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publishing student

What defines the best?

November 30th, 2017 by David Graham | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on What defines the best?
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The experience of being a shadow fiction judge for the Saltire Society.

By David MacDonald Graham.

I had the honour of being a shadow fiction judge for the Saltire society, six books to read, take notes and ultimately decide which one was the best. The books ran the gauntlet from the emotional, political, heartwarming, the despairing and the disturbing.

 Judging and reading is an interpretive game and sometimes you need to separate the enjoyment factor and concentrate on craft, tone, intent and relevance. Perhaps, when all of those factors fail, the enjoyment factor remains the only aspect left to work with. It’s a challenge, thinking in and outside of literary factors, determining merits or lack of them. As a writer myself, I had to distance myself from the knowledge, that crafting a book, whatever the reason we choose to create, is not an easy task. A lot of work goes into the craft, a lot of doubt and second-guessing.
I know the work ethic, the difficulties and the attacks of doubt, and I owed it to the writers on the basis of knowing how aggravating and rewarding the process can be, to be as robust as possible in my analysis.
I spent the evening of the panel talking about books with my fellow shadow judges, which is probably how most of us would like to spend our evenings. The discourse and debate was lively, certainly well moderated and when the time came for a consensus, there was one question that challenged my perceptions and ultimately changed my decision.

“What is the best book, what deserves the award?”

Well, to me, these are two questions.

The best book is not necessarily the one that deserves the award. An award is a powerful thing, it creates visibility, it calls attention to both the author and the themes explored in the text. The question then becomes, who needs the award? There are, after all, some books that will always sell based on genre, subject matter and the author’s reputation. There are others that make important points, comment on society and explore culturally relevant issues that may not always be comfortable to read about. It’s possible these books may not find an audience without an award to champion it.

Another question is then raised, which is the most important book?

Bearing in mind, I had only been asked one question and my interpretation threw up four more in the space of seconds, including, is the most important book also the best book?
In a matter of seconds, I found myself asking internally if I had the right to judge, and mentally imagining myself saying to my previous decision;

“It’s not you, its definitely me. You’ll find your way.”

We all have a relationship with the books we read, and I essentially broke up with mine. Luckily there are plenty of books in the metaphorical sea. The book I eventually choose, quite simply, had a role to play that was beyond entertainment, it was a book that needed to be read.
The shadow judging was an invaluable experience, one I would be keen to repeat, armed with the knowledge that my preconceptions could be challenged by a simple question. I extend my thanks to the Saltire society; it will be interesting to find out on the 30th of November if our overall consensus matches up with the judging panel.

If you would like to get in touch, you can;

Twitter me @davidjonwinter

facebook me under David MacDonald Graham.

or LinkedIn me here:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-macdonald-graham-557605b1/

Yao Huang, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 1st, 2016 by yao_huang | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Yao Huang, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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img_6111Hi, everyone! 大家好! I am Yao Huang, from Beijing, China. You can call me Yuna. I chose to study Publishing as I love reading, love the world created by words, full of imagination and magic. I enjoy swimming in all types of books with good qualities.

When I was an undergraduate, my subject was Communication (Digital Publishing), which included courses in Communication, Editing of Digital Media, Publication regulation and so on. As I know, the MLitt in Publishing Studies is professional and famous at Stirling University, so it is a good opportunity for me to receive further training. Meanwhile, there is no doubt that the culture difference has a great attraction.

In my opinion, publishing is a promising and active industry, especially digital publishing. When I went deeply into this area, I realized that there are both challenge and opportunity at the same time. With the development of technology, the production, operation mode, business model and even the way of reading constantly developing, they are not always the same. I learned to use software to make an e-book or e-magazine in class, which would help me follow the trends. I also learnt about how to set a website through writing codes in person, which were really complicated, but good experiences.

Impressively, in the fourth year, I got a precious chance to work in Science Press of China Science Publishing Media Co., Ltd, as an intern editing assistant. The editor was very professional and taught me a lot including clearing each step of publishing a title. This process generally takes around 3 months. Fortunately, I took one month to proofread a manuscript like a copy editor, which was challenging, because I didn’t have any relevant experience before, and that was the first time I felt my decision was changing a book.

I believe that in the near future, we will step into a digital age. A significant purpose I came to Stirling was to acquire academic knowledge, work on the principle of traditional publishing and the practice of digital publishing. I think what I get from here will help me leisurely face this unpredictable and exciting industry.

I have to say that I am experiencing a culture shock, a new way of thinking often makes me confused, but it is okay, that’s probably the interesting point.

 

Chiara Bullen, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

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

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

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

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

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