Year of Conversation, Start with a Day

Together with @ayearofconversation2019 (and their Creative Director Tom Pow) we have been awarded funding to organise events around ‘Culture of Encounter: Creative Community Conversations’.

Working with Scottish Book Trust, the University of St Andrews, the University of Glasgow and the University of the West of Scotland, our project will raise awareness of the value of reading to help us understand ourselves more and enhance connection with others.

Look out for details of events soon.

Meantime, why not take time out to talk this weekend.
Saturday 11 May 2019 is ‘A Day of Conversation’.
Find out what’s on and how to get involved:

Find out more:

A Year Of Conversation For Scotland

Scotland launches A Year of Conversation

London Book Fair and the Publishing Trends in 2018 and 2019

When I first entered the London Book Fair, I got a mixed feeling of excitement and stress. The place was huge, and there were so many exciting things to see that I felt overwhelmed at first. After making sense of the Olympia (and that took me most of the first day), I started to enjoy everything that the Fair had to offer both as a Publishing student and as a reader.

London Book Fair as seen from the first floor

Even though I spent most of my time in the Fair stuck in the Literary Translation Centre, listening to many inspiring translators and publishers about the day-to-day business of bringing books from all over the world to the UK, I had time to rush to the first floor of the Olympia and listen to one of the most interesting talks of the Fair, and this article will be about that particular talk, which I think is very interesting for both students and publishers as it is about something that, whether we like it or not, we have to deal with: Continue reading “London Book Fair and the Publishing Trends in 2018 and 2019”

Discovering the World of Rights

A few months before coming to Edinburgh, I had my first experience with the publishing industry in Mexico. I happen to know a young writer whose first novel was about to be published, and luckily for me he let me help in the process. One of the main things I noticed after reading the manuscript, was its intertextual quality. To create the rhythm of his writing, he constantly quotes other authors, poets and philosophers. As a consequence, the book is full of ‘hidden’ references, only noticeable because they were set in italics. As stated by the author, his intention was precisely that the identity of his own words and the ones borrowed became blurry by not mentioning any sources within the text nor in any reference list. At that time, we weren’t aware of any copyright norms, other than the academic way of referencing. Of course, we understood the importance to give the appropriate credit to IP, nevertheless the editor didn’t mention any copyright issues. Actually, he told the author that referencing to the original texts was optional and that no further action was required.

Fast-forward to the present and I’m halfway through the MSc Publishing course. During the last few months I’ve been able to learn about the different areas of the publishing industry, one of them being rights management and acquisition. Learning about rights in publishing was overwhelming, since I never imagined it to be such a complex and exploitable area. Continue reading “Discovering the World of Rights”

The Challenges of Creating a Magazine

If someone told me that I would be making a magazine a year back, I wouldn’t believe it. And here I am, almost completing a literary magazine that has been both enriching and a delight to create.

When our course leaders informed us about creating a book or a magazine as part of our module this semester, I immediately decided to do a magazine. I always have loved reading visually appealing magazines designed to perfection. Though I decided to do a magazine, it was not long when a train of self-doubting thoughts troubled me. Questions like – Where will I find writers for my magazine? What about the design? The content? Will anyone be interested in my magazine? I felt overwhelmed.

I spoke to Nikki Simpson, Founder & Director of the International Magazine Centre and a die-hard fan of magazines herself, who encouraged me to take the leap. It is amazing to see how complex aBold Cover Designn idea may look in your mind but when you start working on it, you somehow put together different elements piece by piece, completing an entire project.

My first obstacle was to understand the objective of making a magazine and for what kind of a reader. My ideas kept changing multiple times until I finally found one after researching and talking with various people who have published or worked with a magazine. Creating the cover design and researching the USP’s for my magazine as assessment one coursework helped me immensely in visualising how to proceed with internal pages.

But wait. How do I approach people for submissions? My way of approaching may not be a comfortable one, but it indeed gave me an opportunity to connect with strangers online. Continue reading “The Challenges of Creating a Magazine”

The Life-Changing Magic of Sending an Email: How I Secured a Placement With CYMERA Festival

As I was scrolling my Twitter feed late last year, I stumbled across an announcement for something called CYMERA. Billed as ‘Scotland’s Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Writing’, the announcement stated that the first-ever CYMERA would run from 7–9 June 2019 and bring a plethora of talented writers to Edinburgh to discuss their work and celebrate all things speculative fiction. As someone who regularly chooses to read about dragons in her spare time, that sounded downright magical. After reading the full write-up about the festival in The Herald the next day, I knew I wanted to be involved. I just needed to figure out how to make that happen.

As CYMERA is in its first year of existence, there were no established work placements or internships in place. This meant that there were no application forms to peruse, no previous interns I could pester, and definitely no established list of dos and don’ts. Frankly, the whole thing was a bit like going on a quest without a map. Or detailed directions. Or a compass. In complete darkness without a single sliver of moonlight to illuminate the path ahead. As such, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things I learned while pursuing my placement and going through the nerve-wracking process of composing and sending that first email to a complete stranger. Forge ahead for some tips and Marie Kondo gifs. Continue reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Sending an Email: How I Secured a Placement With CYMERA Festival”

Working Events for an Independent Bookshop



Golden Hare Books
© Katalina Watt 2018

In October I joined the close-knit team at Golden Hare Books in Edinburgh, and we were recently delighted to be named the 2019 Independent Bookshop of the Year in the Scotland category of The British Book Awards, also known as the Nibbies. We’re also chuffed to be shortlisted for Children’s Bookseller of the Year and Individual Bookseller of the Year, with the results being announced in May.

My role is primarily assisting with events, which range from book launches to book groups. The former involves liaising with authors, publishers, and guests to ensure the events run smoothly and overseeing logistics such as POS displays and merchandise, catering, seating, tickets, and sales. For the latter, I spearhead the monthly Short Story Clubs and YA Book Groups, selecting and preparing readings and facilitating group discussion.

For the YA Book Group, which debuted this year, I’m aiming to work through a range of author experiences, genres, and formats, ensuring we’re reading as widely as possible. Golden Hare is constantly innovating and finding new ways to be even more inclusive and representative. I’ve really enjoyed all the debates inspired so far, as we’re all pushing to read beyond our familiar genres and authors. Continue reading “Working Events for an Independent Bookshop”

Taking the next step into the real world for 2019:

With the semester is coming to an end it can only mean one thing: one step closer to entering the workplace and one step further in leaving university. Upon reflection, I have learned more about publishing and the impact that the industry has on society.  I have learned the importance of pushing to pursue a career in the field that may suit my skills in the future. It hasn’t been an easy year but it has certainly opened my eyes to what may be out there. Opportunity’s to attend events have been flowing in, such as SYP and LBF, to name a few and although I never did attend it is good to know that these exist to educate people on the industry and to network.

It’s been inspirational to see so many creative ideas formed throughout the course and I have even surprised myself, with the potential to not only create something new and exciting but challenge myself along the way. To me the software introduction such as Photoshop and InDesign have been my biggest challenge but also my most rewarding, and so I hope to continue to work with these in the future. I have learned the complexity of working out Adobes features, to piece together why they are relevant. In my latest project in which I have invested a lot of time due to such an interest I feel this is most relevant to the entire years’ coursework.  I have the passion of realising my own book has new potential and now with the right knowledge and direction I can push on with this project, on my own terms. The knowledge from the course has widened my experience and if anything taught me that there is still so much to leant after university has ended. The learning will be continuous, which is exciting as it aids in shaping a path for the future in publishing whether this be design, editorial or more personally becoming an author myself, it is an exciting path to take.

I hope to seek an opportunity in the publishing industry as an author soon but still feel I need to explore my options. The difficulty I have learned is that I still have areas that contain weaknesses and so are good to work on in the future. For example, editorial skills which are important could be easily improved with practice, workshops or mentoring and is overall key to further motivation in finalising my project.

With conferences like SYP and they provide an opportunity to network and although I never took advantage of this it is good to know there are events such as this to aid others in publishing.

Being a student at Napier and having the opportunity to study Publishing at a MSc level has been challenging. This challenge has been amazing and taught me the unexpected and why now more than ever, publishing is an important to our economy and education. To learn about publishing houses and companies alike that contribute, has truly opened my eyes and motivated me to want to learn more.

In 2019, the industry looks as promising as ever now that I have had more insight into what to expect. I look forward to graduating and finding my path into where I fit into it all, as anyone should. Knowing where my weaknesses are in aid to me in being conscious enough to be able to develop my skill set and work on what needs to be improved. As I leave behind the security blanket of university and seek opportunities in the real world, it shall he exciting. So far, my only goal for the reminder of 2019 is to begin to piece together all the current knowledge and exploit this to pursue in becoming an author in the industry.  Its exciting to know what 2020 shall bring and what changes in the industry shall occur.