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Publishing Scotland – Marion Sinclair

December 7th, 2017 | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publishing Scotland – Marion Sinclair

Marion Sinclair – Chief Executive of Publishing Scotland and a University of Stirling alumna – presented the Stirling publishing postgraduate students with an illuminating and insightful overview of the Scottish publishing industry.

She started off by reassuring us that we are definitely doing the right thing in terms of studying for a publishing degree. Stating that: “In terms of employability and the way that graduates are shaping the industry at the moment I think it’s a really good thing and you’re making a good move by coming to Stirling to study publishing.”

It was really interesting to hear just how much Publishing Scotland supports publishers. They help publishers professionalise and they scan the horizon for opportunities because publishers do not have the time and are obviously very focused on what they’re doing and their list. Also, a lot of them don’t have a huge amount of staff so they are really busy and tend to be focusing very much on the next programme and the next year so Publishing Scotland is vital in helping them to capitalise on opportunities that may otherwise go amiss.

“It is our role really to scan the horizon and look out for opportunities for them whether it’s funding opportunities or anything to do with facilitating trade links contacts, trying to find innovative ways to help them every year.”

Her talk was very informative and the class learnt a lot on the history of Scottish publishing. For instance, the first books published in Scotland are known as ‘The Chepman and Myllar Prints’. They were two printer publishers who began in Edinburgh in and around 1508 (they printed in Cowgate, Edinburgh and there is a plaque to honour them there). Walter Chepman was an Edinburgh merchant and he provided the money and Androw Myllar was the bookseller.

Fast-forward to what is happening today and it looks optimistic – there are more publishers, more chance of an author to be picked up by agents and more book festivals. As a student, it was really encouraging to hear Marion say that in terms of employability, now is a really good time to get into the publishing industry.

Marion pointed out though that the landscape of Scottish Publishing may change in the next few years, due to a little thing called Brexit. Right now, Scotland has a fairly stable and mature publishing industry but we may start losing some of our position due to Brexit – and we may lose out on some of the cooperation on the international front.

Her talk remained optimistic though, she stated that the industry will have to be open and receptive – and will need to maintain our outward facing stance to survive – it can’t close up. The Scottish publishing industry needs to move beyond our UK market. It needs to start counteracting the negative effects of Brexit that will come in the next few years. Marion then ended her fascinating talk with some really helpful tips to those trying to make it in the publishing industry.

Marion’s top tips:

  • Read the bookseller – get to grips with the understanding of the publishing business.
  • Be numerate! The publishing industry isn’t all about words, numbers matter too.
  • Network endlessly.
  • Get on LinkedIn and make your profile stand out.
  • Work in a bookshop.
  • Try London or New York – experience a new part of the world and gain valuable experience.
  • Think about being entrepreneurial – be bold.
  • Show initiative and constantly ask – “what else can I do?”
  • CV – don’t say you love books. Good spelling and punctuation is vital!!! Zero tolerance on typos.
  • Team effort – don’t forget to be collaborative and social.

Marion’s visit was informative and inspiring. I would like to thank her, on behalf of the class, for sharing her extensive knowledge of the publishing industry.

By Fiona Logan