By Camilla G Lunde, on 25 November 2015
For me, one of the major selling points of UCL’s Publishing MA program was the promise of the publishing project that runs through the course of two terms. The prospect of developing a product from the beginning stages of idea to completion seemed undeniably attractive, especially for someone with no prior publishing experience. I am an international student (Norwegian), and the chance to experience the process of publishing in this manner, on a university level, is not one I would have had at home. Subsequently, I was more than a little excited by the opportunity provided by UCL. So far, about a month into the project, the reality has lived up to its expectations.
For this module, before students even began thinking of an idea for a project, we were put into groups by our tutors. We go through different activities and exercises to help them organise groups they think will fit together well. My group consists of seven people, and even before we decided on what we wanted to do, our tutors were referring to us as ‘the digital group’ (so revealed to us a few weeks into the module). All things considered, this seems a rather apt description.
From early on, the seven of us jelled fairly well together, and quickly decided on an idea for our project. We want to create a collection of about ten to fifteen short stories to be available in both print and digital format. For each story, we want an accompanying illustration/artwork and original soundtrack that matches the overall tone and feel of the stories. The use of QR-codes will link to a website where we will host the music and artwork, as well as online editions of the stories and information about their authors. Everyone involved with the project, is essentially an ‘unknown’. There will be no prior published authors, no signed artists—we’re all works in progress.
It’s an ambitious project, but we’re determined to see it through. At this stage, we already have a selection of stories we’re happy to go forth with, and next in our project timeline is the editing process, drawing up author contracts, and plans to create a pitch for sponsorship.
Creating a project pitch is something students have to do regardless. This is separate from the sponsorship pitch, which my group is doing on its own initiative. For the publishing project, simply coming up with an idea is not enough: our tutors have to sign off on it. Each group is allocated twenty minutes to present their project idea, talk through the logistics of it, and convince the panel of tutors that it’s a viable project. It’s an interesting experience, even a little nerve wrecking, but an incredibly useful process to make sure every group member is on the same page and has the same expectations for the project.
We are still fairly early on in the project, and there is still much to do before Christmas break and the end of our first term. There is even work to be done over the break. Even so, I’m excited to see how we have progressed by my next update. Until then.
PS: While I’ll be providing updates about my group’s project once every month, expect to be hearing from guest bloggers as well. They’ll be students from other groups writing about their own projects.