Scottish Book Trade Conference: Barry Cunningham’s Keynote Speech

February 27th, 2017 by Stephan Pohlmann | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Scottish Book Trade Conference: Barry Cunningham’s Keynote Speech
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For the book trade, or indeed, any trade conference in February 2017, there are certain topics that simply cannot be avoided – both in the light of recent developments and in the foreshadowing of events still in the making.

When this year’s Scottish Book Trade Conference began on 22nd February in Edinburgh’s Central Hall, shortly after 9.30 AM and what must have been the third coffee for several delegates (this being inferred from personal experience), one could hardly be surprised to hear statements more of a socio-political relevance than what would have been the norm. Literary agent Jenny Brown, in whom Publishing Scotland had found a remarkably passionate chair for the event, opened the conference by emphasising the cross-national power of the written word, and Publishing Scotland’s chief executive Marion Sinclair subsequently took a similar line, speaking of no less than the book trade’s adaption to a possible new world order, while also stressing the catalyst power of hope as an engine of the book trade.

The keynote speech of the day, however, was given by Barry Cunningham, managing director at Chicken House, and widely known in the industry as the editor who signed J.K. Rowling for Bloomsbury. A children’s publisher – an interesting choice in the preceding context, but one that was proven the absolutely right one. Capturing the essence of the conference, he began by stressing the overall success which the children’s sector is currently experiencing, and he explained how to encourage (and financially support) new authors. Cunningham also peppered the keynote with socio-cultural undertones: While stories were being read in many different ways around the world, it was always the villains who “make the most difference – whether it is a situation or Lord Voldemort.”

The speech did not fail to grasp long-term changes in a genre that was once highly educative, moralising, and always teaching children “about good deeds” – something Cunningham later contrasted with the “more real issues” in children’s books today – where, for example, adults are no longer patronising and infallible moral institutions, but instead appear as they really are: “interesting and flawed.”

Addressing successful formulas of the present and challenges of the future, Cunningham pointed to the growing significance of reader connection: the existential importance of browsability and discoverability as well as the rise of fan fiction. For the stories themselves he gave a slightly more concrete advice: the “enormously important way to secure an audience is the sense of humour.” (The speaker himself had absolutely won his audience at the moment he cited J.K. Rowling who, when asked why Cunningham had taken on a book that many others before him had turned down, allegedly described him as “the only publisher who was a giant costumed character himself.”)

Overall, Cunningham did not disappoint in the least, delivering a speech that was informative and trade-specific as well as inclusive of wider socio-cultural trends – perhaps no less important, it was entertaining and humorous enough to set the tone for what was to be a diverse and interesting conference up until the end. And if one was to reconstruct the chord in which the keynote was given, they may be reminded of how Cunningham quoted a young girl that, when asked in school about the reason for reading a book, replied: “We read so our own story does not have to end where it began.”

– Stephan Pohlmann

By Its Cover: Suzanne Dean on good cover design

February 27th, 2017 by caroline_obrien | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on By Its Cover: Suzanne Dean on good cover design
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Suzanne Dean, the creative director for Penguin Random House, took the stage at this year’s Scottish Book Trade Conference to tell us all that, against a childhood’s worth of well-intentioned advice, we should, in fact, judge a book By Its Cover. Although much of her advice will be familiar to most of us at Stirling University from our design classes like all good advice it doesn’t hurt being repeated, and there was also much which was new and just as helpful. She was also able to offer an insightful and oftentimes very funny first-hand account of the frustrating, nerve-wracking, but ultimately fulfilling world of book cover design.

Dean was the one responsible for the Vintage logo update and some of her cover designs may be familiar to many of us, especially the work she did for Haruki Murakami’s novel. The simple, yet eye-catching, black white and red circle designs quickly became quintessentially Murakami. But, as any good designer will tell you, break your own rules. Dean certainly did, in an exceptionally well thought out way, by adding colour to Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki.

With quite a hefty bit of experience under her belt Dean is more well-versed than most on what effective design must be. Namely eye-catching, engaging to a reader, and thought provoking. After all, as Dean reminded us, we only have a few seconds in which to catch a browser’s eye and encourage them to pick our book up over all the others. In today’s world where books are increasingly becoming commodities like any others, sold on shelves between groceries and cleaning products, good cover design is more important than ever.

Through her work with Vintage Classics Dean is very well aware of this. Not only are classic books subject to the same fight for attention that new ones are, but they have a further added problem. As Dean asked, how do you convince someone to buy a book that’s probably freely available online?

Dean’s answer was simple.

By making them beautiful and desirable collectable objects.

Dean also found that a cover which hints at the contents receives a better reception than one which spells them out too heavily. Remember, with classics, the potential buyer has probably already read it, or at least is aware of the general plot, and so are more prone to spot and appreciate any little subtleties in the cover which, with a new novel, might only be appreciated after being read.

Of course, even while the contents of these classic books are well-known and familiar to many it is as important, if not more so, to keep the covers fresh and new. With content that has so many past covers it’s important not to become too similar. With their new Vintage Future editions Dean has managed to avoid this very pitfall. Using only a sheet of acetate and some line based designs this set of nine futuristic classics feature animated covers. The bold colours and psychedelic shapes combined with the animated feature and juxtaposed against the classic, black bordered layout perfectly capture the essence of these texts which, although written in the past, were always looking far into the future.

This seems to be a key theme brought by Dean to all her covers. Whilst they vary widely, and are each intricately tailored to suit their contents, there appears to be an emphasis on keeping them relevant, not just to our times but to all times.

But to achieve such beautiful, evocative, and timeless designs there is first a long process which must be traversed. As Dean revealed, one of her covers went through over seventy redesigns before it was finally accepted. It can also be very difficult to read a manuscript with the expectation upon you that a beautifully designed cover will simply emerge fully formed from your head. You must ‘rely upon the spark to happen’ and to keep on happening the next time and the next and the next. You must experiment, and engage with all forms of media. As Dean put it, ‘go out and see things,’ as many things as possible. You never know where inspiration will next come from.

And, most importantly, practice. For designers ‘just like dancers’ must practice before they can create something beautiful.

By Caroline O’Brien

PPA Scotland’s Paul McNamee: Fund Diversity!

February 27th, 2017 by morven_gow | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on PPA Scotland’s Paul McNamee: Fund Diversity!
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The Big Issue’s UK editor, Paul McNamee, took up tenure as Chair of the PPA Scotland on Wednesday evening (15th Feb) in Glasgow, in front of a strong gathering of over 100 people from magazine and newspaper publishing in Scotland.  At this special reception for the new Chair, Neil Braidwood of Connect Communications gave a lively introduction to McNamee as he handed over the reins used to guide the organisation for the last two years. In his acceptance speech, McNamee painted a vivid picture of himself when as a young man of potential, he was keen to get access to the world of publishing and communication.

Bringing the scenario up to date, he pinpointed what was wrong with the industry now – and echoed public statements and report findings produced by the book publishing industry, and indeed many other sectors including marketing and advertising.  He spoke passionately about the lack of diversity in the newspaper and magazine industry, the lack of young people joining the sector from less advantageous backgrounds. “If kids don’t have money behind them, you’ve got to put money in front of them,” he told us and our response was wholeheartedly positive. With the backing of the PPA Scotland, he wants to see the industry supporting disadvantaged young people who have potential and a desire to enter publishing.

Listening to him, I was reminded that in the late Seventies/ early Eighties, I was one of the last to benefit from a full grant for further and higher education, a luxury not available to many in the UK these days.  Now, if someone from a disadvantaged background does decide to become a student (taking on the psychological and practical burden of debt required to do so) and graduates in due course, they will frequently find that to break into their chosen business sector, they are expected to work for nothing often for long periods in the hope that this trial will end in paid-for employment.  Who can afford the luxury of an unpaid internship, where often not even travel is reimbursed? Only those already blessed with some degree of family financial support?  Is it right that entrance to the creative/ knowledge/ communication sectors across the UK can be based on an individual’s financial resource? Surely this must change or the work produced, whether in a newspaper, magazine, book, app or website, will become increasingly irrelevant to most of the population.

It is not wise to have a minority controlling cultural communication.  A monoculture does not reflect society and should not be imposed. Publishers of books, magazines and newspapers have a responsibility to ensure that all voices are represented.  Looking forward to seeing how the new Chair and the members of PPA Scotland tackle this initiative.

By Morven Gow


PPA news link to Paul McNamee’s Chair Reception evening

Guardian article: Penguin Random House – publishing “risks becoming irrelevant”

The Big Issue: latest issue on reading and libraries

Miffy creator Dick Bruna dies aged 89

February 20th, 2017 by siqi_cai | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Miffy creator Dick Bruna dies aged 89
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“Some people live, he was already dead; some people died, he’s still alive.”

——Kejia Zang, a Chinese poet

Last year, the subject of my blog was about the death of Leonard Cohen. Unfortunately, today I have to tell more bad news- Miffy creator Dick Bruna died on 17th February.


Miffy Rabbit (it is called Nijntje in Dutch) is a famous character created by Dutch painter- Dick Bruna. Dick Bruna came from a publishing family and his father had the largest publisher in the Netherlands. He is a successful and one of best-selling fairy tale creators whose works are translated into thirty-three languages around the world. The sales volume reached up to 30 million. He always liked to use simple lines and several colors to create the fairy tale world in his mind. The legacy of the Miffy Rabbit  lasted for half a century, in the author’s insistence, Miffy’s shape has always maintained a simple and easy principle, and Bruna never changed clothes and jewelry because of festivals or for any reason. This super-fresh image, perhaps the most obvious reason why Miffy is always popular today. Miffy Rabbit’s surrounding derivatives includes stationery, toys, clothing and children’s accessories. As an Asian, I have to say that I once used Miffy’s stationery and watched Miffy’s cartoons when I was a child. Such is the power of the cartoon figure.

I have read some sources and materials about children’s picture books recently, and I summed up roughly some reasons why the great pictures books appeal to children:

  • The subject is clearly highlighted and easy for children to understand.
  • The book includes a simple structure, an interesting plot, and rich imaginations.
  • Lively language to meet the needs of children’s visual ability and auditory ability, and thus cultivate children’s interests to know the world.

In the end, when some famous people passed away, people always mourn them by various ways. I think the most important reason is that they change the world, make the world a better place, and bring a huge impact on people. Dick Bruna’s Miffy is the one. The cartoon character will still be exist in the future.

-Siqi Cai

Visiting Speaker: Rosemary Ward, The Gaelic Books Council

February 10th, 2017 by claire_furey | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker: Rosemary Ward, The Gaelic Books Council
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The second guest speaker of semester two was Rosemary Ward, Ceannard of Comhairle nan Leabhraichean. That’s Director of The Gaelic Books Council to most.

Gaelic Books Council logoGaelic is an indigenous language, with 1.7% of the Scottish population having some Gaelic skills, while 32,400 can read, write, and speak the language. There are also Gaelic speakers abroad. 24% of the Council’s online sales are shipped abroad. Surprisingly, Germany is a large market – due in no small part to Michael Klevenhaus, founder of the Gaelic Academy in Bonn.

The first Gaelic book was published in 1567 but until the 20th century most publications were church focused. Things changed in 1951 with GAIRM magazine, which introduced a new generation of Gaelic writers and created a demand for an organisation. Hence the Gaelic Books Council was set up in 1968. They have charity status and are publicly funded.

1985 was another turning point with the opening of the first Gaelic Medium School in Glasgow, creating a demand for Gaelic textbooks.

The Gaelic Books Council have three goals:

  1. Support writers and publishers

The Council commission books, give grants to publishers and attend literary festivals. Rather than having just one special Gaelic literary festival, the idea is to normalise Gaelic by having a presence at all the big festivals. They also support writers and publishers through talent development and training. For instance, there was a real delay getting Gaelic books published because of the lack of editors. The Gaelic Books Council have produced intensive courses to fill the skills gap.

  1. Capacity Building

There are two annual prizes for new Gaelic writers and the Council also has several partnerships and scholarships, such as the biannual Gaelic scholarship at our own University of Stirling.

  1. Sales and Marketing

They have a shop in Glasgow, An Léanag. Check it out if you’re passing! (Mansfield St, just off Byres Rd.) In addition, there is an online shop and they are active on social media and in reaching out to schools and communities, to expose people to Gaelic.

Challenges Rosemary identified were the small number of publishers, AMAZON! (always), negative perceptions of Gaelic in the media and funding.

On a more positive note, developments and opportunities that were outlined included

  • Lasag, a series of novellas for learners and young people.
  • Children’s co-editions and originations.
  • Donald Meek award, which is only for unpublished works.
  • New talent.
  • Leugh le Linda. Linda McCloud is their reading ambassador and does reading sessions, which the BBC are now planning to film as a series.
  • Steall, a new Gaelic magazine, a new version of the pivotal GAIRM, which is no longer in publication.

We must say móran taing to Rosemary for an engaging, interesting and informative talk on Gaelic publications. If this has peaked your interest in Gaelic, head over to to get started!


Claire Furey

The Popularity of Book Events Across the UK

February 8th, 2017 by chiara_bullen | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Popularity of Book Events Across the UK
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The launch of a book, especially one that kick starts an author’s writing career, is undoubtedly a special occasion. This was certainly the case on the 2nd of February when Cranachan Publishing, who began their publishing journey in early 2016, launched Ross Sayers’ ‘Mary’s The Name’ to a room filled with a bustling crowd and festive atmosphere.

To celebrate the book’s release, which follows the story of an 8-year old girl on the run with her Grandpa, Cranachan Publishing hosted a lively night of music, food, drink and a charismatic interview with the author. The night was a sell-out, demonstrating that small publishers can certainly put on a big show.

This is a scenario you’re likely to come across in venues across the UK, as book events are increasingly popular. In the next couple of months there are at least 260 book events taking place across the country.* Of course, there always have been events to pull in crowds, but with the introduction of technology that encourages virtual events- such as Twitter Q+As with authors and online tours- it’s encouraging to see how physical and digital events fall hand-in-hand with each other instead of one coming out on top.

The success of #ScotLitFest, the largest online-only book festival launched in 2016, shows there is clearly a demand and an audience for virtual book-events, most likely because of how convenient and easily accessible they are. Thankfully, the popularity of physical events doesn’t seem to have wavered despite the demand, and last year’s launch and immediate success of Harper Collins’ ‘BookGig’ illustrates this.

BookGig is an online resource that allows you to enter your postcode to see what bookish events are coming up near you,  allowing you to buy tickets and find out more about the event. This makes it easier to find events close and convenient to you, helping spread the word and drawing crowds to events they might have potentially missed out on. The importance of the prominent presence of physical book events is demonstrated in a comment from Brian Klems of Writer’s Digest:

‘Although today’s virtual world allows authors to connect with their audience without ever leaving their house, virtual communication cannot replace the physical experience of sharing your book and knowledge with a room full of real people at a book signing. Successful book signings help drive word of mouth, move books, built your credibility and platform as an author, speaker and expert in your field and allow you to get a true-life sense of your audience.’

The roaring success of the Mary’s The Name book launch in Stirling truly represents the popularity of physical book events across the UK. With the introduction of successful and easy to use resources making them more accessible, it’s a positive sign of times to come for events in the publishing industry.

Cranachan publishing can be found on Twitter, as well as BookGig.

*Stats from BookGig

Chiara Bullen

SYP Scotland: Agents Uncovered

February 6th, 2017 by jo_ripoll | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on SYP Scotland: Agents Uncovered
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Photo credit: @SYPScotland Twitter

After missing my train (by one minute!), I arrived late to SYP Scotland’s event Agents Uncovered. Even with my public transportation debacle, this panel was definitely worth the trouble and the run from the train station. Agenting isn’t a topic heavily covered in the program, so it was beneficial to get a more in-depth overview about what being an agent truly entails.

The panel consisted of two agents: Judy Moir, who owns her own small literary agency, and Taran Baker, and was moderated by SYP’s Kirstin Lamb. The running advice of their panel, that we seem to constantly be hearing, is network and socialise. Taran, who started out in bookselling, got her first job as an agent by just being nice and talking to someone at an event. Judy emphasised as well to get to know people your own age in publishing because we are all the future of the publishing industry.

An agent is the mediator between the publisher and the author, but is always working towards the best interests of the author. Some general advice the two shared and important skills an agent needs are:

  • Know your way around a contract. Take a class about contract knowledge because this is absolutely essential to being a successful agent.
  • Know how the publishing process works. Have some general, all-around knowledge of each aspect (editorial, production, marketing, etc). Everything you pick up along the way is helpful.
  • Be able to sell. You have to be able to make a good pitch to a publisher, and an author at times, and sometimes hassle to get the best for your client. Get to know people in the industry, and learn how to work with and sell to them successfully.
  • Have a good nose for talent. Know where potential lies; sometimes it just needs a bit of editing. Along the same lines, have a good eye for visuals—being able to look at covers and marketing plans and recognizing their strengths and weaknesses will definitely come in handy.
  • Have patience. Agents deal with a lot of different types of people throughout the course of just one day (authors, publishers, etc). They do a lot of checking and chasing, and that takes an abundance of patience at times.
  • Honesty is the best policy. Relationships with authors and publishers is the core of being an agent. Managing their expectations with what kind of agent/agency you are takes trust and a healthy professional relationship.

Besides all of these skills, I, personally, learned a few things from this panel. Agents are not necessarily built-in editors. There are some agents who like to have a polished manuscript before taking it to an editor or a publishing house. But, that is not all agents, and acquisition editors should not expect a fully-formed book from an agency. Sometimes you have to go fishing for the talent; it won’t always find you. However, don’t completely under-estimate the slush pile.

And, the best advice, for everyone out there, not just for potential future agents: Don’t try and do it all; you’ll never sleep.

By Jo Ripoll

Lessons from the “Academic Publishing: Routes to Success” monograph workshop

February 3rd, 2017 by Soraya Belkhiria | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Lessons from the “Academic Publishing: Routes to Success” monograph workshop
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The Monograph Publishing Round Table opened the “Academic Publishing; Routes to Success” workshop hosted by the University of Stirling on Monday 23rd January and coordinated by the dynamic Dorothy Butchard.

Dr Andrea Schapper, Dr Timothy Peace and Dr Kelsey Williams, all from the University of Stirling shared their experience with monograph publishing from the author’s point of view, guided by the questions of Claire Squires.

The following blog is an organized summary of all the points they raised while sharing their personal experience with publishing a monograph from their thesis work. For a more complete panorama of the day long workshop, please go read Aleksander Krzysztof Pęciak’s blog article.

Why publish a monograph?

What could be gathered from all the panelists is that, in an environment where it’s quite difficult to find a stable job as an academic, having a published monograph on your CV can really make a difference to get interviews. It was also the general consensus that the monograph is a more accessible piece of writing than a thesis, and that by choosing this format you are making a claim to a wider audience, even compared to journal articles. Andrea Schapper also said that monographs were special because, compared to articles, they are the work of several years put together in one product.

The 10 steps in getting published:

  1. Identify a book series which your monograph could fit in. As Timothy Peace remarked, you might have an idea of this from the research you’ve done and the familiarity with book series on your subject it has brought you.
  2. Send an email to the series editor to see if your title interests him and fits with the editorial line. That will save you time. If you receive a positive answer, you can then submit a proposal.
    But, if you are rejected, as says Andrea Schapper, “Don’t give up if you’re being turn down. Don’t take it personally but take it professionally. Rejection is part of an academic’s career.”
  3. Be prepared to revise a lot of what you have already written. Kelsey Williams, whose monograph was published by Oxford University Press, had to make pretty drastic revisions to make his thesis accessible, and to axe 1/3 of his content to be under the 80,000 words limit. Timothy Peace for his part only had to cut down the “boring bits of methodology” and make the text more reader friendly and less PhD sounding.
  4. Allow for time. The revisions took Kelsey Williams between 8 and 10 month, so this can be a lengthy process. The press can be even longer to give you definite answers when you are producing your first book. In his case, by the time Oxford University Press agreed to sign a formal contract, he had already produced the final draft.
  5. But don’t wait too long to publish the monograph, as it is a very useful thing to have done when hunting for a job. From the time you contact the editor to the date of publication, at least a year is necessary.
  6. Deal with peer reviews. While reviews can often help you write a better book with their suggestions, they can also be an obstacle you have to overcome. Andrea Schapper said that for her monograph, two reviewers liked the book and one didn’t. His critics gave her the impression that he didn’t really read the book, but she addressed his comments in her response with evidence from her own material and the editor was fine with publishing her work in the end.
  7. Index your own book. According to Timothy Peace, it will save you money, because the publisher will make you pay for this service, and you can do it in as little as two days with the help of a software. On top of that, it can be a useful way to assess the structure of your argument.
  8. Ask people to review your book for you. Even if a “I’ll review yours if you review mine deal” can sound difficult to strike in conscience, it is actually very helpful to get your book talked about.
  9. Be prepared to do a lot of the promotion yourself, as publishers do not seem very inclined on investing energy in promoting first-time monograph authors.
  10. Enjoy your royalties! Because yes, as surprising as it sounds, you might receive a royalties check! (even if you won’t get any advance).

And to conclude, here are some thoughts from Kelsey Williams to pounder: “The first book is going to be the worse book you’ll ever write, and that’s okay. Be generous with yourself and don’t be too perfectionist, because it will slow you down and maybe break your career dynamic instead of helping it.”

– Soraya Belkhiria

Academic Book Week visits Stirling

February 3rd, 2017 by Aleksander Pęciak | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Academic Book Week visits Stirling
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A logo for Academic Book Week 2017: A yellow pile of books with yellow text below: Academic Book Week 2017. Dates are located below the name of the event: 23RD - 28TH. All elements of the logo are based on a black background.There are not many opportunities to get to know something more about academic publishing outside the course, so I enthusiastically attended the workshop “Academic Publishing – Routes to Success” organised on Monday, 23rd of January. Although the whole event was aimed at postgraduate students interested in pursuing their academic careers, publishing students also found it helpful, as discussions and talks given by speakers explained the processes of communication between researchers and publishers.

Academic Book Week is a week-long celebration that focuses on the issues around academic publishing and relationships between academic books’ authors, publishers and readers. Started in 2015 as a centerpiece of the Academic Book of the Future Project, Academic Book Week continues to deliver essential information and tools that can positively aid all parts in the area and creates space for lively debates.

“Academic Publishing – Routes to Success” was the first workshop organised in this year’s edition of the event – it was arranged by researchers on the Peer Review project, Professor Claire Squires, Dr Simon Rowberry, and Dr Dorothy Butchard. The workshop was divided into five sessions, covering different aspects of academic: Monograph Publishing Round Table, with Dr Andrea Schapper, Dr Timothy Peace, and Dr Kelsey Williams (University of Stirling), Peer Review and the Postgraduate Experience, Open Access with Dr Betsy Fuller (University of Stirling), Journal Publishing, with Dr Chris Gair (University of Glasgow), Social Media and Blogging to Develop and Communicate Research, with Nicola Osborne (EDINA, University of Edinburgh). The sessions took nearly seven hours and between them, attendees received a proper lunch and beverages.

The Monograph Publishing Round Table was a panel discussion moderated by Professor Claire Squires – researchers representing different scientific backgrounds, who were already experienced with publishing their monographs, shared their views on the topic and advice for current PhD students. Then, in the second session, Dr Dorothy Butchard introduced the audience to the ideas behind peer reviewing and revealed how the whole process looks like in practice. The session was finished with a discussion about the most current issues in academic publishing, where the audience was first shared into smaller groups and then presented their opinion on the topic. The Open Access workshop delivered by Dr Betsy Fuller clarified the concept of OA, explained differences between its models, presented possible ways of being published and where to find funds for that.

The part of the workshop that I found most useful and informative for publishing students was presented by Dr Chris Gair from the University of Glasgow, editor of Symbiosis: A Journal of Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations. His whole presentation shed a light on journal publishing and explained how to maintain a perfect strategy to have your article published.

During the last session, Nicola Osborne, Digital Education & Service Manager from EDINA, demonstrated the way of effective scientific communication on social media platforms, as well as how to use blogs to share and sell researcher’s ideas. From the perspective of a publishing student who wants to work in academic publishing in future, researchers popular on social media and representing a decent and engaging style of writing would make perfect authors to be published and promoted.

All the workshops and discussions clearly proved that to be successful nowadays researchers should be not only skilled in writing and researching the areas of their studies but in maintaining their own brand and effective communication on social media as well. With dynamic changes around academic publishing, they need to take care of their image and its recognition in the community of academics and publishers.

My Internship with Barrington Stoke

February 2nd, 2017 by evangelia_kyriazi-perri | Posted in Blog, Internships | Comments Off on My Internship with Barrington Stoke
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2017 could not have started better for me, as I was offered an internship at Barrington Stoke. Barrington Stoke is a children’s and YA publisher, founded by Patience Thomson and Lucy Juckes, a mother and daughter-in-law team with personal experience of the way that dyslexia can lock children out of the world of books and reading. They came up with the idea of books that would open the door to more young people.  They developed a dyslexia-friendly font, pioneered the use of tinted paper and began to commission short, achievable books from an amazing range of authors.

The Perks of Being a Publishing Intern!

Over the years, the company has gained many awards, such as Children’s Publisher of the Year, and many supporters due to their collaborations with exceptional and award-winning authors and illustrators. Working for a children’s publisher for 5 weeks is an amazing experience. Currently being in the middle of my time there, I received valuable guidance, advice and the chance to develop my editorial, social media and design skills, as I’m responsible for updating the company’s blog to a great extent, using WordPress.

Working in an office is one of the best experiences I could have gained, because I always wanted to work in this environment, collaborating with other workmates and get an insight into working for a publisher. Barrington Stoke  is small but very friendly company, with many tasks and responsibilities for the staff. As an intern, I’ve undertaken various tasks so far, helping by completing office administrative tasks such as mailing the new book catalogues to booksellers such as Waterstones. My favourite task was definitely blogging, because I own my own food and lifestyle blog, so it was interesting to create blogs about book titles and mini author interviews called ‘Five Questions’.

Working on blog posts for the book titles!


During my internship so far, I’ve been using Indesign and Photoshop tools, to edit pictures and create banners for the blog posts I was responsible to create. This helped me very much to practise my design skills and familiasize myself with design tools, which will help me in my future career. At Barrington Stoke, I’ve also been responsible for proof-reading some of the book catalogues and stock lists, and have explored the editorial department.

I consider myself lucky to have worked at Barrington Stoke and I believe this internship strengthened my passion for social media and digital marketing, helping me pursuing a career after my postgrad.


By Elina Kyriazi-Perri