Laura Craddock, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013

October 26th, 2012 by Laura Craddock | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Laura Craddock, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013
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Before I was even close to finishing my English degree at the University of Dundee I had already started to entertain the idea of undertaking a course in publishing.

Although I have always enjoyed creative writing, I also displayed an interest in the process of how an idea or an author’s manuscript is transformed into the final product. My first and only experience of the publishing process so far was when I opted to join my High School’s yearbook production team. Even though we hit quite a few bumps along the road, it was a proud moment when we finally saw months of hard work come to life in the form of a physical copy.

The University of Stirling’s MLitt in Publishing Studies stood out to me over other courses available because of the broad, hands-on introduction that it provides to the publishing industry. For me, the course appears to contain the perfect balance between theory and practical skills in every section of publishing, which allows everyone to have a taste of each role before deciding what sector appeals to them the most.

Although it is still early days, I am excited to see what the rest of the course brings. Please feel free to follow my adventures on twitter @lauracraddock.

Bloody Scotland: Agents and Publishers Panel (14/09/2012)

October 23rd, 2012 by Blake Brooks | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Bloody Scotland: Agents and Publishers Panel (14/09/2012)


As part of the Bloody Scotland event I live-tweeted an event held in the Macroberts Art Centre featuring various people from the publishing industry discussing various elements to becoming part of the process of publishing – from conception of ideas to the end product. The panel consisted of

During the discussion topics varied between the role of eBooks in the modern publishing world, how to get published, what content is popular and self publishing. Throughout this I tweeted periodically, attempting to succinctly explain what was being discussed. I used the hashtag #bloodyscotland so the tweets would appear alongside other tweets from the festival. This increases publicity for the events and raises awareness both for those already interested and involved in the events, as well as for others. I regret not tweeting directly to the Bloody Scotland twitter account, as this would also have increased publicity for the event and got more people involved.

I was quite pleased with the response I received. I got tweet responses regarding the amount of money E.L. James makes from her self-publishing of Fifty Shades of Grey which I retweeted. As well as this, following the session I received a tweet from Rachel Raynor, who was on the panel, saying she enjoyed my tweets (which, considering I’d tweeted her name incorrectly due to mishearing, was very kind). Finally I gained 20 followers the week after my live tweets, many publishing companies or publishing related twitter feeds. I feel therefore that the live tweets were a success.


Blake Brooks, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013

October 23rd, 2012 by Blake Brooks | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Blake Brooks, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013
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Ramshackle writer and aspirational editor. I’ve studied at The University of Stirling since 2008, firstly as an Undergraduate doing a joint honours in English Studies and Film and Media Studies, and now as a Publishing Studies MLitt student. During this time I have worked on numerous projects in a variety of fields; radio, television, magazine journalism and occasionally creative writing. I was Arts Editor for BRIG, the Stirling University Student Newspaper, in 2010, which involved a lot of work with other writers and doing a lot of reviews. More recently I worked as TV Section Editor for Hi! Magazine, launching the section and working with a team of around ten writers to produce an average of three articles per week. I regularly wrote for both these projects, but was also in charge of editing, proofreading, design and layout, and with Hi! Magazine I was also in charge of social media marketing for the section. I run my own Tumblr blog which, although full of wonderful nonsense from the dark corners of the internet, I do use for occasional writing and opinion pieces. In an attempt to make order out of chaos I also run a WordPress Portfolio of all of my writing, under the Something Ineffable brand which I created, but failed to do very much with. I am also on Twitter: @blake_brooks

On a more personal note, I am a tea obsessive, with a collection of teas from around the world. I enjoy travelling, though more for the experience and adventure than for the tea’s I pick up along the way! I am in love with the Nordic countries, having lived in Denmark for six months on exchange, and a large Scandinavian community in Stirling. I hope someday to live and work in Finland, and hopefully also in Denmark or Sweden. I speak the tiniest amount of Danish (Jeg kan kun taler lidt Dansk) but other than that I am afraid I am mono-lingual. However, in order to make up for my total lack of skill in languages I have attempted to become as fluent and eloquent in the use of the English as possible, and other than my penchant for expletives I think I have a talent for talking that is, if not unique, then at least interesting.

What’s the Point of Literary Festivals?

October 21st, 2012 by Claire Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on What’s the Point of Literary Festivals?
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One of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication’s research projects, the RSE-funded Book Cultures, Book Events, has its final event at 10am on Thursday 25 October, at Literary Dundee.

Our Director Claire Squires will be chairing an event titled ‘What’s the Point of Literary Prizes?’, and the speakers on the panel will include Anna Day (organiser of Literary Dundee), Kirsty Gunn (author and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Dundee) and Adrian Searle (publisher at Freight Books).

If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a literary festival, the session will give you a privileged peek into the green room, the box office, and the organisers’ diaries.

Tickets are free and can be reserved via the Literary Dundee website.

Visiting speaker: Lucie Johnston

October 20th, 2012 by Elise Guay | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting speaker: Lucie Johnston

On Thursday, September 27, we had our first guest speaker. Lucie Johnston is a member of the staff in the Career Development office. She specializes in getting jobs in the arts and humanities, and gave us insight into what we might do to prepare for getting jobs. She presented a powerpoint called “Introduction to Jobs, Networking, and Interns,” which included all kinds of information from what kinds of jobs are out there, to how much job experience we need to pique a publisher’s interest. She was very enthusiastic and answered any questions we had to the best of her abilities.
Lucie jumped right into her presentation by telling us which jobs are out there. She gave us a list ranging from editing to marketing to design, emphasizing that publishing is a diverse and cut-throat business, but that there are a lot of options out there. She suggested to start thinking about jobs, but not to jump to any conclusions just yet as we are only in the first weeks of the publishing course. This resonated with me because as soon as we started the design aspect, I leaned heavily towards that, but I also have skills in editing, so having a few options is a good idea. In regards to which job we would ultimately like to do, she told us not to be disheartened if we have to start off as a temp or a secretary because whatever skills we have will shine through and promotions are fairly easy.
The next section of Lucy’s presentation was in regards to which jobs would actually suit us. She gave us an anecdote about somebody who came to her and said they really wanted to be a teacher. They did some teaching experience and came back shortly after deciding they didn’t like children. She said to make sure that you emphasize your strong points and your skills. For example, someone who has experience in editing maybe should go for an editing job. One thing she did say is that you have to love your job, or it is going to be a very long struggle to get up every day. One of my biggest fears is that I will end up in a job that I absolutely despise. I think there are a lot of people my age who feel the same way. There are so many people, me included, with thousands in debt, and to have to take a job because we need to pay off the debt rather than because we love it is going to be a difficult thing to do.
Lucy handed out a piece of paper with circles on it and said it was a fairly elementary exercise that was used to place your strengths and skills in categories and figure out where you got them from. However, she did give us a useful formula to follow which is the STAR formula. STAR stands for scene, task, action, and result. Basically, this is the formula you use when you go to interviews. Each part plays an important role in the interview process, but for example, the results part would mean having facts and figures about the company with which you are interviewing. With regards to interviews, she said to bring examples of your work with you to show at the end. For instance, depending on what type of job you are going for, you would be best to wait until the end and present your work to the potential employer then. This will be really impressive to them especially if they had not asked for it beforehand. This was a good activity to try and discover what your skills are.
As the presentation went on, she talked a bit about work experience. She said if we want publishers to even look at our CV’s, we need at least two weeks of work experience. She also said that we should be prepared to travel for our internships. This is due to the fact that some places close by may not be offering intern positions or that your interests may take you elsewhere. For example, you may like a more unique publishing house, so you may want to go to Two Ravens Press which is on the Isle of Lewis.
As far as getting a job, Lucy stressed the fact that we need to network. She asked us, rather comically, if we had friends. Everyone laughed at this, but she was trying to get the point across that if we have friends, we have already networked. She also mentioned things like LinkedIn and Twitter are important because they make you stand out and keep you in the know. However, be careful with things like Facebook. The internet has an unlimited memory.
This whole presentation was very helpful. At the end she let us ask questions, and as an American, my first question was whether or not I would be able to get a job in the UK. This is where the heartbreak and disappointment comes in. She told us that if we were up against someone from the UK with the same credentials that they would get the job simply because they are British and there is less paperwork to have them as part of the company. Even big companies do not want to deal with all the red tape surrounding someone who is non-EU citizen. Lucie did suggest maybe going home and finding a big company that is willing to have us travel, or a company who wants to spread to the UK. Despite this disappointing news, we enjoyed her talk, and she gave us a wealth of information.

Elise Guay

Elise J Guay, MLitt Publishing Studies 2012-2013

October 19th, 2012 by Elise Guay | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Elise J Guay, MLitt Publishing Studies 2012-2013
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My journey began in the states at a university called Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. I was studying American Studies with a minor in Creative Writing when my junior year (third year) came around and it was time to decide where to study abroad- an earned right for upper classmen. My three options because of the limited nature of my major were Stirling University, Edinburgh University, and a university way down in Sydney, Australia. I had to choose one and deep down I knew Sydney wasn’t the place for me, and having always been on a campus setting, being in the city at Edinurgh was scary to me. Univerity of Stirling was the right fit, so this Goldilocks packed 50 pounds of luggage and made the trip over, fully intending to go home after four months.

I arrived in February of 2010 and haven’t left, excpet for holidays of course! After being here a little short of a month I was already looking into transferring. I got all my paperwork in and sorted out my visa, and was ready to complete my undergraduate degree. I graduated in June 2012, and 2 years in Scotland just didn’t seem enough for me so I applied for my Masters. At first, I had the same attitude that I had while transferring which was if I get in, that’d be great, if not then maybe it’s time to go home- which I quickly discovered was a survival mechanism to keep myself calm during the process. But, as the summer wore on and it got closer to the acceptance date, I became more and more nervewracked. When I finally got my acceptance letter, I screamed so loudly I woke my flat mate up. I’m looking forward to the prospects and the doors that doing this course will open for me.

I actually have been writing my own book for about two and a half years now. The title is Fledgling. I have my own website so feel free to have a look! {Beatha. Gaol. Sgriobh} It is entirely set in Scotland and was inspired by my study abroad semester. Coming here gave me a new sense of creativity and this is the brain child of that creativity.

Verena Bauer, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2012-2013

October 19th, 2012 by Verena Bauer | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Verena Bauer, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2012-2013
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Hello everyone,

my name is Verena and I come from Germany.

I have had a passion for languages and literature as long as I can remember. As a child, I could not wait to learn to go to school and finally be able to read for myself all the great stories and tales my mother had told me. I grew up in a house full of books, and the first thing I would do when getting home after school would be grabbing a book and delving into the story. Books were there when I was happy or sad; they let me forget the sometimes grim outside world; they inspired new ideas, helped me to study foreign languages, and evoked in me the desire to travel the world and see the countries and cultures I was reading about.

That is why I studied English Literature, French, and Latin at Ruprecht-Karls-University in Heidelberg, Germany for my first Master`s degree, so I could combine my interests in literature and languages. Despite introducing me to new genres, literary periods, and authors, my studies also led me to spend two years abroad, one each in Wales and in France, which were two of the best years of my life.

Although I loved studying literature and getting graded on my favourite pastime, I was afraid that it might not be specialized enough, since I did not want to be a teacher. Going back to university for a second degree seemed a good option to improve my chances on the career market. So I was very glad when I was accepted for the MLitt programme in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling because it gives me the opportunity to work with the knowledge I gained in my previous studies and internships as well as acquire new skills through the modules and the practical assignments.

Besides showing me a new perspective on books and literature, the programme offers me the possibility to study at a foreign university and get to know a new country and culture as well as to meet people from all over the world. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but it will prepare us perfectly for our entry into the world of publishing, and I simply love it.

Fixed Prices for Books?

October 18th, 2012 by Eva Graf | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Fixed Prices for Books?
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In Germany, a fixed book price is a legal constraint which forces publishing houses to set a certain price, which is then legally binding for all retailers . As long as the original set price is not reversed, which can happen 18 months after the publication, or it is resold book retailers cannot change the price in any form or way. The main goals of this system are:
→ protecting books as a cultural asset
→ securing a great variety of titles
→ aid nationwide supply with books
A fixed price system was first introduced in 1888 and, despite its long tradition, there are certain new developments that need to be taken into consideration. The most evident modern example being ebooks and how they should be priced. According to the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (the German equivalent to the Publishers Assocation) they should have fixed prices because they mirror printed books in their attributes.
What made me think about the whole system was going into a bookshop in the UK and comparing the prices in store to those on Amazon. The newest Ken Follet title Winter of the World costs £10 in hardback, with the Kindle Version selling for only £5.99. Compare this to the German Hardcover, priced at 29.90€, and the Kindle Version, selling at 22.99€. this seems to be a very low price. I cannot decide which system is preferable. On the one hand I can buy books here for a great price, but I feel that the German system has its benefits too. Publishing houses give less discounts and therefore may generate a higher revenue, resulting in being able to plan their budget more accurately. From a professional point of view I can see the advantages of this system; however as a consumer I prefer the lower UK prices.
The topic of fixed prices versus free price setting is very interesting and has lots of room for discussions. There will undoubtedly be some friction in the German industry in the future, mainly due to ebook prices. Big players like Amazon and Apple will drive a hard bargain to establish low prices. This may lead to a more competitive market, similar to the UK market. Or the status quo will continue. Only time will tell.

Eva Graf

Luca Baffa, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013

October 17th, 2012 by Luca Baffa | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Luca Baffa, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013
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[ Profile Picture Here ]

I came from Italy, where I studied for my undergraduate degree. I first heard about the course from a teacher, and then I asked people over the internet for further feedback. They all replied with words of great appreciation for the course and the university. Despite what we were taught when we were kids, about trusting strangers, all they have said to me turned out to be true.

The course is intense but rewarding. I am learning a lot both from the teachers, the classmates and, of course, from the individual study. This is a fantastic formula for a dynamic, creative and enjoyable path to knowledge.

Bloody Scotland Masterclasses

October 12th, 2012 by Claire Squires | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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Heather Malcolm, delegate at the recent Bloody Scotland masterclasses, reports on her day at the University:

Ann Cleeves at the Bloody Scotland masterclasses

In June this year, I heard that a new crime writing festival called Bloody Scotland was offering a day of master classes. I was a bit hesitant to sign up an untried event, but since the University of Stirling were organising it and they had chosen Ann Cleeves as the keynote speaker, I decided to chance it and parted with £75.00 for my all-day ticket.

September came quickly and the master class day started well. Registration was easy, after which Ann Cleeves opened the event. She was a funny and passionate speaker, and she took us through the process of writing her award-winning novel Raven Black, all the way from its inspiration, through the enjoyment of writing, to the tedium of editing. Among her tips for aspiring writers were; read widely across the genre, get to the end of the book, be lucky, write what you love, and good editors are “worth their weight in diamonds.” She was especially emphatic in calling for us to support our local libraries.

After refreshments, it was time for the classroom sessions. The first was on character and setting, led by Laura Marney. She is a lecturer, short story writer, dramatist and author of four novels including Nobody Loves a Ginger Baby. Laura was funny and authoritative and her session was practical, challenging and very hard work. Her exercise on character was particularly useful – I discovered that one of my minor characters is a Goth.

After a lovely buffet lunch, the second session, on plotting, began. It was led by Allan Guthrie, whose Two Way Split was Theakston’s Crime Novel of the year. He is also an agent and co-founder of a digital publishing house, Blasted Heath. Alan covered the essential characteristics of protagonists and antagonists and discussed the various ways in which a crime novel can be structured. Alan’s experience and forensic understanding of good crime writing meant his class was, like Laura’s, practical and encouraging. I’m already applying his analysis of structure to my own writing.

After another refreshment break, the final event began. Chaired by Professor Claire Squires, Allan Guthrie (in agent mode) along with publishers Maxine Hitchcock from Simon and Schuster, and Rachel Rayner from Transworld discussed trends in publishing. It was fascinating and sobering to hear that good writing is only one factor in deciding whether to take a manuscript on. We also heard how we can help ourselves, e.g. by approaching agents as if we were applying for a job, by doing a creative writing course and having our manuscripts edited.

This was a great chance to get the latest information, the best advice and the most authentic inspiration from some of the most accomplished people in their fields. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, thanks to the great organisation, so it was easy to network and gab on endlessly about writing.

The day was inspiring, practical and hard work, and definitely worth the wait. I’m glad that I took that risk back in June and I’ll be back next year.

For more on Bloody Scotland, see Stefani Sloma’s report on volunteering at the festival.