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”

Three Months in the Life of an Editorial Intern

My Summer Placement at Canongate Books

Before I even knew I would be doing my placement at one of Scotland’s most successful independent publishing companies (it’s probably worth noting here, also one of the most successful independent publishers in the UK), I always thought Canongate was pretty cool. The company has a reputation for producing books that are just that little bit off-the-beaten track, and they certainly don’t seem afraid to put their neck out for something they believe in. 

After spending three months interning in their busy Editorial department … with the helpful guidance of Joanna Dingley, Assistant Editor, my opinion has not changed. In my eyes, they are still pretty cool.  Continue reading “Three Months in the Life of an Editorial Intern”

Rights, Royalties & Reaching a Global Audience: My Placement at Canongate Books

The beautiful entrance at Canongate Books.
The beautiful entrance at Canongate Books.

Before I started the MSc Publishing course, I had been lucky enough to acquire some good work experience within the publishing industry, mainly through various marketing and editorial roles.

What I hadn’t achieved, however, was any kind of understanding on how the legal side of the book business worked. Terms like royalties, contracts and copyright were all a bit confusing and unknown, and it was a desire for clarity, mixed up with curiosity, that led me to seek a placement working within a rights and contracts department.

When I was told I had secured my placement at Canongate Books, centred in the heart of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, I couldn’t have been more excited. Founded in 1973 as a small press with a focus upon Scottish interest books, Canongate’s journey to the internationally focused publisher it is today can only be described as one full of commitment and passion.

My first day Continue reading “Rights, Royalties & Reaching a Global Audience: My Placement at Canongate Books”

The Wonderful World of Canongate Books

Foreign editions of Canongate titles

With no previous publishing experience out with the MSc publishing course, I was eager to delve into the foreign world of rights, contracts and royalties.

Founded in 1973, Canongate Books remains one of the oldest established independent Scottish Publishers. With a renowned reputation (both in Scotland and internationally) and a vastly dynamic front and backlist, I was delighted to hear that I had secured a 10-week placement within the Rights Department.

The Canongate office is charmingly situated just off the famous Royal Mile, down the historic Tweedale Court close. Eagerly stepping through the original wrought iron gates, I crossed the cobbles to enter the welcoming office. Greeted with a somewhat cave like reception with exposed brick work, shelves upon shelves of books, smiling faces and the warm aroma of freshly brewed coffee, I was welcomed into the world of Canongate.

The cosy cave-like reception

The Rights Department at the Edinburgh office has 3 members (with one other in London), and it was this small team that I joined for the duration of my placement. My first task was to make myself acquainted with Biblio – the publishing software used by the majority of publishing houses in the UK. This involved learning how to log information on authors, contracts, reviews and payments. Having never heard of Biblio before, the opportunity to learn how to use this system will prove extremely valuable for my future career in publishing.

Week by week I was given a variety of tasks from organising and logging royalty statements, creating a catalogue of Canongate’s backlist music titles (that will be sent to foreign publishers), sourcing book reviews, researching authors and much more!

Perhaps the highlight of my placement was the opportunity to sit with Caroline during several of her meetings at the London Book Fair in April. This was the first book fair that I had attended, and I was very keen to find out what was being discussed at these meticulously planned meetings! I was kindly invited to sit in on conversations with publishers from Japan, Israel and Poland. Hearing how to push titles, learning about the market in that specific territory and the terms used in rights negotiating, is something that I found extremely rewarding, and I am very grateful to Canongate for this opportunity.

Now nearing the end of my placement, I can without doubt reflect upon this positive experience and say that I have been given a truly great first hand experience of what it is like to work within a Rights Department at an award winning, independent publishing house. I will be leaving Canongate with a much greater understanding of what is involved in the buying and selling of rights (both within the UK and internationally), the importance of communication and keeping on top of your royalty statements!

I would just like to thank Andrea, Caroline and Lina for welcoming me into your Rights Department, and to everyone at Canongate for this wonderful opportunity. Thank you!

Canongate Books

My placement at Canongate Books has been a unique experience. Yes, I have become fairly well acquainted with the photocopy room, but I have also researched and contacted the ‘Lairs’ of pick-up artists around the country, worked out convenient ways to communicate with Religious Education teachers around the UK, and put real names to the Twitterati of the UK’s music and men’s magazines. I’ve also sat in on a meeting where the possibility of hiring Del Boy and Rodney lookalikes and the Trotter’s Reliant van was raised… just another day in the marketing and publicity department at Canongate!

It’s an interesting time for the company. Recent acquisition Go The F**k To Sleep shot into the Amazon UK Top 25 as a preorder and the BBC adaptation of Michel Faber’s excellent The Crimson Petal and The White has generated a lot of media interest (I know – I filed the clippings!) Consequently it has been an interesting time to be an intern, and there is much to be learned if you pay attention.

One Million Books, One Million People, One Night

by Paula Igoe, Anna Murray, Monika Ciska, Stacey Wadsworth and Benedicte Soteras

The first ever World Book Night will take place on the 5th March, two days after the World Book Day.

The Night aims to be a ‘celebration of reading, writing and sharing’ (Antony Gormley, Patron) through a collaboration between publishers, writers, booksellers and libraries. However, the readers are the real drive behind this.

In 2009, Jamie Byng of Canongate came up with the idea that others from the industry, such as Random House, Faber and Faber and The Bookseller, quickly adopted.  Since then it has been set up as a charitable company.

On the night, 20,000 volunteers will give away a million books, from twenty-five fiction and non-fiction titles selected from major publishers like Penguin and Bloomsbury as well as Independent Publishers such as Profile Books and Sceptre

There has already been coverage from the BBC and national and local newspapers, helped by support from The Publishers Association, The Reading Agency and various famous figures.

There is still time to get involved and become a giver by applying online at