Sofia Fernandez, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-2018

October 7th, 2017 by Sofia Fernandez | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Sofia Fernandez, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-2018
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Last year I found out Publishing entails all I ever felt passionate for in life. On 2012 I chose to study an undergraduate degree in English Philology in my birth country, Spain, because of my interest on language processing and English language literature. During the last five past years I understood that not only the meaning of the text started to be important to me, but the aesthetics. I enjoy paying attention to the way the writing is presented, by means of the cover of the book and the entire layout. All these interests stood to reason when I attended a careers advice meeting in which an old student of the university lectured about her work on Blackwell Publishing after finishing her literature degree and I became fascinated with the editorial field work.

I then applied for an internship in “Opera Prima”, an independent editorial established in Madrid. I worked there during three months carrying out different activities in all the departments because the firm is very small. I took part on edition tasks (style editing, layout, proofreading and complete design of the book), promotion department (contact with media, design of newsletters, follow-up of promotion campaigns) and the distribution of books (registration of books in the commercial circuit, activation of the inputs in bookshops, invoicing and delivery shipment). After this internship I decided to study book design more in depth by attending to an Adobe InDesign course certificate. Moreover, on December 2016 I worked on Fnac enterprise as a shop assistant during three months and had the opportunity to be present on the commercial circuit of books on a real bookstore. I then decided to apply for a job position in Elle magazines and I got hired. However, the job conditions were very bad because, being completely honest, Spain is not doing great on the economy recovery after the financial crisis we had. 

As a result, I thought that undertaking a postgraduate in publishing studies at the University of Stirling would be a huge opportunity to gain experience on the field in another language, and fulfill my career ambitions ABROAD! (And also because there is so much more I do not know yet…) Now that classes have started I feel I am having the time of my life because I cannot believe all the chances the University offers to get involved in the profession. Moreover, apart from the lectures and several practical exercises that put you on the situation of working in the business, I am very excited to create my own physical publishing project (a book). This encourages me to show the best that is in me and demonstrate I can make a contribution to the field. I am here to stay. Hurray for publishing and its exciting world!

Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Lea Intelmann, MLitt Publishing Studies 2017-2018

October 5th, 2017 by Lea Intelmann | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Lea Intelmann, MLitt Publishing Studies 2017-2018
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From when I was very little, I was a dedicated traveler. I would go to far away countries, space and underseas as well as places that where not to be found on any map. The books I read and the stories I re-lived made me the person I am today. And I’m grateful for that.
So I decided that I wanted to work in publishing and contribute to this. Overwhelmed by the vast selection of subjects I went to study German and International Literature at Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen (that’s a teeny tiny city in Germany). I quickly realised how much I liked copy-editing and proofreading. I became better and better at spotting mistakes and improving texts to their very best as my friends and fellow students cluttered me with term-papers and dissertations. To further extend my skills I interned at a small publishing company in Hamburg, where I had the chance to copy-edit complete novels, learn a lot about the daily work in a publishing house as well as interact with authors. I prolonged my studies a bit by studying at the renowned National University of Singapore for one semester before finally finishing my bachelor’s degree. I moved back to my beloved Hamburg and found work as a copy-editor and proofreader for online content. I quickly realised that this wasn’t the way that would lead me towards a publishing career so I applied for the master’s programme in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling. I appreciate the broad range of skills we are taught in our programme as well as the close relations to the actual publishing industry. Coming to Stirling proved to be a great decision! While studying, I also freelance as a copy-editor and proofreader for different companies, including a translation agency, e-commerce agencies and dissertation-editing services.

Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

8 simple rules to survive Comic Con

March 21st, 2017 by michail_tsipoulakos | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on 8 simple rules to survive Comic Con
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8 simple rules to survive Comic Con

Comic Con in Edinburgh is less than a month away and we have to be prepared for what’s coming my fellow nerds. Am I a comic convention veteran? Hell no! I’m coming from Greece where comic related festivals are nonexistent. Actually my first serious experience was a couple of weeks ago when I attended the capital sci-fi con in Edinburgh, which marked my first official experience at a nerdfest. Everyone was there, from Stomtroopers and Han Solo, to Chewbacca, Doctor Strange, Wolverine and Harley Quinn. Given the chance, cosplay as well my fellow nerds. That will give your con experience some extra fun. But whether you cosplay or not, you need to remember a few things that I will mention briefly in a while.

First of all, you need to understand that comic con is not a VACATION!!! OK, that was over dramatic. Actually it is like vacation but in a more nerdy way. Do you have chills when someone whispers the word Batman? Then yeah that will be some awesome vacation for you, otherwise don’t bother going there. And now it’s time to mention the rules I promised you about.

Rule number one, choose comfort over style. You will have to stand still for many many hours so style is not an option, you need to be as comfortable as possible.
In case you are cosplaying, then I’m sorry for you, but everyone will find you super cool so it’s totally worth it!
Advice number 2, embrace the lines. Seriously, there are lines everywhere, even when visiting the bathroom. And we’re talking about really loooong lines. Sorry pal but you can’t do anything about it. On the plus side, lines are a great way to make new friends and meet new people. So, accept the lines and try not to whine about them.

Advice number 3, have an extra phone battery with you (sorry iPhone people, you can’t have that!) or at least a power bank. There is nothing worse than your phone dying in the middle of a selfie with Dr Strange (a fake one obviously, not Cumberbatch) or the moment you take a video of the Game of Thrones panel. You need power!

Advice number 5, bring money with you.  Yeah I know, you don’t need a weirdo to tell you that! What I mean is that you need actual-physical money and not a debit card. You’re going to a comic con convention not the Opera. So, bring money with you and don’t neglect the change, you need them as well.

Advice number 6, bring food with you. The alternative is you starving or dying of diabetes due to the food they serve there. Really it is that bad! We are talking about hot dogs (literally speaking!), or nachos with what they claim to be melted cheese, which I know for a fact that it isn’t. Just wake up an hour earlier and make some food. You don’t have to win the Michelin prize, do something simple.

Advice number 7, don’t get super frustrated if you can’t attend every single panel. You are only human after all. Try your best and choose carefully the ones you prefer more. That’s why we have YouTube after all, something will inevitably be leaked on-line a few hours later.

Finally, advice number 8, be prepared to get sick right after. No, I am not joking. There are hundreds of people there which means millions of germs. Even if you rub your hands with a sanitizer every 5 minutes or eat the whole bottle, it makes no difference. You will get sick eventually. My experience left me with sore throat, low fever and sneezing. But hey, you can now say that you have the con-flu and this is a big achievement within the nerd community!

And that’s pretty much it, follow my advice and you’re gonna have one hell of a time! I forgot to say “have fun” because you’re gonna have fun anyway! See you there in a few days my fellow geeks and remember to wear comfortable shoes. Seriously, If I hear you complaining about your feet hurting, you will feel my nerd rage! Unless you’re huge and intimidating… 


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

In praise of serendipity

December 16th, 2016 by morven_gow | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on In praise of serendipity
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img_2140In praise of serendipity

Over this semester, we have all enjoyed learning at the collective knees of visiting speakers. They have represented all sectors of the publishing industry – bar one.  Best represented by the chaotic, Bernard Black of Channel 4 TV’s Black Books I confess a deep and abiding love for the mostly unkempt and tatty world of the preloved book.  Every place associated with a book is sacred and has the air of a temple. For me, there is no other book buying experience to top the emotional pull of a second-hand bookshop.

Crossing the hallowed threshold, it’s best to be in a state of mindfulness – open to the calls and vibrations coming your way from the waifs and strays on shelves, on tables or piled high in columns around you.  “What a load of tosh!” I can hear some of you cry out.  But others will agree with me.

You will discover exactly the book you didn’t know you needed or wanted on that day and at that time you ambled into the shop.  We behave quite differently depending on the reading material we require at any one time and, while a bricks/clicks-and mortar bookshop, or Amazon and others, can supply you with exactly what you know you want, their book shelf categories and algorithms cannot hope to compete with the happy discoveries which occur when the infinite random variables in your brain meet the ideas and thoughts bounding off the shelves, tables and columns.

If you are concerned about the ‘dark’, second-hand book economy, with authors, publishers and agents missing out on remuneration, as long as you remember to sing the praises of the books on sites like Goodreads, you will be playing your part in the book selling process, encouraging others to buy and read the books. You may even replace the preloved one with a new copy, if it’s a bit too tatty and it’s captured your heart.  In the photograph, there are some titles which called to me from shelves in Wigtown, Galloway; Arklow, Wicklow; Glasgow and Dunlop.  They have found their ‘forever home’ with me.

Go on.  Find your local ‘Black Books’. Bernard may even have a glass of wine waiting for you.

By Morven Gow

Puyu Cheng, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 15th, 2016 by Puyu Cheng | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Puyu Cheng, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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Hi, I’m Puyu. I come from Beijing, the capital of China. From a young age, I wished to have the opportunity to study aboard. Now I am studying in Stirling, which is the best experience in my life.

When I was an undergraduate student, my major was editing and publishing. To be honest, this major was chosen by my parents, and they think the subject is very suitable for me. So I was just following my parents’ wishes. However, after studying some courses, I think this subject is really interesting. Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, so learning how to produce a book is always attractive to me.

As I was saying, studying abroad is one of my dreams. So when I graduated from college, I was wondering if I could go abroad for a master’s degree program. My parents have always told me that they will support any decision I make concerning my future. Therefore, thanks to my parents, I had the opportunity to come here to study.

The reason why I chose to study here is that there is a cooperative project between my university in China and the University of Stirling. So I believe it’s a wonderful chance that I can study publishing in depth. I am very glad that I chose the University of Stirling, which is known for future career prospects for the graduates and there is the most beautiful campus that I have ever seen. Also learning here is a challenge for me, due to the fact that English is not my first language and the teaching methods in UK are quite different from China. But I’m excited to face these challenges. It is good for me to learn some new approaches.

When I graduate, I aspire to work for a fashion magazine in china. Actually, in last summer, I worked as an intern in Marie Claire magazine, which is one of the most famous fashion magazines in China. And that experience was really interesting. So I want to be a fashion editor in the future. I hope my experience in Stirling can help me to pursue my career goals.

Find me on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Nicole Sweeney MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 9th, 2016 by nicole_sweeney | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Nicole Sweeney MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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images-1-compressed-page-001Since early childhood I have always been found with my nose stuck in a book. In fact I was the only child who got into trouble for reading instead of paying attention in class. With that in mind I chose to study English at undergraduate level, where my particular interests focusing on classics written by women. After graduating with a 2:1 I was unsure what I wanted to do. I knew I loved books, and wanted to learn more about the actual book industry, rather than an academic approach to literature.

I absolutely loved studying in Edinburgh, with a city so full of culture. Stirling is very similar, and studying at the University of Stirling is giving me the opportunity to learn about all the different aspects of publishing, and figure out exactly what I want to do in the future. I’m particularly interested in marketing and the different types of promotions used to sell a book. I’m really enjoying this course because the topics are so wide ranging, and I’m learning practical as well as academic skills.  

I also work at The Battle of Bannockburn, where I sell tickets, make coffees, talk to customers and occasionally play with swords. It’s a great environment with lots of fantastic events and educational talks, and makes me very passionate about history and historical books.

In my spare time I spend a lot of time on Twitter, and occasionally review books online. Reviewing books has been a fantastic opportunity to talk to different publishers, and keep up to date with what’s going on. I love going to comic-con, and can usually be found spending my entire wage on comic books and merchandise.

After graduating I’d love to work for a fiction publisher and help to market and sell some of the books that are slowly taking over my living room.

Marian Pérez-Santiago, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 7th, 2016 by marian_perez-santiago | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Marian Pérez-Santiago, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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When I was five years old, my family and I packed up our lives in Puerto Rico and moved to small-town Texas. Switching from one culture and language to another is a fairly radical change for anyone, but, to make the transition more difficult, I was placed in a school with no “English as a Second Language” course option. This meant that I couldn’t communicate with anyone, including my teachers. I took some comfort in the fact that my family and I were all in the same position, but the experience was, nonetheless, an isolating one. I was an outgoing, exuberant child so I wanted to learn English desperately, the way other kids wanted recess or snack time. Slowly I came to grasp the language, but it was not until I learned to read that I felt confident.  With the next school year came required reading time. I started hesitantly, my English halting and full of mistakes, but I persisted. By the end of the school year, I was one of the best readers in my grade.

Thus began my love of reading. I speak fluent English because of the books I read growing up; in a very literal sense, reading opened up a whole new world for me. My love of reading inspired me to declare an English Language and Literature major at university and allowed me to explore and analyze books in a way I hadn’t before. When graduation came around, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my degree. I worked in customer service at a zoo for about a year and a half, during which I had time to reflect on what I really wanted my future to look like. The decision to work in the publishing industry seemed an obvious one. However, I knew I didn’t yet have the skills I needed, so I made the decision to return to the academic world. My search for a master’s program in publishing led me to the University of Stirling, where I’m discovering more about the industry every day. I know firsthand the difference that good books can make in people’s every day lives. It is my goal to be part of the industry that changed my life so profoundly. After graduation, I’d like to move somewhere warm and work in translations or editorial.

You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Hongyue Su(Sue), MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 5th, 2016 by hongyue_su | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Hongyue Su(Sue), MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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196512089I am Hongyue Su.You can call me Sue. I come from Changchun of the Jilin province in the northeast of China, which has similar weather to Stirling. Changchun is famous for cars and movies, and is one of the cities where more than 50% of the land covered by trees.

There are a lot of changes in the process of continuous learning. I stopped studying the electronic organ which I have practiced for 6 years, and table tennis which I practiced for 7 years. But there are still some things that do not change, such as reading books, watching movies and traveling. Now I love fitness in the gym. When I get left alone with strangers, I may be too shy to talk. I like to stay with friends, but also enjoy a personal time to do some of my favourite things.

In China, my undergraduate major was publishing, which I studied for 4 years. In recent years, the publishing industry has gradually become globalized, and certain books have been sought after by people. This makes me want to go abroad to study why books could be so magic.

I chose this major after serious consideration because my family members work in the publishing industry. They usually take the products home which were published in their companies. Not only is the study is full of the books, but also their whole home. Therefore I have a habit of reading which was cultivated by my parents since childhood. When I was young, publishing in China was not so simple. There was no Internet or dedicated publishing platforms, so a large number of people found it very difficult to publish their own articles. Every work has to go through a lot of editors’ selection and revision, in order to ensure the quality of books.

However, with the rapid development of the network, many people publish their own articles on the Internet or through a variety of communities. The form of publishing also changed, from the simple print books to e-books. An increasing amount of information is available to people: how to choose the good and useful one from so many books? It depends the work of editors.

Good editors can give people the same benefits as good teachers. They both can filter good knowledge and the article to share with more people from mass publication, so that readers can get useful knowledge meanwhile save money and time to learn more. That’s what I want to do. Maybe I prefer to read rather than write. Even though I write something like a diary occasionally, but it is not professional enough, I think I need to learn more about writing skills and make my articles more academic.

I hope that in this year, I can learn more knowledge from book and life, and can make friends from different countries. After seeing some different worlds and feeling the different life I can become a better me.

Rachel Patrick, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 4th, 2016 by Rachel | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Rachel Patrick, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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pictureFrom a young age, I always had a passion for reading and decided to do an English degree when I left high school. I ended up at the University of Stirling, which was quite convenient for me as it wasn’t too far from my hometown.

Since there’s no obvious career path to follow when you’ve studied English Literature, graduating from my undergraduate degree was an exciting time but also a slightly scary one as I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do next. After an awful lot of panicking and pondering I decided I wanted to undertake further study of some sort, but it had to be something involving books. Considering how much I had enjoyed my time at the university the first time around, I ended up looking into postgraduate courses at Stirling. I’d heard about the Publishing Studies course a few times already and had always thought it sounded like something I might like to do in the future, since the process of how books are put together is something that really fascinates me. I was particularly sold and excited after reading how highly past students had spoken of the course.

Before starting the course, I wasn’t sure which part of the publishing process I wanted to be involved in, but I think the recent SYP Editorial event I attended convinced me that I’d love to work in editing one day. I think this course will provide me with the skills to feel confident enough to pursue that career eventually.

I’m on Twitter and LinkedIn although I haven’t mastered either so far.