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Industry Links

Publishing Prizes 2014-15

November 13th, 2015 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publishing Prizes 2014-15
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The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling is delighted to make the following awards to students who are graduating from the MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-15.

  • The Freight Books Prize for Publishing Design – Kerry McShane
  • The Faber & Faber Prize for Digital Innovation – Sarah Boyd
  • The Publishing Scotland Prize for the Best Dissertation – Sarah Webster
  • The Routledge Prize for the most Distinguished Student on the MLitt in Publishing Studies – Heather McDaid

All the prizes are sponsored by our Industry Advisory Board.

Outlander

Kerry McShane is the recipient of the Freight Books Prize for Publishing Design. For this, she produced the design project The Outlander Kitchen, focusing on a set of recipes inspired by the books and TV series by Diana Gabaldon. For this, Kerry wins £100 of cash and £100 of books of her choice from Glasgow-based publisher Freight Books. Kerry is currently working as an associate editor at Gibbs Smith in Layton, Utah.

Sarah Webster’s prize-winning dissertation, for which she will receive £100 of books of her choice from Publishing Scotland, is titled ‘To what extent does book jacket and cover design influence sales?’. The dissertation, as its abstract explains, ‘concludes that cover design significantly influences book sales. It further supports the idea that the continued investment in quality, cutting-edge jacket design, coupled with a greater level of market research by publishers in what retailers and consumers want, will ensure that the print book continues to thrive, whilst forcing the design of the ebook as we currently know it to seek further improvement.’

VAMPSarah Boyd is the winner of the Faber & Faber Prize for Digital Innovation, for her work on an interactive poetry app, VAMP. Sarah’s award consists of a placement with Faber & Faber in London, during which she will have the opportunity to meet with staff from Faber Digital, Faber Factory, and the marketing team. A previous recipient of the award, Claire Jeffery, writes about her experience here.

Finally, the recipient of the Routledge Prize for the most Distinguished Student on the MLitt in Publishing Studies, thus winning £200 of books from Routledge, is Heather McDaid. Heather’s overall grade profile on the course was consistently high, as was her wider contribution to the life and environment of the MLitt in Publishing Studies. Heather is now publishing assistant at Bright Red, and social media officer for SYP Scotland, as well as freelancing.

Professor Claire Squires, Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, commented that ‘Every year, we’re impressed and delighted by the quality of work produced by our students on the MLitt in Publishing Studies, and the commitment they show to the development of their careers in the publishing industry. It’s wonderful to be able to award some of the very best of the work with prizes from our Industry Advisory Board partners. We congratulate the individual students on their creativity, knowledge, skills and understanding of the publishing industry, and are particularly delighted to be able to have prize-winning work which celebrates digital savvy and entrepreneurialism – key attributes for the publishers of the future.’

 

Publishing Prizes 2013-14

April 12th, 2015 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publishing Prizes 2013-14
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The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling is delighted to have made the following awards to students who graduated from the MLitt in Publishing Studies 2013-14.

  • The Freight Books Prize for Publishing Design – Laura Jones
  • The Faber & Faber Prize for Digital Innovation – Liam Crouse
  • The Publishing Scotland Prize for the Best Dissertation – Fanny Schmidt
  • The Routledge Prize for the most Distinguished Student on the MLitt in Publishing Studies – Laura Jones

All the prizes are sponsored by members of the Centre’s Industry Advisory Board.

Laura Jones's prize-winning Read. Write. Ink.

Laura Jones’s prize-winning Read. Write. Ink.

Laura Jones is the recipient of both the Freight Books Prize for Publishing Design. For this former, she produced the fascinating design project Read. Write. Ink., focusing on collectors of literary tattoos. It features writers close at home including Vicki Jarrett, but also examples she sourced via Twitter. For this, Laura wins £100 of cash and £100 of books of her choice from Glasgow-based publisher Freight Books. Fellow student Aija Oksman was Highly Commended in the Freight Books Prize for Publishing Design for her powerful project Pursuit: Empowering Post-Natal Depression.

Laura is also the winner of the Routledge Prize for the most Distinguished Student on the MLitt in Publishing Studies, thus winning £200 of books from Taylor & Francis. Laura’s overall grade profile on the course was consistently high, and alongside her Publishing Project she produced extremely strong work including the dissertation, ‘Amazon: Friend or Foe?’. Laura is now working at Glasgow publisher Saraband Books.

Fanny Schmidt’s prize-winning dissertation, for which she will receive £100 of books of her choice from Publishing Scotland’s BooksFromScotland.com, is titled ‘Copyright, Books and Social Media’. The dissertation, as tis abstract explains, ‘examines the interrelation between copyright and authorship on social media platforms, arguing that that it should be awarded with both a fair dealing exemption for the use of copyrighted material in those spaces and also a better protection of the copyright of original material produced for social media. It further examines whether or not social media content should be awarded authorship status in order to support the claim for copyright. However, the findings suggest that due to the high level of prosumption on social media, authorship in the traditional sense cannot be granted; calling into question the copyright legislation these websites should receive.’ A pdf of Fanny’s dissertation is available via this link. Fanny is now working at Bloomsbury Academic.

Liam Crouse is the winner of the Faber & Faber Prize for Digital Innovation, for his work developing the concept of and designs for a geospacial app mapping out the life of the celebrated Gaelic poet Duncan Bàn MacIntyre along the West Highland Way. Liam was the recipient of the inaugural Gaelic Books Council Scholarship at the Stirling Centre for International Publishing & Communication. His aware consists of a two-day placement with Faber & Faber in London, during which he will have the opportunity to meet with the heads of Faber Digital, Faber Factory, and the marketing team. A previous recipient of the award, Claire Jeffery, writes about her experience here.

Liam Crouse's prize-winning app The Duncan Ban Trail

Liam Crouse’s prize-winning app The Duncan Ban Trail

Professor Claire Squires, Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, commented that ‘It’s a great validation of our MLitt in Publishing Studies to have these industry-sponsored prizes, which showcase the work of the Centre and its students. We congratulate the individual students on their creativity, knowledge, skills and understanding of the publishing industry, and are particularly delighted to be able to have prize-winning work which celebrate digital savvy and entrepreneurialism – key attributes for the publishers of the future.’

Scottish Publishing and Independence

May 14th, 2014 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Scottish Publishing and Independence
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Scottish publishing and independenceSarah Boyd, an MLitt in Publishing Studies student at Stirling, has just had an article on ‘Scottish Publishing and Independence’ published in the journal Logos.

In the article, Sarah examines the challenges and opportunities for publishing if Scotland were to vote for Independence in the forthcoming referendum. It addresses key considerations, including the prospect of operating in a newly autonomous country, examining issues such as VAT, currency, content and market visibility.

The article originally was created as a course assignment for the MLitt in Publishing Studies. Professor Claire Squires, Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, said: ‘We’re delighted that this article has been published. Our Centre is international in terms of where our students come from and where they end up working, but we’re also deeply immersed in and networked with the Scottish publishing environment. Sarah’s article makes a strong, unbiased contribution to the debate about whether Scottish publishing would be better served within existing UK frameworks, or within an independent Scotland or – indeed – whether it might be the case that not that much would change.’

The full article can be read here (with thanks to Logos for permission to reproduce the article).

VISITING SPEAKERS FOR SEMESTER 2, 2013-14

February 26th, 2014 by Frances_Sessford | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on VISITING SPEAKERS FOR SEMESTER 2, 2013-14
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The Centre’s Visiting Speakers programme for this semester presents perspectives from academic and independent publishers from across the UK. In this academic year, the Centre’s teaching has encouraged students to look to small nation publishing across the world and to consider how the publishing landscape might look in an independent Scotland. We have been asking our speakers for their views on the subject at every opportunity, so come along for some interesting opinions and debate. All sessions are held at 2pm in Pathfoot B2. Attendance is free but there is limited space so please register via frances.sessford@stir.ac.uk to book a place.

The series begins on Thursday February 27 with sports journalists Martin Greig and Neil White, who founded BackPage Press five years ago to publish world-class sports books. Following this on March 6, Anna Glazier, Director of Sales & Marketing at Edinburgh University Press will talk about the challenges of keeping a small academic press in profile and profit. Duncan Lockerbie is a course alumnus and began Lumphanan Press almost as soon as he finished his studies. He now has around seven years’ experience in running a very small publishing company and on March 13 he will share his thoughts and views on how or if this might change should a vote for independence be attained. Moving over the border but not much, on March 20, another course alumnus and editor, Neil Simpson, and his MD, Jonathan Williams from Cumbria-based Cicerone Press will talk about how they manage the digital processes of their highly successful independent press which produces material for walking, cycling and outdoor enthusiasts across the world.

After the mid-semester break our speaker on April 3 is Mairi Kidd, Publisher at Barrington Stoke books in Edinburgh. Barrington Stoke is a very well-established publisher of fiction and other material for reluctant readers and has published many high-profile authors such as Malorie Blackman and Keith Gray. There is no session on April 10 because we will all be away at London Book Fair, but on April 17 we move to the other side of the country when editors Gill Tasker and Helen Sedgwick from Glasgow’s Cargo Publishing will give their take on working for a small independent trade press. After this on April 24, our penultimate speaker is Michael Malone,  who will give his dual perspective on the state of publishing as both a successful author of crime fiction and a regional account manager for Faber Factory. Lastly, our final speaker on May 1 is Jenny Niven, Portfolio Manager (Literature, Publishing & Languages) for Creative Scotland.

 

Saltire Society Publisher of the Year

August 24th, 2013 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Saltire Society Publisher of the Year
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Yesterday at the Publishing Scotland reception at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the winner of the inaugural Saltire Society Publisher of the Year award was made to Saraband Books by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs. Our Director, Professor Claire Squires, was one of the judges for the award.

The judges said Saraband, a small Glasgow-based publisher run by Sara Hunt, ‘is a company that has shown shrewd and strategic business thinking in a shifting context. They are collaborative, innovative and are distinguished by fresh thinking in their use of digital technology. Their move to new approaches still has the interest of authors at its heart.’

Floris Books of Edinburgh was also commended for its work in publishing children’s books. The full shortlist also included BackPage Press, Barrington Stoke, Edinburgh University Press, and Freight Books. The award is administered by the Saltire Society, with support from Creative Scotland and Publishing Scotland. Further details of the award were reported by The Bookseller.

Over the past year we have had students interning at both Saraband and Floris Books, as well as some of the other shortlisted publishers. We are also very pleased that Sara Hunt will be coming in to speak to our students in the forthcoming semester.

 

Revised Curriculum for the MLitt in Publishing Studies

April 1st, 2013 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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BEFORE READING THIS POST, PLEASE CHECK THE DATE OF PUBLICATION. (The REAL curriculum is here. At least for now…)

 

The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication has been at the vanguard of publishing education for over thirty years. It has a forward-thinking approach to publishing studies, and has continually delivered cutting-edge, professionally-oriented degrees which have prepared alumni to work in publishing and publishing-related companies around the world.

The publishing industry is now undergoing an extremely rapid rate of change. Digital technologies have meant that new business models and structures are radically reshaping the industry. As such, we have entirely revised the curriculum for our industry-leading MLitt in Publishing Studies. The new curriculum will be delivered from 2013-14, and we are proud to announce it here.

The revised programme will be structured as follows:

Semester 1

Amazon 1: This compulsory module investigates different market sectors, introduces concepts of publishing business, finance and intellectual property, and analyses current publishing trends and issues. It also explores job roles and publishing processes, equipping students with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in an Amazon career.

Amazon 2: This compulsory module examines the processes by which publishing projects (including books, magazines, journals, and digital products) are conceptualised and created at Amazon. It explores the management of authors, intellectual property resources, and editorial workflow, including practical skills of project management and text preparation (copyediting and proofreading).

Amazon 3: This compulsory module introduces marketing theory and practical publishing examples in order to develop a range of strategies for effective promotion of publishing products, through traditional and digital media. The module also explores Amazon’s supply chain, distribution and sales management.

Arts Research Training: This compulsory module enhances students’ employability skills, professional social media, online writing and editing skills, and research methods and research project development. All elements of the module are specifically tailored towards or focused on Amazon.

Semester 2

Amazon 4: This compulsory module enables students to develop skills, understanding and aptitudes for digital (aka Amazon) publishing, its processes and products, including in compiling digital briefs, reviewing and evaluating digital products, management of social media and digital rights, understanding of e-business models and the digital economy, and deployment of analytics, keywords, SEO, metadata and XML.

Amazon 5: This compulsory module enables students to develop management and entrepreneurial skills crucial to publishing. Areas covered include strategic, operational, risk, financial and HR management. It also explores the global business of publishing, including growth strategies, murders and executions, legal tax avoidance, and inventing business models that at first glance make no sense whatsoever.

Internship at Amazon: This compulsory module enables students to undertake a work placement or internship at one of Amazon’s worldwide distribution centres, to incorporate their workplace learning through critical reflection on their and Amazon’s activities and processes.

Publishing, Literature and Society: This optional module explores the interactions between contemporary and historical publishing and society, approaching topics including authorship, readership and the literary marketplace, censorship, wartime publishing, and publishing and diversity (e.g. “not Amazon”). It enables students to develop a critical distance from Amazon.

Publishers’ Lunch (or, The Frankfurt School): This optional module will introduce students to the traditional, or legacy, model of publishing. It involves copious consumption of alcohol, face-to-face meetings and ‘gatekeeping’. Male students are in the majority on this module.

Summer

Dissertation: This is an intensive piece of research on a topic of Amazon’s choice, which is notionally approved by the Programme Director and student. Work extends over both semesters and into the summer.

Given our excellent industry contacts, we are confident that all students will, on successful completion of their programme, be placed at one of Amazon’s many international distribution centres (probably Dunfermline). In the very unlikely event that they are not immediately placed with Amazon or a sub-contracted company, less successful alumni still have ample opportunity to become authors via Amazon’s Kindle Direct programme, or act as highly valued unpaid prosumers in Amazon’s Kindle Directed scheme. Entrepreneurial alumni have the opportunity to develop Amazon-associated businesses and franchises which, should they survive the Kindle Dragon, will be examined by Amazon as acquisition targets.

Ms A. P. Rilfoule, the University’s Amazon Liaison Officer, commented that, ‘We’re very excited about delivering this new programme, which has been developed in close cooperation with our Industry Advisory Borg. Share the bold new future of publishing, writing, reading, and pretty much everything else: with Amazon, with us.’

VISITING SPEAKERS FOR SEMESTER 2, 2012-13

February 19th, 2013 by Frances_Sessford | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on VISITING SPEAKERS FOR SEMESTER 2, 2012-13
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The Centre’s Visiting Speakers programme for this semester presents a broad mix of academic and industry experience. All sessions are held at 2pm in Pathfoot B2. Attendance is free but there is limited space so please register via publishing@stir.ac.uk to book a place.

The series begins on Thursday February 21 with an academic perspective from John Maxwell, lecturer in Publishing at Simon Fraser University in Canada. This is followed on February 28 by Emma House of The Publishers’ Association, the representative body of the UK publishing trade. Two small independent publishers based in Scotland follow: Mark Buckland of Cargo Publishing  in Glasgow (March 7) and Eleanor Collins and Helena Waldron from Floris Books  in Edinburgh (March 14). On March 21, John Seaton, Inventory Manager at Canongate Books will talk about what’s involved in good backlist management, while March 28 hosts Alastair Horne, Social Media and Communities Manager at Cambridge University Press, who will focus on digital publishing.

After the mid-semester break, on April 11 we welcome John Storey, Head of Literature and Publishing at the Gaelic Books Council. Another independent publisher, Vanessa Robertson of Fidra Books will speak on April 18, followed by the final session on April 25 with Timothy Wright, Publisher at Edinburgh University Press.

Publishing Scotland Conference 2012

April 2nd, 2012 by Sara_Gardiner | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publishing Scotland Conference 2012
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I have never been to a conference before and I would definitely go to one again.

The day began with an introduction from Bob McDevitt and Marion Sinclair explaining how, as publishers, we should be able to adapt to the new digital world by having more direct contact with customers and physical bookstores. The aim of the publisher is not to challenge the age of the author but to challenge the price point of e-books and to get more people reading.

Alan Clements, Director of Content for STV reiterated Marion’s speech, acknowledging that the media industry should have more focus on content and accountability to their customers. So what does this mean for media and culture when each person may be looking at three screens in one sitting? Alan stated that working with technology and not against it is the key to controlling IP and sustaining the media industry we work in. He then candidly discussed the lack of communication between the publishing industry and TV, believing that if both industries work together on the adaptations of new books, it would give Scotland a place on the map.

Next to speak was Steve Bohme, Research Director from BML. He showed the conference, through the analogy of weddings, how the publishing industry is coping with the downward trend in print books for the third year running. Steve questioned how the role of the designer will change with the popularity of the e-book, and how the e-book effect will change the way in which it affects the publishing industries sales.

Discussing social media and marketing, Jon Reed, Social Media Consultant spoke of the effects social media marketing has on the selling of a product and exposure of a company (follow him on Twitter @reedmedia). Jon Reed is the founder of Publishing Talk, giving hints and tips on the best ways to market your company and/or product. He discussed how the social media buzz should revolve around the product and build interest in the niche area; to support social media, companies should still continue to e-mail their customers.

Jon also said that authors should be trained in using social media to promote their novels and to update their own profiles and if training cannot be given, guidelines will then become useful to the author. Included in the author questionnaires, should be the question regarding the authors current social media use, in order to increase author visibility. Through social media networks, content should be made valuable by giving away free information on the author/novel or company. The ultimate goal as a publisher is to add value to a novel while also supporting their authors.

Author Nicola Morgan then spoke about author/publisher relationships along with the (lack of, in her case) communication between the two. Nicola made the point of authors being the last to hear about changes to their work; what Nicola insisted on in a business relationship was honesty. Her response to being dropped by her publishing company was to consider self publishing, however, as she discovered during the self publishing process, this then eats away at the time the author has left to write new material.

The speakers at the conference were all so passionate about their area of work within the publishing industry, and also believe that the industry will be able to adapt to new media in the future, but finding the right ideas for this is the key.  The Publishing Scotland conference showcased many intelligent, passionate and enthusiastic people with many opposing ideas.

Publishing Scotland’s In-Company Development Project – First Seminar

October 5th, 2011 by Frances_Sessford | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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The In-Company Development Programme is the brainchild of Publishing Scotland CEO, Marion Sinclair. It is an ambitious scheme designed to enable publishers based in Scotland to develop and grow their businesses in order to respond to changing consumer trends in markets at home and overseas. Seven publishing companies have been chosen to participate: Acair, Sandstone Press, Freight Books, Saraband, Strident Publishing, Floris Books and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The publishers will have three seminar days where they can view presentations from and meet with industry professionals; and they will also benefit from the services and experience of an industry expert who will work alongside each business, offering advice and input on issues such as publishing strategy, growth strategy, exploiting intellectual property, and financial matters.

On Thursday 29th September, the seven chosen publishers gathered for the first seminar in the company of their mentors, speakers and other guests from the publishing industry. David Pirnie, strategy consultant and programme manager, opened the session with a warm welcome and announced the focus of the first seminar: the business of publishing in the context of researching the market, managing change and seeking investment.

The first speaker was Reeta Davis of Nielsen Bookscan, who gave a master class in market research: what it is, where to get it from, why publishers need it and most importantly, how to make the most of the research you have at your disposal. The presentation included some valuable and detailed information about the current state of the UK market. Accurate, reliable, up-to-date research often has to be paid for; publishers have to ask whether it is worth their while. Spending £1000 on some detailed research which will enable you to better judge your print runs could save the business much more money in the long run.

Martin Redfern, one of the programme mentors, opened the next stage with a brief presentation on the challenges of managing change. In his opinion, small publishers are actually at an advantage when it comes to adapting to change: flatter management structures and simpler operations mean they can move more quickly in response to market needs than the clumsier corporates. This was illustrated in excellent detail by two fantastic case studies, presented by Vivian Marr of OUP and Jenny Todd of Canongate, respectively. The former showed a corporate giant’s struggle to move a large and successful list from print to digital, while the latter addressed the challenges which came to Canongate in the wake of one of their biggest successes: Life of Pi’s winning the Man Booker Prize in 2002. This was a particularly fascinating and illuminating part of the day: it is rare to be privy to the details of a publisher’s operations. Delegates were impressed. The conclusions: make your decisions, communicate them effectively and get people on board – a fractured operation responding to conflicting messages will not cope well with change.

Managing change effectively relies a lot on making a secure base, and finding investment is an important part of this. The only resource most publishers have in limitless quantities is enthusiasm. Donald Boyd, Head of Media at Campbell Dallas gave his advice on investment sources for publishers and, more importantly, assessing the potential risks and benefits involved. He urged delegates to reflect that while doing nothing with their business was an option to be considered, it is also the one to be left behind. However, if you are going to seek funding from an external source, you must be able to live with the consequences. While Donald Boyd pointed out that looking to conventional sources of funding for projects (such as banks) is virtually pointless in today’s climate, several of his existing clients have had some success in seeking funding by crowd-sourcing. This is one way in which publishers might be able to generate new resources in future.

Summary feedback from the attending publishers was extremely positive. While many of the delegates have no formal publishing training they have all learned the hard way about publishing through their trials, mistakes and successes. This session gave them time out to consider their businesses from fresh perspectives; to think about their options for growth and development; and to discuss plans and hopes with industry colleagues. Exactly how these businesses will change and develop is impossible to say, but this is an extremely exciting time not just for them but for Scottish publishing as a whole.

Breaking In and Standing Out

September 25th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Breaking In and Standing Out
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Suzanne Kavanagh of Skillset

A report on career advice from Suzanne Kavanagh, Visiting Speaker Semester 1, 2011-12, by Rachel Chase

Though Suzanne Kavanagh announced that her intention was to “scare” the publishing students at the University of Stirling on Thursday, September 22nd, she cleverly presented her material in a way that was more optimistic than frightening.

Suzanne works for a not-for-profit organization called Skillset. At Skillset, she supports individuals and businesses in the creative industries by offering them skills and training. She has been involved in the publishing industry for 16 years (specifically marketing) and she was kind enough to share her vast knowledge with us about making a career in publishing.

Though her presentation was not “scary” overall, it did have some frightening elements. Take, for example, the fact that sixty-seven per cent of the workforce in the publishing industry is over thirty-five-years-old (which is downright discouraging for anyone in their twenties who is trying to break in). In addition, the number of freelance editors has dropped and the number of people working in publishing has dropped significantly since 2007, due, in part, to the digitalization of books. In short, there are fewer jobs and more people trying to get in.

What does all of this mean for post-graduate students studying publishing at the University of Stirling? It means that things are tough, but not impossible. Suzanne emphasized that there is a shortage of sales and marketing skills among those who are trying to get into publishing. Editorial is not the only way to go, and, in fact, Suzanne suggested that getting into publishing through another door—say, marketing—is a good idea to break in.

Her lecture was very informative and I came away with specific areas in which I can improve my resume. Among the most important aspects for making yourself stand out are work experience (thirty-five per cent of the publishing workforce have done unpaid work), computer skills, specific software skills, and even math skills (though this fills many book-reading editor-bent students with horror—numbers matter!). The bottom line is that publishing is a business and unless a publishing house makes money, they cannot continue to publish the wonderful books that we love to read.

Thanks Suzanne for a great beginning to the list of fantastic visiting speakers lined up for this semester! If you want to learn more about Skillset, visit their website.