Yunxin Liu, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

October 17th, 2014 by Yunxin Liu | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Yunxin Liu, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015
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IMG_4836My name is Yunxin Liu from Nanjing, China. As a result of my father’s career as an educational publisher, I have, from a young age, developed a fascination for publishing. Hence, I am determined to pursue advanced studies in the field of publishing.

I have been developing my interest in the publishing world by hunting for some related internships. I had the chance to take an internship in Nanjing University Press when I was an undergraduate student. I also established a bookstore on China’s popular online retail platform and the online shop makes considerable profits. I am an editor in Phoenix Fine Arts Publishing Ltd.

As the financial centre of the world and the origin of modern western civilization, UK has rich resources in the field of publishing. Hence, the latest advances are easily accessible to students here. Through the well-designed program of the university, I am deeply convinced that I will have an enhanced opportunity to succeed in publishing and publishing-related courses. I hope to be a publishing person who would make a contribution to the society especially to the communications of culture. Without any doubt, my postgraduate study will promote me to realize my career dream.

Kena Longabaugh, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-15

October 16th, 2014 by Kena Nicole Longabaugh | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Kena Longabaugh, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-15
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pubblogHello there! My name is Kena Longabaugh and I hail from the United States. My journey to the MLitt programme at the University of Stirling wasn’t a typical one. I received my BA in Political Science from Western Washington University–however, somewhere along the way, I realized a life in politics wasn’t for me. My English courses were the ones that inspired and motivated me the most during university and I eventually decided to pursue my literary passions. I’ve always had a deep love for books, reading and writing and a career in Publishing seemed like the perfect fit.

One of the reasons I chose Stirling’s programme is because of the broad and introductory nature of the course. I’m excited to jump in and try my hand at all of the different aspects of the publishing industry. I’m particularly interested in design and production and I’m eager to learn the ins and outs of InDesign and Photoshop. Photography is another passion of mine and I’ve been fortunate enough to win several awards and host my own exhibition. As such, art and design has been a part of my life for some time. I’m also eager to learn about marketing.

Other things I love include traveling, hiking, dessert, Harry Potter, cider, cats, Greek food (I studied abroad in Greece for a semester and it might be my favorite place in the world), yoga, coffee and camping.

You can find me on twitter here.

Little Films – are book trailers a crime against imagination?

October 15th, 2014 by Miriam Owen | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Little Films – are book trailers a crime against imagination?
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Recently there seems to be a trend, particularly shared on social media and at book festivals, of authors having book trailers/book videos. What is the purpose of a book trailer? Initially, on the surface it would appear to bring the flavour of a book to the attention of readers but they also promote the author’s name and perhaps highlight the name of the publisher. If a book trailer does this then it may be helping to keep readers active whilst allowing the medium of books a link to the ever growing reliance on video and visual imagery, particularly online and hence helping to keep the medium of books fresh and current. Do they pique your interest when you see them? They have been around for a while but seem to be becoming a bit more main stream now and of course they fit in nicely with the increased use of social media for marketing and promotion. Here is a slick example from 2009 for James Ellroy’s book Blood’s a Rover.

I recently watched one book trailer that actually put me off buying a book I may have otherwise bought. The trailer looked too violent for me. However, I have seen others for books I probably wouldn’t have considered buying but may now pick up if I see them on sale. Author David Hewson’s (The Killing) book trailer for his new work published by Pan Macmillan ‘The House of Dolls’ was shown as part of a presentation he gave at Nordicana in London this year and I am sure will be shown at most of the author’s appearances at book festivals around the world, a pleasing visual treat at the end of a more spoken word based event:

There seems to be quite a lot of variety with the trailers. Some promote the writer more than the book, others have very obvious music and may also promote a song by a particular band in a similar way that car companies have done with TV commercials in recent years. Some are very atmospheric and it is unclear if the trailer is for a film or a book until the very end, others use a large amount of text and the link to a book is fairly obvious. Some feature the author reading. Some mention rave reviews of the actual book similar to what you may see on posters and signs in bookstores such as this one.  Some trailers are quite long and some are brief. Readers may recognise the Scottish location of this trailer.

Then you have this which is a unique collaboration between publishers, authors, artists and record labels.  A song and a book released on the same day. Publishers asked Anton Axélo to write a song to go with a book and he came up with ‘Three hundred and sixty-five.’  The song was inspired by ‘Black Dawn’, the third book in a mystery thriller series of books sold in 27 countries. The books are written by Swedish crime fiction veterans Cilla and Rolf Börjlind.   Cilla and Rolf Börjlind have previously written screenplays for cinema and television of the Martin Beck series by Sjowall & Wahloo and also writing for the Arne Dahl’s A-group series and working on Wallander. In 2004 and 2009 Swedish television showed their crime series The Grave and The Murders, written directly for SVT. These shows were an immediate success with critics as well as with the audience.

Jo Nesbo has quite a few book trailers such as this and this.  You may notice some similarities in style with Nesbo’s book trailers.  In terms of branding and publicity he is a great example in the industry and has great consistency in terms of book covers, publicity material and personal branding giving him a strong presence in the crime fiction genre.  I would love to meet his marketing and PR people one day and discuss their work!

Book trailers can be inserted into websites.  Australian publishers Allen & Unwin use them in their online shop particularly in the kids and young readers sections.  They are used in education particularly to encourage reluctant readers to engage with books and literary promotion projects such as World Book Day use them to appeal to children on their website. Here is a particularly spooky example.

The flip side however is to ask if book trailers remove part of the imaginative process? Do they hint at the desperation of the publishing world to drag itself into the 21st century?  Does using a moving image intertwine comfortably with the written word? Personally I am a fan of a visual image although I have to admit to being the kind of person who likes to read the book before seeing anything at all. Some people need a visual spark to be encouraged in their literary exploration. If trailers encourage people to pick up books then I think they serve their purpose however if they encourage people to bypass the book and wait for the movie then I am not so sure.

Miriam V Owen

Visiting speaker: John Innes – Think Publishing.

October 15th, 2014 by Heather Margaret McDaid | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting speaker: John Innes – Think Publishing.
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Whale Dolphin Conservation“We want to create content that connects with the reader, and has its own aims and objectives,” says John Innes, associate director of Think Publishing, the second of the MLitt’s visiting speakers for 2014-15. Heather McDaid reports:

The company currently has 58 staff, 38 clients and 45 titles they handle, with 4.5 million copies per year printed. But it’s not just content creation they handle; as with any competitive company within publishing they offer a full service to meet their clients’ needs. This can range from editorial and design, advertising and research, to finance account management.

Just like the service they provide, their client base is broad and varied. Publications include Historic Scotland and CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), as well as Whale & Dolphin, with digital copies available on ISSUU. Though there’s a stark contrast in some of the content, Innes notes there are lots of similarities in dealing with membership magazines that makes it easier.

“We need latitude to make it look interesting,” he notes, explaining that it’s hard to work within a rigid brand. To avoid it looking like a corporate brochure, they need to evolve the publication to keep it interesting for readers. He deems it “Brand+” – they take the basic brand and add to it to create a better product.

In order to do that, he continues, they need to satisfy all three of their customers without encroaching on another – the client, the reader and the advertisers.

“Every issue we produce should be better than the last” in at least one way, and they use workshops heavily in order to meet the client’s needs while creating a quality product. This goes beyond a mere print publication at times, with digital content being generated for almost every client, from extracts to video content. People are platform agnostic, he adds, but it’s still important to make each one functional and appealing.

With this digital age, there is one key issue: “there is no such thing as news in an internet environment”, instead they’ll try generate interviews and analysis, not “news that happened last week”. In a world where information is available instantaneously, print publications can’t compete.

But what about those who would like to work with Think Publishing? “The best question to ask is ‘why?'”, says Innes. They need people not only with an interest in their work, but the ability to ask why they do certain things, why competitors do certain things, and whether that’s something they should consider. They need people who want to make the publications better and more interesting, and encourage people to look into their internships if it sounds something they feel they’d be suited for.

Leia Forster, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

October 15th, 2014 by Leia Forster | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Leia Forster, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015
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 new display brannanHi there! I’m Leia. Upon reaching the final year of my English Studies undergraduate course here at Stirling, I was more than pleased to hear about the MLitt in Publishing Studies that was also offered by the university. I had began looking at my English Studies degree as a foundation on which I should build, and so I jumped at the opportunity to do just that and learn about the industry that had produced the books I had been reading all of my life.

With a particular interest in science fiction and craft publications, I hope to learn about the traditional side of publishing as well as the digital side which seems to be advancing at the same quick pace as the rest of the technological world.

I’m hopeful that this course will give me the skills and knowledge required to play a role in the publishing industry in the future. I enjoyed my first four years here greatly and from what I’ve experienced of the Publishing Studies course so far, I’m sure I’ll enjoy this year too.


Booksource: Not the sexy side of publishing, but the most important

October 10th, 2014 by Heather Margaret McDaid | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Booksource: Not the sexy side of publishing, but the most important
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Heather McDaid reports on a class trip to book distributor Booksource:

One of the first things you’re told when you arrive at Booksource by Davinder Bedi, managing director, is that the distribution end of the publishing chain may not be the sexy end of the scale, where you craft the content and look of a product, but it is the most important. You could have the most amazing product in the world, but it’s worth nothing if it can’t reach the consumer.

WP_20140924_008It almost comes out of a book lover’s dream to wander in a building that houses 3.42 million books, but they’re mere units when you view it from a business perspective. This has almost halved in the last few years from 7.6 million; it isn’t a drop in business but indicative of industry changes. Publishers don’t house as much stock now Print On Demand exists, meaning that books can still fly of the shelves sales-wise, but not be sitting around waiting in a warehouse. It limits the risk of overprinting to quite so extreme proportions.

Booksource is different in a way because it doesn’t shy away from self-publishers or independent publishers; in fact, it seems to thrive from them. If they can sell, then they have a place. It’s a key part of their formation, as they’ve grown from 8 publishers to just under 70 using their services – which go far beyond merely sending out books. As one story featuring a football legend proved – you could go out and sell your books yourself, but you need a company like Booksource to both shift their books in bulk and get them into major stores like Waterstones, with their responsibilities constantly evolving to offer the best service possible.

An informative day that gave a broad insight into a side of publishing we’d yet to see. Working in line with Publishing Scotland, Booksource’s ethos is ‘profit with perspective’, which seems a relatively different idea, but ultimately their aim is to simply help publishers do business. So, all in all, an interesting afternoon well spent!

Marit Mathisen MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

October 10th, 2014 by Marit Mathisen | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Marit Mathisen MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015
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I did my undergraduate dissertation on reader interaction with the author in the 21st century, with Claire Squires as my supervisor, and was very happy with how talented the people on this course are. I also found that I have a passion for this business, and the changes that are happening in publishing really interest me, and I am excited to see where the business is going.

So far I have some experience with proofreading translations from English as well as pure Norwegian texts (did I mention I’m from Norway?) with Krog Linguistic Solutions (website is in Norwegian).

In the future I hope to be able to work for a Norwegian or a British publisher, but I am hoping to figure out more specifically what I am good at so as to know what I can do for a publisher. As I have a love of languages I would not mind something in ELT, especially for the Japanese market, and seeing where that is headed with all the tools available now will be very interesting.

This is an interesting course to be a part of, and an exiting time to be part of it.

Sarah Boyd MLitt in Publishing Studies 2013-15

October 8th, 2014 by Sarah Boyd | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Sarah Boyd MLitt in Publishing Studies 2013-15
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Profile 3I love books. But then, everyone who does this course says that, so let’s get a little more detailed. I’ve been a student of literature, with an MA in English Literature and an MLitt in Shakespeare Studies, both from theUniversity of St Andrews. I’ve also been a writer, with a Diploma in Creative Writing from the Open University. Can you sense a theme yet? I don’t just love books, and writing, I love studying books and writing! From both of these experiences, two things became obvious: 1) I get mad at any use of the phrase ‘very unique’ and 2) I am good at analysing texts and helping writers to recognise their strengths and weaknesses. So, having tried my hand at being a scholar and being a writer, I came to the decision that I could be a good and useful publisher and promptly applied to this course to learn how.

I’ve been part-time at the Centre for a year now, so I’ve completed around half of the course and so far I think coming here is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve learned fascinating things about the publishing industry, I’ve met and listened to interesting, passionate publishers and I’ve managed to get some work experience, as a reader for Sandstone Press and for the most recent issue of One Throne Magazine, a new literary magazine. I’m also now assisting in developing a house style sheet for Sandstone, which is a really interesting and exciting opportunity. Finally, I’ve been lucky enough to have an article on Scottish Publishing and Independence published in the journal Logos. It’s been a really good year, here’s to the next one!

Find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Laurie Swinburne, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-15

October 7th, 2014 by Laurie Swinburne | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Laurie Swinburne, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-15

prof2I did a lot of research into masters programmes in the run up to my graduation from Stirling University English Studies, and after interning at two publishing houses, Ringwood and Fledgling Press, I decided that a publishing masters was the way forward. Despite having a slight love/hate relationship with Stirling town (why so few pubs, Stirling?) the university had been my home for four years and, with it housing a publishing course that both my bosses had raved about, it seemed like the obvious choice. So, I compromised, moved to Glasgow and enrolled.

While I am interested in publishing, I find myself gravitating closer and closer towards a career in marketing and PR, and I’m hoping that in studying this course, I will graduate with the business and marketing acumen to work in marketing, possibly outwith the publishing sector. I’m very interested in the inner workings of newspapers and magazines, and have been lucky enough to intern at The Scottish Sun, write for The News of the World and for several music fanzines and blogs. I’ve also interned at Maximise Sport, a small sports PR firm in Glasgow.

Currently, I work as a bridal consultant in Glasgow and spend my weekends hoiking dresses on and off girls in the basement of my store, which sounds pretty sinister when it’s written down like that. I’ve spent my summer attempting to fix their marketing campaign and, although we have a long way to go yet, I’m pretty proud of the new online presence we’ve managed to create so far. I’m really interested in the wedding industry as a whole, particularly in wedding and bridal journalism, and I would suppose my main goal is to get into bridal publications, possibly working in marketing or journalism.

Of course, I’m 22 so there’s a high chance that will change.

Follow my ramblings and retweets at @LaurieEtLivres
Feel free to connect on LinkedIn too

Blake Brooks, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-13

October 7th, 2014 by SCIPC | Posted in Alumni | Comments Off on Blake Brooks, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-13
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BlakeBrooks‘StirPub supported me from day one of the course, allowing me to pursue the areas of publishing I was interested in. By helping me with internships they allowed me to gain the experience I needed, and the course provided wonderful networking opportunities. Without the experience and education I gained from the course I would never have achieved everything that I have. The course is the perfect first step to a career in Publishing.’

Blake Brooks, Marketing and Events coordinator, The Bookseller