Can You Be a Parent and a Publishing Student?

Publishing blog
That’s lovely, darling. But wouldn’t you rather read a book?

When I applied to do MSc Publishing in June 2016, I had worked in various forms of publishing as a journalist, copywriter and editor, so deciding to study it seemed like the logical next step in my career. However, unlike the average student, I had been out of higher education for seven years and I also had a daughter (the spirited creature here) who had just turned two.

Now that I’m at the end of the second trimester of the course, I have some advice for any parents thinking of making a return to higher education, because I know from when I was researching courses that a lot of the information I read was tailored towards students who didn’t have any dependents.

I was not the first parent to go to university, and I will not be the last. I hope this blog post helps someone thinking of returning to university after a long break, or someone who is thinking of applying for a course for the very first time. Continue reading “Can You Be a Parent and a Publishing Student?”


Interning With Four Letter Word

When the opportunity to intern for a start-up arose, I knew I had to take it.

TwoCoversDuring the second trimester of my MSc Magazine Publishing course, the creators of new Four Letter Word came to speak at Edinburgh Napier. When the opportunity to intern for a start-up arose, I knew I had to take it.

Before coming to Edinburgh Napier University to pursue my MSc in magazine publishing, I worked as an associate editor for a B2B publishing company in the United States. Prior to that, I did several internships at various consumer and trade publishing companies. They all had one thing in common – that was that they had been in business for decades.

There are lots of pros to being with a longstanding, established company, of course, of which I won’t go into detail.

But the defined structure that exists and helps a company to thrive also presents a few challenges for a newcomer. Continue reading “Interning With Four Letter Word”

My Placement with Luath Press

I was very lucky to spend my placement working with Jennie Renton, who works freelance for Luath Press. My placement was a little different from other Luath placements as I was based at Jennie’s second-hand bookshop Main Point Books. I had my own little office to work in and Jennie made me feel at home straight away. My love of bookshops was also catered to, and I had to force myself away from the shelves of beautiful old books to concentrate on the job at hand.

Main Point Books

Jennie was always eager to hear my opinion on everything from book covers to blurbs, and I completed a whole host of different tasks, gaining practical experience in both editorial and marketing. As I want to go into editorial, I got to spend the majority of my placement… Continue reading “My Placement with Luath Press”

Magical Marketing at Floris Books

In October I began an internship with Floris Books, a small independent publisher of children’s books, and a variety of non-fiction titles. I was lucky enough to spend six months working at Floris, and gained experience in the marketing and editorial departments.

Having no publishing experience at all before I started at Floris I felt nervous and was unsure of what to expect – we’ve all heard the stories of the intern being made to lick envelopes and make cups of tea all day! However I needn’t have worried. Floris made me feel at home right away and trusted me with a variety of tasks: from creating adverts, to writing press releases, to dressing like a pirate and creating origami magpies, it’s all in a day’s work for a children’s publisher!

The Nowhere Emporium
The close leading to Riddle’s Court decorated for the launch of The Nowhere Emporium

Although I was working as a marketing intern for Floris, they allowed me to try my hand at some editorial tasks too. I styled manuscripts, gave feedback to authors on the slush pile and wrote blurbs for new books. I’m thankful for this opportunity as I had never considered working in editorial before, and have now improved my publishing skillset.

One of the most exciting things I got to work on at Floris was the marketing and book launch for The Nowhere Emporium by Ross MacKenzie. I got swept up in designing mystical, magical posters, and loved every minute of decorating Riddle’s Court with candles, stars and antique trinkets for the launch event.

Floris were a fantastic publisher to work for: patient, knowledgeable and kind to the last. They promised never to call me “the intern”, and they stuck to it!

A Canadian in Wonderland

As part of the Edinburgh Napier MSc Publishing programme I was given the opportunity of a two week work placement at Luath Press Limited. Luath Press is an independent publisher, located down a small alleyway off The Royal Mile. As a Canadian living in Edinburgh having a view of The Castle on my walk to work was definitely a great way to start my first work experience.

The entrance to Luath Press
The entrance to Luath Press

After climbing over 150 stairs from the Grassmarket, fellow intern Stephanie proceeded to lead me up another three stories to Luath’s top floor office, where I was introduced to owner Gavin MacDougall. Gavin gave me a brief rundown of the company and my duties before I was immediately put to work. Rosie Stephen, head of PR and Marketing at Luath, asked me to draft a marketing plan for one of Luath’s latest texts Hush! The Child is Present, a memoir by author Mary J. MacLeod. As a marketing hopeful this was exactly the type of task I could get excited about.

View from the office.
View from the office.

Marketing was not the only area I had the chance to be involved with. Over the two weeks I spent at Luath I was given the opportunity to do everything a publishing student dreams of: from reading the ‘slush pile’, to designing an AI (advanced information sheet), event invitations and even a mock cover. I was also able to practise my proof-reading, looking over a collection of essays with my trusty red pen and researching important dates for a Timeline that was to be added to one of Luath’s new history books.

My favourite days were spent helping Rosie in marketing and looking over the multitude of texts Luath produce every month. I was able to edit author interviews and learned how to use iMovie. I posted on Youtube using my well practised social media skills to use. I greatly enjoyed my time at Luath and learned a lot from this work experience that could not be gained in the classroom. It was amazing being able to put into practice all I had learned this year on the course.

B&W editThe work placement module was what I was most excited about upon choosing Edinburgh Napier’s publishing course and it did not disappoint. Luath’s size made it the ideal company to start with, I had the opportunity to get to know my colleagues and learn from their years of experience. I also had the opportunity to work in every department and see how a publishing house functions on a day to day basis. I ended the placement happy and excited to begin my career back home in Canada. Thank you Luath!


Cupcakes, games and copywriting: my placement at Drimlike

Celebrating Christmas – and games – with the DrimTeam
Celebrating Christmas – and games – with the DrimTeam

When you tell people you study Publishing, they automatically think of books. Then maybe magazines and newspapers. But really, Publishing can be anything. Just stop for a minute and think of the core meaning of the word “publishing” (making content public), or of the fact that I actually had to press “publish” for this blog post to appear here…

So here’s how I learnt about Publishing by choosing not to do my first placement in a publishing house!

On my first placement this year, I got to work for Drimlike, a creative digital agency based in Edinburgh. Drimlike is a dedicated, friendly and international team of less than 10 people – working in English, French, Spanish and German, and specialising in web design and marketing, graphic design, editorial, apps and games. Working with such a close-knit team …
Continue reading “Cupcakes, games and copywriting: my placement at Drimlike”

Placement at the Teaching Fellows Journal


The Autumn Issue of tfj online.
As an MSc Publishing student with little or no experience in the industry, I was pleased to discover an opportunity to assist at the Teaching Fellows Journal within a few weeks of starting the course.

Never ones to shy away from being thrown in at the deep end, myself [Rhiannon] and Alessia were given a template for the magazine, a long list of articles, some pictures and a deadline! The 2014 Autumn issue was enjoyable and challenging. It was important for us to maintain the look and quality of the tfj to provide an issue of the magazine that would fit seamlessly into the back catalogue.
When we started, we had not worked with house styles and had only managed a couple of Creative Toolkit sessions in the weeks prior to starting. Learning how the magazine is put together, liaising with a variety of external sources, choosing between a plethora of delightful images and writing by all the contributors, all made for a complete learning experience as we worked towards the deadline.

As students, we were confronted with the difficulties of being in several places at once whilst managing our time effectively between lectures, tutorials, assessments and the placement. Thankfully we were well enough equipped on the course to be able to work remotely and request advice from tutors where the technicalities of software may have otherwise defeated us!

A crash course in layouts, proofreading and InDesign, this early placement was valuable and insightful. As we reach the end of semester two, it is interesting to reflect on the publication and think about how our approach may have differed with the additional knowledge we have attained. It was great to have a placement so early on and it’s a great way to exercise some of those early skills and develop relationships within the University.