Emily Ferro, MLitt. in Publishing Studies 2012-2013

November 4th, 2012 by Emily Ferro | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Emily Ferro, MLitt. in Publishing Studies 2012-2013

For a majority of my undergraduate career I thought that there is a universal code that an English Literature major must graduate and become a teacher. Given this thought, you can imagine how terrified I was when I got in front of a class of students and I realized that it was not right for me. It wasn’t until I began editing in my school’s writing centre that I really settled on the path towards my future career.

During school I got a small taste of publishing from various different places. I wrote often, from writing creatively on my own time to writing for newspapers and newsletters. I edited both academic and journalistic work, and also helped design my university’s art and literary journal. So, for years literature and design have been all around me.

During my Junior year, I chose to study abroad at St. Clare’s international school in Oxford, UK. I had many oportunities to travel during my time in Oxford, and one weekend in September I found my way onto a bus to Scotland and fell in love with the country at first sight. When my tour bus drove through Stirling, I was hooked, and knew that one day I would return, I had just not quite figured out how.

As I was finishing up my BA in English Literature at Salve Regina University in the United States, it seemed as though a little bit of luck and fate led me to the website for the University of Stirling’s publishing program. Given my love of reading, writing, design, and editing, I have yet to find an aspect of publishing that I foresee myself being unhappy doing. As for now, I am excited to take in all the new experiences that I will come across at the University of Stirling. Here’s to a new adventure.

Rolling it Alone – The Challenges of Independent Comic Publishing

November 2nd, 2012 by Joanne Marjoribanks | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a fan of comics. I don’t have anything against them; I’ve just never felt drawn to them. That being said, as a student of publishing studies with an avid interest in all aspects of the industry, I happily went along to a discussion hosted by the Society of Young Publishers in Glasgow recently, where the question of ‘Do comics need publishers?’ was debated.

Although I found the debate itself to be very interesting and enlightening, what had the greatest impact on me that evening were the discussions I had with Gary Erskine, one of the panellists, and his wife Anna Malady. As well as taking part in the actual debate, they were also showcasing a sketchbook of sample artwork and character sketches to raise money for their forthcoming comic – Roller Grrrls. The characters come from all walks of life: a nurse; a teacher; a librarian; a scientist; even a pregnant young woman. Yet they are all united in their love of roller derby.

My publishing course places a great emphasis on thinking about the target audience for a publishing product. Well, comics are only for comic lovers, right? Not necessarily, according to Gary and Anna. Rather than aiming their product towards general comic enthusiasts who might frequent the Marvel and DC Comics dominated aisles of the high street shops, Roller Grrrls is primarily targeting fans of roller derby itself, and, by extension, a wider audience of sports enthusiasts.  Of course, if they are able to sell their comic to mainstream retailers, then that would be fantastic, but they were very clear that this is not their primary aim.

Of course, coming up with a great concept is only the first stage in producing a finished product, and there are often challenges to be overcome and lessons to be learned along the way. This has certainly been the case for Gary and Anna, who were more than happy to chat with me about their experiences so far.

A major problem has been the actual distribution of the sketchbook. As with any publishing product, once the fun part of actually designing and producing it is over, attention necessarily turns to more mundane concerns – like postage costs. The Roller Grrrls sketchbook has been printed on high quality – and therefore heavy – paper, and as a result the postage costs are very steep, especially for international locations such as Australia.  Customers might be willing to pay a higher price for the product itself; however, many will baulk at being asked to pay for postage that might exceed even that amount. In light of this Gary told me that, when the actual comic series is produced, it will be printed on significantly lighter paper in order to reduce postage costs.

Issues like this are the unfortunate reality for the smaller, independent publishers like Gary and Anna, whose only real desire is to produce a beautiful piece of artwork to be enjoyed by people with a passion for comics – and roller derby. I may not be a comics fan, but I did buy a copy of the sketchbook. So, I guess this proves Gary and Anna’s point – you don’t have to be a comic geek to pick one up every now and then.

Joanne Marjoribanks

Below are the links to the Roller Grrrls website and social media pages. I highly recommend that you check them out.





*Images used with permission. Credit:

Ailsa Dempsey, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013

November 2nd, 2012 by Ailsa Dempsey | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Ailsa Dempsey, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013
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While studying for a MA in English Literature and Film Studies at the University of Dundee, I found one of the most interesting aspects of the course was text preparation and analysing the structure of different literature. As my studies progressed I began to stop thinking of these elements as an unavoidable part of a text but rather as aspects which combine to enhance the effectiveness and beauty of a piece. I began to explore the possibility of a career which would expand on this interest and was led to the decision that editing was the ideal choice.  Whilst at university I managed to gain experience working as both a general intern at Luath Press and as an editorial assistant to a freelance editor. Both of these opportunities only served to further my interest and convinced me that the publishing industry was the right one for me to build a career in. At the moment I am keen to work with fiction, with an interest being in children’s publishing, but this may change over this course! I also worked at the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival and at Discovery Film Festival 2010, and these experiences not only taught me how to work well in a fast paced and high pressure environment, but also how exhilirating it could be.

Already having had a taste of the publishing industry, I was keen to build on the experience I had gained while continuing to further my knowledge. The MLitt in Publishing Studies at Stirling was specifically recommended to me by publishers I had worked with and after research I realised this was the perfect next step. As the publishing industry is so competitive I realise that it is necessary to be as knowledgeable about its practices and the skills required as possible when beginning a career. As the course at Stirling covers all aspects of publishing I feel that it will not only benefit me as a future editor but also as a member of the industry as a whole and I am greatly looking forward to the experiences and knowledge I will gain over the next year. Follow me on Twitter.