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publishing

Ewa Balcerzyk, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-18

October 19th, 2017 by Ewa Balcerzyk | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Ewa Balcerzyk, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-18
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As most people studying on my course at Stirling, I’m hoping turn my passion for books into a job in publishing. This brilliant idea first occurred to me during my undergraduate course (Mediterranean Civilisation at the University of Warsaw in Poland), when I was attending some basic editing classes. However, I chose not to give up cultural studies and to carry on with a postgraduate degree in the same area. In the meantime, to become acquainted with the publishing world, I attended a one-year postgraduate course in editing and publishing at the Polish Academy of Sciences. Thanks to the skills I acquired there I was able to start working as an editorial assistant in an academic journal at the Institute of Sociology (University of Warsaw). I have also done some proofreading for the Warsaw University Press.

My publishing ambitions are centred around academic books. For a lot of my peers this doesn’t seem to be the most thrilling part of the industry, but for me this is where the most important work is done. Already during my first year at the the university I felt that after graduating I would really miss being up to date with all that exciting research going on in the humanities. The problem was that the perspective of becoming an academic seemed a bit daunting to me – I didn’t want to spend my life separated from the rest of the world by the thick university walls. Then one summer day it dawned on me that by working in academic publishing I could have the best of both worlds – I could have a “real” job and at the same be involved in the process of developing new knowledge!

The first few weeks of the publishing course here at Stirling have definitely showed me that there is much more to publishing books than just copy-editing. What’s more important, they convinced me that with enough determination I too will soon be a professional publisher.

You can find me on Twitter.

Bea Joubert, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-18

October 9th, 2017 by Bea Joubert | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Bea Joubert, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-18
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I used to get into trouble for reading.

My mother would call my name 4, 5, 10 times, trying to yank my attention away from the pages my nose was buried in. Luckily, she never stayed mad for long, and I never stopped reading. I began writing, too, as readers often do; that pursuit led me to my first Creative Writing class at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna, B.C. While I enjoyed developing my writing skills (which I still do every day), the best part of that class for me was editing my fellow students’ work.

After a semester at UBC I transferred to Mount Royal University in Calgary, where I eventually got my undergrad in English Lit. I took all the creative writing classes available to me, eventually co-editing the Advanced Poetry class project, a collection of poetry we’d written throughout the term. Knowing I wanted to be an editor, I then set my sights on the Publishing Program at the University of Stirling.

Before I could get my toes into the MLitt, though, I had to get a graduate diploma in Media & Humanities; here I was fortunate enough to be able to pursue a research topic of my choosing. Naturally, I chose to study what I love, and wrote ~15,000 words on Editing in the Creative Writing Workshop.

Currently, in the MLitt Publishing program, I’m learning everything necessary to be the editor extraordinaire I know I am fated to be. Getting comfortable with InDesign is especially enjoyable for me, and not an area I thought I’d be particularly good at … proof that one doesn’t need to be an artist to understand (and love) great design.

In other news, I’m super into Craft Beer, Tarantino movies, tweeting about books and cats and Canada, and Shakespeare (duh?).
twitter: @BeaJoubert

instagram: Bea Joubert

Sofia Fernandez, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-2018

October 7th, 2017 by Sofia Fernandez | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Sofia Fernandez, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2017-2018
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Last year I found out Publishing entails all I ever felt passionate for in life. On 2012 I chose to study an undergraduate degree in English Philology in my birth country, Spain, because of my interest on language processing and English language literature. During the last five past years I understood that not only the meaning of the text started to be important to me, but the aesthetics. I enjoy paying attention to the way the writing is presented, by means of the cover of the book and the entire layout. All these interests stood to reason when I attended a careers advice meeting in which an old student of the university lectured about her work on Blackwell Publishing after finishing her literature degree and I became fascinated with the editorial field work.

I then applied for an internship in “Opera Prima”, an independent editorial established in Madrid. I worked there during three months carrying out different activities in all the departments because the firm is very small. I took part on edition tasks (style editing, layout, proofreading and complete design of the book), promotion department (contact with media, design of newsletters, follow-up of promotion campaigns) and the distribution of books (registration of books in the commercial circuit, activation of the inputs in bookshops, invoicing and delivery shipment). After this internship I decided to study book design more in depth by attending to an Adobe InDesign course certificate. Moreover, on December 2016 I worked on Fnac enterprise as a shop assistant during three months and had the opportunity to be present on the commercial circuit of books on a real bookstore. I then decided to apply for a job position in Elle magazines and I got hired. However, the job conditions were very bad because, being completely honest, Spain is not doing great on the economy recovery after the financial crisis we had. 

As a result, I thought that undertaking a postgraduate in publishing studies at the University of Stirling would be a huge opportunity to gain experience on the field in another language, and fulfill my career ambitions ABROAD! (And also because there is so much more I do not know yet…) Now that classes have started I feel I am having the time of my life because I cannot believe all the chances the University offers to get involved in the profession. Moreover, apart from the lectures and several practical exercises that put you on the situation of working in the business, I am very excited to create my own physical publishing project (a book). This encourages me to show the best that is in me and demonstrate I can make a contribution to the field. I am here to stay. Hurray for publishing and its exciting world!

Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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:
Twitter
Blog (WordPress)
LinkedIn
Pinterest

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.

Unearth Your Inner Editor at London Book Fair 2017

March 27th, 2017 by Amalie Andersen | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Unearth Your Inner Editor at London Book Fair 2017
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Having been up since 3 in the morning and realising upon arrival in Glasgow Airport at 5 am that our flight wasn’t as early as we had thought, I was exhausted when I eventually landed in London and went straight to the Book Fair. With its glass roof and the energy from the thousands of people gathered there, Hammersmith Olympia was an overwhelming greenhouse full of tiny networking and rights selling ants.  However, after a well-deserved coffee break and a Dairy Milk bar sponsored by Harper Collins, it was with renewed energy that I attended my first seminar of the Fair; Unearth Your Inner Editor by Cornerstones founder Helen Corner-Bryant.

Cornerstones is a literary consultancy which offers editorial services to authors hoping to get published. Authors send them their manuscript and Cornerstones edits and improves these manuscripts to the point where they will (hopefully) get picked up by a publisher or a literary agent. On a very practical level this means looking at:

  • The structure and plot of a story – if this doesn’t work, Cornerstones and the author will go back to the drawing board together.
  • Characters and their development – are all characters unique and relevant or could some be cut or merged?
  • Dialogue vs description – dialogue brings the story to life in a way that description doesn’t. Helen Corner-Bryant was adamant that a good story puts the reader in the centre of events by using dialogue and an active voice rather than describing previous conversations and events.
  • The three (or five) act graph – how are suspense and obstacles distributed throughout the story?
  • Finally, and perhaps most important, is a story’s pace. To keep the reader reading, superfluous words, chapters or characters must be cut to make every word count. Secrets must be revealed slowly and not all at once to create and keep tension.

These all make up an editor’s tool kit.

Helen Corner-Bryant emphasised that, as editors, we should be directional but honour the author’s vision. If an author insists on keeping a character that you don’t see the point of, you must, in cooperation with the author, make this character work.  She also made the point that if she skims over a paragraph she knows that something isn’t working. However, this can be difficult to communicate to the author as “I just got bored” isn’t very constructive. An editor must therefore rely on their instinct but always back up their argument with their editing tool kit. So, instead of communicating to the author that their paragraph just couldn’t keep your attention, back this up by saying that the pace was too slow or that there was too much passive description rather than active dialogue. This is constructive criticism and suggests ways to improve the paragraph.

Finally, Helen Corner-Bryant reminded us that if you read back over a draft and nothing is missing, you’ve made a good cut in the first draft. Every word should count.

by Amalie Andersen

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… 

 

Visiting Speakers: Witherby Publishing Group

March 20th, 2017 by helene_fosse | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speakers: Witherby Publishing Group
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When I first decided I was interested in publishing, I knew very little about the business, and – as many laymen do – thought that trade fiction was the only way to go. It was the only thing I wanted to do, because it was more or less the only thing that came to mind when I thought “publishing”. And I wanted to be an editor.

In my final year of undergrad, I had made some inquiries about the publishing course at Stirling, and consequently was updated by email about publishing events that I could attend. The visiting speaker sessions was one of these events, and I went along.

When I emerged from the talk two hours later, my whole conception of publishing was shattered and all the little pieces had reformed into something entirely different. Publishing is so much more than trade fiction, and if it is publishing you want to do, I have come to realise that the nature of the content isn’t always that important. And so I went into my Masters with much more of an open mind, thanks to the lovely Gillian Macrossan and (Stirling alumna) Jo Marjoribanks.

Sitting through the talk for the second time, I could remember some things from the previous year, but being almost two semesters into my degree this time, things made a lot more sense. The importance of things such as carbon footprint, living wage and paid internships are examples of things that I could not put into context two years ago, but now I know how important these things are for the health of the publishing business. Also, cheaper isn’t always better if you want a good quality product, and it might actually turn out not to be cheaper at all. For example, production might be cheaper in China, and you’re sitting in your office rubbing your hands together … but then the shipping bill comes and evens it all out.

Something else that becomes apparent in this talk is the importance of editing. It can literally be a case of life and death if a mistake is printed. Witherby publish marine literature, manuals, guides, training literature for mariners (not seamen, we do not like that word!) among other things. They might be massive bricks about one particular part of a ship, and laymen wouldn’t look twice at them, or their price tag. But can you imagine what can happen if a mistake went unnoticed when it comes to something as massive and heavy as a ship? Death isn’t actually that far-fetched.

One other thing that I took away from this talk (both times) is how important it is to network, apply for internships, be openminded and to not shy away from opportunities. This inspiration I mainly got from Jo, as she landed the job at Witherby through an internship that kept on getting extended until she finally was given a full-time job. I will admit that my brain was exhausted just listening to all her different responsibilities, ranging from fighting pirates to editing to doing copyright work. But imagine getting a job like that where you can do so many different things! That has to be the dream.

All in all, this visiting speaker session is something that everyone, if you’re interested in publishing and want a real boost of inspiration and energy, should attend. Gillian and Jo are two very talented women who make the publishing business a much less scary place to a mere mortal.

And remember: Editing kills.

– by Helene Fosse

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

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