyslexiaStory.

The responses that we got really were a mixed bag, from a man telling us about misspelling his own name on his Higher English exam to a mother proudly sharing her daughter’s success in having her poetry published. One thing that I did enjoy was that the responses were overwhelmingly positive.

As part of Dyslexia Awareness Week I went along to Edinburgh Central Library for a Dyslexia Scotland event which promoted positivity about dyslexia and involved speakers and performers who were dyslexia and sharing their stories. First up was a sixteen year old boy from Aberdeenshire who played some live music and explained that when he was in early primary school he used to hide under desks because he was unable to connect with traditional methods of learning. He now expresses himself through songwriting and playing the guitar.

This was followed by the master of ceremonies for the night, Paul Hugh McNeill who is an ambassador for Dyslexia Scotland. I knew of Paul in advance of the event through Twitter and it was amazing to see just how inspiring a speaker he was in person. He talked about his own experiences of growing up Dyslexic, in the 1980’s and how in primary school he had just been labeled as ‘bad’. It wasn’t until he was twenty-five and decided to go back to full-time education that he realised his Dyslexia wasn’t something that he should be ashamed of, but that there was help available to him.

Paul is a hard worker which has gotten him to where he is today, he talked about how his dyslexia made him work hard, and that without it he wouldn’t be where he is today. He is a fantastic role model for young children, not least because he is an advocate for him, espousing that all a dyslexic child needs is an adult on their side. A parent, a teacher, an auntie or uncle, and if that child doesn’t have any of those people on their side then they will have Paul.

The launch of the new Dyslexia Scotland Website and of the hard work from the Dyslexia Scotland Youth Ambassadors whose enthusiasm made the launch possible was also briefly touched upon.

Finally we got to hear from Margaret Rooke, the author of newly published book Dyslexia is my Superpower (Most of the Time). Margaret herself is not dyslexia, but her daughter is, which made her interested in the learning difficulty. She has interviewed dyslexic people across the country and compiled her interviews into this book which is available for purchase here.

It was quite important to me to be involved in Dyslexia Awareness Week. I think that it’s something that can so easily be overlooked, when coping strategies are in place and you are long since diagnosed. At the Dyslexia Scotland event I spoke to parents whose children had just been diagnosed and were caught the relief of knowing that there was a reason their child was struggling, and the difficult realisation that their kid is in for a hard slog. It was uplifting to be able to share the success stories of other dyslexic people in the room.

So to end this Dyslexia Awareness Week I am going to push myself to continue being #PositiveAboutDyslexia long after the campaign fades.

 

Work Placement at Luath Press

I recently completed a two-week internship for Luath Press, an independent publishing house on the Royal Mile. Committed to publishing well written books worth reading, Luath Press publishes across a variety of genres and topics. I had waited all year to secure a placement and was pleased to hear I was going to get the opportunity to spend time at Luath. I eagerly trekked through the pouring rain on my first day and arrived, breathless and drenched, ready to get to work. I’d spent the past year learning about publishing and it was time to see if my education had paid off. Continue reading “Work Placement at Luath Press”

Exploring New Perspectives: My Placement With the TMSA

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Earlier this year I was fortunate to be offered a placement with the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA). While they are not a publishing company as such, they do publish a variety of books and song books in association with publishers such as The Hardie Press, an Edinburgh-based music publisher, and Collins.

During my placement I got the opportunity to work in a variety of different fields – I conducted extensive market research for the upcoming event calendar, drafted social media posts and press releases for the new “101 Songs – The Wee Red Book 2” DVD, edited the DVD booklet, and even translated promotional material that will be used to market the TMSA’s publications as well as the association itself on the European mainland.

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However, one of the most interesting experiences was the co-operation with The Hardie Press, a small, but successful company that has been in business for over 30 years.

Thanks to the great number of guest speakers who visited Edinburgh Napier University and the numerous publishing events I attended during my time in Scotland… Continue reading “Exploring New Perspectives: My Placement With the TMSA”

Immersion in the World of Publishing Rights & Contracts at Canongate

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In May and June I was given the fantastic opportunity to complete a work placement at one of Scotland’s most successful and exciting publishing houses – the fiercely independent Canongate.

During the internship, I worked in the Rights & Contracts department. Rights is an area of publishing I am already interested in, so I was keen to develop practical skills to add to the basic theoretical knowledge I had gained beforehand.

My placement started with a meeting with Caroline, Senior Rights Executive, and Pauline, Rights Assistant. After offering me a tour through the various departments and introducing me to the staff, they gave me an overview of what I would be learning during my time at Canongate and answered all my questions about rights in general, and my internship in particular.

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Over the few weeks I spent at Canongate I undertook a variety of tasks, including logging royalty statements, processing foreign editions, sourcing book reviews, and much more. Under Pauline’s supervision, I…  Continue reading “Immersion in the World of Publishing Rights & Contracts at Canongate”

Editorial at JPAAP

PrintI started my first day with JPAAP without any clear idea of what goes on behind the curtains of academic publishing. I will shamefully admit to having been too tempted by the glamorous fiction market to have spent much time thinking about academia.

All I knew was that I was going to be working in the editorial team as a proofreader/copyeditor on their next issue. So, on my first day I took the lift up to the seventh floor feeling slightly intimidated… Continue reading “Editorial at JPAAP”