Visiting speakers

Visiting Speaker – Rights Director Andrea Joyce

April 3rd, 2017 by rachel_kay | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker – Rights Director Andrea Joyce
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Stirling’s MLitt Publishing students were recently delighted to hear from Andrea Joyce, who spoke to us about her role as Rights Director at Canongate, and what it takes for a book to successfully transcend geographical borders.

Canongate Books is one of the biggest publishers in Scotland, currently employing about 40 people in Edinburgh and London. It has been an independent publisher since 1973, and aims to “unearth and amplify the most vital, innovative voices” with a strong international focus encompassing countries from Albania to Vietnam.

Keeping Pace

Canongate’s aim to “publish authors, not books” involves a tailored approach for each project as their authors continue to explore. Matt Haig, for instance, had published two novels before venturing into non-fiction with the wildly successful Reasons to Stay Alive. Now, with A Boy Called Christmas, Canongate is delving into children’s publishing, including their first visit to the Bologna Book Fair. These kinds of challenges keep things interesting for the rights team, who are constantly expanding their networks to keep pace with an author’s needs.

Outside the publishing house, foreign markets also continue to evolve. What worked five years ago does not work now; for instance serial and book club rights are much less lucrative than they used to be. Joyce says that this time of change and uncertainty can be both exciting and frightening. Working in rights means continuously working to develop and maintain contacts and to stay up-to-date with other publishers’ lists. According to Joyce, it is essential to have an idea of who, down to the editor, a book is likely to appeal to before approaching to make a deal.

Choosing Wisely

Not every book is suitable for licensing abroad, and Canongate needs to be selective. It is important to think about a book’s potential international audience from the start, even those which are not immediately obvious. For instance, The Radleys, superficially a YA book about vampires, can also be read as a story about teenage experience, or the burial of a wild youth in middle age. As a result, this story effectively transcended geographical borders, underwent a 9-way auction for the German rights, and was ultimately published in over 26 territories.

Joyce says it can difficult to boil down the formula for major international success, but that “the common ground is universal themes and great fiction”.

Making Changes

Successfully selling rights to a book is only the first step in a process which then involves many changes before a physical copy is produced. In the majority of cases the text needs to be translated, and the cover also redesigned to appeal to its local readers.

Flexibility over a book’s contents can be crucial. For The Novel Cure, international publishers wanted permission to customise the concept to suit their regional markets, including adding different “ailments” that needed a literary “prescription”. The outcome of negotiations was that foreign publishers were allowed to change up to 33% of the content. On the other end of the spectrum, no changes were allowed to be made to Letters of Note, a carefully chosen collection of 100 unusual and inspiring letters, due to the curatorial aspects at the core of this book.

Working in Rights

Rights selling can fit in at any stage of the publishing process, from acquisition to post-publication. However, it is usually ideal if international editions can be published simultaneously. This allows foreign publishers to anticipate demand in their area and also to harness the hype generated by Canongate’s marketing team. Thus, a rights seller needs to be kept in the loop with other departments, and attuned to the stages of a book’s development.

The role doesn’t require law training, but does entail lots of contracts work, an eye for detail, and an aptitude for selling. You don’t need to be bilingual, but it certainly helps, and travel is often involved. Looking at Canongate’s 2016 rights sales by value suggests where frequent destinations might be: last year the USA and Canada held 45%, Germany held 16%, and Asia held 8% of their market.

Many thanks to Andrea for an informative talk!

by Rachel Kay

First Visitor Talk of 16-17: Nikki Simpson, PPA Scotland

October 13th, 2016 by morven_gow | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on First Visitor Talk of 16-17: Nikki Simpson, PPA Scotland
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ppa-scotAt 2.45pm on 6th October, with a retinue of publishing students bearing boxes of precious periodicals, Nikki Simpson (Business Manager at the PPA – Professional Publishers Association) strode through the seemingly endless corridors of the University of Stirling. She was a woman with a mission. Her aim, to convert Unbelievers – those students convinced that their future lies 100% in the world of book publishing rather than that of the magazine.

A passionate presenter, Nikki soon had many of the most hardened book career diehards rethinking their options and goals. The PPA represents over 700 magazines in Scotland, an industry valued at £154m which supports 1,300 full-time, 560 part-time and 4,400 freelancers. DC Thomson is the largest employer with around 600 employees, but the smallest publisher could have a couple of people working on a “passion project”. Annual events, the international Magfest (make a note in your diary, 15th Sep 17) and the Scottish Magazine Awards (The Beano won in 2015), provide the perfect platforms for the industry to celebrate the drive and passion of those working to produce regular magazines of the highest quality. The PPA is also planning to open a centre for magazine publishing in Edinburgh which would act as a hub for the industry and raise the profile of the sector. Exciting times!

magsThere are three areas of periodical publishing – Consumer, B2B and Contract. The boxes were soon opened and magazines representing each of these areas passed around. To appreciate magazines, it’s vital to get hands on and we certainly did. Delighted sounds filled the room as we were given a design lesson in the art of the mag. Everyone is familiar with the glossy mag, but what caught the imagination in Nikki’s presentation was the sheer variety of paper stock used and glorious typography and images. Smooth, matt, cut outs, glow in the dark, QR codes, VR – seemingly unlimited creative options. Titles like Modern Farmer, Delayed Gratification, Boat, Little White Lies, Oh Comely, ‘Sup, the Gentlewoman and Hot Rum Cow had many fans and turned the head of many a committed book careerist on the day.

It’s worth remembering that the big players are those with circulations audited every six months by ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations). The UK top five are: supermarket mags for Asda, then Tesco; TV Choice, What’s On TV, and Waitrose magazine. Their combined circulation figures, a mighty 6.8 million.

What makes a magazine successful? Nikki explained that in addition to the basic funding models of subscriptions, copy sales, advertising, and crowdfunding, brand extensions via websites, apps, award nights, supplements (even shops in the case of Tyler Brule’s Monocle) are all so important. The issue of ad blocking was discussed. Half of us in the room admitted to using these. After Nikki’s cri de coeur against their use for magazine sites, “Die! Die!” but “I love your content!” and the particularly vivid “ad blockers stab newspapers in the face”, those students using adblockers were swearing off using them again.

Nikki covered 16 possible career areas in magazine publishing from design to insight, through ad sales and procurement – and editorial, of course – as it’s always worth keeping an open mind regarding opportunity for experience.

She rounded off her rallying call for magazines with examples of cutting edge creativity – links below.
Marie Claire
Augmented Reality

Paper Tablets

Google Glass

Following questions from the audience, those magazines which had been objects of desire during the talk were handed over to some lucky recipients, and our first visitor talk in this semester came to an end. Nikki’s presentation had qualities essential for a career in magazine publishing – passion and creativity – and she succeeded in making many of us consider a career in magazines for the first time.

By Morven Gow

Publishing Showcase 2015

April 29th, 2015 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publishing Showcase 2015
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Publishing Studies Students 2014-15It’s that time of year already! The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication invite you to our annual Publishing Showcase on Wednesday 6 May 2015, where we will be joined by our Industry Advisory Board to celebrate this year’s publishing students’ achievements. The schedule for the day is:

2.30-3.45pm Publishing Round Table, featuring members of the Industry Advisory Board (Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland; Katy Lockwood-Holmes of Floris Books; Adrian Searle of Freight Books; Vivian Marr of Oxford University Press; Simon Blacklock of Faber Factory; Martin Redfern, independent publishing consultant) (Pathfoot B2)

4pm-6pm Publishing Showcase, featuring work from our MLitt & MRes in Publishing Studies students, and some short speeches (Pathfoot B2)

Whether you’re a graduate of the programme, a possible future student, or part of our publishing network, please do join us. Please do drop us a line so we have a sense of numbers via our Contact page.

Visiting Speaker: Zoë Strachan

November 26th, 2014 by Kena Nicole Longabaugh | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker: Zoë Strachan
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zoestrachanOn Thursday 20th November, author  Zoë Strachan paid us a visit as part of our visiting speaker series. Based in Glasgow, Zoë has three published novels: Negative Space (Picador), Spin Cycle (Picador) and Ever Fallen in Love (Sandstone). She also writes short stories, plays, libretti and essays and is a lecturer for the University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing programme.

To start off, Zoë discussed how the publishing industry has changed since the publication of her first novel in 1999. Her first experience of publishing was of an incestuous world: everyone knew everyone and you needed connections to get your foot in the door. With the support of her literary agent David Miller, she was able to sign a two book deal with Picador.

Next, Zoë discussed the pros and cons of working with a large publisher like Picador. Picador had many valuable resources and her book was heavily copy-edited to a high standard. However, there were several staff changes during the development of her first novel that left her with three different editors throughout the process. She had a much better experience with her second novel and described her editor as an ally who “really made me think, really challenged me.” She also stated, “If you’ve got a good editor, a good publisher…it is a tremendous privilege.”

Zoë’s third novel was published with Sandstone Press after being rejected by Picador. She said there was less money involved than Picador, but as a small publisher Sandstone was able to give her much more support and personalised attention.

To the aspiring author, Zoë gave some hopeful advice: “You just have to get your manuscript on the desk of one person who opens it, gets it and likes it. Only one person has to like it.”

Zoë’s talk was delightful and informative and provided us with insight into the publishing process through the eyes of authors. Moreover, she praised the role of publishers as supporters and gatekeepers, a refreshing sentiment to hear in a time when many are questioning the role of traditional publishers.

Simon Appleby on Digital Marketing

November 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Katherine Hamrick | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Simon Appleby on Digital Marketing
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SimonApplebyThe fifth speaker on our Visiting Speaker Series is Simon Appleby, director of Bookswarm—a digital project agency which specialises in the publishing sector.

Simon joined the world of publishing through his self-taught experience and expertise in web development. Originally working for various companies as a project manager in sales, he began teaching himself coding and web creation during the ‘dot com boom’. Working at Lateral, an agency which worked closely with publishers, Simon began to build a strong network within the publishing sector and eventually moved on to Octopus Publishing as Digital Project Manager. There, he became involved in digitally converting print to ebooks and creating apps which acted as digital accompaniments to various print projects. In his spare time, Simon worked in his ‘bat cave’ on creating the online literary magazine BookHugger. Eventually, BookHugger turned into Nudge, a variety of publishing-related websites, and from here, Simon moved on to launch Bookswarm.

Bookswarm offers services such as website design, print design, eBook design, brand creation and development, and author video production to a number of clients including Octopus Publishing Group, Faber, Hodder & Stoughton and Gallic Books.

According to Simon, it is now much easier and cheaper to create websites for digital marketing. Below are some of his tips and tricks for making the most out of digital marketing:

  1. In digital marketing, the creative idea is more important than the technology used to produce it: start by creating good content rather than simply trying to make something viral. Digital marketing is all about making content compelling for your audience.
  2. Many digital marketing sites allow content to be embedded in other areas, including the publisher’s own website; it is simple to keep your sites up-to-date by embedding social media feeds.
  3. It is important to keep up with trends in digital marketing (for example, memes) in order to keep content fresh and appealing.
  4. Think carefully about how you invite reader engagement. You can’t assume foot-traffic or participation which can create gaping holes where you expected content to be.
  5. In a multi-device universe, be aware of the limitations of various user platforms; not all devices have keyboards for example. Also, make sure your sites work with different screen sizes.

Simon highlights some of the following sites as easy-to-use digital marketing platforms and includes unique ways to utilise them:

  1. Twitter— can be used to rejuvenate older content.
  2. Vine— these six-second clips can be used for fun author/title promotions. For instance, Saraband has used Vines to animate their books covers.
  3. Videos (e.g. YouTube)— Simon cautioned us about book trailers because you need to put a lot of thought into their content and execution. Plus, you need to make sure it gets lots of foot-traffic, otherwise it is pointless.
  4. Flickr— a great repository for your visual material.
  5. SoundCloud— an easy place to put up your audio material.
  6.— infographics are easy to create and make content visually appealing.
  7. Creatavist— multi-media project creation and management tool for writers and publishers.
  8. Reddit— social networking service with various online communities.


Simon, who works with many authors in digital marketing, gives the following advice to publishers for author marketing:

  • Be aware of how much your authors want to be involved in online content creation and marketing; some are masters at blogging while others want to be left alone to write their novels.
  • You need to be clear whether you are focusing on promoting the author or their title/series.
  • An author’s website should extend their brand and meet audience expectations.

In terms of publishers’ own websites, Simon suggests the following:

  • First, get a clear idea in your head about what your website’s main function is: is it to sell books? To publicise? Promote? Engage? What?
  • Don’t assume your audience is only concerned with your books; engage with lots of different cultural and trade issues that will extend your brand and invite more interest.
  • Think about where your content will come from: authors, users, social media, ect.
  • Decide whether people can buy products directly from your site or whether you will direct them to other retailers such as Amazon.


Simon’s pathway into publishing not only demonstrates how many diverse roles are needed in publishing, but also shows how essential digital marketing has become in an internet-dominated age. Simon’s message is very positive for those who shy away from technology: there are easy and dynamic ways to engage with digital media and marketing. With great content, you only need to know some online basics to create a fantastic digital marketing campaign.

Marion Sinclair, Publishing Scotland

November 4th, 2014 by Emma Margaret Brown | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Marion Sinclair, Publishing Scotland
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­The fourth speaker to come and visit us this year was Marion Sinclair, Chief Executive of Publishing Scotland.

Marion Sinclair Source

She spoke to us about the overall state of publishing in Scotland and shared her perspective on the future of the publishing industry. She also shared a few stories about some of her early experiences working in the publishing industry. After graduating from the University of Stirling from this very same Publishing course (albeit, by her own admission, a number of years ago!), Marion’s journey in publishing began in a bookstore in Glasgow. One of her tasks was to sandpaper and polish down the covers of books that were to be returned to the publishers. Not exactly a glamourous start to a career! Yet Marion moved on from there to become one of the most prominent figures in Scottish publishing. Marion’s attitude towards publishing was wholly positive, telling us that by being on the MLitt we “are doing the right thing to get into publishing”.

After sharing some of her own experiences, Marion spoke about where Scotland currently stands within the larger publishing world. Marion shared that the Scottish Publishing industry is worth somewhere in the region of £350m, which, to help put this number in context, is the same value as the cashmere and smoked salmon industries. She stated that around 3,000 new books are published each year in Scotland alone, not including reprints or new editions. Publishing Scotland employs around 1,700 people directly and employs countless others indirectly. It should be noted here that these figures are rough estimates as trying to get the actual statistics on creative industries in Scotland is rather difficult. This difficulty is due to the very nature of the publishing industry, along with the problem of defining what counts as a publisher and what does not.

On the subject of publishing in Scotland, Marion shared that the very nature of Scottish publishing is that it is a niche market. But does this status as a niche market mean that if you publish in Scotland you need to identify as a Scottish publisher? It seems as though many of the larger houses avoid Scotland for this reason. Marion spoke about how there seems to be a pull towards London: many authors are drawn south sooner or later and major names in Scottish publishing sometimes leave to join the larger houses. Marion also mentioned the ongoing debate of whether being labelled as a ‘Scottish’ publisher is a good or a bad thing; it seems that the label can have both positive and negative effects for publishers. But as Marion said in her presentation, publishing has become a part of Scottish culture, particularly in Edinburgh, where “print and publishing go hand in hand”. The sheer size and volume of participants in the Edinburgh International Book Festival (to name just one of the many festivals which takes place each year) is a testament to Scotland’s strength and determination to remain prominent in the industry. Publishing Scotland is there to help Scottish publishers stay on track and continue to thrive.

Publishing Scotland turns 40 this year! Source

Speaking about Publishing Scotland, Marion explained that the organisation is there to support the “professional practice of publishing in Scotland”. With the help of Creative Scotland, Publishing Scotland is able to support a number of publishers of different sizes to ensure their on-going success. Publishing Scotland enables publishers to carry on with their work as they are supported and guided by a larger umbrella organisation that has the interests of the publishers at its heart. It is important to note that Publishing Scotland itself is not a literary organisation but a publishing members’ association. The organisation is there to support and encourage publishers.

The message that Marion left us with was, on the whole, a very positive one. Her outlook on publishing (not only in Scotland but worldwide) is that the industry is looking up. She said that while it can be difficult to get into, this is a very exciting time to be entering the industry. She encouraged us all to jump in and get involved in any way we can and to embrace any opportunity that comes along.

Adrian Searle from Freight Books paid us a visit

October 21st, 2014 by Marit Mathisen | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Adrian Searle from Freight Books paid us a visit
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Adrian Searle, Image source

The third person on the Visiting Speaker programme was Adrian Searle, publisher at Freight Books and director of Freight Design.

He gave us his view on publishing, delivering a humorous and informative presentation, as well as some insight into Freight Books and its perspective on publishing.

Having a diverse background, with experience from advertising and design, as well as having studied Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, it should come as no surprise that Searle has diverse knowledge of and expertise in the field of publishing. He co-founded Freight Design in 2001 and in 2011 Freight Books found its way into the world, picking up an impressive number of shortlistings for a fairly small publisher. These include the Saltire First Book Awards, the Saltire Scottish Publisher of the Year 2013 and 2014, and UK Drum Design Award. Searle does not let that go to his head though, stating that “one man’s Booker Prize is another man’s doorstop”. He equates book publishing to gambling, alluding to Dostoevsky and his view on gambling – if you do it once and win, it is easier to become addicted. He also made it clear that there are other businesses where you could earn money more easily, in his case design, but he finds publishing to be more fun, saying “I love publishing”.

101-uses-of-a-dead-kindle-2_270One of the titles released by Freight Books is 101 Uses of a Dead Kindle, written by Adrian, with illustrations by Judith Hastie. The title is a play on the title of a book released in the late 80s, 101 Uses of a Dead Cat, by Simon Bond. They had high hopes for the title, and a retailer had ordered a large number of copies. Unfortunately, this was a real life example of the sale or return policy followed in the book trade, as almost all the books were sent back by the retailer, with Adrian having seen only one copy in one of their shops.

What happened with 101 Uses of a Dead Kindle has not put Freight Books off publishing humoristic titles, however, with If Dogs Could Swear reuniting Adrian and Judith for a second time. Simple, but effective, and, according to Adrian, if you add a content advisory label on the front it will induce more people to buy the title! Other humour books in the works for Freight Books are Throne of Games and Cyclists: A Spotters Guide.

Adrian also talked about risk, saying that publishing is all about risk, alluding back to the gambling analogy. He said that when you publish a book you want to lower the risk to the reader, making them think at first glance that the book you are selling is worth their time. He also explained some of the ways in which this can be achieved. This ties in with the content advisory on If Dogs Could Swear but he specifically mentioned endorsements by famous people, or quotes by people in general. According to him the fact that someone other than the publisher says a book is good makes the reader more likely to purchase that title. Another thing to use in promoting books is any prize nominations and wins the book has received. Both the quote and the prize nomination will give the book more credibility than the book would have on its own.

Freight Books also publish Gutter, a magazine published twice a year, with short stories and poetry from writers with ties to Scotland. As poetry and short story anthologies are fewer and further between than the people who write them, this is a good place for writers to try to get their work out to readers. Their Scottish point of view underlines Adrian’s contention that “London is the Death Star” (for publishers). He says that anything coming from outside of London is viewed as provincial, and explains that Freight Books is sometimes asked to remove “Scotland” or “Scottish” from their advance sales information.

Adrian Searle is the type of person who gets a lot said in little time, and hearing him speak so enthusiastically about his work, while still cautioning that it is hard work, was interesting and enlightening. The fact that he still says he loves publishing is encouraging, as it shows staying power – even for someone with his diverse background. Freight Press’s achievements in a very short time are impressive, and we can only wait to see what more might come from their small office in Glasgow.


Visiting speaker: John Innes – Think Publishing.

October 15th, 2014 by Heather Margaret McDaid | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting speaker: John Innes – Think Publishing.
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Whale Dolphin Conservation“We want to create content that connects with the reader, and has its own aims and objectives,” says John Innes, associate director of Think Publishing, the second of the MLitt’s visiting speakers for 2014-15. Heather McDaid reports:

The company currently has 58 staff, 38 clients and 45 titles they handle, with 4.5 million copies per year printed. But it’s not just content creation they handle; as with any competitive company within publishing they offer a full service to meet their clients’ needs. This can range from editorial and design, advertising and research, to finance account management.

Just like the service they provide, their client base is broad and varied. Publications include Historic Scotland and CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), as well as Whale & Dolphin, with digital copies available on ISSUU. Though there’s a stark contrast in some of the content, Innes notes there are lots of similarities in dealing with membership magazines that makes it easier.

“We need latitude to make it look interesting,” he notes, explaining that it’s hard to work within a rigid brand. To avoid it looking like a corporate brochure, they need to evolve the publication to keep it interesting for readers. He deems it “Brand+” – they take the basic brand and add to it to create a better product.

In order to do that, he continues, they need to satisfy all three of their customers without encroaching on another – the client, the reader and the advertisers.

“Every issue we produce should be better than the last” in at least one way, and they use workshops heavily in order to meet the client’s needs while creating a quality product. This goes beyond a mere print publication at times, with digital content being generated for almost every client, from extracts to video content. People are platform agnostic, he adds, but it’s still important to make each one functional and appealing.

With this digital age, there is one key issue: “there is no such thing as news in an internet environment”, instead they’ll try generate interviews and analysis, not “news that happened last week”. In a world where information is available instantaneously, print publications can’t compete.

But what about those who would like to work with Think Publishing? “The best question to ask is ‘why?'”, says Innes. They need people not only with an interest in their work, but the ability to ask why they do certain things, why competitors do certain things, and whether that’s something they should consider. They need people who want to make the publications better and more interesting, and encourage people to look into their internships if it sounds something they feel they’d be suited for.

The First in Our Visiting Speakers Series, 2014-15

October 7th, 2014 by Kiley Pole | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The First in Our Visiting Speakers Series, 2014-15
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On Thursday October 2, we had the first in our visiting speakers series. Chani McBain, Leah McDowell and Nadia Suchdev provided us with a plethora of information on not only their specified topics but also their experiences in the publishing industry.

To start the session off Leah McDowell and Nadia Suchdev introduced us to the Society of Young Publishers Scotland (SYP). We learned how the organization is run by volunteers with the aim to help and inform those who have been in the publishing business for less than 10 years, or those like us who are attempting to break into the business. SYP Scotland offers different events and workshops available to members (to become a member it costs £24 per annum) that help put their name out there and start the all dreaded networking. Included in the membership is free entry to all events, a newsletter, job bulletins, discounted tickets to the annual SYP Conference and participation in the mentoring programme.

Some of upcoming events include, “How to network for those who hate networking” on October 23rd and the Booksellers Panel Event on November 19th.

Leah and Nadia also encouraged us to not only join, but apply to become committee members. As a member of the committee you would have a hand in putting on the events throughout the year that really help people.

You can find them on Facebook SYP Scotland and on Twitter @SYPscotland.

Chani McBain spoke to us about Floris Books and more specifically the internship available from them. She gave us some useful advice about using our time in the course to make those connections and getting a lot of different experience in the different fields of publishing. Her main tagline about internships being that we might be wrong. In our heart of hearts we may think we are meant to be editors when in reality we are best suited for production or marketing, that really we could love a field that we never thought possible.

The internship at Floris Books is one day a week (which day that is they are flexible and willing to work with us) in a “marketing focused” capacity. That does not mean that the intern (one this semester and one next) will solely be stuffing envelops, although that is part of it, but that they will be working on press releases, marketing briefs, and flyers to name a few. Since Floris Books is a small company, composing of 11 employees, the interns will have the opportunity to witness and be part of many small projects and get to see the whole publishing process.

What Floris lacks in number of employees they make up for in their plethora of teas to chose from.

These three ladies gave us lots of useful advice, stemming from their experiences as newcomers to the industry and from when they were students as well. Namely, that internships are good, if not essential in getting to know the business as well as getting to know yourself. Are you really an editor? Or, are you a literary agent? This is our industry, it pays to become involved. Take advantage of every opportunity, not just internships but events, panels, book and literary festivals. And, when it comes dissertation time, choose a topic that is useful, something that not only will inform you about the industry but something that is geared to the type of job you want.


February 26th, 2014 by Frances_Sessford | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on VISITING SPEAKERS FOR SEMESTER 2, 2013-14
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The Centre’s Visiting Speakers programme for this semester presents perspectives from academic and independent publishers from across the UK. In this academic year, the Centre’s teaching has encouraged students to look to small nation publishing across the world and to consider how the publishing landscape might look in an independent Scotland. We have been asking our speakers for their views on the subject at every opportunity, so come along for some interesting opinions and debate. All sessions are held at 2pm in Pathfoot B2. Attendance is free but there is limited space so please register via to book a place.

The series begins on Thursday February 27 with sports journalists Martin Greig and Neil White, who founded BackPage Press five years ago to publish world-class sports books. Following this on March 6, Anna Glazier, Director of Sales & Marketing at Edinburgh University Press will talk about the challenges of keeping a small academic press in profile and profit. Duncan Lockerbie is a course alumnus and began Lumphanan Press almost as soon as he finished his studies. He now has around seven years’ experience in running a very small publishing company and on March 13 he will share his thoughts and views on how or if this might change should a vote for independence be attained. Moving over the border but not much, on March 20, another course alumnus and editor, Neil Simpson, and his MD, Jonathan Williams from Cumbria-based Cicerone Press will talk about how they manage the digital processes of their highly successful independent press which produces material for walking, cycling and outdoor enthusiasts across the world.

After the mid-semester break our speaker on April 3 is Mairi Kidd, Publisher at Barrington Stoke books in Edinburgh. Barrington Stoke is a very well-established publisher of fiction and other material for reluctant readers and has published many high-profile authors such as Malorie Blackman and Keith Gray. There is no session on April 10 because we will all be away at London Book Fair, but on April 17 we move to the other side of the country when editors Gill Tasker and Helen Sedgwick from Glasgow’s Cargo Publishing will give their take on working for a small independent trade press. After this on April 24, our penultimate speaker is Michael Malone,  who will give his dual perspective on the state of publishing as both a successful author of crime fiction and a regional account manager for Faber Factory. Lastly, our final speaker on May 1 is Jenny Niven, Portfolio Manager (Literature, Publishing & Languages) for Creative Scotland.