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”

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Mags, Magfest & magCulture

I began my MSc Publishing course blindly. I didn’t quite know what publishing entailed and I certainly didn’t know what company I aspired to work for. I had just returned from two years living in sunny Australia and was looking around at rainy Scotland, and its cold wind that whipped around my head and made the tip of my ears ache, thinking; why did I ever come back?

I had been freelancing in Melbourne but felt I had hit a lull in my career. I was making little to no progression and I struggled to get work that I found challenging and inspiring. So, I started applying for Publishing Masters. I applied in a panic all over the world; Australia, Scotland, Canada, England, thinking someone must accept! And to my surprise, everyone did. A triumph for most but not for an anxiety riddled twenty-something with a deep hate for making decisions. Scotland became my first choice because, if I’m honest, it was the only affordable option. Now I know this may seem like I’m being super negative, but I promise there’s good things to come. 

Day one of MSc Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University I met Laura Dunlop from PPA who was speaking about MagFest 2018 and asking for volunteers to help at the event. I put myself forward and to my delight was offered a place. I worked closely with Jeremy Leslie, owner of magCulture (an incredible magazine shop in London), selling magazines in his pop-up. This really opened my eyes to the weird, the wonderful and the niche options out there when it came to printed media. Continue reading “Mags, Magfest & magCulture”

SYP and Me

One of the SYP panels I attended at the 2019 London Book Fair.

In past seven months on the Edinburgh Napier Publishing MSc, I’ve learned so much: skills in design and editorial, personal and professional development, developing a more comprehensive understanding of the publishing industry, as well as taking advantage of placement opportunities here in Edinburgh. However, the decision that has had the most significant impact on all of those elements was becoming a member of the Scotland chapter of the Society of Young Publishers (SYP) back in September.

While I may not have attended many casual mixers (social anxiety and general fatigue don’t usually put me in the party mood), I have gone out to workshops, events, and the annual conference in February 2019. At each and every one I learned so much. As you can imagine, for these reasons alone I would recommend joining the SYP, and if you are looking to get into publishing, I would suggest seeing if there is an SYP group in your area.

Most beneficial has been my involvement in the SYP Mentorship scheme. Continue reading “SYP and Me”

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.”

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

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”

#SYPConf19

Building Bridges and Breaking Walls

In our current times of political and social uncertainty, SYP’s focus for this years conference was on how we can bridge gaps in the publishing industry and break down barriers that provide obstacles for young publishers starting out. The title of this years SYP Conference hinted at the diverse range of topics that were to be discussed. The day started off early and upon registration we were greeted with the prospect of a tote bag filled with many industry necessities; a copy of The Bookseller and The Skinny along with a few free books – a publisher’s dream.

The talks were soon on their way where we were privileged to hear from the keynote speaker Marion Sinclair, talking about her time in the industry and how it has changed over the years. Then it was onto our first panel Elsewhere, Home: Scotland Meets the World where there was interesting discussion on the international approach that can be applied to publishing. Scottish publishing appears to have an international appeal where certain books have the power to travel across the continent and beyond. Scotland’s vibrant culture fuels international interest of Scottish novels where publishers can latch onto the attraction to our rich culture and promote Scottish writing worldwide.

After a short coffee break to mull over the benefits of international publishing and also the challenges   such as visas being rejected and the high financial cost to go worldwide we had a decision to make. The conference offered us our first choice of panels  between How to be Both: Transcending Genre or The Trick is to Keep Breathing: Managing img_0763your Time.  If only we could be in two places at once. As I’m a bit of a lost cause in terms of time management (and as How to be Both references a novel by one of my favourite authors Ali Smith) I decided to go with the former – and I wasn’t disappointed. The panellists engaged in discussion about what genre means to them, how it both helps booksellers yet can also be restrictive for publishers.  Francais Bickmore was right in saying that genre is a ‘necessary evil’ in that it simplifies book categories yet can inhibit the reach and appeal of that book. It seems the way genre is used and recognised is constantly changing.  As Ann Landmann suggested ‘genres are like trends, they will come round again, eventually.’ We can’t escape genre but maybe we can use it in new and innovative ways to make people more interested in different books and to celebrate the kinds of reading we do enjoy.

Next up was The Driver’s Seat: Sales Representation in Scotland which asked the question ‘What makes the ecosystem of Scottish publishing tick?’ It was interesting to have different perspectives of the bookselling process from both a publisher and bookseller’s point of view.  The art of bookselling continually changes with the rise in social media altering how we as consumers are attracted to different books and different mediums of reading.   We were then treated to an inside look into what owning your own publishing company is actually like.  Heather McDaid and Laura Jones from 404 Ink and Samuel McDowell from Charco Press joined us and gave honest insights into the trials and tribulations of owning your own business. They didn’t make it sound easy but it was refresimg_0774hing to hear individuals willing to share their low points and it made me even more excited in seeing what projects and ambitions these publishers will follow next.

To round off our panels for the day we heard what industry experts thought about diversity in publishing. Wish I Was Here: Inclusivity in Children’s Publishing raised some important questions as to what is being done in the industry to ensure publishing is more representative of its readers. Whilst the results of the diversity reports don’t paint the industry in a good light, it is encouraging to see that some publishers are challenging the ways in which they hire staff and commission work. As bleak as diversity in publishing can look, the panel had an optimistic approach that it can be improved if all aspects of the industry can work together.img_0777

To finish off our day we had an inspiring closing keynote from Perminder Mann of Bonnier Books UK sharing her experience of how she got into the publishing industry. In telling her story, it is evident the amount of drive and passion she has put into her work and it is clearly paid off.  One of her top tips was to ‘always remember you have the right to be there’, a statement I’m sure many of us will take away and hold on to.