Lucy McClune, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2010-11

December 12th, 2010 by Lucy_Ellen_Mcclune | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Lucy McClune, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2010-11
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Stirling University has always provided a supportive and flexible learning environment. So after the completion of four years of English Studies at undergraduate level, there was no doubt that I wanted to continue my studies here.

I’m originally from Northern Ireland, making me one of the home students. However, Stirling’s Publishing Studies course is host to a multinational student body, and has provided an interesting environment in which to achieve insight into a spectrum of cultures – publishing and non-publishing related!

One of the other many things that has impressed me about the course was how quickly opportunities were made available for students to become involved with the publishing industry at a practical level – even before the beginning of the course we were forwarded internship details.

So far the MLitt in Publishing Studies has been fast-paced, challenging and engaging. After the first semester I have already an abundance of new skills – such as the ability to operate InDesign and Photoshop – along with a well of new publishing terminology at my disposal. I am looking forward to what next semester has to offer – especially the construction of our publishing projects.

Yusri Kamaruddin, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2010-11

December 12th, 2010 by Mohd_Yusri_Bin_Kamaruddin | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Yusri Kamaruddin, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2010-11

Publishing is my accidental career. It never crossed my mind during my first degree of studies that I was going to be in publishing. I joined publishing in 2002 and since then I have never turned back. It amazed me the first time I got into it and continues to amaze me until now. Being in publishing demands our understanding on multi disciplines, skills and technologies and it involves dealing with many people from scholars, editors, designer, printers and traders.  My enthusiasm for publishing has brought me to Stirling and I found that the MLitt in Publishing Studies here is as great as it is reputed.

The UK perspective on publishing somehow is different from Malaysia and MLitt in Publishing Studies has helped me a lot in exploring new perspective in the book industries.  I believed that I have and will gain a lot more from the courses that involved various programmes and task provided by the instructors and department.

My aim and hope is to be able to apply all the knowledge and experienced acquired in Stirling to my career establishment in Malaysia

Inspiring Paula Morris

December 12th, 2010 by Saskia_Spahn | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Inspiring Paula Morris
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Personally, I have remained much inspired by the talk of Paula Morris, who was the last guest speaker of our series. Paula is an author and teaches Creative Writing at Stirling. In fact, listening to her felt like ‘Yes, I will write more myself’. Firstly, she addressed the myths people nourish about writers, e.g. the writer isolating themselves, being oblivious to the world, while, in fact, they have another job instead, to make a living. Also, there is the opinion they would compromise for anything that would stimulate sales. However, in the case of popular writers, they might not be prepared to, – an example being Jonathan Franzen, who did not like Oprah’s Book Club (endorsement) sticker on The Corrections. Another ‘myth’ that Paula wanted rid of is that people seem to feel each and every publication be available on Amazon. Not true. Amazon is not hosted in every country, books are out of print, and smaller publishers may not be able to afford distribution through that channel.

Paula then talked about the author–publisher (editor) relationship, and the frustration of many writers, who complain that they aren’t looked after well enough, or that the publisher didn’t do enough for their book to do well. On the other side, there’s the writer, who also needs to become proactive. Not only has he or she to win the publishing team over, so that they will care more about the book, and put more effort towards its realization, but also, if an author won’t show initiative, he or she might sell the book to a publisher to see it disappear before long. Claire asked the curious question, how much it would be also about the team liking you, the author, as a person. Paula’s answer: a lot. No surprise. Nowadays, authors are expected to have Facebook and Twitter accounts, a website, a blog, etc. Their own initiative counts, literally. Paula is a great example herself. On one occasion, when living in the US, she promoted herself, with her husband designing book flyers, to be sent out to bookshops, who, in turn, invited her to do signings. These things make the publisher happy, as the author themselves has provided for a growth in sales. Ideally, the author would subsequently receive more attention from the publisher’s part. However, this may depend on how well the book will do after all. Curiously, if you’re a poet, your book won’t be expected to sell as well as if you were doing fiction. At the bottom line, if the records tell that your book has done great, you are likely to get another deal with your publisher.

According to Paula, everything is about getting your product ‘out there’. She also thinks that you want slightly too many copies of your book on the market, and that it is a good sign if there are returns, as this would confirm that there are a lot of copies out there. Additionally, Paula emphasized the status of London and New York as centers of publishing. Once your book hits London or New York, it would go out in the world – Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India…

Paula Morris, in my opinion, has been one of the most inspiring guest speakers we had. The effortlessness and candidness she applied speaking about her work, views, and experiences invigorated her talk to evolve into one ever so multi-faceted, relevant, and genuinely stimulating.

Cornelia Lenz, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2010-11

December 12th, 2010 by SCIPC | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Cornelia Lenz, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2010-11

Ever since I was in high school, I knew I wanted to go into the publishing industry and my Bachelor in English Studies seemed like the first logical step. Coming from an international background, I always thought that I would continue my education and do my master’s course outside of Scotland and spread my wings a little. However, having nearly completed the first semester of the MLitt Publishing Studies course, I’m very glad I decided to remain in Stirling. The class is very international and, just from the other students, I’ve learned a lot about the variety of publishing in different countries. The staff, all having had previous professional experience in the publishing industry, give a very detailed and clear insight to what’s ahead for the rest of us. The course can be very intense but its interactive nature allows us a chance to experience many of the processes necessary in the creation of a book. I started off the course as a fresh bachelor graduate, worried about all the things I had yet to learn, but now I keep looking ahead to see what’s next.

Cornelia Lenz

From snuff and quill pens to 21st century bookselling…

December 5th, 2010 by Ina Garova | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on From snuff and quill pens to 21st century bookselling…
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Willie Anderson, the deputy chairman of John Smith & Son, gave a talk at Stirling University’s Centre for International Publishing and Communication recently.

The deputy chairman of John Smith & Son is a charismatic man – well-read, well-informed and well-spoken. For an hour he mixed funny stories from his days in the industry with astute observations about the changing face of bookselling and what the future holds for publishers. 

Mr. Anderson gave a brief account of John Smith’s development as a bookseller starting from 1751. This was when their first store opened in Glasgow, when snuff and quill pens were a part of their stock along with books. Then talked about how John Smith’s decided to concentrate on campus bookselling and exit the general market because they could not compete with the bigger chains.

He also explained why they’ve decided to open a bookshop in Botswana and the deal they’ve made with the university to encourage students to buy from the store. The students are given vouchers from the university, which they can spend on books and other educational resources in the bookshop.

The company has a similar arrangement with the University of East London where students, after finishing their first semester, receive an UEL Progress Bursary Card with £500 they can spend at the John Smith’s store.

Mr. Anderson also mentioned, of course, Amazon – the current threat to chain bookstores.In his words their marketing strategy is ‘brilliant’ because they appear to have everything, but this is not the case. Amazon relies on sheer volume to make a profit. ‘They’ve brainwashed you,’ he smiled, ‘but the sales going through the Amazon web page have been extraordinary for John Smith’s so far.’

 When asked how their website is working out for them, Mr. Anderson replied: ‘You need a website, it’s a good marketing tool, but the sales are not fantastic through it. It is not a very good website,’ he stated, somewhat apologetically.

 The future of bookselling? According to Willie Anderson, it will be interesting to see how the industry will develop in order to overcome the current difficulties in the market. It is a time of great change and publishers need to be increasingly receptive and flexible in regards to these new developments, he concluded.

The International Publishing Industry: Contemporary Perspectives from Oslo

December 4th, 2010 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The International Publishing Industry: Contemporary Perspectives from Oslo
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The Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, Claire Squires, recently returned from Oslo where she was an invited speaker at a seminar on ‘The International Publishing Industry: Contemporary Perspectives’.

The seminar, organised by the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo, brought together a number of scholars who are engaged with examining the contemporary publishing industries around the world from a number of perspectives. The academics from Norway, Sweden, Austria, Slovenia and the UK were joined by a number of publishers, booksellers and writers to discuss overall trends in international publishing, publishing in different international contexts, the future of publishing in the digital world, and cultural policies and authors’ and publishers’ rights.