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publishing studies

Tiffany Jacobs, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2018-19

November 27th, 2018 by Tiffany Jacobs | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Tiffany Jacobs, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2018-19
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Do you ever stop to think about the first time you read a certain book?

I had read The Lord of the Rings before I was nine, and now as an adult who has a keener appreciation for narrative development, I’m almost bitter that young me got to experience the books before adult me did. Late at night, hiding under my sheets with a slowly dying reading light clutched in hand, shoving everything under the mountain of pillows at my back any time I heard a noise from the hallway (any bookworm knows the struggle and exhilaration of wanting to read past your bedtime as a child). At this point in my life it’s safe to say that I already know Tolkien’s stories. I’ve read them multiple times, I’ve watched the films, I even watched the old animated versions. And believe me, I do still get a sense of nervousness and worry if the characters are in a pinch, and feel a rush of adrenaline during an intense battle scene. The wonder of the story is still there. But I can’t recall the proper joy and exhilaration from that Very First Read.

The Very First Read is something that I love beyond all proper understanding. It’s the problem of reading something that you love, but that you don’t know that you love until its finished. Some people get sad that they didn’t appreciate the book more when they were reading it for the first time. Some people immediately read it again. And some people don’t read another book for days because they don’t want to ruin their next read because they don’t think it’ll be as good as what they just finished.

You ever hear a song from years back and suddenly you’re not in 2018 anymore? You’re back to dancing stupidly at a sleepover with your childhood best friend, or you’re on a road trip fresh out of high school, or you’re up late studying for exams, song blaring in the background. The Very First Read is something like that.

You get so engrossed in a new book that everything else sort of melts around you, and it’s just you and that story, those characters. That moment when you just sort of… look up, and remember exactly where you are, like it’s shocking somehow that you haven’t been physically transported. Years later, remembering what you see coming out of that stupor, remembering the raw feeling of the characters and the world and the story. That’s what the Very First Read feels like to me.

Each new book is another chance for the Very First Read.

It’s what inspired me to study literature during my undergrad, and I’m positive it’s what pulled me in the direction of publishing. I can’t think of anything that I would enjoy more than ensuring that people like me get that perfect Very First Read.

Morven Gow, PhD Publishing Studies

November 15th, 2018 by Morven Gow | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Morven Gow, PhD Publishing Studies
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Working Title: Negotiating Authenticity in 21st Century Book Publishing

Topic: Worth £4.8bn to the UK economy while playing a central role as generator of IP underpinning other creative industries (TV, film, and theatre), book publishing merits concentrated examination. Authenticity lies at the heart of publishing, desired by readers and sold by publishers. My research will ask how the experience of authenticity in book publishing cultures is produced, negotiated, and contested; and if the tension between commercial demands and the desire for authenticity on the part of the consumer/reader resolved.

Research Interests: authenticity, book publishing, book history, book marketing, creative industry, heritage industry, cultural economy, psychology, sociology, marketing

Supervisors:

Professor Claire Squires (Stirling Centre for International Publishing)

Professor Sian Jones (Centre for Environment, History, and Policy)

Studentships: SGSAH AHRC DTP Scotland Funded Studentship

Links:

Morven on Twitter: @Morv60

Morven on LinkedIn

Alice Piotrowska, PhD in Publishing Studies

November 14th, 2018 by Alice Piotrowska | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Alice Piotrowska, PhD in Publishing Studies
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Working Title: Publishing in Scotland 1968–2018: From Cultural Heritage to Digital Engagement

Topic: In collaboration with Publishing Scotland and HarperCollins, my project examines the recent history of the publishing industry in Scotland. With my methods involving archival and oral history research and participant observation, I consider how Scottish publishing has developed in the past five decades with the influence of internationalisation, conglomeration, and new digital technologies. My aim is to generate a history of Scottish publishing that incorporates a business-oriented perspective and adds to the understanding of how the ideas of nation and culture impact the industry.

Research interests: Scottish publishing, digital innovations, book history, book design, literary translation, marketing, nationhood, independent publishing

Supervisors:

Professor Claire Squires (Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication)

Dr Gill Tasker (Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication)

Marion Sinclair (Publishing Scotland)

Sheena Barclay (HarperCollins UK)

Studentship: University of Stirling Match Funded Studentship co-funded by Publishing Scotland and HarperCollins

Links:

Alice on Twitter: @AlicePiotrowska

Alice on LinkedIn

Email: alice.piotrowska@stir.ac.uk 

 

Federica Fiorillo – MLitt in Publishing Studies 2018/19

November 7th, 2018 by Federica_Fiorillo | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Federica Fiorillo – MLitt in Publishing Studies 2018/19
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I came out as a bookworm at the age of 8.

The real surprise for anyone who kept feeding books to the avid reader of a child I was, though, came when I declared I loved spotting mistakes on the page and correcting them. A bunch of years later, I found myself editing friends’ dissertations and cocooning a passion for footnotes and technicalities.

Becoming an editor has been my constant objective during my years of college in Italy; getting a MA in Classics helped me develop a keen eye on details and great mental flexibility. Moving to Scotland was a dream I had been nurturing for years, so the MLitt in Publishing at the University of Stirling seemed like the perfect next step.

I find nothing more exciting than the publishing industry, and I do believe that the printed book has not by far run out of allure – even though I appreciate e-books and any digital format that is around. You never know what author or story will change somebody’s life, but you can be sure that ink and paper still have a lot of difference to make in this world, and I definitely want to be part of it. Visionary and possibly rebellious publishers have always been my lifelong inspiration and influence, and I consider irony the most powerful tool humans have.

 

I drench my days with coffee, I never miss the chance to have a laugh, and I tweet about it. So far so good.

Mireia Pauné, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-18

December 11th, 2017 by Mireia_Paune | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Mireia Pauné, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-18
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I spent my childhood and my teenage years reading and evaluating all the books I could find. If I had a book in my hands, I couldn’t avoid reading it, no matter what. This passion for books and words was the feeling that pushed me to study Journalism in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, hoping that someday I would be able to work in this sector.

While studying my Bachelor’s Degree, I was involved in different media, such as a local radio, Catalonia’s autonomic TV and a newspaper. I also created a blog and wrote reviews about the books I read and articles about fashion, culture and films. This experience made me discover a big social media community interested in books, culture and fashion and, two years ago, I started a monthly collaboration in a radio program talking about fashion and culture.

After finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, I was combining my last years studying music (my other passion), and working in my first job. Being in charge of the communication department of a private business helped me to gain experience and improve my skills in corporate journalism. Regardless that I truly enjoyed being part of all these amazing teams, I wanted to follow my passion and work in the book industry.

The best way to do so was enrolling in the Mlitt in Publishing of Stirling University; being a year abroad in Scotland, learning all the skills that I love, like design, marketing and book production. It was the experience I have always dreamt of. Seeing all the internship opportunities that the course offers, the excitement of being part of the SYP and the cultural richness cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow have, I do not doubt I am going to live this year to the fullest. My publishing career has just started!

You can keep track of this adventure right from the beginning:

Instagram 

LinkedIn

Twitter

Pinterest

 

Madalena Cardoso, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-18

November 29th, 2017 by Madalena Cardoso | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Madalena Cardoso, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-18
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Chocolate, fantasy novels, large cappuccinos, watercolours, scrapbooks, yoga, Chinese food and labradors. That’s me!

Currently doing an MLitt in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling, I wish to pursue a career in the dynamic industry of books, more specifically in Marketing.

I attained a BSc in Business Management at Nova School of Business and Economics (2014-17), in Lisbon, the colourful and sunny capital of Portugal, and the place I like to call home. The course put a strong emphasis on the development of analytical, research and communication skills, and I took modules in Marketing & International Marketing, Strategy, Finance, Statistics and so on, covering all aspects of Business. I spent one semester abroad at The University of Sheffield as part of the Erasmus + Programme, where I became more internationally aware, and where I fell in love with the UK (except for its weather), sharing unique experiences such as living, studying and travelling with people from all over the world.

My passion for the universe of words and my creative disposition dictated that my next step would be to cultivate specific knowledge in the Publishing field. Unsurprisingly, I am a fan of spending hours at bookshops, scanning charming covers and enigmatic synopses, and (discreetly) smelling lovely thin-paper pages. Four weeks into the masters, I have already learned about industry roles, trends, design theory, business models and standard software.

The Marketing of books is what really interests me, not only because of my background in business, but because organisations have become increasingly more customer- and relationship-centric and more experience-orientated. One day, I hope to become more than a mere consumer and enjoy more than the publishing output; I wish to take part on the other side of the industry, where all the magic begins.

Find me on Twitter and on WordPress

Visiting Speaker: 404 Ink’s “Nasty Women”

March 30th, 2017 by katharina_dittmann | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker: 404 Ink’s “Nasty Women”
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On March 23, the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication and the Stirling Centre for Gender and Feminist Studies organised a launch event for 404 Ink’s first book publication, Nasty Women. We welcomed our very own Laura Jones and Heather McDaid, founders of alternative indie publisher 404 Ink, as well as Claire Heuchan and Laura Waddell, two of the authors featured in Nasty Women. They came to talk about the idea behind the book, discuss issues of class and diversity within the publishing industry and offered some advice on working in publishing.

404 Ink’s Nasty Women 

Nasty Women is 404 Ink’s first book, published on International Women’s Day 2017. It is a collection of essays on the experiences and the issues women face in a world in which right-wing populism, racism and misogyny seem to be on the verge of becoming socially acceptable once again.

Heather and Laura talked us through the idea behind the book and the adventurous publication process: The essays in the book are meant to “celebrate and showcase women’s voices” and to give a platform to those women whose experiences are often marginalised in the mainstream media. The idea was to represent current issues (especially in the light of Donald Trump being elected as President of the United States), which led to a heavily shortened publishing schedule. Setting the publication date on International Women’s Day left Laura and Heather about four months to commission, fund, edit, and produce the book. The overwhelming demand for a book that gave voice to the experience of contemporary women became clear when the project was fully funded on Kickstarter within three days and widely exceeded the initial goal.

Panel Discussion

After Claire Heuchan and Laura Waddell read extracts from their essays titled Black Feminism Online: Claiming Digital Space and Against Stereotypes: Working Class Girls and Working Class Art, respectively, the panel discussed possible crises of confidence and the feeling of imposter syndrome. This was related to both the issue of diversity in publishing as well as Nasty Women’s unconventional publication process.

In publishing, following your intuition is almost always a good idea, and if your gut (and experience) tells you that there’s a market for your project, seize the opportunity and get to work! From an author’s point of view, Claire says that faith in your own work is derived from how it is received in the public context and that the commission for Nasty Women was “incredibly validating”. When it comes to the relationship between publisher and author, trust is the most important factor. According to Laura Waddell, it is very reassuring to work for a publisher who believes in the project and is committed to their authors. Basically, everybody suffers from imposter syndrome from time to time, you just have to push through it and keep learning.

On the subject of tackling issues of class and diversity, the panel discussed the problems of gatekeeping and how it can narrow the level of representation within publishing. When commissioning the essays for Nasty Women, Heather and Laura were careful not to tell their authors what to write, but to respect their voices and to interfere with the content as little as possible. Their policy is to put the author first and to give the whole publishing process a sense of transparency, which benefits both publishers and authors alike. Claire says that writing for Nasty Women has given her the opportunity to “hold the doors open for other people” and encourage other marginalised voices to make themselves be heard as well. While gatekeeping is still a big issue in the publishing industry, 404 Ink shows that it is possible to have a relationship of equality between publishers and authors.

Some final advice

After answering questions from the audience, the discussion ended with Laura, Heather, Claire and Laura offering some advice for starting out in publishing:

  • Don’t do the work all on your own! It is easier to share responsibilities and take advantage of other people’s skillsets.
  • Look at the structure! If you want to make an impact in editing, start by paying attention to how things are composed.
  • Be authentic! Be true to yourself and keep your main objectives in mind.
  • Things will go wrong! People make mistakes, so don’t take anything to heart and just work through it.

By Katharina Dittmann

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

So, You Want to Be a Publisher?

March 14th, 2017 by barbora_kuntova | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on So, You Want to Be a Publisher?
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We can all picture it – a guy or a revolutionary woman (because, let’s be honest here…) 50 years ago, in an office where the walls are bookshelves, smoke is curling up at the ceiling, there’s an old typewriter, and piles upon piles of (unread) manuscripts. This is the idea of what a ‘publisher’ does. This is the romanticised version of the job from times long gone.

Fast forward to the present, and adjust your image of a publisher:

  • bookshelves are still cool to have if you’re a publisher, though there has to be some order, and also, you need space for more vital things so keep it down to one or two
  • smoking is a big no inside the office
  • typewriters? Not even computers older than 7 years. You have to move with the flow if you want to make it in this business. With the flow and the technology, really.
  • you may still have piles upon piles of manuscripts – though, sadly, they are now mostly emailed, because who can afford to print what is basically a book, and pay shipping for that on top of everything?

Then there is the word ‘publisher’ – who is she, really (see what I did there)? Is a publisher one who works in a publishing house? One who replies to your emails with ‘sorry but your manuscript does not fit well with our image, keep trying though’? One who finds the next big thing in the world of bestsellers? One who puts together the layout and design of what is soon to become a book? Or the person who makes you notice that there is an interesting title being released this spring, through the media campaign? Or one who tweets and updates other social media on behalf of the publishing house?

All of them are publishers, one way or another. In order to have a successful publishing house you need several things:

  • time and space (it can be your bed, indeed)
  • a budget (we’ve learned at the latest SYP Conference that things can be done well on a very small budget)
  • a good team

People are essential in this business. You need them to read the manuscripts, pick which one will make it (which sounds like a scary but very exciting thing to do), edit it, edit it, edit it, proofread it, typeset it, design it, market it, print it, sell it. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like a one person job to me. And like with everything in your life, you need people you can rely on.

So, you want to be a publisher – a vague term, though often mistaken for a very concrete job description. If you want to be a part of the world of publishing, you need to find a cranny, get yourself in there, and know that you might end up doing whatever is needed to be done. You need to know that publishing books is a time-consuming, exhausting process, often not really appreciated by the public – nobody cares you were the one who made the book happen. The important thing is that it did happen.

As publishers (editors, marketing teams, sales teams, proofreaders, copy-writers, designers, typesetters, interns, etc) we are invisible to the world, working to get the best of writing out to you, the reader. We don’t have our names on the book covers. We rarely even have them printed anywhere inside the book. But we love what we do, we believe in the process, and we are very passionate about our jobs.

Oh and, if you are a writer, keep writing those words. Keep sending manuscripts. Don’t let us destroy your dreams with rejection emails. We want your words, heck, we need your words. We would not exist if it weren’t for those who write. So write.

Yours sincerely, 

Barb Kuntova

PPA Scotland’s Paul McNamee: Fund Diversity!

February 27th, 2017 by morven_gow | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on PPA Scotland’s Paul McNamee: Fund Diversity!
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The Big Issue’s UK editor, Paul McNamee, took up tenure as Chair of the PPA Scotland on Wednesday evening (15th Feb) in Glasgow, in front of a strong gathering of over 100 people from magazine and newspaper publishing in Scotland.  At this special reception for the new Chair, Neil Braidwood of Connect Communications gave a lively introduction to McNamee as he handed over the reins used to guide the organisation for the last two years. In his acceptance speech, McNamee painted a vivid picture of himself when as a young man of potential, he was keen to get access to the world of publishing and communication.

Bringing the scenario up to date, he pinpointed what was wrong with the industry now – and echoed public statements and report findings produced by the book publishing industry, and indeed many other sectors including marketing and advertising.  He spoke passionately about the lack of diversity in the newspaper and magazine industry, the lack of young people joining the sector from less advantageous backgrounds. “If kids don’t have money behind them, you’ve got to put money in front of them,” he told us and our response was wholeheartedly positive. With the backing of the PPA Scotland, he wants to see the industry supporting disadvantaged young people who have potential and a desire to enter publishing.

Listening to him, I was reminded that in the late Seventies/ early Eighties, I was one of the last to benefit from a full grant for further and higher education, a luxury not available to many in the UK these days.  Now, if someone from a disadvantaged background does decide to become a student (taking on the psychological and practical burden of debt required to do so) and graduates in due course, they will frequently find that to break into their chosen business sector, they are expected to work for nothing often for long periods in the hope that this trial will end in paid-for employment.  Who can afford the luxury of an unpaid internship, where often not even travel is reimbursed? Only those already blessed with some degree of family financial support?  Is it right that entrance to the creative/ knowledge/ communication sectors across the UK can be based on an individual’s financial resource? Surely this must change or the work produced, whether in a newspaper, magazine, book, app or website, will become increasingly irrelevant to most of the population.

It is not wise to have a minority controlling cultural communication.  A monoculture does not reflect society and should not be imposed. Publishers of books, magazines and newspapers have a responsibility to ensure that all voices are represented.  Looking forward to seeing how the new Chair and the members of PPA Scotland tackle this initiative.

By Morven Gow

Links:

PPA news link to Paul McNamee’s Chair Reception evening

Guardian article: Penguin Random House – publishing “risks becoming irrelevant”

The Big Issue: latest issue on reading and libraries