Network Network Network

Before deciding to study publishing, speaking to people came naturally. I could approach a stranger at an event easily and spark a conversation because there was no ulterior motive for doing so, other than the sheer enjoyment of human interaction. Now, however, I do have an agenda: I want to be noticed. I want to be remembered. I want to make an impression so that someone, somewhere will one day think I’ll be an asset to their company.

When I began Napier’s course, I was encouraged to attend as many events as possible and to grab every opportunity by the horns. This had never been an issue for me before because I either decided to go to an event or I decided to stay at home. If I wasn’t feeling up to it, or had a rare day of feeling shy, I felt no guilt in curling up in my jammies and spending the evening binge watching Netflix instead. But now, I can’t afford to stay at home and miss out on meeting all the important people. The guilt is real. I know that if I don’t go, I’m only disadvantaging myself and my future career. That being said, whilst I do want to emphasise the importance of getting out there and interacting with people in the industry, because hey, they’re bloomin’ incredible folk, I have discovered an absolute saviour in the networking business: Twitter.

Twitter is definitely something I stayed away from pre-publishing degree. I didn’t understand how to use it properly, and again, I had no real agenda. Connecting with friends was far easier via other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Snapchat. But upon venturing into the publishing industry, Twitter has become my holy grail for when I need to network but am not particularly feeling up to it. I cannot stress the value of this incredibly, sometimes dauntingly, fast-paced-updated-by-the-second environment. There is no better way to stay in the loop and up-to-date with the publishing industry. I can refresh my feed every minute and someone will have a new opinion, there will be a new article to read or a new connection suggested. Even better, I can do it all in my pyjamas with Netflix on in the background.

One of the many major benefits of Twitter is the ability to participate in live conversations. The SYP are extremely well versed in this, and often host live chat Q&A evenings. These typically last an hour and allow people from all over the world to engage with people in the industry. You can voice your fears and receive comfort, share your experiences, teach others valuable lessons and learn anything and everything in the space of an hour. Above all, you can make those all important connections, whilst simultaneously cooking dinner.

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Various events I’ve attended have shown me that having a strong Twitter identity really pays off when meeting people face to face. If you’re active in the community and your profile is recognisable and memorable, then chances are someone will remember that conversation they had with you, where you helped them overcome a fear, or gave them advice they later followed.

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Finally, I suggest really getting to know how Twitter works. Use ALL the hashtags, even base your tweets around being able to hashtag as much as possible and include the publisher in your tweets when talking about a book.

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Show that you have an interest in the industry and that you appreciate someone’s work. The engagement these tweets can generate is unreal, and allows people in the industry to see that you’re an active member of their community.

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If you’re new to Twitter like I was, build an identity that you’d be happy to show a potential employer. Be someone that your mum would be proud of and that someone in the industry would want to meet. It’s also great when someone’s accusing you of not being productive because you’re on your phone, (I’m looking at you, boyfriend) and you can tell them they’re wrong: you’re networking.

Featured in this post:

@SYPScotland 

@SYP_UK

@KT_CHAR_ELL

My Twitter: @kiiimberellla

 

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Linen Press Internship

When we started our MSc Publishing degree back in September, one of the first things we were told was to get on Twitter. It wasn’t until I saw a social media internship advertised for Linen Press Books that I fully realised the significance of being an active member of the Twitter/Publishing community. The tweet read:

‘Love women’s writing? Love living online? Be actively involved w a small indie press? Fab social media intern needed asap!’

After answering yes to all three questions and realising that the internship could be done remotely, I eagerly applied! Since joining the Linen Press team, I have been fortunate to be involved with a variety of different aspects of the publishing process. Predominantly, I have been managing their Twitter feed and implementing a marketing campaign for their debut novel, The Dancing Girl and the Turtle.

However, it’s been a lot more than just tweeting. I have provided feedback and criticism for author submissions. I’ve created graphics for social media and I’ve actively put together a marketing strategy with an author and the rest of the team. I’ve felt that my voice has been valued every step of the way.

One of my favourite aspects of this internship was putting together some author videos for an upcoming campaign for Sometimes A River Song. We had discussed the idea of video marketing in a meeting and I volunteered to create them. I edited together ‘Author Confession’ videos during my placement at Scottish Book Trust and I wanted to create something similar for Linen Press. I put my Adobe Creative Cloud knowledge to good use and I am really proud of the finished result! (Click on the photo below to see them)

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My time with Linen Press has come to an end, as I start my internship with The Publishing Bureau next week, but I loved every minute of my experience. I’ve met lots of interesting and talented women and I’ve built my confidence as a publisher-to-be.

Online Marketing at Google’s #DigitalGarage

In March, I attended a couple of #DigitalGarage sessions ran by Google in Glasgow. These workshops are free to attend and are part of a larger project that Google is working on to get people feeling more confident about online marketing. While I’m aware that these sessions are not specific to publishing, I think it is really important for publishers to stay ahead of the curve with the latest strategies in digital marketing. I plan to use what I learned from these sessions with my own blog and in my current social media internship with Linen Press Books. In the meantime, I’ve summarised some of the key points from the #DigitalGarage below.

What is #DigitalGarage?

“Free tutorials from Google on everything from your website to online marketing and beyond. Choose the topics you want to learn, or complete the whole online course for a certification from Google and IAB Europe.”

I attended the live workshops but Google also offers free online training if there aren’t any workshops running near you. You can set goals, learn from experienced professionals, apply your knowledge, track your progress and stay motivated!

The sessions were a great springboard for me as I am really interested in online and digital marketing within publishing. They were comprehensive and there was lots of information and resources for me to take away. I learned about the importance of designing a good website, choosing a domain name and thinking about hosting.

“Nearly half of all visitors will leave a mobile site if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds.”

When it came to social media, they were armed with interesting and informative stats for us: 38 million active social media users and 1 hour 29 minutes average daily use of social media via any device (younger audience = significantly higher usage). I was surprised to learn that people formulate an impression within 50 milliseconds of visiting your social media profile so it’s important to think about your bio: keep it relevant, clear and consistent and show you personality – people like people. It made me ask the question: what message can I send out on my Twitter page within 50 milliseconds?

The #DigitalGarage sessions are a hidden gem. It is very rare to get comprehensive training like this for free so I was eager to jump on the chance. I look forward to seeing how my new found knowledge can help me with all things publishing.

Vagabond Voices

Publishing companies function in an industry which is defined by a complex interplay of the creative and the economic. They must be able to recognise and nurture creative talent and they must be commercially savvy enough to turn the creative spark into a profitable product. Too much emphasis on the commercial aspects will stifle creativity and readers will turn elsewhere. Too much emphasis on creativity might mean that a publisher has a fantastic book, but does not make any money from it, thus jeopardising the potential to publish future books.

My time at Vagabond Voices made me think about this predicament. It was an invaluable experience. I sampled many things from rights and contracts to designing websites, from meeting authors to assisting at book launches. I was put in charge of online marketing and introduced the publisher to increasingly potent social media instruments such as Twitter. Yet it was the philosophy of the company that really struck a chord with me. A ‘vagabond’ can be classed as someone who is disreputable or worthless. As a publisher, however, Vagabond Voices is far from disreputable. Testament to its integrity, it has managed in particularly bleak economic times to maintain that which drives people to read and write: an enduring respect for the written word.

Returning to my opening paragraph with this is mind, it must be said that the lasting impression from my time at Vagabond Voices is the notion that the commercial and creative aspects of a business must indeed be in conversation, yet to maintain literary credibility it must be the creative side that speaks with a louder voice.

www.vagabondvoices.co.uk

www.stillnessofthesea.com

www.ilgarrulo.com