Publishing Studies Showcase 2016

April 26th, 2016 by Frances_Sessford | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publishing Studies Showcase 2016

Staff and students at Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication would be delighted to see you at our annual Publishing Showcase on Wednesday 11 May 2016. As ever, we will be joined by our Industry Advisory Board to celebrate this year’s publishing students’ achievements.

The venue is Pathfoot C1 and C2. The programme will begin at 3pm with a panel q&a session featuring members of our Industry Advisory Board (Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland; Katy Lockwood-Holmes of Floris Books; Adrian Searle of Freight Books; Simon Blacklock of Faber; Kelvin Smith, publisher and author; and Christoph Chesher of Taylor & Francis. At 4.15 we will move straight on to the Publishing Showcase, featuring work from our MLitt Publishing Studies students (below).


Whether you’re a graduate of the programme, a possible future student, or part of our publishing network, please do join us. Please do drop us a line so we have a sense of numbers via our Contact page.

Xin Su, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2015-16

April 20th, 2016 by Xin Su | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Xin Su, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2015-16

2015-12-10 23.36.01Hey, I’m Xin Su, come from Beijing, China, a country known for its food. I studied at Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication, and I was an undergraduate student of Editing and Publishing major. I  never thought about going abroad until I failed the preliminary exam of Chinese postgraduate qualification exam. I was dreaming about to be a  student studying Chinese contemporary literature, but this dream has broken. My mother gave me the braveness to start a new life when I was deeply upset. After that, I decided to go abroad to the UK and experience some brand new perspectives about life, professional knowledge and everything.

I chose Publishing Studies because I want to be a publisher when I graduate (although I love Chinese literature a bit more than publishing), I love books, words and publishing process, all these book-related factors make me feel that I have the power to spread wisdom and make our kind wiser than before. Indeed, as I thought, more challenges and opportunities have appeared when I’m standing on a bigger platform. During my postgraduate studies, I learnt how to analyse strengths and weaknesses of publisher, how to recognize similarity and difference of publishing industry between east and west, and what to improve in the future.

I have some internship experiences in China, but these were all publishing-related  jobs, I had no chance to become a real editor. With this one-year professional publishing training, I feel more confident not only in professional knowledge, but in every aspect. Now I think I am ready for devoting myself into publishing industry and my future career.

For me, publishing is not only a field or a major, it is a bridge between author and reader and a duty of spreading valuable information. Whether I can be a successful editor or not, I will respect publishing and publishers with gratitude.

Spring Semester Bookends: Saraband & Innerpeffray

April 20th, 2016 by Johan Sheridan | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Spring Semester Bookends: Saraband & Innerpeffray
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On February 11, 2016, we welcomed Sara Hunt from Saraband Books as the first visiting speaker for the MLitt in Publishing studies in the spring semester.

During its 22 years in operation, Saraband has created popular, illustrated reference, history, and arts titles with a certain amount of mindful dispirit. The Scottish publisher created a niche and built its reputation while the internet increased user access to information regardless of geographical boundaries.

For modern book publishers, gone is the cushioned marketplace of a local bookshop or library with built-in profits and tight control over the retailer’s inventory. Digital expectations have terraformed the world of publishing, so Hunt strove to articulate what she called the three N’s for navigating the shifting sands: noise, narrative and niche.

Beware Noise

Noise represents today’s consumer fatigue, resulting from such a great wealth of choice—encompassing global online ordering; immediately available downloads; unlimited range of selections; and wide array of competing forms of entertainment or use of leisure time, such as television, smart phone, game, movie, and social media. Noise makes it difficult to select works, let alone turn someone into a reader. “In the battle against noise, curation is the single biggest contribution publishers make.”

Deep discounting is a fact of life, with multinational corporations controlling conditions. Against self-publishing authors and free info, free books, global entertainment, increased costs, and lower returns, every book has to fight for itself. This can be good for readers, but can also promote complacency from publishers who can’t hear over the static, Hunt says. Fewer newer authors appear save those exciting few debuts, author maintenance drops off, fewer risks are taken, and popular success tends to be converted from or intended for another format.

Remember Narrative

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The narrative keyword rephrases the old adage “content is king.” Hunt stresses the importance of appealing stories that offer more than just information. Saraband adheres to the gospel of narrative, exalting stories that are compelling, fresh, worthwhile, well-crafted, useful unusual, inspiring, well-told by a strong voice, or any combination thereof. Hunt highlighted two books that are characteristic of Saraband, Uuganaa Ramsay’s Mongol and Chitra Ramaswamy’s Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy. Both books that can, with the right marketing, make their way to audiences who will value those stories.

Embrace Niche

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To embrace a niche is to identify what is unique and to highlight it. Hunt points out that for many publishers, their niche—or in the case of Saraband, niches—can work like an anchor amidst all the noise. Some niches that Saraband have embraced include nature writing, memoir, wildlife, sustainable living, and Scottish literary fiction (though it’s hard to call literary fiction a niche, since Scotland is small there endures a local yearning). Publishers even have the option of utilizing an imprint to exploit or explore a niche list, as Saraband has done with their 2014-launched Contraband, which mines the crime, thriller and mystery niche. While good marketing to build readership is key, playing to one’s strengths by embracing the niche as Saraband and other successful publishers have done can provide solutions to challenges through collaboration or new publishing areas offering unique voices, easy conversion to popular digital format, or focus on high production and design values.

A room without books is a body without a soul-Cicero

According to Hunt, traditional publishers need to respond, experiment, innovate, and change. Competition with other entertainment is a challenge, but not a threat in a bad way. There is room for everybody so long as we continue to cherish high-quality writing, design, and production. Conventional book producers have already learned much from the digital side of the market, like the importance of identifying and reaching targets through influencers, hashtags, and rich metadata. Saraband continues to soldier on because Sara Hunt is always reevaluating what to publish and reconsidering how to add value, connect with target markets, and rise to the challenge presented by discounts.

Innerpeffray Library

To close out the semester, on March 22, our Publishing, Literature and Society module took a field trip to Creiff. There, we visited Scotland’s first lending library, Innerpeffray Library. Included are images of its historic facilities, idyllic grounds, and sagacious resources. Let’s consult a very old, dusty dictionary to see whether or not “sagacious” is appropriate to use here.

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My journey to the London Book Fair 2016

April 20th, 2016 by Yuwen Tong | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on My journey to the London Book Fair 2016


This is a really exciting experience in my publishing studies journey. I went to London Book Fair which held at Olympia Exhibition Center in April 12, 2016. It is my first time to go to this grand annual exhibition. I heard about this event before I came to the United Kingdom. This is a book fair which is attended by many publishers. I saw various exhibitors in London Book Fair. There are not only paper book publishers but also digital books publishers. E-book or printed book is always a big issue. I saw the e-book market developed rapidly, but at the same time, the printed book market cannot be replaced.

I was very proud when I found there are lots of Chinese publishers taking part in this activity.  I was so exciting to see so many discussions and seminars performing everywhere in this book fair. This is a good experience to see publishers who come from different companies to communicate their ideas with each other.  I hope that I will be one of them in the future. It was my great pleasure to see Professor Yu Dan talking about Shakesperience at the exhibition. She is a very famous scholar in China. I am very proud to be able to see my own country’s scholars in such a grand exhibition. The London Book Fair let me learn a lot. As a future publisher,  I love this area more. In this activity, I feel the rapid142222945727227001 development of the publishing market and our Chinese position in the publishing industry is an increasing trend. More and more exports and imports illustrate everything. As we all know, the United Kingdom is a great publishing power. I hope that in the future, China will have more trade with Britain on publishing industry. Let the people of these two countries see more excellent products.

Yuwen Tong, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2015-16

April 20th, 2016 by Yuwen Tong | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Yuwen Tong, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2015-16
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Yuwen Tong

My name is Yuwen Tong. I come from Shanghai, China. I am an art student. In college, my previous major was advertising design. I was particularly interested in design when I was a child. In Shanghai I have studied painting for seven years and have a certain degree of creative basis. I know that I amfar from a professional designer, but I have been watching and learning all kinds of design ideas. After coming to University of Stirling, I chose publishing studies which linked to my previous major as my postgraduate course. Because of the previous study of graphic design, I have mastered a number of graphics software skills such as Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, CAD and Adobe InDesign.

In these two semesters, I have learnt a lot about professional knowledge of publishing such as Skills Training for Publishing, Digital: Process and Product, Editorial Practice and Content Creation, Marketing Management and Communications and Skills for Publishing Management. I hope that in these two semesters I have mastered the professional knowledge of publishing, gained a familiarity with the operation of the publishing industry processes and strengthen my software skills.



My Publishing Journey

April 8th, 2016 by Gloria Addo-Safo | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on My Publishing Journey
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As publishers “in-training” we are taught to develop various publishing and workplace skills that will enhance our brand and careers. One such essential skill that we are encouraged to develop is our presentation skills. On May 23 2016, we delivered our first assignment for our workplace module. The task was to deliver a presentation on our work experience in our various publishing related organisations.

This assignment was peculiar in two ways. First, it was an individual presentation; unlike all our previous presentations where we had to work in groups.

Secondly, it was (kind of) the culmination of all the presentations we had had to deliver on the whole course. By now, I suppose, we were expected to deliver a nearly excellent presentation.

Reflecting on my past group presentations, like the very first one where we presented research on bookshop sales and marketing activities, I realise I have learnt a lot. My first ever presentation was a daunting task. When it was my turn to speak in the group, I was tensed and stuttered almost all through the exercise. Halfway through my speech though, I said something that got the class cracked up in laughter and this calmed me down a bit and helped me through my slide. Some groups delivered great presentations – or so I thought.

Between my first and last presentations, I have had to participate in three others, and each time, I went away thinking of a hundred things I could have done better. I recount one particular presentation where I totally lost track of what I was saying, went blank and simply had to apologise and excuse myself. I went away feeling terrible about how I had let my group down.

But today as I took to the lectern to deliver my presentation, I realized all these experiences had sharpened my presentation skills. I was poised to deliver the best presentation I would yet give on the MLitt course, and thank God I did my very best, I knew I did.

At the end of the class, our module coordinator extended congratulations to everyone for such quality presentations. I believe we were all well deserving of her praise, because we have improved over the months and become the best we can be – at least for now.

With this skill in hand, I keenly look forward to all the great presentations I hope to deliver in my publishing career, thanks to all my lecturers. This is one of the many reasons why I am glad I joined the MLitt Publishing Studies course in Stirling.



My Internship with Freight Books

April 8th, 2016 by Patrizia Striowsky | Posted in Internships | Comments Off on My Internship with Freight Books

Freight-Books-logo-largeI have had the opportunity to work as a marketing and editorial intern for Freight Books, winner of the 2015 Saltire Society Publisher of the Year Award, since January this year. Freight Books are an independent publisher based in Glasgow who publish a range of titles including literary fiction, crime, non-fiction, and humour. The team consists of Adrian Searle, publisher and commissioning editor; Robbie Guillory, assistant publisher; and Laura Waddell, digital marketing executive as full-time workers as well as part-time worker Fiona Brownlee who manages foreign rights. Archie, the office dog, provides motivation and happiness throughout a stressful working day.


The team of Freight Books share their office with their sister company Freight Design, who are responsible for all things design-y at Freight! This includes designing covers (based on constant feedback from Adrian) and typesetting all of Freight’s books. For me, this meant that I was not able to gain experience in the design process of publishing, but as an intern in two departments, I have certainly gained a lot of hands-on experience!


My tasks ranged from packaging and mailing proofs to proof-reading publications, such as Gutter, Freight’s magazine of new Scottish writing. I also read an unsolicited manuscript and wrote a reader report, analysing strengths and weaknesses and stating whether I would publish it and why (or why not). In the marketing 28931288department, I have compiled spreadsheets over spreadsheets of marketing research, including an analysis of competitors’ online marketing campaigns or lists of contacts for possible reviews of forthcoming titles. At the moment, I use OmniPage 18 to digitalize two novels; this means scanning every page, converting it into a text document, and then going through it manually to correct all mistakes in both spelling and format.


My time at Freight Books has given me invaluable experience and great insight into the everyday working life of a small, independent publisher. It has highlighted my key skills – concentrated, independent working, and my close eye for detail – but it has also shown me which skills I still need to improve on, for example not changing the format of poetry too much while proof-reading, or how important knowledge of Scots is when working for a Scottish publisher! (The last part is something that, for a German native speaker, does not come naturally…)


The team at Freight has been very open and welcoming, and have given me support and advice whenever I asked. I am very thankful for the opportunity to work with Freight Books, and the positive feedback I have received has given me confidence in my abilities. This internship has certainly shown me that I have chosen the right career path, and I am excited for my future in publishing!