The Media Company Publications Ltd

FoodiesLogo

Prior to starting my placement at The Media Company Publications Ltd, I was a little nervous, what would I be expected to do and would I be able to do it?

The Media Company publishes amongst others, Foodies Magazine and the Edinburgh Festival Magazine. Their offices are located in a basement property near Stockbridge, less than a 10 minute walk from Princes Street, and there was definitely a sense of homeliness from the moment I entered. Stacks of magazines and cookery books were overflowing, reminding me of my own bookshelves.

From an outsider’s perspective, The Media Company Publications Ltd could be considered a small team yet they achieve big results. I was helping out within the marketing department, in full swing of their annual Foodies Festivals which take place across the UK, and discovered just how much effort and hard work goes into the marketing of each individual festival. I also realised that sometimes even the smallest gesture, like a 140 character tweet, can go a long way and have an unbelievable impact. Nothing should be overlooked in the world of marketing.

As an intern in a busy office, I learnt to speak confidently on the phone and promote the festival effectively. I also re-evaluated the sheer importance of databases and keeping them current and up to date. Working with entries from a competition, I also realised how many people actually enter them, having always been an “I’ll enter that competition later” type of person, the scale of entrants was very impressive, as were some of their efforts to be picked.

I needn’t have worried about my first day, everyone was absolutely lovely and I would like to specially thank Gary Anderson for showing me the ropes.

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Busy Days at Fledgling Press

‘Indie, small, and slightly mysterious’ were the words I had in my head when I thought about Fledgling Press prior to my interview. Fledgling Press, as I found out through my research, is a small independent publishing company in Edinburgh which aims to champion new Scottish writers, whilst using Scottish artistic talent for their cover designs and illustrations. I was intrigued …

When I first met Clare Cain, CEO of Fledgling Press, I was excited by the prospect of gaining experience with a company passionate about who they represent and not just about profits. Clare agreed to meet me for an interview at the National Library of Scotland where we discussed publishing over coffee. Clare quizzed me about my work for my MSc Publishing course and the skills I’d gained so far, whilst filling me in on vital information about Fledgling Press. On top of this Clare was interested in the areas I wanted to gain experience in and talked about some Fledgling Press projects which would provide me with opportunities to expand my skills. Immediately I felt that Clare was concerned that, aside from hopefully making myself thoroughly useful doing work for the company, I would also gain an enjoyable and valuable experience through the process. I remember her particularly agreeing to offer me editorial experience —another step on my way to becoming an editor!

Clare and Kate hard at work!
Photo credits: Ellie Bush

The following Monday I was invited to one of the weekly Fledgling Press meetings in the New Town where I met the founder of the company, Zander Wedderburn. Already on my first day I remember feeling included in the meeting, being asked my opinion on Fledgling Press projects. It was clear I wasn’t just there as a tea-maker but was involved as a member of a team working on the development and promotion of work by new Scottish writers.

From that day forward I have been involved in editing manuscripts, final read-throughs of work on their way to print, creating pages and designs for an innovative new Fledgling Press catalogue (it’s going to be made out of bookmarks—ingenious!), been initiated into the weird and wonderful world of first-time author submissions as well as assisting with the judging of a book cover competition at the Edinburgh College of Art. I ended up relishing my Mondays with Fledgling Press. Apparently there is never a dull moment in a small independent publishing house. Working alongside another intern, Kate McNamara, it was all hands on deck as we worked with Clare from her home in Portobello.

What I gained from working with Clare was much more than just practicing my editorial skills. As well as learning how a small independent company manages to grow year upon year, from a tiny company to a not-so-tiny company, I also learned how it feels to be a valued member of a publishing team. The responsibility given to me by Clare and Zander provided me with not just practical experience but confidence in my decision to work in editorial. But more than this, I have a lovely few weeks working alongside Clare, Zander and Kate to look back on and am very grateful that I was able to work with such a nice group of people.

If you would like to learn more about Fledgling Press and their titles please visit their website at www.fledglingpress.co.uk or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Venturing into the real world with Alban Books

I’d heard stories from students who had interned before; bleak, tea-filled narratives about being chained to photocopiers and blinded by endless Excel spreadsheet grids. Despite this, I was rather looking forward to my placement, although I hoped the horror stories, rather than being a sign of what was to come, were in fact just anecdotes exaggerated to make them good for sharing down at the pub.

I secured my spot at Alban Books Ltd; a sales, marketing and distribution company who provide services in the UK and Europe for seven big US publishers. I started on the 15th March 20

12 and came into the office to be introduced to my desk (I had my own desk!) and my computer (with a personalised email account!!). So far, so good.

My first task was wholly unrelated to hot beverages; in fact it was to write copy for Advanced Information sheets for a list of new autumn titles, the details of which had just been released. In at the deep end, but it was interesting and it got me familiar with the titles I would be working with over the next month or so.

My office duties over the next few weeks varied from A.I. creation to direct mail material/e-Newsletter compilation and design to data entry for Alban Books’ new website that is launching over the summer. It took a while but now my eyes, rather than melting at the sight of an overwhelmingly packed Excel spreadsheet, are now finely attuned to picking out the details I want – this must be what it’s like to be a real grown-up with a marketing job!

The office itself is a great place to work: there are only four others in the office and the banter is great. Topics of conversation range from “Which are better, robots or dinosaurs?” to “Will dressing your baby up like an idiot make them hate you in later life?” while at Easter we had a ‘design your own egg’ competition with lots of felt tips(the raw state the eggs were in made for a couple of smelly casualties!).

The whole placement wasn’t spent in the office though; at my initial interview with the Managing Director, Jonny Gallant, I was given a task that I could really get my teeth into. I had mentioned my love of children’s books and the M.D. suggested I look at the children’s list that they manage, the sales of which weren’t as high as they should be. I was given dummy copies of some new titles and sent on my merry way…into a void with no leads or answers. It was intimidating at first but it got me jamming my thinking cap on my head and straining the ol’ grey cells to think back to those heady days of trimester one and the marketing lessons we’d had at Craighouse campus. I worked my way through the various factors that have an effect on product sales and with a big help from a focus group of Waterstones Children’s Book Buyers I got lots of help with my quandary and was able to bring a lot of good information back to Alban Books. It’s an ongoing project, but one that I hope will have a positive impact on sales.

I’ve had a great time at Alban Books: I’ve learnt a lot about marketing which was the area I was weakest in, in regards to of publishing, and also I’ve had the opportunity to really help the company – a chance that many interns don’t seem to get. I was asked to stay on at the office and I happily accepted – I’ve got a lot of unfinished business to attend to!

For more information about Alban Books and the titles they manage, follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook or visit their website.