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chiara bullen

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

Visiting Speaker: Marion Sinclair, Publishing Scotland

November 21st, 2016 by chiara_bullen | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker: Marion Sinclair, Publishing Scotland
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Last week’s guest speaker was the Chief Executive of Publishing Scotland, Marion Sinclair. Publishing Scotland is a collective organisation with the purpose to ‘help Scottish publishers do business’. The group of founders were sick of travelling down to London for publishing meetings so they decided to do something about this. Soon after, Publishing Scotland was born in 1973 and has being going strong ever since.

Publishing Scotland have approximately 70 members and unusually survives almost entirely through state funding as opposed to subscriptions. They aim to work with smaller and Scottish publishers to help them network, grow and thrive in an industry that requires more man-power than is often affordable.

Going through the list of services on offer to their members, Marion paints the vivid picture of Publishing Scotland being an incredibly valuable resource for Scottish publishers who are facing difficulties that come with operating out of the London-centric hub of the industry. Services include (but are certainly not limited to) training courses, funding to help publishers attend book fairs outside the UK, networking events and marketing.

Marion spoke enthusiastically about the new publishing start-ups across the country and even encouraged us to think about potentially starting our own, noting that many successful publishing start-ups have been established by people in their twenties (and beyond of course!).

She discussed the 4 main challenges facing Scottish publishers and these are challenges that Publishing Scotland will work hard to face during the upcoming years. These are:

  • Getting products out to an international market, which is something Marion assured us Publishing Scotland will be prioritising.
  • Competition- it’s a crowded market! Visibility is everything and smaller publishers don’t get the same marketing space or opportunities as bigger publishing houses.
  • Lack of digital expertise to navigate the ever-changing digital market.
  • The ‘Lure of London’. Smaller, Scottish publishers are excellent at spotting talent and producing best-sellers, yet this success also invites interest from bigger publishers with more resources. This is sometimes a tempting offer for authors looking to further their career.

She concluded by discussing, with an energetic buzz, the increasing activity within Scottish publishing. With new start-ups, existing publishing houses starting to grow and more attention coming our way, she announced that it was an exciting time to get into the Scottish publishing industry. It’s a good thing more than half of us admitted we wanted to work in it!

by Chiara Bullen

Chiara Bullen, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

October 14th, 2016 by chiara_bullen | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Chiara Bullen, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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After I graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in English Literature and Language I knew I wanted to spend at least another year in academia. What better way to do so than by preparing for the career you hope to break into?

I gained my first insight into the publishing world (although small) when I worked as a bookseller in a local Waterstones, and that was also when I met someone who was studying Publishing at Stirling. The idea slowly lingered and took hold in the back of my mind throughout my undergraduate years. During this time I was also a keen student journalist and held various editing positions at our student publication. I enjoy writing and I’m currently writing for publications on a freelance basis in my spare time.

When my third year ended and I had to start thinking seriously about my career, I remembered my days behind the tills at Waterstones wondering about the processes that went into creating the books I sold each day. I looked into Publishing further and knew it was for me- combining writing and business seemed like the perfect industry to match my interests. I decided to apply for the course I had heard about so long ago- and here I am!

During the summer before starting, I got a job managing a company’s social and digital media, which made me realise that marketing is an area in the publishing industry I hope to pursue a career in, although I’m also interested in the editorial process. However, I’m always open to new opportunities! I’m excited to see what my time on the course does to influence my publishing interests.

You can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn. I also blog from time to time over here.