Marketing and Publicity Placement at Canongate Books

The opportunity to complete a work placement as part of our degree is definitely one of the most exciting aspects of the Publishing course. At the beginning of this year, I was delighted to secure a ten-week internship with the Marketing and Publicity department of one of my favourite UK publishers, the “fiercely independent” Canongate Books. Canongate works to unearth and promote the most diverse and exciting voices – and after a couple of months on the team, I have come to admire how much planning, effort, and creative thought happens behind the scenes to ensure the success of every new title.

With two full days per week, my internship was an intense and invaluable learning experience. Although I had received a list of potential tasks, I quickly found that working in Campaigns involves doing something new and exciting almost every day. One morning I would be drafting Twitter moments based on the newest reviews or pitching upcoming audiobooks, another – accompanying a Canongate author on her visits to local bookshops. If there is anything I know for certain after my time on the team, is that Marketing and Publicity is an excellent choice for anyone who dislikes routine.

Throughout the placement, I had the chance to practise my design skills by learning how to create effective promotional materials. I designed and put together showcards for festival and bookshop events, created press releases, and used Adobe programs to design quote card templates or put together pack shots. One of the highlights of my internship was seeing a showcard I designed in the local Waterstones – it was easy to be enthusiastic about the ongoing campaigns with the knowledge that my work is of actual use to the team, and that I take an active (if small) part in promoting the books that I am genuinely excited about.

I also appreciated the opportunity to use various industry-specific software and online tools. Whilst the Publishing course provides us with many practical skills, there are some aspects that can only be learned in a professional environment. Once I start a full-time publishing job within marketing and publicity, it will be invaluable to know Biblio and NetGalley or to be able to create effective newsletters on MailChimp.

Besides helping with the ongoing campaigns, I was glad to assist with the activities that are part of daily department work. I mailed out hundreds of review copies and catalogues to journalists and bloggers (allegedly becoming a master of folding press releases). I searched through piles of newspapers and magazines to scan any Canongate mentions. While these tasks might sound mundane, it is ultimately not only a necessary but also a rewarding part of Publicity work – sending review copies is crucial for building relationships with journalists and bloggers, and seeing the resulting reviews and social media engagement reminds that this work is always valuable.

As Canongate has offices in both Edinburgh and London, every two weeks I would participate in weekly department meetings that gathered all Marketing and Publicity employees to discuss the ongoing promotional activities. During a larger, monthly meeting, I had the fantastic opportunity to learn how book campaigns come to life, with all the details, challenges, creative ideas, and teamwork involved in the planning stages. On two occasions, I also sat in the meetings of the Production department and could observe the impressive team effort involved in delivering the final product.

As much as the Publishing course aims to give us the knowledge and skills to enter any publishing sector, it is also a lot about discovering what makes us tick – and over the last few months, through various projects that involved managing events and social media and finally through my placement at Canongate, I came to realise that Marketing and Publicity really is one of “my” areas, allowing me to use creative ideas, writing, and design to bring the books I love to a wider audience.

Interning at Canongate was a great experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone looking to gain valuable skills and insights into the campaigns process. The wonderful Publicity team were always friendly and ready to answer my questions – and I got to work in the same room with Sylvie the (cutest) Dog!


Go check out some of Canongate’s amazing latest (and upcoming) releases (click on the cover to learn more):

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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”

Life of Canongate

It’s not often you get the chance to see inside the offices one of the most dynamic, successful and influential publishers ever to come out of Scotland, but I was lucky enough to spend eleven days nestled in the beautiful tranquility of Canongate’s Edinburgh offices, right in the heart of the Old Town.

Publisher of the Year in 2003, a founding member of the Independent Alliance (a global alliance of ten UK publishers and their international partners) and with some seriously high profile authors under their belt (cue Barack Obama!), I felt truly privileged from the very first meeting in their glass walled boardroom. Above the table hangs an image I am more than familiar with: a birds eye view of a white life boat floating on the ocean, with an Indian boy and a Bengal tiger inside – the famous cover of Life of Pi. I had to at least try and hide my excitement.

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Canongate have no specific genre of content; their backlist is diverse and varied, from the hilarious yet insightful doodling of Scottish artist David Shrigley, to the definitive volume of Charles Bukowski’s striking poetry, to the gripping Laidlaw trilogy from acclaimed crime writer William McIlvanney – they truly cover all the bases. As the company approaches their 40th birthday this year, they have chosen to mark the milestone by publishing a celebration of life beginning at 40; a paperback and eBook made up of contributions from renowned authors, artists and illustrators that have worked with Canongate. Needless to say An Idiot Abroad author Karl Pilkington’s piece on his own fortieth birthday is a definitive highlight. Another was meeting the MD Jamie Byng – as friendly and relaxed as the rest of the team at Canongate, it’s easy to see why it’s a fabulously inspiring place to be. And the books… shelves upon shelves of wondrous words and gorgeous covers!

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From the outset, the Rights team of which I was to be a part – Caroline, Kirsty, Jess and Andrea – were friendly, fun and supportive. I looked forward to getting to the bright and beautiful offices every day, to help out where I could with correspondence, admin and social media; and even got to sit in on one or two conference calls with the London office about top-secret publications for 2014 – which was rather exciting to say the least! I was entrusted with responsibility from day one to carry out the tasks I had been assigned, which was very encouraging and made me truly feel like a part of the company. Some self control had to be exercised when asked to do mail-outs to foreign publishers, as it was far too temping to curl up and read the blurbs of the fantastic books I was supposed to be packing and posting. Thankfully I managed! My ‘to read’ shelf on Goodreads has grown considerably in the process.

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All in all it was a fantastic experience that I feel very privileged to have had – thank you to everyone at Canongate for making me feel so welcome, and of course for the occasional doughnut of a Friday afternoon!

For a free download of ‘40’, the latest news and full catalogue, visit Canongate.tv, or follow @canongatebooks on Twitter.

Images taken by Char Bennett, with permission of Canongate Books