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.

Blake Brooks, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-13

October 7th, 2014 by | Posted in Alumni | Comments Off on Blake Brooks, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-13
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BlakeBrooks‘StirPub supported me from day one of the course, allowing me to pursue the areas of publishing I was interested in. By helping me with internships they allowed me to gain the experience I needed, and the course provided wonderful networking opportunities. Without the experience and education I gained from the course I would never have achieved everything that I have. The course is the perfect first step to a career in Publishing.’

Blake Brooks, Marketing and Events coordinator, The Bookseller


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.


Conny Lenz, Cengage Learning

October 23rd, 2013 by Xiaolin Ma | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Conny Lenz, Cengage Learning
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Conny Lenz‘s visit to Stirling was impressive and meaningful for us. She is a Publishing Studies alumna and digital publishing assistant at Cengage Learning. Conny Lenz introduced her route into publishing and her current job at Cengage Learning.

First of all, she began by expressing her personal feelings about the Stirling publishing course. She thinks this course is very helpful, because it provides a sound overview of the publishing industry, teaches students how to finish marketing and sales tasks, trains students of all kinds of ability through dummy projects, and helps students accomplish their dissertation. Her words inspired us to move forward.

Conny then went on to talk about her route into publishing. She mentioned that internships are very important, and she advised us to contact as many publishing recruiters as possible. She also mentioned that we could use social networks like LinkedIn for our careers. She stressed the importance of competitor awareness in interviews.

Maybe because some of us are not familiar with library reference, Conny introduced the work that library reference does. It needs to source content from libraries and institutions, such as The National Archives, British Library and Royal Archives. It needs to assess, oversee and manage the digitisation of the content. It will determine design and layout of product and images. Providing marketing and sales teams with documentation and information on the product is also a part of its work.

Next, Conny presented how digital archives were created and how to use the search engine of the Daily Mail Historical Archive.

The next topic focused on her current work at Cengage Learning. Her first project was Nineteenth Century Collections Online. The second project was the management of the transfer of seven products from one platform to another. The third project was the State Papers Online, Eighteenth Century Part 1. The fourth project is Punch Historical Archive 1841-1992. She showed her projects by using a lot of images of raw materials and the process of designing these library references, and which fully showed her work at Cengage Learning.

This is an informative session about library reference, and I think the whole class will agree we learned a lot during this speaking. Thanks, Conny!

-Xiaolin Ma

Tweets from Conny’s Visiting Speaker session have been Storified here.




Kate McNamara, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-12

July 10th, 2013 by | Posted in Alumni | Comments Off on Kate McNamara, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2011-12
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One of the things that really drew me to the MLitt in Publishing Studies course was how practical the modules were. The classes and lecturers offered a myriad of practical skills through the publishing project, dissertation, and through the way the course was taught. Right from the start we were given group exercises, like making pitches as international companies at rights fairs, and creating marketing materials in a team in a short space of time and presenting them to the class. We were also encouraged to keep on top of what was happening in the publishing world outside of our classroom. All of this also gave me lots to talk about in interviews. We were also exposed to many different aspects of publishing, which was invaluable. When I began the course I was set on becoming an editor but I found myself becoming increasingly interested in marketing as well.

Now I am working as a Sales and Marketing Assistant with McGraw-Hill Education, a thoroughly enjoyable role where I can utilize the software, marketing, communication and design skills which Stirling gave me. It has also really helped in my understanding of how publishing in general works, and my role within the company in particular, and especially in choosing where I wanted to go. The course helped me get the job by giving me the needed skills, allowing me to articulate them in interviews and detail my professional development, and enabling me to prepare the interview tasks, but it also puts me at ease in my work. I can’t recommend it enough.



February 19th, 2013 by Frances_Sessford | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on VISITING SPEAKERS FOR SEMESTER 2, 2012-13
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The Centre’s Visiting Speakers programme for this semester presents a broad mix of academic and industry experience. 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 21 with an academic perspective from John Maxwell, lecturer in Publishing at Simon Fraser University in Canada. This is followed on February 28 by Emma House of The Publishers’ Association, the representative body of the UK publishing trade. Two small independent publishers based in Scotland follow: Mark Buckland of Cargo Publishing  in Glasgow (March 7) and Eleanor Collins and Helena Waldron from Floris Books  in Edinburgh (March 14). On March 21, John Seaton, Inventory Manager at Canongate Books will talk about what’s involved in good backlist management, while March 28 hosts Alastair Horne, Social Media and Communities Manager at Cambridge University Press, who will focus on digital publishing.

After the mid-semester break, on April 11 we welcome John Storey, Head of Literature and Publishing at the Gaelic Books Council. Another independent publisher, Vanessa Robertson of Fidra Books will speak on April 18, followed by the final session on April 25 with Timothy Wright, Publisher at Edinburgh University Press.

Aileen-Elizabeth Taylor, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2011-12: From the Classroom to the Office

December 2nd, 2012 by prm | Posted in Alumni | Comments Off on Aileen-Elizabeth Taylor, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2011-12: From the Classroom to the Office
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Around this time last year the 2012 MLitt in Publishing Studies class enjoyed a fascinating talk from David Martin of Martin the Printers. Earlier this month I had the pleasure of meeting him again – this time in my office of my new job. As a soon to be graduate of the course I am very pleased to have been offered a job at Oxford University Press as a Production Assistant in the English Language Teaching division. I have been at my job for about two months now and I can see the clear benefits of the course. For example when editors send me corrections in titles, I already know the mark up signs from the editorial classes. It’s one less thing that has to be explained and taught to me while learning the job. Having a good general knowledge of the overall publishing industry has definitely stood me in good stead. What I find fascinating about English Language Teaching publishing is how local economies, politics and culture can play a big role in shaping market trends.

I love my job so much I look forward to Mondays – apparently that’s strange but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks M. Litt in Publishing Studies, couldn’t have done it without you!

Aileen-Elizabeth Taylor

MLitt, Publishing Studies, 2011-2012


Publishing Scotland’s Marion Sinclair – A Talk of Success

September 20th, 2012 by Sara_Gardiner | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publishing Scotland’s Marion Sinclair – A Talk of Success
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Marion graduated the Publishing Studies course at the University of Stirling in the 1980’s. Marion believes that a degree in publishing is useful to have and puts us in good stead for a career in the industry.

Marion Sinclair works for Publishing Scotland whose job it is to promote and support Scottish publishers; these companies may be small, but ‘great books can come out of a one-person company.’ Marion has taken on the task of making Publishing Scotland relevant to their members by supplying outlines of what the publishing industry needs to succeed. There are over 100 active publishing companies in Scotland and most are currently small and medium enterprises; anyone can set themselves up to be a publisher.

Scottish writing has seen a renaissance in the past ten years with writer who have an international following. Alexander McCall Smith, is one example of a flag bearer for Scottish publishing. Scotland in particular has a publishing industry which is more than 500 years old, but in need of new thinking. Over the next two years Publishing Scotland wants to be able to aid companies in development of e-books and web design; they are putting the spotlight on what the independent publishers need.

As such, it is an organization of which Stirling University is a part. Their aim is to cultivate contacts and develop parts of the infrastructure of the media industry. Publishing Scotland’s core activities are:

  • Fulfilling training gaps
  • Information and support
  • Taking publishers to book fairs in London and Frankfurt

Graduates need to have creative and commercial abilities, business sense and be numerate; they need to think beyond being an employee. It has never been easier to set up your own publishing company, so why not think about setting up your own business?

Publishing Scotland holds an annual conference, which members may attend in order to meet new people who already work in the industry. Students may offer to do placement work for a company to begin to get your face known within the industry. Publishing Scotland will help students to find work or a work placement; the best way to get a job is to annoy people at events!

When applying for a job in the publishing industry, potential employers may receive up to 75 CV’s from potential candidates. Of these, the candidates with a publishing degree will be more likely to be picked for interview.

A big thank you to Marion for the talk today with all of the useful hints and tips!

– Sara Gardiner

Neil Simpson, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2008–2009

September 20th, 2012 by prm | Posted in Alumni | Comments Off on Neil Simpson, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2008–2009
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I came to the Publishing Studies course at Stirling after completing my undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature at Glasgow (2006) and working in admin for two years. After graduating I knew that moving into the publishing industry was what I wanted to do with my degree, but I didn’t know which area of it would be the best fit. Researching the course at Stirling, I felt that it would be so wide-ranging and comprehensive that I would be able to find what I was best at and determine which was the right path to go down. I was proved right.

The teaching on the course covered all aspects of publishing, and was set up to function as equivalent to your first year working in a publishing house. In addition to the excellent teaching, another very valuable part of the course was the regular guest lectures from current publishing professionals. We heard from people from many different areas of the industry and, again, this only helped to show which area appealed the most to us as students. After graduating I was lucky enough to secure two separate work placements through the course, at Waverley Books (at that time in New Lanark) and at W Green (Edinburgh). The placements were a great follow-up to the course and allowed me first-hand experience of the day-to-day running of publishers’ offices, which stood me in good stead for my next move.

I joined Cicerone Press as Production Editor in 2010, where I have a hand in seeing books all the way through from submission to publication. My main responsibilities include liaising with authors, briefing our editors and designers and writing marketing copy – all of which has been aided by my time at Stirling.

I would definitely recommend the MLitt in Publishing Studies to prospective students. It was a great introduction to the industry and its comprehensive teaching allowed me to narrow my focus and helped to identify which part of publishing was best for me. Studying at such a beautifully located campus and meeting lots of good people and sharing many good times only added to the experience.

30th Birthday Celebrations: Publishing Showcase and Drinks Reception

April 3rd, 2012 by | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on 30th Birthday Celebrations: Publishing Showcase and Drinks Reception
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It’s our 30th anniversary in 2012! We’d like to celebrate this with our current and past students, and our industry and academic networks.

We’re holding a showcase of our current student work, a debate, and a drinks reception on Thursday 3 May in Stirling as part of our celebrations. Please join us for all or part of the event:

3.15-4.45pm Discussion: The Past, Present and Future of Publishing (Katy Lockwood-Holmes, Floris Books; Bob McDevitt, Jenny Brown Associates; and Marion Sinclair, Publishing Scotland) Pathfoot B2

5-7pm Publishing Showcase of current student work, plus Drinks Reception Pathfoot Crush Hall

If you’d like to attend, please email to let us know.

If you’re attending the London Book Fair this year, please do join us and Publishing Scotland at our stand party on Tuesday 17 April (more details here).

Alternatively, if you can’t join us for any of those, please do join us on our social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). And if you’re one of our alumni, please do consider writing us an alumni profile for our website.