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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Nielsen Seminar comes to Scotland!

Nielsen Book is hosting a Publishing Seminar in Edinburgh at Edinburgh Napier’s Craiglockhart Campus.

Working with Publishing Scotland, MSc Publishing is delighted to host this event and to support our students and publishers by sponsoring free places.

Nielsen is a leading global information & measurement company, providing market research, insights and data about what people watch, listen to & buy. They are an essential part of the publishing industry. www.nielsenbook.co.uk (@nielsenbook)

This is a must attend event for any publisher who wants to learn more about Nielsen’s services and how they can help ensure your books are widely available and easy to discover!

View the agenda here:


This is a ‘Free Event’, but you do need to book in advance to reserve your place as space is limited.

A light lunch will be provided for delegates.

We are delighted to host this event – the first of its kind in Scotland!


Publishing Scotland Conference 2017: An Overview

It’s been 24 hours since the Publishing Scotland Conference left me equally overwhelmed and excited by my chosen career path so I hope this overview will give people who weren’t fortunate enough to attend a taste of what the day was like.

After a welcome from Publishing Scotland, the Booksellers Association and Jenny Brown of Jenny Brown Associates, the day started with a key note speech from Barry Cunningham . Not only do I hope to work in children’s/YA publishing one day, but I am a long-time fan of Chicken House. I was all ears on the necessity for fueling “book growth by providing a wider variety of book of all kinds” and how readers can discover these books. ‘Book huggers’ became an integral part of my vocabulary and Barry’s business card a coveted addition to my wallet.

Next came a statistical breakdown of 2015/16 retail market trends courtesy of Nielsen BookScan data, and while your eyes may have glazed over just reading that sentence, believe me it was one of the highlights of the day. Who would have thought there was a marriage to be made between David Bowie and bar charts? Steve Bohme for one (apparently it was Star Wars last year!)

Sam Eades, Editorial Director at Orion Books, shared her innovative ideas for creating debut novel buzz without the benefit of a big publicity and marketing budget. With materials even Blue Peter might struggle to craft together, she revealed the roles a dismembered mannequin and Portsmouth bus lane played in two successful campaigns. She also stressed the importance of spear-heading trends, from psychological thrillers to cosy crime; and of recognising the opportunity for partnerships – even if those opportunities come in the form of two ice sculptors. After all, “publicists are great blaggers.”

I gained a whole new appreciation of the art of the book cover from the Creative Director at Penguin Random House, Suzanne Dean, whose journey between the hardback and paperback editions of Paul Kalanithi’s, When Breath Becomes Air, was paved by 70 rejected covers. And I’ll never look at the negative space and allusions of Haruki Murakami’s covers the same way now that I know a little of the complicated effort masquerading as the effortlessly simple.

When it comes to working better with authors (and selling more books), Lucinda Byatt from the Society of Authors reminded us that, despite falling advances and royalties, “authors remain the only essential part in the creation of a book.” How must it make them feel to often earn less than their editor?

We heard from the front lines in sales and bookselling where the successful bookstores are the ones with “experiential content that’s not available on the internet”, Kevin Ramage, The Watermill: “booksellers that diversify … throw in a bit of coffee … offer as much as possible to the customers”, Sabrina Maguire, Bright Red Publishing.

For my elective breakout session I was glad to have chosen to learn from Eleanor Collins, Senior Commissioning Editor at Floris Books, about editing narrative openings (but sad to miss out on the three other workshops that sounded equally fascinating). With the “artifice of the narrative most evident in the beginning” and a tendency for authors to begin the story before the action, editors can choose to alter the structure, chronology and/or voice. In other words (Eleanor’s words): start with the Ballroom instead of the Country Walk; or reference it and the Conversation during the preparation for the ball.

One of the most inspiring parts of the day, however, was an introduction to OWN IT!, London from founder, Crystal Mahey-Morgan. Crystal’s goal is to tell stories using books, music, fashion and film, starting with the multimedia book, Don’t Be Alien. Above all I respected her recognition that we have to see the commercial viability of diverse authors instead of just the moral necessity.

With people and pioneers like these, I’m happy to say that the future of the book does not look as bleak as it is often believed to be. Many thanks to Publishing Scotland for making the MSc Publishing students of Edinburgh Napier Universirty so welcome.

In conclusion, prep your calendars for 2018 and place your bets on who/what Steve Bohme will use to front his market data next time.


By Kellie Jones

Do you know anyone who is unemployed and from the UK book industry? We are sponsoring new workshop!


Bookcareers.com and The Book Trade Charity BTBS will be bringing their popular “How to Job Search in Book Publishing” course to Edinburgh, thanks to the support of Publishing Scotland and the MSc Publishing programme at Edinburgh Napier University.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

If you are unemployed* and meet the requirements your place will be sponsored.

“How to Job Search in Book Publishing” covers all aspects of job hunting – from writing a CV and covering letter that publishers want to read to where jobs are advertised, interviews, branding, social media, and everything else you ever wanted to know.

It takes a comprehensive look at all things job hunting and employment and even the most experience job-hunter is likely to learn something new. Previous candidates have described this course as “The best help ever!”. A number of long-term unemployed have already attended this course and secured new employment in a matter of weeks; they informed us that this course was instrumental in them getting a new role.

To apply for a sponsored place:
– You must be currently unemployed and have been job hunting in book publishing
– Completed a Masters or First Degree in Publishing in the UK in 2015 or earlier
– Worked in the UK book industry (publishing, bookselling, distribution) for at least 6 months, whether one employer of through a variety of freelance work or internships

NOTE: We will look at all applications on a case by case basis. All sponsorship is at our discretion. Our aim is to help the most relevant candidates first, in particular those who have experienced redundancy and been unable to find new employment, but we will be more likely to accept people than turn people away if they’ve already got some publishing experience. 

We will consider Publishing students from 2016 and those with less than 6 months experience if we have spaces available, but our priority are those who have been unemployed for a while and who are committed to a career in the book industry.

We also may have places for sale available for those who are currently employed elsewhere and who wish to receive this training, again priority will be for our core unemployed.

*unemployed = people not in regular work. An internship is not regular work. Someone whose contract is coming to an end is not in regular work. A freelancer who doesn’t have enough work is not in regular work. If you are employed and on a low income, sponsorship may be available for you too. Please apply and let Bookcareers make the decision.

To apply for a place please email your CV and a recent covering letter in respect of a job application to Suzanne Collier at online@bookcareers.com.




Publishing Scotland Conference 2015

Publishing Scotland logoThe Publishing Scotland Conference 2015 was a fantastic event which delivered a wide range of informative and interesting talks from a range of well-known figures in the publishing industry. Some of the most memorable talks on the day included the keynote speech from Harper Collins CEO Charlie Redmayne, who introduced himself as the ‘non-Oscar winning Redmayne’, as he delivered his ‘theory of everything’ within book publishing and the future of the market. Other highlights included a question-and-answer session for students, organised by SYP Scotland, featuring a panel of experts including Sam Missingham from Harper Collins and Katy Lockwood-Holmes from Floris Books. The session was a great opportunity to ask questions, learn more about different areas of the publishing industry and, of course, find out how to get that all important job after graduating! Thanks to Publishing Scotland for organising such an informative event and providing treat-filled goodie bags which were a bonus to a really enjoyable day.

Encouraging talk by Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland

We were very pleased to attend our guest lecture last week by Marion Sinclair, Chief Executive of Publishing Scotland.

Her opening comment was that she believed that we were doing the right thing in taking a publishing degree because publishers get more applicants for a job than they can interview. Having a publishing degree can increase your chances significantly when it comes to landing a job.  That was certainly the case for Marion, who has over 20 years of editorial experience within the publishing industry.  She received her lucky break soon after graduating with a publishing degree from Stirling University. Because of her own and others’ experiences, she encouraged us to think about working for small publishers as that is often a good way to get hands-on experience from day one.

Moving onto the bigger picture, Marion gave us the specifics of the size of the Scottish publishing industry and then summarised the facts and figures by saying that it is equivalent in size to the salmon industry and the cashmere industry. A student remarked afterwards that it sounded like her perfect night in, reading a book, wearing a cashmere jumper whilst enjoying smoked salmon. All that was missing was the whisky but that industry is far larger than any of the aforementioned put together!

Marion went on to talk of the role and function of Publishing Scotland Continue reading “Encouraging talk by Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland”

My Placement at Publishing Scotland

10338725_10152271097194213_1271137288329369682_nAs part of my internship with the Scottish Centre for the Book for the collaborative project “40 Years of Scottish Publishing” with Dundee University and Publishing Scotland, I managed to secure a placement with network body for the book publishing industry.

The project I mainly worked on, reflecting on the last 40 years of publishing in Scotland and celebrating the 40th anniversary of Publishing Scotland, was a great challenge and a highly interesting opportunity for me to gain insights in the work of a membership body.

16013_10152271096969213_5074433640570345436_nAs three partners in different locations worked on different parts of the project, I started getting an overview, joined meetings and set up a shared database. The whole idea of this project was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Publishing Scotland with an exhibition, which will be shown throughout Scotland in different venues. Therefore the work was divided into producing exhibition panels and an accompanying booklet, as well as organising the exhibition launch, and the various venues afterwards.

As three other students and I already had started working on the booklet, my first main task was to bring all the different parts together, create a consistent layout and compile all extra material needed for the 48-page publication. … Continue reading “My Placement at Publishing Scotland”