A placement at Floris Books – what I learned about publishing (and had thought to ask).

Having undertaken a qualification in secondary English teaching, I am familiar with the concept of a work placement. As a student teacher you are required to undertake three separate placements, two lasting 6 weeks and one lasting 4 weeks. These are full-time, and you can feel like they go on forever. In publishing, when completing an MSc at Edinburgh Napier, you are hoping to take on a part-time or temporary placement, not required,but the aim of each is to provide valuable experience. For me this time, instead of teaching Curriculum for Excellence English lessons to teenagers in north Glasgow, I was packing my bag and heading to Floris Books, an award-winning children’s book publisher in Edinburgh. The opportunity to work at Floris Books as their Sales and Marketing intern is a rare and exciting one. Floris take on one intern a year, usually advertising the position from about October to university students at Edinburgh Napier and Stirling, before the role commences in January. This year, they’d chosen me.


Upon arrival and my first cup of tea (always trust a company that offers you tea immediately) I was given an introduction to the whole team. The office is open-plan and the resultant feel is that of collaborative effort and interdepartmental co-operation. The editorial team are at the back of the office, near the huge west-facing windows that showed the approach of any inclement weather (very important for later in the placement when a gigantic weather bomb hit and we stood in awe as snow swept in and hid the city behind sheets of greyish yellow cloud and tumbling white flakes), the design and production department are located in the middle, then sales and marketing with the head of publishing are closer to the front of the office. Having met everyone straight away, I was made to feel welcome instantly.


My role as intern had already been made fairly clear to me. Floris used a very detailed and useful job advert when looking for their intern and it was with this in mind that CJ Cook (sales and marketing executive) and I sat down to talk about my duties. Floris are very democratic in their approach to interns and their role. No one on placement is asked to complete a task that would not be expected of a member of staff – so no sorting post and making coffee that can be the case in some internships. Equally, CJ and other “marketeers” were keen to utilise the skills that I brought; being well-versed in teacher-speak, I could develop materials for use in the classroom with their books. Furthermore, as a Scots speaker I could help in creating specific resources for The Teeger that cam for his tea, the Scots version of the well-loved children’s classic. It felt like a very personal approach; Floris knew what I could offer, and my placement duties were tailored accordingly. I felt valued and a part of the team.


Over the course of the ten weeks, I worked with each of the various departments. I assisted in editorial on proofreading and Scots language. I helped to judge some of the submitted manuscripts for the annual Kelpies Prize. I learned from design and production what goes into the process of producing an illustrated children’s books (very useful in terms of my own live project at university!) and I created marketing materials for the promotion of that book. I applied skills gained from my MSc such as when html mapping and took ones from placement back to university to use on various aspects of coursework. The opportunity to see how a publishing house was run was thrilling, but beyond the acquisition and enhancement of my abilities was the joy in realising that this is an industry in which I truly want to work. I was welcomed, treated as an equal even though I was a complete newbie, given so many opportunities to contribute and have my voice heard. It may seem that all this is par for the course and I shouldn’t be surprised but honestly, after some of my teaching experiences, it wasn’t something I automatically expected. Floris Books treat their interns well, all members of staff are patient and will answer questions or give advice. They have monthly staff lunches where we all sat together for a bring-a-dish lunch. I feel I made friends and connections that will last long past the end of my internship and I am so grateful. If you ever get the opportunity to join them, you can be sure of a warm welcome, much like the teeger that cam for his tea.


A teeger display in Waterstones.

Leah wins Emerging Publisher of the Year Award!

leah_pictureLeah McDowell has won the Saltire Emerging Publisher of the Year Award!

The award is organised by the Saltire Society, which supports the arts and cultural heritage of Scotland. The Awards are heralded as Scotland’s foremost literary awards.

Leah is a graduate of MSc Publishing and joined Floris Books immediately after graduating, where she is now Design and Production Manager. Floris Books won the Saltire Publisher of the Year Award!

Leah saw off competition from 4 other nominees for this new award, which aims to … Continue reading “Leah wins Emerging Publisher of the Year Award!”

Vikings, Kelpies, and Superheroes: Interning at Floris Books

When I began the MSc Publishing course in September, I knew I wanted to explore marketing and work with children’s books. When an internship opened up at Floris Books, Scotland’s largest independent children’s book publisher, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to explore both of those areas of the publishing industry. Armed with fresh InDesign skills and a vague sense of what a marketing department actually did, I threw myself into the wonderful world of children’s publishing.

A typical day at Floris was never boring: Continue reading “Vikings, Kelpies, and Superheroes: Interning at Floris Books”

Justine Bottles

12660436_10101798461869980_1520411390_nJustine Bottles packed her bags and moved from New York City to Edinburgh to pursue her MSc Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University. Through the program she has had the opportunity to attend the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, serve as Marketing Manager on an exciting student project, and pursued placements at Alban Books and Floris Books. She hopes to achieve a career in children’s and young adult books in this city’s vibrant publishing industry.

Her interests outside the classroom include reading a variety of genres from Victorian literature to modern science fiction and fantasy, amateur photography, watching movies, and exploring the city of Edinburgh.

Follow her exciting adventures as a publishing student in the United Kingdom here.

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!

Eleanor Collins of Floris books talks about the role of the editor

Eleanor Collins, Senior Commissioning Editor at Floris Books, Edinburgh
Eleanor Collins, Senior Commissioning Editor at Floris Books, Edinburgh

Eleanor Collins strikes you as someone who knows exactly what she is talking about. When she tells us that we’ll make more money selling tinned tomatoes than publishing books, we believe her. So why is the Senior Commissioning Editor of Floris Books, an independent, niche Scottish publisher?

Well, because she – like many of the other publishing professionals we have had the privilege to meet on our MSc programme – is passionate about publishing. Having made the final decision to pursue a career in publishing and leaving behind opportunities that definitely would have made her richer than a tinned-tomatoes manufacturer, Eleanor has not looked back. Her obvious high standards and attention to detail are qualities that all aspiring editors should take note of.

Floris Books is the biggest children’s publisher in Scotland Continue reading “Eleanor Collins of Floris books talks about the role of the editor”

Internship at Floris Books

Back in October I was lucky enough to secure an internship with Floris Books, a small but dynamic independent Scottish publisher who specialise in children’s picture books and an impressive non-fiction range. The worst thing about my internship with Floris was that it had to end. Even though I spent 9 months interning with them, I was sad that I had to leave.

Image courtesy of Floris Books

From the very start of my internship the lovely Floris team made me feel welcome, quickly getting rid of any worries I had about what it would be like to be ‘the intern’. Not only do Floris have a well-stocked tea cupboard with more options than I could have imagined but when the office was a bit chilly I would regularly be offered a hot water bottle. They couldn’t have made me feel more at home!

Floris may be a small publisher, but they’re making a big name for themselves and I was very happy to be able to experience the launch of their Kelpies Teen imprint in March this year. I was lucky enough to get to help out at the launch and even meet some of the authors! I also got to proofread the entire manuscript of Lari Don’s Mind Blind shortly before it went to print. Suddenly holding a red pen felt like a huge responsibility… Continue reading “Internship at Floris Books”