London Bound: My Placement at Abrams & Chronicle Books

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When I started the publishing programme at Edinburgh Napier University, the placement module was the one I was excited about and also the least worried about. This might sound weird, because, like most of my peers, I started this programme to get more publishing experience. I wasn’t as nervous about this upcoming placement, however, because I spent last year interning at various publishing houses in the Netherlands and thus already had some experience.

I have been a book blogger since March 2013 and over the course of the fewpast years I have built relationships with various publishing houses within the UK. I have loved reviewing for Harper Collins, Abrams & Chronicle, Bloomsbury, and Bonnier Books in the past; and when the time came to secure a work placement, I sent a few emails to contacts I hadmade through my years of blogging. Two weeks later I secured my placement at Abrams & Chronicle Books in London.

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They sent me a package with six proofs of their upcoming Spring 2019 titles

Although I had not been nervous about the work placement up until that point, nerves seemed to kick in full force the moment I stepped on my flight to London. Although I had some previous publishing experience, all my publishing experience came from Dutch publishing houses and I started worrying that it would be different in the UK. I realised that aside from the department I would be doing my placement in (marketing and publicity) I actually did not know what to expect at all.

I realised the very first day that there weren’t any major differences between Dutch and UK publishing houses, aside from the language and the tea culture… I worked on a variety of tasks during my placement. Some of which I had experience with, such as proofing press releases, social media marketing, and sending out press and blogger mailings. There were also plenty of tasks that I hadn’t done before, such as creating Excel grids for upcoming releases and title updates, creating publicity and marketing plans, and doing title research for some of their upcoming titles.

I really enjoyed my placement and it was a very good first foray into the UK publishing industry. It also was a good reminder that every first day is a little nerve-wrecking, no matter where or how much experience you already have. Every company, whether it is in publishing or not, has a certain way of doing things. You’ll have to familiarise yourself with the system they work with and find your own place and workflow within the company.

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A Placement at Vagabond Voices

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At the beginning of this course the placement module always seemed exciting, but when the time came to actually organising one, it all felt a bit more daunting. I had no direct experience in the industry, and although you’ve got to start somewhere, getting that first bit of experience is always tricky. It’s difficult to put yourself into a situation where you don’t really know the day-to-day workings of a publishing house and are wondering what you can bring to the table. Of course, as it turns out, I had far more to offer than I thought and those transferable skills everyone talks about really do come in handy.

I secured my placement with Vagabond Voices in December, after having researched the company for a case study the previous trimester. Continue reading “A Placement at Vagabond Voices”

Sales and Campaigns at the Award-Winning Canongate

When I found out that part of our MSc Publishing course involved undertaking a professional placement I was excited and absolutely terrified in equal measures. Although I had completed an Editorial Internship in Paris in 2016, I was really nervous at the prospect of completing a work placement in Edinburgh – the city where I wanted to settle and start my publishing career. I was desperate to make a good first impression and get a foot on the extremely competitive publishing ladder.

Since arriving in Edinburgh in September to start the course I had been researching the Scottish industry and was thrilled to see all the amazing work being done by independent publishers. When I was asked to complete a Case Study as part of a module in semester 1 I knew I wanted to focus my research on Canongate who is a force of nature in the publishing industry. I had already read (and loved) a number of Canongate’s books and admired their determination to seek out and publish ‘the most vital, exciting voices’. Soon after starting my Case Study I heard about the opportunity to join Canongate’s Campaigns and Sales department for a 3-month internship. I couldn’t believe the timing and jumped at the chance! I sent in my application as quickly as possible and was thrilled to be invited for a telephone interview. Continue reading “Sales and Campaigns at the Award-Winning Canongate”

Interview jitters, accosting tourists and a public toilet tour: a few months with The Wee Book Company.

In December 2018 I had a Skype call with Susan Cohen, director at The Wee Book Company, to discuss a marketing and publicity internship position that was due to begin in January 2019. I was nervous, and self-doubt was kicking in hard. What could I possibly offer her, having never worked for a publisher before? However, after about five minutes of conversation I felt eased by Susan’s enthusiastic, understanding and relaxed tones, and I felt nothing but excitement for the upcoming projects. I was delighted to be accepted into the team.

In early January we met at the fascinating yet, as Susan will exclaim profusely, extremely haunted Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre for the first time with the whole team to plan and discuss the coming months.

Already I was experiencing new things. Taking a tour of this historic building that I’d never been to before and learning about the variety of holistic work that now goes on there: besides the ghosts in the basement you can get nutritional support, take an exercise class, or even have your own psychic reading from a professional medium! We talked over coffee and cake about the titles coming out this year and the marketing work that would need to be done during our time with the company. Continue reading “Interview jitters, accosting tourists and a public toilet tour: a few months with The Wee Book Company.”

Publishing in a Small Town

In December, I was able to do a placement at The Independent, a local publisher near my home town in South Western Ontario, Canada. Essentially, they publish newspapers and magazines for the county I live in, and are the main written news and advertising source for our area. The Independent has a staff of five women, all of whom take on different departments of the company. From editorial, to design, ads, marketing and sales, they manage to take care of everything that needs to be done to ensure that the two weekly publications they have get sent out every Wednesday. I loved having the opportunity to see how publishing works in the area I am from, and being able to see how such a small company comes together to be a success. Over the course of my placement, I got to learn about each of the areas of publishing, from editorial and design, to sales and printing, and spend one on one time with each of the staff members to learn what it is, exactly, that they do.

When I started this course, I was sure I wanted to go into editorial, and that I wanted to work in book publishing. As we started to learn, I began to question this, because we were learning about so many different things I hadn’t even considered. Who knew that I really enjoyed design, or that I was really interested in rights? MSc Publishing has taught me a lot about all areas, and made me question if editing books was what I wanted to do. With these questions, I decided that maybe I should explore more than just book publishing, and applied for placements in books, magazines, and newspapers, in all different departments, to learn more. The Independent offered me a place, which was very convenient because it was while I was home in Canada for Christmas!

While I was there, I learned a lot. Continue reading “Publishing in a Small Town”

#ScotTradeFair with The Wee Book Company

It’s fair to say that we were all a little grumpy as we made our way to Hanover Street at 7am on a chilly January Monday. As interns at newly formed publishing house The Wee Book Company, we had been offered the chance to attend Scotland’s Trade Fair with Susan, the Managing Director. Of course, we had jumped at the chance, but when the time actually cam for us to force ourselves out our beds at 6am, we were all beginning to wonder what we had let ourselves in for. Fortunately, coffee is a marvellous thing, and by the time we reached Glasgow, our excitement about the day had begun to reignite.

IMG-20190122-WA0011Once we arrived and saw the stall occupied by The Wee Book Company, we were raring to go once again. The Company had kindly invited Angus, Alison and I to the trade fair for one day, in order to get an insight into the purchasing and distribution process. It was a fascinating experience, and made me consider employment in areas of the publishing industry which I previously knew nothing about. Continue reading “#ScotTradeFair with The Wee Book Company”

My Placement at EUP

‘I can confirm we would be happy to take you on for a two-week work experience placement’. I couldn’t believe it when I received Rebecca’s email: they had a free spot in June and they wanted me. I was finally going to do a placement at Edinburgh University Press. Scaring as it might seem, on the 4th of June I put on my brightest smile, took a deep breath, and started my first day. Little did I know that day that this would have been one of the most intense and formative experiences of my year here in Edinburgh as a publishing postgrad student. Should I tell all the things that I’ve done during my placement, two more weeks wouldn’t probably be enough. So, I’ve decided to list the highlights of my experience at EUP, a sort of a personal ‘best of’ of my internship.

Most rewarding achievement
I designed two promotional showcards that were meant to be shown at conferences. Given the time constraint – I had just a couple of hours to complete each one of them – I wasn’t really sure that the results would meet the marketing team’s expectations. To my surprise, not only did they like it, but also they decided to actually use them at the conferences. Continue reading “My Placement at EUP”