The First in Our Visiting Speakers Series, 2014-15

October 7th, 2014 by Kiley Pole | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The First in Our Visiting Speakers Series, 2014-15
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On Thursday October 2, we had the first in our visiting speakers series. Chani McBain, Leah McDowell and Nadia Suchdev provided us with a plethora of information on not only their specified topics but also their experiences in the publishing industry.

To start the session off Leah McDowell and Nadia Suchdev introduced us to the Society of Young Publishers Scotland (SYP). We learned how the organization is run by volunteers with the aim to help and inform those who have been in the publishing business for less than 10 years, or those like us who are attempting to break into the business. SYP Scotland offers different events and workshops available to members (to become a member it costs £24 per annum) that help put their name out there and start the all dreaded networking. Included in the membership is free entry to all events, a newsletter, job bulletins, discounted tickets to the annual SYP Conference and participation in the mentoring programme.

Some of upcoming events include, “How to network for those who hate networking” on October 23rd and the Booksellers Panel Event on November 19th.

Leah and Nadia also encouraged us to not only join, but apply to become committee members. As a member of the committee you would have a hand in putting on the events throughout the year that really help people.

You can find them on Facebook SYP Scotland and on Twitter @SYPscotland.

Chani McBain spoke to us about Floris Books and more specifically the internship available from them. She gave us some useful advice about using our time in the course to make those connections and getting a lot of different experience in the different fields of publishing. Her main tagline about internships being that we might be wrong. In our heart of hearts we may think we are meant to be editors when in reality we are best suited for production or marketing, that really we could love a field that we never thought possible.

The internship at Floris Books is one day a week (which day that is they are flexible and willing to work with us) in a “marketing focused” capacity. That does not mean that the intern (one this semester and one next) will solely be stuffing envelops, although that is part of it, but that they will be working on press releases, marketing briefs, and flyers to name a few. Since Floris Books is a small company, composing of 11 employees, the interns will have the opportunity to witness and be part of many small projects and get to see the whole publishing process.

What Floris lacks in number of employees they make up for in their plethora of teas to chose from.

These three ladies gave us lots of useful advice, stemming from their experiences as newcomers to the industry and from when they were students as well. Namely, that internships are good, if not essential in getting to know the business as well as getting to know yourself. Are you really an editor? Or, are you a literary agent? This is our industry, it pays to become involved. Take advantage of every opportunity, not just internships but events, panels, book and literary festivals. And, when it comes dissertation time, choose a topic that is useful, something that not only will inform you about the industry but something that is geared to the type of job you want.

Kiley Pole, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-2015

October 7th, 2014 by Kiley Pole | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Kiley Pole, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-2015
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10690336_10154601180970510_4246123074955421661_nWriting about oneself is always difficult, especially when coupled with the idea of having to post it on the internet. There are too many considerations, especially for someone like myself who does not enjoy the spotlight. I suppose I should just “lay it out there” and go forward from that point.

I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. To be more specific I’m from London Ontario Canada which just confuses a lot of people because of the really famous London in the UK. Here at least I can clarify. I did my undergraduate studies at Western University in London Ontario. There I studied French Literature and Spanish Linguistics.

How did I get here? I studied in France for a year of my undergraduate degree and while I was there I made the trip to Scotland. In all of my travels, I have never felt so at home as I do in Scotland. When the opportunity to study here, at Stirling University, came about through the MLitt in Publishing Studies I could not say no. It was a long, hard journey (both literally and metaphorically, I have the worst luck with traveling) to get here and thus far it has been worth it.

To say that I love books would be redundant, if I didn’t love them in some or in my case, every capacity I would not be here. What I am hoping is that through this programme of study I will be able to expand that love to all aspects of book publishing.

My Weekend with Bloody Scotland

October 3rd, 2014 by Kena Nicole Longabaugh | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on My Weekend with Bloody Scotland
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Lovers of crime writing had a wonderful weekend in Stirling as the Bloody Scotland festival made its mark on the city for the third year. Featuring authors like Ian Rankin, Kathy Reichs, Sharon Bolton and David Hewson, the festival was a great opportunity for readers to engage with their favorite crime writers and hear interesting (and sometimes hilarious) talks about everything from the writing process and getting published to the independence referendum and feminist protagonists. Along with these entertaining talks, the weekend featured interactive events for festival-goers, including a re-enactment of a serial killer’s trial and a crime scene investigation at Stirling Castle.

When I heard about the opportunity to volunteer at the festival, I immediately submitted an application–and I’m so glad I did! It was a fun and informative weekend where I was able to experience first hand the behind-the-scenes workings of a major literary festival. Moreover, attending the event made me realise how festivals like Bloody Scotland provide important marketing opportunities for publishers and their authors.

I was assigned to work in Albert Halls, a beautiful venue near the center of town. My main tasks included setting up the hall before an event, directing audience members to their seats, answering questions from attendees and assisting with author signings. One of the major perks of volunteering was the ability to sit in during author talks–I was lucky enough to sit in on two events. The first was between authors Sharon Bolton, Julia Crouch and Helen Fitzgerald and the second between David Hewson and Peter Robinson. Both sessions were highly entertaining and provided insight into the life of authors and the writing process. Of particular interest to me as a publishing student, author Sharon Bolton discussed the complex relationship she has with her editor; she described the feelings of frustration she gets when her editor sends back notes longer than her original manuscript, but conceded that in the end her editor plays an integral role in producing the best book possible. In a time when some are questioning the necessity of publishers, it was reassuring to hear an author recognize and praise the fundamental role of the editor.

For me, Bloody Scotland provided valuable insight as a publishing student and delightful entertainment as a book lover. I look forward to attending again in the future!

Volunteering at Bloody Scotland (2014)

October 3rd, 2014 by Jennifer Katherine Hamrick | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Volunteering at Bloody Scotland (2014)
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Bloody Scotland Info Desk

Working the Info Desk

I volunteered for the Bloody Scotland crime writing festival (which took place September 19th-21st) and got to experience the behind-the-scenes work of a major literary event. The amount of effort it requires to keep everything moving smoothly — from helping guests to setting up tech equipment to carting around boxes of books — is astonishing; and that’s just what the volunteers were doing! Staff and festival managers were running around directing author panels and coordinating volunteer efforts while still managing to keep big smiles on their faces.

One of the things I noticed quickly about the festival was how close-knit this crime-fiction community was. The guests that I spoke with were all avid readers of crime fiction and were familiar with many, if not all, of the authors’ works. Unlike many other genres, there didn’t seem to be a gender imbalance in the crime community; just as many men attended as women. It was very obvious from the types of books being presented that this genre has a lot of room for diversity as well as a very well-defined market niche.

From my experience attending book festivals in Texas, I was surprised that most of the author panels cost money to attend. It is common for American book festivals to be open and free for audience members and to cover costs by relying solely on corporate sponsorship and souvenir sales. In many ways, I think Bloody Scotland missed out on reaching a wider audience by charging guests to see author panels; I think people who might be interested in learning more about crime fiction, but aren’t familiar with certain authors, might be dissuaded from attending because of high prices.

Overall, Bloody Scotland succeeded in connecting authors with their readers and promoting new works to those who are always looking for the next crime to solve. For me, getting to meet the wonderful staff and volunteers as well as listen in on a few author panels was an amazing opportunity. I would highly recommend that anyone interested in learning more about book promotion and marketing strategies volunteer at a book festival; the experience is well worth it.

Jennifer Hamrick, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-2015

October 3rd, 2014 by Jennifer Katherine Hamrick | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Jennifer Hamrick, MLitt Publishing Studies 2014-2015

Jennifer Hamrick“Of all the things which man can do or make here below, by far the most momentous, wonderful, and worthy are the things we call books.” – Thomas Carlyle

Howdy! My name is Jenny Hamrick and this is my first year as a postgraduate student. I recently graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a minor degree in rhetoric and writing. Although I was born, raised, and educated in Texas, I have always held a certain fascination with Scotland. I studied abroad in Edinburgh two years ago and fell absolutely in love with this beautiful country and amazing people, which led me to come back again to study publishing at Stirling.

As both an avid reader by nature as well as a former student of English literature, I will always believe that books are the greatest treasures we can possibly possess. A few bound pages can contain entire worlds full of fascinating characters, dramas, villainous plots, fantastical creatures, and personal dilemmas. The printed words of a single author can reflect a society, an era, or even the hard-to-comprehend workings of the human soul. It is for these reasons I became interested in publishing- in the ways both individuals and companies make novels (and other textual content) available to readers. I want to be part of the process that molds the words of an author into a quality product that has the power to potentially transform the life of a reader.

I am excited to begin my studies and look forward in particular to learning more about editing in which I get to work with the text directly. This is going to be a great year!

Visiting Speakers for Semester 1, 2014-15

October 2nd, 2014 by Frances_Sessford | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speakers for Semester 1, 2014-15

Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication hosts another varied line-up of speakers from the publishing industry this semester. Our programme begins on October 2 with Chani McBain, Sales & Marketing Manager and Leah McDowell, Design & Production Manager at Floris Books. Leah will also be representing the Society of Young Publishers and will be informing new students of the opportunities for networking and career development which are available through SYP membership.

On October 9 we welcome John Innes, Director at Glasgow-based Think Publishing, a large consumer publishing company, followed by one of our Industry Advisory Board members and Publisher at Freight Books, Adrian Searle on October 16. The programme for the first half of the semester closes on October 23 with regular guest Marion Sinclair, CEO of Publishing Scotland and course alumna.

The programme resumes on November 6 with Simon Appleby, Director at Bookswarm , digital project management specialists and is followed on November 13 by another regular guest, literary agent Lindsey Fraser of Fraser Ross Associates. On November 20 we are delighted to welcome leading Glasgow-based author Zoe Strachan who will give the author’s perspective on the publishing industry, followed by our final speaker on December 4, Dr Samantha Rayner, Director of the Centre for Publishing at University College London, who will share her research with the audience.

Attendance at all visiting speaker sessions is free but space is limited so please register by emailing to book a place.