Editorial Internship at Fledgling Press

When you want to get your foot in the door of an industry, it’s often advised that you carry out a substantial period of work experience with an appropriate company; undertaking an internship not only allows you to experience first-hand, the environment you hope to someday work in, but it also looks great on your CV. However, the prospect of working unpaid for a length of time can be incredibly daunting and this is why it’s particularly important the company you’re working for recognises that and does everything they can to help you in other ways.

When I responded to Fledgling’s advert for Editorial work experience, I was not initially aware of what the working hours would be, I just knew that I wanted to apply and if successful, do everything I could to commit to the hours asked of me. I’d been aware of the publisher beforehand and admired their commitment to publishing debut authors as much as possible.

‘Fledgling Press are an independent publisher in Edinburgh, committed to publishing work by debut authors, emerging talent and new voices in the literary world.’

They also state on their website that they ‘have a healthy intern programme where [interns] don’t just have to make the tea.’ I in no way expected to be successful, having (I’ll admit) missed my initial interview slot because I went to the entirely wrong address. So, after the rescheduled interview and heading home annoyed at myself, I was shocked and delighted when Clare Cain emailed me to offer me the placement.

What I want to share the most about my experience so far is how completely and utterly accommodating and understanding Clare has been from the outset. When she emailed me offering me the position, she stated that it would be around six months long (February to September), but that the hours were one day a week on Wednesdays, 9:30am-3:30pm, 45-minute lunch break inclusive. That though the placement itself is unpaid, travel expenses would be taken care of and that come September, if I don’t want to leave or am looking for a job and feel it beneficial to stay, then I certainly can.

In addition to this flexibility, on a weekly basis Clare asks me how my course is going, what my workload is like and if I’d rather not come in the following week in order to focus on my studies. Though I have not yet felt the need to take any time off, it is incredibly comforting to know that I need only phone in, to let Clare know I won’t be able to make it, and that it would truly be okay.

Fledgling Press is run from Clare’s home in Portobello, by herself, husband Paul and designer Graham. Myself, Clare and a fellow intern spend our Wednesday’s sitting around the kitchen table, drinking copious amounts of tea (always offered to us by Clare) and trying our best not to get distracted by her beautiful dog, Charlie. Clare’s family are also often around, equally as welcoming as Clare, and with one daughter at university herself and another at the end of high school, it’s easy to relate and chat away about all our different career goals.

In terms of my involvement with the work itself, I cannot commend Clare enough for the access and control she gave me right from the beginning. On the first day, I was given login details to submissions, encouraged to turn down those I felt were better suited to a different publisher’s list, and to request the full manuscript of those I was interested in. At first, I was trepidatious about turning people down, reading as much as I could, convinced I would decide they were suited to us. Clare laughed nostalgically at this and assured me she was the same when she first started out. But that to keep up with the volume of submissions, you had to have the heart to say no and move on.

As Fledgling are a small, independent publisher, typesetting is done in-house, and I’ve had the opportunity to put the skills I’ve been learning in class to the test, sometimes even surprising myself when I’ve been able to show Clare something about InDesign she didn’t know. Though the role is Editorial, it has become clear to me that the roles are widely shared in a small publishing house and it’s all the more enjoyable for that. In my interview, I asked Clare what it is that makes someone really stand out to her, someone she can see going far in the industry, and she replied that an awareness of the industry as a whole is essential. It bodes well for someone to have an understanding of the areas outside of their own.

Though I could write forever about how much I’m enjoying my time there, I will say one more thing. The first full manuscript I worked on, where I carried out the final proof, was a genre I would never usually intend to read. However, I treated the writing with immediate respect and sat down, ready to pay full attention and to try to understand the author’s vision and world they had worked so hard to create. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement and I spent a great deal of time after, gushing to Clare about how much I loved it and how wonderful it was that I was one of the first people to ever see the work before it becomes a book.

I can assure you that travelling that little bit farther (really only a 30-minute bus journey from the city centre) to a little seaside town every Wednesday has been, and I’m sure will continue to be incredibly worth my time. I am learning so much from a powerhouse of a woman who has truly made Fledgling Press what it is today, and I feel nothing less than valued for the help I am able to give, as a complete beginner in this exciting, supportive and passionate industry that is publishing.


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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”