Callum Walker, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015

November 30th, 2014 by Callum Mitchell Walker | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Callum Walker, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014-2015
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Hello! I’m Callum. I’d like to say that I’m from a far away place like several of my classmates… But I’m from Falkirk! I studied my undergraduate degree in English Studies and History here at Stirling University and the MLitt in Publishing Studies course made it impossible to resist one more year. As graduate life grew closer I began to realise that I wanted to enjoy a career in which I could combine my passion for literature and my interest in the business and communication between a product and people. The ever-changing world of publishing and the course at Stirling seemed like a perfect fit for me.

I had some experience in the publishing industry before the course when I interned at Gay Times Magazine in London last summer. This experience helped me to realise that I have a great desire to be a part of the process of creating a product that can affect, inspire and ultimately change people’s lives. Alongside my studies, I’ll also be interning at Edinburgh-based children’s and non-fiction independent publisher Floris Books next semester.

It is clear from our first few classes that we will be learning about the many different processes, job roles and sectors of the publishing business which I think will benefit me as I am not entirely sure where I want to end up yet in my future career. Whether I end up working in editorial, marketing or production… I can’t wait to find out!

Follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Kerry McShane, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014–15

October 21st, 2014 by Kerry | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Kerry McShane, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2014–15
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McShane Blog Image

It all started with a single book. I couldn’t put it down. Every moment that I could spare, I had that book in my hands. I would watch the clock at work, eager to be back home and immersed in those pages once again. I had never been so affected by a book, but I just couldn’t get enough. That book was Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. The book is notoriously difficult to describe, but it has just about anything you could ever want in a story. Romance, politics, history, action and more—all set in the Scottish highlands, a world away from my home in Ogden, Utah.

I had long dreamed of visiting Scotland, but I suddenly wanted more than a vacation. I wanted to live in Scotland, to be part of it. I know it sounds a bit clichéd, but it really isn’t. I didn’t come here expecting cattle raids, kilts, and haggis as far as the eye could see, but I did expect to find history, peaceful countryside, and kind people. I’ve found everything I expected and more. As a good friend of mine put it, Scotland is magic.

As for how I decided to study publishing, that was mostly by chance. In 2012, I started researching postgraduate offerings at universities across Scotland. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study, but I wanted something practical to complement my English undergraduate degree. I wanted to study for a master’s that would teach me skills that I could apply directly to a career. As I scrolled through the list of courses on the University of Stirling website, the MLitt in Publishing Studies immediately stopped me. Publishing? Why had I never thought of that before? It was the perfect career to combine my affinity for books and my habit of correcting poor grammar! (Ok, that is a very simplified version of the thoughts running through my mind, but you get the idea.) From that moment, everything I did was in an effort to make it here.

I began by serving as the Editor-in-Chief of my alma mater’s undergraduate research journal.  Then, I changed my course plan to include classes in Adobe programs such as InDesign and Photoshop. But most importantly, I worked as an editorial intern and later as an editorial assistant with Gibbs Smith, Publisher. I can’t recommend that enough. Start internships as early as you can. Not only will it help you decide if publishing is right for you, but it will prepare you for further study better than any amount of reading ever will.

So, after a lot of dreaming, planning and working, I made it. My studies are just as fascinating as the country, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store over the next year. If you’d like to see what I’m up to, you can follow me on Twitter @kerrberr_books.

Sarah Boyd MLitt in Publishing Studies 2013-15

October 8th, 2014 by Sarah Boyd | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Sarah Boyd MLitt in Publishing Studies 2013-15
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Profile 3I love books. But then, everyone who does this course says that, so let’s get a little more detailed. I’ve been a student of literature, with an MA in English Literature and an MLitt in Shakespeare Studies, both from theUniversity of St Andrews. I’ve also been a writer, with a Diploma in Creative Writing from the Open University. Can you sense a theme yet? I don’t just love books, and writing, I love studying books and writing! From both of these experiences, two things became obvious: 1) I get mad at any use of the phrase ‘very unique’ and 2) I am good at analysing texts and helping writers to recognise their strengths and weaknesses. So, having tried my hand at being a scholar and being a writer, I came to the decision that I could be a good and useful publisher and promptly applied to this course to learn how.

I’ve been part-time at the Centre for a year now, so I’ve completed around half of the course and so far I think coming here is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve learned fascinating things about the publishing industry, I’ve met and listened to interesting, passionate publishers and I’ve managed to get some work experience, as a reader for Sandstone Press and for the most recent issue of One Throne Magazine, a new literary magazine. I’m also now assisting in developing a house style sheet for Sandstone, which is a really interesting and exciting opportunity. Finally, I’ve been lucky enough to have an article on Scottish Publishing and Independence published in the journal Logos. It’s been a really good year, here’s to the next one!

Find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Blake Brooks, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2012-13

October 7th, 2014 by SCIPC | 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

Seeing the future through Google Glass

April 30th, 2014 by Liam Alastair Crouse | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Seeing the future through Google Glass
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WP_20140306_0012‘The future is now!’ I’ve always found it good practice to begin blog posts with overused clichés.

‘Google Glass haters attack woman’ – well, not a cliché, but as titles of articles go, pretty catchy. Google Glass, which takes technology to a whole new level, has been met with both excitement and suspicion. One the one hand, the Glass comprises one cool (that’s ‘student speak’ for revolutionary) bit of technological synthesis. On the other, people are saying, sometimes rather facetiously: ‘Google? I’m sure they’ll make sure that none of this material turns up in the wrong place…’ Google? Aye, right.

But seriously, future, now. As part of my internship with HarperCollins UK (in Bishopbriggs), I managed to get into one of the Google Glass demonstrations recently. The Glasses are only currently available in the USA, and even then, they’re only trialling 10,000. HCP got a few over to the UK through their US branch.

There are a few glitches in them yet: they would respond to anyone speaking (not helpful if in a busy café or street); they couldn’t tell me how to get back to Rhode Island; and they really like taking pictures (I see what you did there, Google…). Taking a photo is so easy, in fact, it’s as easy as blinking. Actually, blink, and Google Glass will take a photo. Videos are just as stress-free – I’ll get back to that later.

They’re operated through finger swiping, voice commands, head tilting and a few other animations. They’ll perform a number of simple operations, such as searching Bing (just kidding, Google), video conference calls, translating – most of the things Google’s well known for. It even knew where the closest prison was (answer, just across the field!). Voice recognition was a bit trickier; they needed the token American (that’s me!) to say ‘share to Twitter’, as the Scottish accent hasn’t been programmed in yet. I’ll let that one slide, as they are only supposed to be dealing with the American twang just now.

The translation feature was mind-boggling. A co-worker brought in a piece of Spanish poetry and when we looked at it through the Glasses, the English translation was superimposed over the text – as if the Spanish wasn’t even there. Just keep in mind, the translation’s only as good as Google Translate is – so a bit lacking. But for travel and the like (I’m thinking menus and road signs), you’d do worse then walking around being able to read everything in a foreign country! Consider the ramifications for foreign rights sales for publishing if these were to catch on…

So, videos. You’re out in a club, doing silly things, and someone’s recording. People already do that with cameras/smartphones, right? Well, you can’t really tell if someone’s taking a photo or recording you with these. It’s a bit invasive on a few fronts. Due to a range of questions concerning privacy, spying, and surveillance (something which Google is really good at doing at a profit), they’ve already been banned in a number of locations (and they’re not even on the market yet!).

Furthermore, a lady was fined in the US for driving while operating Google Glasses. Although technically not against the law, the authorities finagled the rules to charge her with operating a TV/monitor while operating a motor vehicle. As well, in February, a woman was ‘attacked’ by ‘haters’ in San Francisco when she refused to remove her glasses (Telegraph, 26 Feb). So begins the revolution.

Or rather, in a few months (?), when they’re released at long last. They’re currently upwards of $1,500 a glass, but they’re estimated to retail around $600. Battery power only lasts around 2 hours just now, but I think that with the rapidity of technological evolution which drives these things, that might be sorted out soon. Who knows, at the end of this year, you may be buying a Google Glass add-on for your loved one’s prescriptions for Christmas.


Rosie Cunningham-Siggs MLitt Publishing Studies 2013-14

November 5th, 2013 by Rosie Cunningham- Siggs | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Rosie Cunningham-Siggs MLitt Publishing Studies 2013-14
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I discovered the MLitt in Publishing Studies offered at Stirling during the final year of my English Literature degree at the University of Dundee, driven by the fast approaching ‘real world’. I was drawn to the course’s balance of academic and practical training, along with the stunniing campus surroundings. Over the past year I have been able to explore publishing processes such as editing and design by helping out at Stewed Rhubarb – a small poetry press based in Edinburgh. The fun I had there helped to reaffirm that I was heading in the right direction!
Recently I have developed a keen interest in the production of children’s books and the importance of reading material that genuinely engages and attracts young readers. I am also keen to further explore the different attractions of the printed word and ebooks, stepping away from my knee-jerk preference for books as physical objects. Thanks to the practical components of the course I am already on my way to demystifying the black arts of InDesign and Photoshop!

I was prompted to apply for funding by the immensely approachable and friendly staff on the course, after which I was lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Along with the level of publishing know-how that has been fitted into the first two weeks of the course, I am re-assured that I have landed on my feet and ended up in the right place!

London Book Fair and Digicon 2013

May 11th, 2013 by Blake Brooks | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on London Book Fair and Digicon 2013
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Blake Brooks, MLitt in Publishing Studies student, reports on London Book Fair and Digicon 2013:

It’s been an intense year of studying and interning, going from being a freshly graduated undergrad to hardcore postgrad, and all that energy and learning culminated in two events in April: The London Book Fair and the Interactive Scotland Digital Conference (Digicon).

Although as a Londoner the London Book Fair was a chance to go home, the trip was still predominantly about working, networking and seeing the publishing industry in practice. Still, even a lifelong Londoner like myself can underestimate journey time, and so at 9.30am on the Monday morning I went dashing into Earls Court trying to get to my first seminar. I only paused briefly to marvel at the stands that stretched out before me like a hundred tiny showrooms, a sea of metal squares with banners and photos all vying for attention.
Whilst I enjoyed the seminar, I felt somewhat disorientated and so decided to forgo my next intended one for a chance to walk around and familiarise myself. However that feeling of disorientation never went away. I found I largely spent my time trying not to crash into the marketing executive of HarperCollins, desperately attempting light hearted and jovial conversation with stern-faced and unamused stall-dwellers, and smiling with nervous hope at disinterested business people rushing from meeting to meeting with no interest in anyone with the word ‘student’ emblazoned across their badge.

A world away from the rush of the main fair, I did enjoy the seminars and I was even invited to partake in some meetings with my internship company Saraband, which were interesting, nerve-wracking, and brilliant. I felt like everyone was communicating in another language, but every now and then I caught familiar words or had a feeling I knew what they were really talking about, and I loved it when I had something I could contribute, though for the most part I preferred to listen.

I did however find it disheartening how little care was shown for students (theoretically the future of the publishing industry) and how hard it was to approach people, even at networking events. I’m not a wallflower but I really struggled, and some people were just downright rude when you did try. That’s also the feedback I’ve received relatively unanimously from the other Stirling students, too.

However the Fair itself is definitely worth going to; a great educational experience that is interesting and often enjoyable. I loved sitting with a glass of wine and chatting publishing with those I had connected with, I enjoyed live-tweeting in excess until my batteries died, I smiled as I played LBF bingo in my head and ticked ‘William Boyd’ off my list (but not a bin, which were few and far between).

The seminars were interesting, although I only made half of my intended ones as my feet hurt and my energy ran out as the days are long and tiring. The stalls were fascinating, especially seeing how some were so open and full of life like Penguin and Button Books, whilst others, like Canongate and Lonely Planet, built both literal and metaphorical walls around themselves. Many people at stalls encouraged conversation, others were all business and meetings. Overall I left with two business cards but fifty new twitter followers, a heavy heart but an enthused mind, and a sense that the publishing industry was not going to be quite as kind to me as I’d once thought – even though I also came out feeling like those that were kind were more than making it up for those who weren’t.

Digital Day was a totally different and utterly positive experience by comparison. I showed up expecting it to feel much like the London Book Fair, which, by this point, I’d reflected on as a worthwhile but disappointing experience. However, we were greeted in a small room by tea and breakfast rolls, surrounded by small stands that were open and welcoming, much more like a market than a fair.

This was a more casual, interesting and positive event and, as the main conference started, I was curious to see what the core of it was about. Digicon doesn’t quite specialise in publishing, although Pearson were there, telling us all about teaching our three-year-olds Mandarin using the iPad, and much of it does relate to the industry.
I tweeted everything and garnered numerous new followers, as I sat at the back of the conference room watching hundreds of faces lit up in the dark with the glow of tablets and phone. Everyone was excited, everything seemed fascinating, and best of all there were limitless supplies of tea. The afternoon seminars were even better, with one on ‘brand identity’ and one on ‘visibility and marketing’. The seminar leaders were funny, charismatic and confident, they led interesting discussions and imparted wisdom that felt worthy of writing down. When I came out my mind was abuzz with marketing ideas and I wandered around the stalls happily chatting with professionals who were open and friendly, undoing all the self-doubt I’d felt after LBF. The networking event was wonderful, I had a lovely time drinking free wine with Sara and Catriona (from Publishing Scotland and alumni of the course) whilst talking to numerous people. I didn’t feel awkward handing over my card, or taking anyone else’s, and my smile felt genuine this time. Although it’s perhaps not as necessary to go to Digicon I felt it was a great experience and perhaps more beneficial than LBF, especially if you’re interested in digital technologies.

I’ve come out of both events feeling that they were beneficial and I definitely got something out of both. I think the London Book Fair is an important event, it’s good if you are interested in publishing in general, but it is not a networking event as everyone is busy and students are largely superfluous. Still, the companies I did interact with; Cargo, Forlaget Hetland, Saraband, Freight, Button Books and Publishing Scotland; were all wonderful, open and kind.

Digicon is an optional addition to the publishing calendar, but a truly enjoyable experience and I think worth going to if you can afford it. You can reap the ticket cost back in food and drink easily (the entire day is catered) and the advice and guidance in the seminars was more useful and inspiring than anything I heard at London Book Fair.

However perhaps the best recommendation I could give is to say do it all. Both experiences were beneficial even if not totally positive, both were educational, both were enjoyable at times and all that I’ve learnt will help me in the future. so it’s worth it.

Creative Internships with the Saltire Society and Freight Books

February 24th, 2013 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Creative Internships with the Saltire Society and Freight Books

Creative Internships are currently available with the Saltire Society and Freight Books.

The Saltire Society is seeking a Project Manager for the new Saltire Society Publisher of the Year Award, and Freight Books is seeking a Publishing Intern.

Creative Internships are only available through the Creative Interns programme. Applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria. Application can only be made via your local Jobcentre Plus personal adviser.

Creative Intern vacancies are open to an individual who meet certain criteria. They must:

  • Be aged 24 or younger
  • Hold a SCQF Level 8+ qualification related to the arts or creative industries (equivalent to an HND, first degree, SVQ Level 4 or above)
  • Be unemployed, either claiming benefits but not yet on the Work Programme/Work Choices or not yet claiming benefits, in which case they must make a claim for JSA to receive a referral.

Full details are available via the Creative Interns website (search on Jobs by Sector – ‘Publishing’).

“If it comes down to it, then eat the baby food” – Society of Young Publisher’s Internship Panel

January 14th, 2013 by Aija | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on “If it comes down to it, then eat the baby food” – Society of Young Publisher’s Internship Panel
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At the annual intern event of the Society of Young Publishers  junior staff members from various Scottish publishing houses gave, in a rare opportunity for us fledgling publishing students, insight and information on how to get one’s foot in in the publishing business. Sobering realities were spoken, albeit in warm tones.

The panel of eight, chaired by Dr. Padmini Ray Murray of Stirling University’s publishing studies, shared their labour intensive attempts of cracking into publishing – starting from advice on how to write a thorough research dissertation that can be used to one’s benefit when applying for a job, to some of the bittersweet intern experiences (such as having to promote a baby food cook book and actually having demonstrate the excellence of the cook book by eating some of the gourmet choices, and thus securing a rave recommendation) and with the comforting notion that a lot of luck is in question, and it might take months (or as in one case) about a year before a young publisher would land on their first job within an actual publishing house.

The key is to do as many internships as possible, to be social, hardworking and foremost, to be proactive. Nothing will be gained from sitting on one’s bum, waiting for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to just drop in your lap in the form of a job advert or offered internship through the (hopefully) varied connections. The general consensus between the panel was to be bold enough to contact publishers and publishing houses, big and small, and tell them you are available to work for a week or two weeks and to emphasize on top your already existing skills the fact that you are out to learn. Naturally this should go with a thorough knowledge of the publisher’s goals and previous titles, just so you can dazzle them with a proper explanation as to why you think they would be the best to provide you with invaluable experience.

Interestingly enough, many in the panel mentioned how applying for smaller companies is in many ways a better opportunity, as big publishing houses have enough to deal with as it is and often do not need interns in the way smaller companies are able and willing to take a youngling in with open arms — especially if they are willing to work, FOR FREE.

Armed with new motivation and more hands-on information (it is always good to know others have struggled as well) on how to secure an internship and further on, a career in publishing the students filed out to the Edinburgh dusk, ready to try out their own publishing wings as soon as possible – secured with the conviction of actually being ready to eat that baby food, if it comes down to it.

Joanne Marjoribanks, MLitt Publishing Studies, 2012-2013

December 19th, 2012 by Joanne Marjoribanks | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Joanne Marjoribanks, MLitt Publishing Studies, 2012-2013
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I have had a lot of career aspirations in my life – teacher, meteorologist, dancer, political researcher – but the only constant passion in my life since I was a child has been my love of books. There is even some hilarious family video footage of me at about one and a half years old enthusiastically waving a Disney book around and then trying to flip through the thick pages with my little stubby fingers. When I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I was convinced that my future career lay in the world of politics, even going so far as to take up an internship with the Scottish Liberal Democrats during my year out. However, although the internship was a really great experience, I left convinced that a political career wasn’t for me.

Disillusioned, I turned to my mother for advice, and she suggested publishing. I felt so stupid – of course, why hadn’t I thought of that?! I immediately began a Google search and quickly found the MLitt Publishing Studies course here at Stirling. For some reason that still eludes me, I had never considered a career in publishing before. I loved books and literature, yet I didn’t want to be a teacher, so I felt that my passion would have to remain a hobby. However, publishing seemed like the perfect fit for me, and this course the perfect avenue into the industry. I have no direct experience working in publishing – although what I learned during my Lib Dem internship has helped me a lot – however I have been published twice in poetry anthologies via two national poetry competitions run by Poetry in Print.

I completed my undergraduate degree in American Studies at the University of Dundee in 2011. The flexibility of the course was fantastic and allowed me to study modules in English, Politics and History, which were completely focused on the USA. In my final two years I was able to narrow my focus in terms of the modules that I chose. I also had to decide which of the three module subjects I would focus my dissertation on. Considering that at the time I thought I wanted to work in the political sphere, it would have made sense to undertake a dissertation in politics. However, I couldn’t shake my love of literature, and to that end I wrote my dissertation on the significance of the wolf symbol in American Literature, beginning with Native American legends and ending with a number of late 20th century novels featuring the wolf as a central character. Despite the stress involved, I actually really enjoyed the process, and only wished I could have written more than the 11,000 word limit allowed!

I am only a few weeks into the course, and having finally gotten to grips (I hope!) with the classes schedule and all the assignments for this semester, I feel I am finally settling down to enjoy what I am learning. I already feel that the way I look at the world is changing, not least because I am now seeing Helvetica everywhere! When I pick up a book and see that the paper it is printed on is of a poor quality, I wonder what led the publisher to make that decision. I find myself looking at posters, leaflets and magazine advertisements and trying to decide whether or not they represent examples of effective marketing. I can only imagine how my impressions of books and the wider world will have changed still further by this time next year, but I am definitely looking forward to finding out where this course will lead me.