Nieske Zuidema, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013

January 12th, 2013 by Nieske Zuidema | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Nieske Zuidema, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013
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My name is Nieske Zuidema and I’m a student on the MLitt in Publishing Studies course. I come from the Netherlands, where I’ve worked at two book stores. While it was fascinating to see what happens to a book after it has been published, I became more and more interested in what happens beforehand: the publishing process. I therefore always had a career in publishing in the back of my mind while doing my undergraduate degree in Communication Studies.

When looking for a master’s program, it soon became clear to me that a publishing course in the UK would suit me best, since I love reading English books and since the publishing industry here has a major influence on the rest of the world. The program in Stirling especially interested me, as it focuses on all aspects of publishing (editing, production, marketing, etc.) and combines theory and practice. After only week into the course, I definitely felt like it will give me a good preparation for a job in the industry, and I’m very glad that I’ve decided to come here!

AHRC studentships available for Studying Publishing 2013-14

January 11th, 2013 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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If you’re thinking of studying on our industry-leading MLitt in Publishing Studies with us in 2013-14, as a Home or EU student you may be eligible for a prestigious AHRC Professional Preparation Masters studentship.

Details of the scheme are available via the Universities of Stirling and Strathclyde AHRC Block Grant Partnership website.

The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday 22 March 2013, by which time you must also have made a full application for a place on the programme.

Read the perspective of a current AHRC studentship holder here.

Qiaozhuo Sun, Msc in International Publishing Management 2012-2013

January 11th, 2013 by Qiaozhuo Sun | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Qiaozhuo Sun, Msc in International Publishing Management 2012-2013

My name is Sun Qiaozhuo, even in China there are many people who think it is a strange name, and very hard to pronounce, so you can call me Sonja. This is a German name ,because 4 years ago I studied German in Germany.

My bachelor major is Publishing & Editorial. After graduating I worked in China Collection Magazine for 3 years, as a journalist. But I love book publishing more, so I wish that when I have my master degree, I could become a  fiction editor. I’ll love to introduce excellent overseas novels into China.



Comics and the Publishing Industry

January 11th, 2013 by Claire Jeffery | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Comics and the Publishing Industry
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Artwork by Cheridan Smith


It’s a good question; and one that inverts the typical view of the artist dependant entirely on the promotion of the publisher. The panel on the night were well-equipped for this discussion.

From the right, John McShane was the host for the evening from Graphic Scotland, an organisation promoting comics locally. He was joined by Martin Conaghan, writer of the comic Burke and Hare, Gordon Roberts of and fame; Gary Erskine, creator of the Roller Grrrls series; and Ernesto Priego, who is involved both in academic study in the field and is a cofounder of A late but welcome addition to the panel was the appearance of Gill Hatcher, who was pulled from the audience and offered a great insight into the discussion with her self-published Team Girl Comic.

There were quite a few themes present in the discussion. The role of distribution and how methods of reaching an audience have dramatically changed in the past few years – to the advantage of the comic writer and the disadvantage of the publisher. The financial realities of going it alone. The difficulties in having a sustainable career in an area where the expectation is of a free product.  The pride and passion that every project big or small is published with.

The key has always been getting the right product to the right customer; something that the current system struggles to achieve. Bigger publishers appeal to broad markets, and therefore by selling in large bookshops and having promotions on a national scale they can get results. But this is impossible for comics targeted at smaller or even niche markets. For example, one based on a particular city would benefit from being sold mainly in that city, but not in every bookshop in the country.  Reaching the customer has taken on a completely different meaning with the advent of the internet. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter allow companies to complete projects that would never have seen the light of day. Communities online allow people with similar interests to come together no matter what their geographical location. Social media allows small and self-publishers to market themselves and reach new customers. This targeted selling means that money previously wasted on generic advertising is instead used to reach those directly interested in the comic.

The difficulty lies in pricing products created and sold online. Consumers have a natural expectation of low prices for digital work because they don’t have a physical product to hold. Publishers have an opposing expectation for higher prices given the longevity of electronic products. But these can be debated. In the closing stages of the discussion, Gary Erksine brought up the loss of his artwork from his computer.  It wasn’t due to a file being misplaced, the computer being hacked or even the artwork being stolen: the technology and files from only seven years ago were obsolete. The digital revolution is gaining momentum by the day, and is dictated by trends and fashions as companies selling technology survive by continually moving to a new product.  But as this happens we move on from previous electronic forms and in many cases lose access to the files that came before them. A consumer-driven society means that, where an old book can be found years later on a shelf, digital technology and software is rapidly replaced. The illusion of digital products lasting eternally hides the reality that data can be lost in a simple click of a button.  The future of publishing depends on finding a balance between printed and electronic materials.

The overall answer to the question of do comics need publishers is yes – even coming from a panel largely working as independent or self-publishers on individual projects. The big publishers are needed by the industry for large scale ventures, for developing a brand and even giving  individuals enough notoriety through their work that personal projects can be pursued. But the smaller and self-publishers are also essential as a force for the life blood of the industry, driven by passion and enthusiasm. Comics are a medium which cannot be produced without this drive.  With the role of the publisher changing and communities with no boundaries, there are increasing gaps that can be filled by those who have a message to say and a desire to say it.


– Claire Jeffery

Stefani Sloma, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013

January 11th, 2013 by Stefani Sloma | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Stefani Sloma, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-2013

The main question I get asked here in Scotland is why I decided to come to Scotland for school. To me, it’s a pretty simple answer: I love it here.

I attended Mississippi University for Women for my undergrad, and as part of the Gordy Honors Program there, all residential honors students study abroad after their sophomore year. My year, we came to Edinburgh and took classes in Scottish History and Scottish Literature. I immediately fell in love with the city and the country. Because of my position in the honors college, I was able to come back the next year and act as a mentor for the students then studying abroad in Edinburgh. While there, I conducted research for my senior honors project titled “The City as Character: Edinburgh in the Works of Ian Rankin.”

When I got back to the States, I did an editorial internship with the University Press of Mississippi (by this point, I knew I wanted to do publishing). Walter Biggins, the Acquisitions Editor, and I were having a conversation about my future, and he told me that there are masters programs in Publishing. This was a revelation for me, and as soon as I got home, I began to search for programs, keeping an eye out for those that were in Scotland. When I came across the MLitt in Publishing Studies here at the University of Stirling, I knew that’s where I wanted to go. The program sounded perfect to me, and after Skyping with the program director, Claire Squires, I had no doubt that this was where I needed to be. I’ve only just started the program, and I already love it. You know you should be somewhere when you get so excited to go to class.

Because of the program, I’ve already volunteered at Bloody Scotland and met some amazing authors. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

I’m on Twitter; you can follow me @StefaniSloma