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University of Stirling

Mette Vebert Olesen – MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 14th, 2016 by mette_olesen | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Mette Vebert Olesen – MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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For as long as I can remember, I have loved books and all that they represent. For me, books gave me an opportunity to travel to foreign and far away lands, and they made me fly through time and space with my new 72363_10208104222105422_6287528146829705713_nbest friends. I remember being thrilled every time I could convince my parents to take me to a bookstore, where I would spend all of my hard-earned allowance. But it was all worth it. When I moved here, I had promised myself not to buy too many books, but that resolution has already been shot to bits. Bookshops are just so much better here, and I have to research the newest publications. At least that is what I tell myself.

I did my bachelor’s degree in English and Organisational Management at Aalborg University in Denmark, and I learned a tremendous amount there. Though I have always loved literature, my courses in project management and corporate theories gave me a broader insight into the corporate side of the industry, which has produced so many of my most beloved belongings. And that is really what got me thinking about doing a degree in publishing. After some research, I found the perfect fit in the Stirling program and was thankfully accepted.

I have worked as a volunteer and coordinator for the Danish Refugee Council and there I learned how to plan and organize an event and how to raise awareness for it. These are skills that I hope to make use of in my future career.

I hope to have a future career in either marketing, the editorial field or as a literary agent. Truth be told, I began this course thinking that it was editorial or nothing, but just a few months in, I have already opened up to so many other ideas. Ideally, I would love to remain in the UK after finishing my degree, but I’m exploring other options as well, thanks to Brexit.

Yun HAO, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 14th, 2016 by Yun HAO | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Yun HAO, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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I was born in a small city beside the East China Sea, grew up in Beijing, went to university in Hong Kong, and finally came to Stirling in the UK. This is me, Yun HAO, a Chinese girl with a mixed culture background, having a broad range of interests and always being curious about the world. I love literature, art, anime, and stargazing. I am very interested in politics, history, philosophy, nature and business. I just love to explore and experience new worlds. This strong curiosity about the world and my abundant hobbies may be the start of my interest in publishing industry. Too many interesting things are waiting for us to explore, and that’s precisely the reason why we need books.

My undergraduate major was Government and International Politics. Thanks to the subject, I’ve accumulated some knowledge of social science, which may be a good foundation for me to work with publishers in the field. The subject, however, also made me realize that it is no use for me to think and talk about empty ideas only. To better realize the value of my life, I shall be devoted to a more practical cause for the sake of people’s happiness. The publishing industry fits me best, I believe, since I am patient, careful, passionate, and have a sound knowledge of social science and can write essays in Chinese well. What’s more, I am a person who believes in the value of culture.

I’m very happy to study at the University of Stirling and regard it as the first step to the publishing industry. I  treasure this precious opportunity and am determined to learn as much as I can, so as to reinvigorate publishing industry in China as a qualified editor with the knowledge and experiences of the West’s publishing industry. China’s publishing industry is facing significant challenges from the new technology and new business models, but I believe that the challenge can be both threats and opportunities. My life will be meaningful if I am a part of the effort to successfully transfer the challenge into opportunities, even if a tiny part.

Visiting Speaker – Kathryn Ross

November 11th, 2016 by rachel_kay | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker – Kathryn Ross
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Last Thursday, our publishing class had the privilege of spending a few hours with literary agent Kathryn Ross. Alongside Lindsey Fraser, Kathryn runs Fraser Ross Associates Literary Agency and Consultancy (www.fraserross.co.uk), which the pair established in 2002.

logoKathryn didn’t take the traditional route to becoming a literary agent. She began as a secondary school English teacher, overseeing the school library, and eventually collaborating with the department head to set up a mobile bookstore in a van. When this venture did well, she left teaching and got a position running the children’s tent at the Edinburgh Book Festival, afterwards moving on to work at the Scottish Book Trust. Kathryn spent ten years here, where she met Lindsey and built up a long list of author and publishing contacts. Finally, with the encouragement of author Vivian French, the pair took the leap of setting up their own literary agency with Vivian as their first client.

Fourteen years down the line, she says her job is hard work, hugely rewarding (emotionally, although not always financially), and that she gets a lot of joy from seeing authors set off, and in helping them grow their careers. Fraser Ross Associates now represents about sixty-five writers and illustrators, most of whom work in children’s fiction (although some write across all age ranges and genres).

booksWriting for children is challenging. There’s a lot to accomplish in a short format, including fleshing out the characterisation, problems, and emotions that form a complete story. Children’s books must be equally appealing to parents- these are the buyers, and the ones who will be reading the book over and over. Children’s authors need to be good at summing up and pitching their content, and are now expected to do more marketing and publicity than ever before. An author’s success has increasingly come to depend on things like doing events and getting positive online reviews.

Agents are integral within this process, acting as sounding boards, cheerleaders, and business advisers to an author. This includes ideas development, networking, brand-building, and actively pursuing sub-rights. When taking clients on board, Kathryn and Lindsay look for long-term partnerships, where the content and the personalities both fit. Good communication is essential, as are trust, openness, and honesty, as everyone needs to be able to talk through ideas and problems.

Authors / illustrators and literary agents are often recommended to each other, one of the reasons that networking is vital. Kathryn and Lindsey also seek out new talent, such as by attending end-of-year college art shows. On top of this, they receive unsolicited manuscripts, about 200 per month. Many of these come via email, and Kathryn says she misses the physicality of receiving packages in the post- although she doesn’t miss the occasional extras, like glitter stars, crushed biscuits, melted toffees, etc. Kathryn has gotten some extremely creative submissions over the years, and was able to give us extensive, and often hilarious advice on what not to do, including why penguins and polar bear must never meet.

Each ‘day in the life’ of a literary agent is different, but typical tasks include:

  • Reminding publishers to pay invoices
  • Checking/negotiating contracts
  • Polishing submissions before they’re sent to editors – lots of editing!
  • Meeting with publishers, especially in London
  • Pushing for better royalties for her clients
  • Reading Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and The Bookseller
  • Attending launch parties
  • Negotiating permissions fees
  • Talking authors through outlines, edits, and cover design
  • Giving advice to cold callers
  • Informing authors of success / rejection
  • Discussing deadlines, delays, relationship problems, moving house, etc. with clients
  • Paying authors
  • Submitting manuscripts
  • Sending congratulations cards of all types
  • Reading unsolicited submissions
  • Attending book fairs, especially Bologna
  • Reading, reading, reading, reading, reading, reading, … and emails.

Many thanks to Kathryn for sharing her time with us, and for bringing back the nostalgia of story time for us Masters students!

Yangrui Wu, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 11th, 2016 by yangrui_wu | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Yangrui Wu, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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Hi, my name is Yangrui, but you can call me Riri which is easy to read and remember. I come from Beijing, the capital of China. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to study in the University of Stirling, not only I can study publishing, but also can improve my English as well.img_7292

I graduated from the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication in July of this year, and then came to Stirling to start a new postgraduate study career. To be honest, starting a new life for me is not easy, for I never left home for such a long time, I have to adapt to a new environment hardly. And language is a big challenge  for me, because I am afraid to cause trouble for classmates, but I am trying my best to practice my English, but it’s really upset me sometimes, but I won’t give up. I hope through one year study, my English can promote.

I studied publishing and editing during my undergraduate time, so publishing is no stranger to me, but I have barely approached publishing marketing and business, so it is a totally new field to me. After I graduate from Stirling, I will engage in publication-related work, especially in publishing trade, for I am really interested in it, that is the reason why I come here for a further education. I love reading romance novels and music or fashion magazines, and I pay a lot attention to music and fashion, if I could work in a job related to this, I will be very lucky and happy.

In a sentence, I hope I can have a colorful year, learn a lot, and experience a different culture. In the future days, I can use the knowledge that I have learned in work and life.

Isabella Pioli, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-2017

November 11th, 2016 by isabella_pioli | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Isabella Pioli, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-2017
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I suppose I starfb_img_1476973281373ted to think about going into publishing in the stereotypical way most literature lovers do: I loved books, I loved to read, yada-yada; the quintessential cliché of all people going into publishing. And so, I thought editing because that was the only position I knew that was easily defined. I started to do some peer editing in high school, reading creative writing by friends, essays, and college entrance portfolios. I continued editing into college and, at that point, reading a novel or two every week for class, I lost my love for reading. Reading became a chore, and even when I found a book with a promising premise, I could not turn off that part of my brain that constantly critiqued and found fault. Almost finished with college, my prospective career was no longer an option; there was no way I would change something that brought me joy into a duty, an obligation. My senior year of college, I had yet to fulfil the studio art requirement of my art history major. My advisor recommended taking Book Production and it was there that I found publishing was still a prospective career, something that I could enjoy, something that would constantly challenge me and continuously inspire me: to do better, to think outside of the box, to not limit myself, to push me out of my comfort zone.

I have always had a creative thought process and many of my friends use me as a sounding-board for ideas and inspiration. In Book Production, I found my strengths come together. I learned how to typeset by hand, and that margins are the foundation of the page. I began my love affair with Baskerville, and discovered why sans-serif annoyed me. I found that getting messy and covered in ink was just as much fun as engine gunk and transmission lubricant. Most of all, I discovered that it combined the two things I love most: words and art. With renewed purpose, I left undergrad absolutely exhausted, but I knew that more was still to come.

I went into the world for a year, working at a structural engineering firm doing everything the President needed from me, while trying to maintain the CFO’s sanity. I learned how easy it can be to lose yourself in your job, how unhealthy that can be, and how necessary it is to balance work and life; I eventually left and went to work for myself. I knew people who had gone on to PhDs that needed help doing their literature reviews, and I started to work as a research assistant. I learned how to parse through information with a heightened form of discernment that I had never been able to apply to my own academia. It allowed me to see what was essential and what was unnecessary.

I am using this year to learn as much as I can, not just from class and the assigned reading, but from self-teaching. I created my own website to begin to get a feel for graphic design. I am participating in NaNoWriMo, so that I can understand some of the stress a writer goes through. I am challenging myself to do the unexpected. A good friend of mine said to me around New Year’s that I needed to live life outside of a plan that was scheduled to perfection; I needed an adventure. When I applied to graduate school, I heeded her advice and only applied to schools abroad. Stirling was my top choice, and it was the first school to which I was accepted. So, saying yes was an instantaneous reaction, and I have never been so happy to follow my gut as I was when I chose Stirling.

Nicole Sweeney MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 9th, 2016 by nicole_sweeney | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Nicole Sweeney MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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images-1-compressed-page-001Since early childhood I have always been found with my nose stuck in a book. In fact I was the only child who got into trouble for reading instead of paying attention in class. With that in mind I chose to study English at undergraduate level, where my particular interests focusing on classics written by women. After graduating with a 2:1 I was unsure what I wanted to do. I knew I loved books, and wanted to learn more about the actual book industry, rather than an academic approach to literature.

I absolutely loved studying in Edinburgh, with a city so full of culture. Stirling is very similar, and studying at the University of Stirling is giving me the opportunity to learn about all the different aspects of publishing, and figure out exactly what I want to do in the future. I’m particularly interested in marketing and the different types of promotions used to sell a book. I’m really enjoying this course because the topics are so wide ranging, and I’m learning practical as well as academic skills.  

I also work at The Battle of Bannockburn, where I sell tickets, make coffees, talk to customers and occasionally play with swords. It’s a great environment with lots of fantastic events and educational talks, and makes me very passionate about history and historical books.

In my spare time I spend a lot of time on Twitter, and occasionally review books online. Reviewing books has been a fantastic opportunity to talk to different publishers, and keep up to date with what’s going on. I love going to comic-con, and can usually be found spending my entire wage on comic books and merchandise.

After graduating I’d love to work for a fiction publisher and help to market and sell some of the books that are slowly taking over my living room.

Biyan Gu, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 9th, 2016 by biyan_gu | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Biyan Gu, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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imageAs a book lover from a young age, working for a publishing house was always a dream for me. I am interested in the feeling of paper, the smells of ink, the formats of book and the design ideas of it all. I am Biyan Gu and I came to Scotland to continue my postgraduate studies. Everything is so fresh to me, and I am learning many new ideas about books, publishing and so on.

In my undergraduate studies, my major was Editing and Publishing, which is really close to my postgraduate study and of course means gaining a more international and professional perspective.

Besides my studies, I also have had an internship in magazine publishing at Marie Claire China, which helped me to build an awareness of marketing and understand the real process of magazine production. That was a really fun period of my education. This experience also changed my mind about the relationship between fashion and publishing. Even though it is just a magazine, it will change a great number of girls’ lifestyles and make a huge profits while it also costs a lot to market and publish.

At that time, I again realized the value of publishing as a cultural business, and the influence it can make to the society. The first time was when I was a little girl and found a book would cost much more than snacks.

Attending the University of Stirling gives me a broad knowledge about publishing, editing, and marketing. And the beautiful campus also bring me a quite nice living and study experience. I think all I have studied in the university will benefit me in the future.

And I can’t wait to welcome my future career.

You can find me at twitter or look at my LinkedIn profile.

Morven Gow, MLitt Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 7th, 2016 by morven_gow | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Morven Gow, MLitt Publishing Studies 2016-17
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“How brave of you.” “How inspiring!” “I’d love to do that – good on you!”
Reactions to news that I have signed up to be one of the first humans trying to grow spinach in a cloche on Mars? Or perhaps to an announcement that I am contemplating a fire-walk, swimming Loch Lomond, and cycling the world? Neither of those. I find myself a Hero for the Middle-Aged Worker simply by returning to Uni.
What has brought me here to study publishing at Stirling? I wanted to shake up my skills and go back to the future, to focus on writing. After 30 years planning and buying advertising campaigns, with some PR experience, working on campaigns for some of Scotland’s bastions of culture (National Museums, National Galleries, National Library), newspaper publishers, retailers, banks, whiskies, political, and public health campaigns, I thought I would brush up my writing skills to suit the digital age adding what is known in the trade as content marketing to the skills I could offer my employer and my clients. A quick Google brought me to the Publishing Scotland website, and information about a day course on the subject. But I wanted something with more depth. I read information on the site about PG courses in publishing, and although I discounted the idea at the time, a small persistent voice (coupled with the louder voices of my friends) kept asking, “why not? Books are a passion for you, and you love a beautifully designed hip posh mag”. After a meeting with the course director, Frances, the idea blossomed, I applied – and here I am, loving my new life as a student on a well respected course, thinking new thoughts, on a beautiful campus, with fellow students from all over the world.
Now that the course has begun, I can see that the Publishing Studies course will repurpose me for the next stage in my life – rather like a classic G Plan chair, reupholstered and reoiled.
Officially self-employed, I am a consultant for my previous company combining blog writing and communication advice with media planning and buying, and looking for some experience in book and magazine marketing from publishers before I graduate, with an eye to moving into that area as a consultant at the end of the course.

I can be found at@Morv60 on Twitter and at Morven Gow on LinkedIn

Hongyue Su(Sue), MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 5th, 2016 by hongyue_su | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Hongyue Su(Sue), MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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196512089I am Hongyue Su.You can call me Sue. I come from Changchun of the Jilin province in the northeast of China, which has similar weather to Stirling. Changchun is famous for cars and movies, and is one of the cities where more than 50% of the land covered by trees.

There are a lot of changes in the process of continuous learning. I stopped studying the electronic organ which I have practiced for 6 years, and table tennis which I practiced for 7 years. But there are still some things that do not change, such as reading books, watching movies and traveling. Now I love fitness in the gym. When I get left alone with strangers, I may be too shy to talk. I like to stay with friends, but also enjoy a personal time to do some of my favourite things.

In China, my undergraduate major was publishing, which I studied for 4 years. In recent years, the publishing industry has gradually become globalized, and certain books have been sought after by people. This makes me want to go abroad to study why books could be so magic.

I chose this major after serious consideration because my family members work in the publishing industry. They usually take the products home which were published in their companies. Not only is the study is full of the books, but also their whole home. Therefore I have a habit of reading which was cultivated by my parents since childhood. When I was young, publishing in China was not so simple. There was no Internet or dedicated publishing platforms, so a large number of people found it very difficult to publish their own articles. Every work has to go through a lot of editors’ selection and revision, in order to ensure the quality of books.

However, with the rapid development of the network, many people publish their own articles on the Internet or through a variety of communities. The form of publishing also changed, from the simple print books to e-books. An increasing amount of information is available to people: how to choose the good and useful one from so many books? It depends the work of editors.

Good editors can give people the same benefits as good teachers. They both can filter good knowledge and the article to share with more people from mass publication, so that readers can get useful knowledge meanwhile save money and time to learn more. That’s what I want to do. Maybe I prefer to read rather than write. Even though I write something like a diary occasionally, but it is not professional enough, I think I need to learn more about writing skills and make my articles more academic.

I hope that in this year, I can learn more knowledge from book and life, and can make friends from different countries. After seeing some different worlds and feeling the different life I can become a better me.

Stephan Pohlmann, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17

November 3rd, 2016 by Stephan Pohlmann | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Stephan Pohlmann, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2016-17
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In a small town with forests, ironworks, two hiatuses and one diphthong in it, which was called Georgsmarienhütte, lived my past self by the name of Stephan Pohlmann. While I consider myself still very much alive, I have since moved to Scotland, from where I am hereby introducing myself to the internet.

My home town is in Lower Saxony, in the northwest of Germany, an area best known for the Teutoburg Forest, which used to be smiling at me through the window of my room. That might actually be why, for the most part of my time there, I ended up devouring books with extensive woodlands in the script, be it the forest of Fangorn, the primeval forests of Nordic and Celtic mythology, Birnam Wood, the Forest of the Carnutes (explicitly in the Asterix series), or Sherwood Forest.

I did my bachelor’s degree in what we so cryptically called “European Studies”, investigating laws, politics, literature, languages and culture of the European Union and its nations. Questions of nationhood and how literature branded these nations became my speciality, a further focus lay on Scotland and Ireland. Effectively, I did European politics combined with Anglophone language and culture, a combination that has risen just a tiny little bit in significance and media coverage during the last months. I might have contemplated going into politics, however I somehow must have found myself to be either not disillusioned enough or too idealistic for the job when, instead, I decided to dedicate my future life to influencing fictional worlds.

By autumn 2015, after an internship at a literature centre, I had made up my mind that it would have to be publishing. Furthermore, seeing that I spent the two previous years doing research on Scotland, I figured it would be about time to finally spent more than a holiday there. I found Stirling University, stopped looking for something else, and so far have not regretted the decision.

I am here to stay for a while, at least until I can finally understand MacDiarmid’s A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle. For the distant future, I would say that I will utilize my not-too-bad command of the German language and go into copy or translation editing on the German or UK market, but preferably in the intersection between the two. And regardless of how Jon Snow will be treated by the following A Song of Ice and Fire novels, I would like to prevent him from the most horrible fate of all; having his name translated even one more time into “Jon Schnee” for the German books. That is cruel. Moreover, I still very much like the idea of putting ideas out there. But right now, I am absolutely open to the possibility that these ideas might be about The Very Hungry Caterpillar; how to make proper Scottish shortbread; the next inspiring crime-solver; Bernd the Bread; the next forestal fantasy publication or whatever people will be wanting to read in five or ten years.

Feel free to find me, on Twitter and LinkedIn, either worthwhile connecting with or rather uninteresting.