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publishing in Scotland

Saltire Society Literary Awards 2016

December 9th, 2016 by ruoqi_sun | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Saltire Society Literary Awards 2016
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As one of the event of Book Week Scotland, this year’s Saltire Society Literary Awards was held on 24th of November in Edinburgh. As a publishing student, I went there to participate in this activity and that was the first time I had ever attended such an event. Fortunately, I met some classmates and it made me feel much better.

To be honest, all the information I know about this award before the event comes from Wikipedia and Facebook. Saltire Society is an organization which aims to promote the understanding of the culture and heritage of Scotland. This organization has a long history, and it has established numerous awards, involving a number of cultural fields. The literary prize is one of them.

Before the award, we got half an hour to drink something and chat with others. At that time, everybody can share their experience with others.  It is amazing that we did not know each other before but the topic was very natural to start. A bag was prepared for each guest in the seating area, including some brochures which introduce the awards of this year, the annual review of Scottish Book Trust and this year’s new book etc. This year’s awards include a total of more than ten items, the specific awards can be found from the following timetable, because I do not want this blog be simply reporting.timetable

Next I want to talk about a few things that impressed me. The first one is about the “Publisher of the year”. The shortlisted publishers are Birlinn, Black and White Publishing, Floris Book, National Galleries of Scotland and Saraband. I remember the last month we just finished a presentation about Saraband. At that time, we searched and found almost nothing about this publisher on the internet, except their homepage. I even thought it was a tiny and financially struggling publisher in Scotland although they have published His Bloody Project which has been popular over the last year. But through this award I changed my mind, Saraband makes its own contribution to the publishing industry even though it is not a big publisher. Its efforts are equally worthy of respect, and its persistence is more worthy of recognition.  It is also because of these publishers who know hard but still insist on it, the literary industry can constantly develop.

The second one is about our professor Claire, I did not know that she was present as an honored guest until her name appeared in the timetable. This made me feel that as a publishing student, I am really involved in the field of publishing, and this kind of opportunity which provided to students are rarely happens in my country.

Finally, I would like to talk about the importance of this kind of awards shortly. As publishers, it can be said our work is less pretentious but very essential. Readers are always attracted to the design and the content of the book, but they do not know all the efforts made by publishers. The publishing industry is not as fashionable as the film industry, and our awards are not as high-profile as the Oscars, but we also need such awards to recognize our efforts during the last year.  Whether it is a publisher which has long history or just a novice, we all need to have such an opportunity to know each other, to see what’s happening in our industry. These good ideas can provide new ways of thinking for more publishers and this trend is also a kind of virtuous circle for publishing industry.

You can get more details of 2016 Saltire Society Literary Awards from here: http://www.saltiresociety.org.uk/awards/literature/literary-awards/

By the way, the performance by Niall Campbell during the activity was really nice, fond and full of emotion.  You guys can search the video if you are interested in it.

 

“If it comes down to it, then eat the baby food” – Society of Young Publisher’s Internship Panel

January 14th, 2013 by Aija | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on “If it comes down to it, then eat the baby food” – Society of Young Publisher’s Internship Panel
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At the annual intern event of the Society of Young Publishers  junior staff members from various Scottish publishing houses gave, in a rare opportunity for us fledgling publishing students, insight and information on how to get one’s foot in in the publishing business. Sobering realities were spoken, albeit in warm tones.

The panel of eight, chaired by Dr. Padmini Ray Murray of Stirling University’s publishing studies, shared their labour intensive attempts of cracking into publishing – starting from advice on how to write a thorough research dissertation that can be used to one’s benefit when applying for a job, to some of the bittersweet intern experiences (such as having to promote a baby food cook book and actually having demonstrate the excellence of the cook book by eating some of the gourmet choices, and thus securing a rave recommendation) and with the comforting notion that a lot of luck is in question, and it might take months (or as in one case) about a year before a young publisher would land on their first job within an actual publishing house.

The key is to do as many internships as possible, to be social, hardworking and foremost, to be proactive. Nothing will be gained from sitting on one’s bum, waiting for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to just drop in your lap in the form of a job advert or offered internship through the (hopefully) varied connections. The general consensus between the panel was to be bold enough to contact publishers and publishing houses, big and small, and tell them you are available to work for a week or two weeks and to emphasize on top your already existing skills the fact that you are out to learn. Naturally this should go with a thorough knowledge of the publisher’s goals and previous titles, just so you can dazzle them with a proper explanation as to why you think they would be the best to provide you with invaluable experience.

Interestingly enough, many in the panel mentioned how applying for smaller companies is in many ways a better opportunity, as big publishing houses have enough to deal with as it is and often do not need interns in the way smaller companies are able and willing to take a youngling in with open arms — especially if they are willing to work, FOR FREE.

Armed with new motivation and more hands-on information (it is always good to know others have struggled as well) on how to secure an internship and further on, a career in publishing the students filed out to the Edinburgh dusk, ready to try out their own publishing wings as soon as possible – secured with the conviction of actually being ready to eat that baby food, if it comes down to it.

Aye Write! Festival 2012

March 16th, 2012 by Sara_Gardiner | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Aye Write! Festival 2012
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Opening day, Friday 9th March, the Aye Write! Festival in Glasgow began with an opening discussion from Mark Buckland, Cargo Publishing, Adrian Searle, Freight Books and Sam Best, Octavius Magazine discussing how to be a small publisher in Scotland. The main points discussed were funding and the abundance of emerging new talent coming from Scotland.

Sam discussed how Octavius was set up on a shoestring, primarily creating the magazine in an electronic form with a view to expanding into a physical format when their funding becomes more established. Octavius consists of four volunteers managing submissions from around the world. Sam explained how he was surprised and happy at the amount of writing talent that came from Scotland for the submissions, which has now had to close due to the innumerable amounts of new material they have received. Their first online magazine will launch in spring this year.

Mark also discussed the beginnings of his business, as a University graduate with a keen interest in books. His interest in publishing stems from his love of literature and interest in making the complete form. Mark discussed how he was a gardener with £800 in his pocket when he began Cargo, and made it into what it is today. In the present day, Cargo are linked with the Dundee International Book Prize and have recently announced their judge’s panel – Stephen Fry, Alan Bissett, Jenny Brown and Philip Pullman, with the winner of the prize being announced in October.

Mark candidly spoke of the industry and the realistic ways in which publishing needs to change. Cargo have begun the process by updating POD systems, which have now been taken on by the big publishing houses and the introduction of the Margins Book and Music Festival, to showcase new talent both in the publishing world and the music industry.

The day became an opportunity to talk to other publishers and listen to the seminars provided by Aye Write! Many writers were also keen to see if they could get their manuscripts read by companies while also acquiring a few free sweets at the same time.

– Sara Gardiner