Katie Lumsden, MLitt Publishing Studies 2017-2018

October 6th, 2017 by Katie Lumsden | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Katie Lumsden, MLitt Publishing Studies 2017-2018
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Hi, I’m Katie and I’m currently on the Publishing Studies course at the University of Stirling. I also completed my undergraduate course at Stirling, graduating in June 2017 with a 2:1 BA (Hons) degree in English Studies. So it’s safe to safe, I’m a bibliophile, and I love Stirling!

I’ve been interested in writing and reading literature, and books in general, from before I could even read (bet you’ve never heard that cliché before!) I would carry books around with me and force my parents to read them to me until I was able to read them myself. I used to write short stories constantly, and when I first thought about coming to University, I looked into Creative Writing courses. After some research, I realised that I was more interested in the physical creation of the books and the marketing that goes into them once they are published, rather than the writing of them. As Publishing was only offered as a masters course, I figured the best way in would be to apply for English Studies and then apply to the masters course after my undergraduate course, which I did and the rest is history!

During my undergraduate years, a lot of my course was focussed on literature and linguistics, rather than publishing the content. However, the Business Writing and Communication module I completed, and the historical modules which delved into the creation of the first novel and the first ‘marketing’ strategies that were applied, were the ones I found most interesting. This pushed me to apply for the Publishing course and it has been the best decision for me.

Currently, I’m looking to expand my experience within the Publishing industry in areas such as editing, proofreading and marketing. I am actively looking for internships and job vacancies – not only as experience for just now, but to see what roles and careers are available in the future for people just starting out. I’m trying to get involved in as many things as I can: following publishing companies on Twitter, joining the SYP and attending events when I can and having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile for all those important business connections!

Speaking of social media and self-promotion… connect with me on:
Blog (WordPress)

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… 


London Book Fair 2017 — Self-publishing Discussions

March 21st, 2017 by yao_huang | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on London Book Fair 2017 — Self-publishing Discussions
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I was honoured to participate in the London Book Fair 2017. Publishers from many countries grabbed this opportunity to show their shining projects and conduct rights trade to each other.

On 15th March, there were two discussions about self-publishing. The first one, two speakers talked about the current situation of self-publishing and some problems people who want to involve with had to be aware of. The following discussion invited three bestselling authors to share their interesting experiences of self-publishing and what they did for the success. They are Rachel Abbott, L J Ross, Mark Dawson and Keith Houghton. All of them agreed that they wrote for themselves at first, not for meeting readers’ expectations. Rachel mentioned that editing for professional editors was really important because she edited her manuscript 30 times altogether without editors, the number surprised me. And she emailed her first hundred readers, each of them. I suppose that this behaviour can make readers know their reviews and opinions are valuable, are considered by the author. Also, it is a good way for the author to close the distance between readers and herself. L J Ross pointed out that binding was crucial because people judged by the cover. Although Keith published books via traditional publishers, he still enjoyed self-publishing. He could completely control the process, especially how and when to promote, and he was satisfied with the final version. Finally, authors were expected to give some advice for other authors, Mark only said one word: “Professional”.

Self-publishing has been a popular choice that could not be ignored and more and more writers would like to do. Challenges and opportunities exist at the same time. Traditional publishers think they are so professional that can make the package right, know the distribution and market but most authors do not. So if an author wants to self-publish, you have to know the industry as much as you can, do lots of research.

I appreciate Mark’s advice, everything should be professional although it would take a lot of time and energy. The more carefully you treat, the more returns you obtain. For a self-published book, the competitors are not only books published by traditional publishers but also by thousands of independent authors. So be professional, let yourself be a strong “publisher”.

by Yao Huang

Internships Anonymous @ Publishing 101

March 13th, 2017 by rachel_mccann | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Internships Anonymous @ Publishing 101
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The Internships Anonymous panel at the recent SYP Scotland’s Publishing 101 conference (3rd March 2017) provided some valuable insight into ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ of publishing internships.

Unfortunately, paid internships are hard to find in publishing, which is problematic as it limits the number of people who can afford to undertake unpaid internships. However, it can’t be denied that internships are vital in gaining experience, and give you an edge in applying for publishing jobs so it is helpful to try and do as many as possible.

Luckily, the Internships Anonymous panel provided a number of tips to help you secure that all-important internship:

  • Get in touch! Some places such as the Scottish Book Trust don’t advertise their internships, so there is no harm in sending an email to enquire;
  • Attend as many events as possible: this way you can keep up to date with everything that is happening in the industry. Most importantly, use these events as networking opportunities and talk to as many people as you can. Who knows where a simple conversation could lead?
  • Volunteer where and when you can: book shops and book festivals are excellent opportunities to learn more about the industry. If you have any free time, then you have time to find some relevant experience;
  • Remember: all experience is relevant experience, so just keep volunteering and applying for everything.

The following are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your internship, once you’ve managed to pin one down:

  • Remember that you are not there to do someone else’s job for them: you are supposed to be learning, not replacing a paid position;
  • Stuffing envelopes, making tea and walking the manager’s dog are not publishing skills, and therefore are not acceptable for an internship (no matter how cute the dog is);
  • Show off your talent and passion. Make the most of your time with the company and they will remember you;
  • The Scottish publishing industry is small and it is important to remember that everyone knows each other and talks to each other about their interns. That means if you impress in an internship, it could lead to something else. Likewise, if you make a bad impression, it could impact further internship and employment opportunities;
  • Proper guidance and feedback is crucial because you won’t learn anything otherwise. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if you are being asked to do something you are unfamiliar with. It’s better to ask for help than to mess up completely.

In some instances, an internship can result in a paid job, but does that make a bad internship worth it? The final, and most important, piece of advice from the Internships Anonymous panel was that it is ok to say no, especially if you feel like you’re being exploited, or what you are being asked to do makes you uncomfortable.

– By Rachel McCann


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

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

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

The terrifying experience of drawing in public

December 8th, 2016 by michail_tsipoulakos | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The terrifying experience of drawing in public
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https-%2f%2fcdn-evbuc-com%2fimages%2f25635246%2f79986262757%2f1%2foriginalThe Edinburgh Comic Art Festival took place in Summerhall Venue on 26th and 27th of November, and of course I couldn’t miss it. The whole exhibition offered a variety of visiting speakers, free workshops to test your artistic capabilities, and panels with Scottish and British comic book artists displaying their work. And if you are a geek like me, all these things hold an extra value!

For this story, I will share with you the experience I had while participating in the quick-draw activity. As the name itself states, quick-draw was one of the many activities where you actually had to draw different images on a drawing surface, as fast as possible. Our instructors were Mr.…. and Mrs.…... Ok I admit it; I was late and missed the part where they introduced themselves. For our convenience, let’s call them Mr. Tall (for obvious reasons) and Mrs. Red (due to her bright red hair). 20161204-963567316_editedThe whole activity was designed for people who are new to drawing, for others with some existing experience, and for those who are TERRIFIED by it, like me!

The participants had to experiment with a range of different materials like white or coloured paper, different sketching pencils, markers with several colour options, while using different techniques, to explore the way real life illustrators create their work. The motto of our two wonderful instructors (Yes I’m talking about Mr. Tall and Mrs. Red) was: “You don’t need any fancy equipment to draw your hearts out. Some white paper and a black pencil and your empty canvas will transform into a work of art”. The first thing we had to do was draw a funny face. “Draw a line here and here, and there and remember, don’t push your pencil too much” Mr. Tall said. He made it look so effortless which by the way, wasn’t! I had to try really hard. The end result after 15 minutes of drawing and connecting lines looked like an uglier version of Mr. Potato from Toy Story. And yes, Mr. potato is already ugly enough! The first session was officially over with not much success.

Next stop, Nature! How to draw trees and flowers with a few easy techniques. Instructions followed again, this time by Mrs. Red. Initially, it seemed easier than drawing a face. Well it wasn’t, especially for someone who can’t draw a straight line, not even with a ruler. My picture was a complete disaster. Probably something that a 3 year old would draw. When Mrs. Red saw my picture, she was literally speechless. I managed to give the world talentless a whole new meaning. I’m quite sure that if we lived in a fantasy world, where Mrs. Red was the queen, she would have ordered my immediate incarceration, to prevent me from creating new abominations! All jokes aside, she was super cool and funny, and despite her initial shock, she was all smiles and compliments.

fotor_148081045839063Finally, for the third and final task, we had to draw anything we wanted. I decided to go with Doctor Strange. Since I had a cover of him in my bag, I didn’t have to search for my inspiration. The end result was quite tolerable. Finally, after all this time, I managed to draw something! Even Mrs. Red complimented me for my effort! And that was it, almost 45 minutes later, the quick-draw activity was over. The purpose of this workshop was to gain confidence in developing your own drawing skills. Did I become the new Dali? Hell no! But I had a great time, met interesting people who are equally bad at drawing, and finally had the chance to use a range of materials and techniques utilized by professional comic book artists. Now that I’m equipped with all this knowledge, I feel super ready for the Edinburgh Comic Con festival in February.

CAPITAL SCI-FI CON, here I come!!!

A Day in the Life of a Publishing Student – 17th November edition

November 18th, 2016 by barbora_kuntova | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on A Day in the Life of a Publishing Student – 17th November edition
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Here at the University of Stirling, they like to keep us busy. And when it’s not our course keeping us busy, it’s all the exciting events that are going on around Scotland that we really want to attend. Here’s a look at what a random day looks like when you’re a publishing student.

6:30 am – first alarm clock goes off – slide to turn off

6:45 am – second alarm clock goes off – slide to turn off

7:00 am – third alarm clock goes off – slide to turn off, though now I can actually see something resembling light outside

7:30 am – the alarm clock goes off for the fourth time this morning, slide to turn off

8:00 am – oh well, okay then… time to get up and do this thing called adulting

8:30 am – a jumbo sized coffee and Nielsen – living the dream

9:45 am – time for another coffee, this time Christmas edition (it’s never too early for Christmas drinks)

10:00 am – lecture time

11:10 am – group work – never does a day go by without at least one

12:30 pm – time to catch up on emails and assignments; but at least the view is good

1:00 pm – lunch time – the Student Union is affordable, though not the healthiest – but we need all the unhealthy food we can get to keep us going

2:00 pm – reading time in the library!

3:00 pm – our favourite part of the week – visiting speaker (and coffee), this week we’re very lucky to have the author Liam Murray Bell

3:30 pm – we are adults but we also love being read to, so it is story time!

3:35 pm – tweeting is basically our full time job

5:15 pm – we the publishing peeps are on our way to the SYP Scotland Freelancing 101 event.. and what better way to spend the train ride than reading/tweeting?

6:40 pm – the panel is on, so take notes!

8:12 pm – night night, Edinburgh

10:00 pm – 1:00 am – bed time varies, depending on who’s all caught up with their uni work and who’s not – also, Netflix is an important variable in this formula

Barb Kuntova