Last year, the third-year students were set the task of producing a book worthy of selling in any high street book store. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg was the chosen product and so the hard work began.
First they needed to conduct extensive market research – students conducted surveys, interviewed staff at Waterstone’s and even took their idea to the London Book Fair to see how they could target potential buyers. They decided to focus on students (the book is on the SQA curriculum). However, to avoid the typical textbook look, they commissioned a local artist, Cate James, to design the front cover and give it a more modern theme.
With competitors already in the marketplace, the publishing students also focussed on the quality of the editing and typography, even commissioning para-textual material such as Discussions Questions to make their version the better buy.
The response they had from people who wished to contribute was surprising, but in the end they selected Dr Valentina Bold (Glasgow University) to write the Afterword and Professor Alistair McCleery (Edinburgh Napier University) to provide the Last Word. Professor Douglas Mack (Stirling University) was a fantastic help with the Discussion Questions and Notes.
The students are very proud of the outcome. “The layout is clear and the cover is eye-catching, there are always things that you could go back and change but the unique attributes of the book are what makes it very attractive.”
Now that 1,000 copies have been printed, this year’s third-year students have actually launched the book. This was incredibly exciting and challenging, but very successful, as you can see here.
Copies have been distributed to schools across Scotland. Here are some of the comments from the happy recipients:
“Thank you for the James Hogg book which I received today; I’m delighted to add it to our Senior Fiction section.”
Ruth Fry, Librarian
Peebles High School
“Thank you for the copy of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. The book is a pleasure to have – attractive and appealing to look at, and legible and easy to read. It’s nice to see a well-made book in a small format, too. We very much appreciate the gift.”
Sue Penny, Librarian
Tobermory High School
Isle of Mull
“On behalf of the pupils of Lockerbie I would like to thank you for sending us a copy of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. It is a beautifully produced book and I’m sure it will be of great benefit to our pupils. It is now a welcome addition to our school library.
Please pass on our congratulations to your students on their tremendous efforts.”
“Thank you for sending the school a copy of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, which I am very happy to add to the school library. While the title may not be one which would immediately appeal to a large number of school students, an attractive edition like yours is much more likely to be borrowed!
Thank you again.”
Helen Martin, Librarian
St Ninian’s High School
Information on the book, as well as updates on the progress of the launch and all relevant details can be found here.