X Close

Centre for Publishing


Where book lovers unite


Archive for the 'Guest Bloggers' Category

Close Encounters of a Publishing Kind: Being On a Publishing Course Without Having an English Degree by Hannah Reedy

By uczccgl, on 8 January 2016

Being on the UCL’s MA Publishing course has been one of the most fantastic opportunities I’ve ever had. While having been able to make more friends and learn new things, I’ve also been able to boost my chances of getting into the industry and securing a career.

When I look back on the first week of the course, I remember worrying so much, because I didn’t know if this was the right course for me. The main reason for this was searching on Twitter for my new course mates and finding that the majority of them were English or Literature graduates while I was a recent graduate in Graphic Arts. I was terrified that I didn’t have the same skills the rest of my cohort had, and that I would probably fail this course.

Well, I’m writing this as I’m just about to undertake the second term, and I have to say I’m still alive! It’s been hard at times, but I really don’t regret joining this course, and it has given me confidence in skills that I thought I didn’t have and ones I didn’t think I needed from my past course. I’ve found that I’ve done a lot more designing and illustrations than I had done in my year after my graduation!

So here are a few tips for those who are interested in applying for the 2016-2017 MA Publishing course but who might not have an English/Literature BA degree. Hopefully, it will encourage and inspire you to use your skills to your advantage!

  • Don’t feel intimidated!

On the first day of the course, you and every other of your classmates will be in the same boat. You will all be learning together, so there is no level of disadvantage for anyone. Just try to keep positive and remember you are on the course because you share the same passions and interests as those of your classmates, no matter if you’ve studied a different course!

  • Use your skills to your advantage!

Publishing has many varied areas from design to finance. So there are plenty of opportunities for the skills you have learned to shine! The skills you have will always work as an advantage to you and help to make you stand out from the others on the course. Also, if they are taught in class and people are struggling, make sure you’re available to give them a helping hand. It’s also key to keep your skills on your publishing CV, even though they may not seem relatable – you never know if they may come in handy.

  • Take as many opportunities as you can!

From internships to a call for help from tutors – make sure they know what you are skilled and interested in. If you work hard and show you’re interested with your skills, you will get noticed. It’s so important in the professional world to demonstrate you have a unique selling point because you’ll be more memorable to people who may have a job for you under their sleeves!

These are tips that I have learned from this first term on the course. It’s so important to make sure that you believe in yourself, and if you have a strong love for books and a passion for reading – you’ll fit in here just fine!

Good luck to you if you’re just about to send in your application, or just about to finish your graduate exams. Hope to see you soon at UCL!

Notes From the Underground by Karina Maduro

By uczccgl, on 21 December 2015

What do you think of when I say London Underground? Packed stations, delayed trains, and commuters rushing to their next appointment probably all come to mind. But there’s an aspect of the London Underground that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated: buskers. Whether they’re bringing you the classics, original songs, or instrumentals, buskers add a sense of culture and entertainment to our daily commutes. But how many of us actually stop to appreciate their music and get to know their stories?


Notes From the Underground is a project that aims to publish a book that will uncover the world of London busking. Inspired by projects such as Humans of New York and books such as Athol Rheeder’s London Street Performers, Notes From the Underground will interweave interviews and photographs to provide an intimate insight into the lives of London buskers.


Over the next few months we will be journeying through the London Underground and researching the community in order to find the best buskers out there! We are very excited to confirm that we will also be talking to some of the winners of “London’s Big Busking Competition” that took place in September 2015. We hope to uncover their backgrounds, influences, and future aspirations. And hopefully bring attention to some amazing talent too!


In the book, buskers will have their own profile. This will include photographs, as well as stories and anecdotes that we uncover through our interviews. Alongside these profiles, we’ll also be writing features that include the history of busking, top tips, and a calendar of events in order to provide more information on the busking community.


We are aiming to release the book in April 2016. However, we will also be documenting our progress and providing sneak peeks into the project via social media. So don’t forget to follow us!


Facebook: Notes from the Underground

Twitter: @notesunderbook

Instagram: notesunderbook


Thanks for reading!

Group 2 xx

I did my time! Four weeks of it… at The Bookseller! by Mirjam Coenraads

By uczcew0, on 18 December 2015


When the call for a paid three-day a week internship at The Bookseller came, I simply had to try and obtain it — I joined this programme with the intention of learning how to sell books better and with a developing personal interest in digital publishing it seemed like a perfect match. The Bookseller has such a sexy history in publishing altogether and is clearly on second-base terms with the future of it, so for the internship (with a focus on marketing and events) to culminate with the FutureBook conference felt like getting the keys to a dingy London flat together.

In the weeks leading up to FutureBook, I was working closely with the Sales and Marketing teams at their Southwark office. Anna, Sophia, and my direct chief-in-command Blake Brooks made me feel extremely welcome and appreciated, and fed me biscuits and endless streams of tea. Maria Vassilopoulos (one of us, one of us!) would always find the time to have a chat and then feed me more biscuits, bless her. That might sound a bit trivial, but I take these little things as a sign of a positive office environment which fuels everyone to tackle whatever lies ahead for the day. And boy, did we get to tackle things!

From phoning guests and clients to designing conference programs and other bits and bobs of marketing material, to finding the perfect venue for a Rising Stars social event where publishers and authors could mingle whilst enjoying their first mince pie of the party season. Every day I spent with The Bookseller was a wild ride of different tasks. But hey, I’m the kind of girl who doesn’t mind that rattling safety bar on a rollercoaster. So, bring it on!

We roped in a couple of UCL volunteers to help stuff some goodie bags and it was great to represent the MA together. More volunteers, from other MA programmes as well, joined us for Author Day and FutureBook and Zoë Sharples has a more detailed post about this from an earlier date. Read it here for a more detailed overview of these events, because to be frank — I was running around with Blake, clipboard in hand, doing 20,000 things at once, having the time of my life. And I will cherish that for quite some time, because it made me realise that when it comes to the publishing industry I want to make things happen, whether it’s selling books or getting bums on seats.     

If that sounds like you too, be sure to apply the next time The Bookseller requires an intern. Just be sure to expect anything! Be proactive! Dive in and get stuff done! And, perhaps most of all, have fun!


Photo Source:

Figure 1 

UCL Publishers’ Prize for Young Adult Fiction

By uczcslo, on 4 December 2015


Flyer 2Hands up if you’ve heard of the UCL Publishers’ Prize…

Publishing students: if your hand isn’t in the air, then what have you been doing for the last eight weeks? I’m worried about you, truly.

Non-publishing students: the Publishers’ Prize is a writing competition for UCL students. Any student enrolled at UCL can enter, and the shortlisted entries get to be published in an anthology that actual people can buy and read – your writing gets read by lots of cool people, there’s a big prize for the overall winner and, you know, accolades.

Next challenge…

So, hands up if you’ve heard of the UCL Publishers’ Prize for Young Adult Fiction. No? Well, that’s because it’s new this year. Ta-da!

The UCL Publishers’ Prize for YA is an offshoot of the main prize. We’re working alongside each other, but this secondary prize is celebrating the breadth and depth of YA (that’s code for Young Adult). Why is it called the Publishers’ Prize, you ask? Because it’s awarded by UCL’s publishing students, that’s why. And why YA? Well, why not? Many of us are young adults, and plenty of those of us who aren’t, still like a good young adult novel – and we want to celebrate and encourage new writers in this genre (if you can call it that, though really YA is so much more than just a genre…).

The Competition…

I hope you’re all eager to learn more. Yay! Please enter!

Ok, so you have to be a current student at UCL. It doesn’t matter what discipline you’re studying, what level or stage you’re at, or how old you are. You have from now until 22 January 2016 to send us your work. Your entry must be no more than 4,000 words long (I probably should have mentioned that before: it’s a short story competition), it must be your own work, and cannot have been published elsewhere before. You email it as a Word document to us at: uclpublishersprizeya@gmail.com (both saved as with the email subject line: SURNAME_YAPRIZE). You can send us up to three different stories, and you can enter the original Publishers’ Prize too, but only with a different set of writing.

What exactly are we looking for and what is YA? Well, what do you think YA is? It’s not that easy to define when you get down to it! That’s because the best YA is diverse, smart, boundary pushing; it can be fun, it can be dark; it can be light or intense, romantic or adventurous – and with any luck it’s all of these things and more. You decide. After all, you’re readers as much as we are (at least, I hope so) and you know what you look for in a good story.

We are seven UCL Publishing students: Michela, Naomi, Mia, Natalya, Sarah, Kara, and Isabel. Follow the prize on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or visit our website. Over the coming weeks we’ll be announcing the prizes and the judges. We promise you won’t be disappointed – last year’s judges on the main prize included bestselling crime author Peter James, Waterstones fiction buyer Chris White and Lee Brackstone, the creative director of Faber Social – and more. So we’re aiming just as high this year.

And the prize? Well now, that’d be telling…

We look forward to reading your work and discovering what hidden writing talents this year’s UCL students have to offer!

If Isabel’s writing interests you, then follow her on Twitter @bookythought!

Publishing and the ‘D’ Word

By Caroline A Murphy, on 19 February 2015

By Marianne Tatepo

Of the thousands of online witticisms causing the SYP 2014 Conference hashtag (#sypconf14) to trend, one tweet stuck with me to this day: “It’s kind of hilarious how few people have chosen to attend the #sypconf14 session on diversity.” (Miriam H Craig, 12:15 PM – 8 Nov 2014, @miriamhcraig).

You’ll have heard of the ‘d’ word. For some it may be equated to ‘race’. But diversity is not colour, gender, or ability specific. Was the ‘diversity’ session at SYP aimed at those few minority groups (ditto about such print issues by The Bookseller)? Many will be most aware of their own underrepresentation: diversity is being able to scan a room and see, or hear about both others like you and those unlike you. A room where each attendee can’t think to themselves “there are other people like me AND unlike me” is not diverse – the same goes for an industry. Still: it’s difficult to tackle the issue of diversity if none of those concerned are included in such discussions – so here’s my own input, following on Caroline Carpenter’s piece.

My contention is: a diverse industry is one inclusive of those who have had to deal with marginalisation or disparities at a range of possible levels. Mental health issues; lack of social mobility; gender or racial imbalances or discrimination; physical impairment or disability; and other major factors that may lead them to feel there are no ‘people like them’ around.

Identity is not one-dimensional. On the one hand, there were a plethora of others like me at SYP’s 2014 summit: literature or humanities degree bearers, and probable Student Finance benefactors, who are only mediocrely digitally skilled. On the other hand, it was honestly disappointing to have to acquiesce to some of the facts outlined in The Bookseller’s November issue regarding the status quo of variety in publishing – even ten years on, post-Web 2.0.

As both a hyperbole and simile: a love for publishing can sometimes feel like having Stockholm Syndrome – we’re captives of something we’ve grown to feel an attachment to, in spite of the perils presented (e.g.: ‘death of the book’ and other doomsday fear-mongering), and this often causes onlookers to equate our loyalty to insanity. At ‘budding publisher’ level, this translates into the sacrifices some must make in order to intern for periods of up to a year (dixit many of SYP 2014’s despairing attendees). The labour is often unwaged, and worse yet: there is no guarantee that you’ll reach Promised Land.

You’ll hear about books being rejected by publishers because the demographic depicted in said books is not that of ‘the reader’ or ‘the customer’ – that is to say, not white. To say that minorities aren’t ‘the reader’ doesn’t recognise the fact that they are often unrepresented in stories, despite the infinite amount of stories out in the world. Not reading every book that refuses to acknowledge you could be seen as a silent, peaceful protest of sorts – a sign of a malignant illness tainting the reading experience.  How can catering to a wider audience be achieved whilst simultaneously telling said audience – by way of ellipsis, by way of vacuum – that they don’t exist?

What you won’t hear enough about is people like Nikesh Shukla or Malorie Blackman – both of them catering to different age groups, but certainly to wider groups than many past and present writers did altogether. A diversity workshop, I believe, would have been most beneficial to future agents, editors, marketers, publicists… That is to say: anyone likely to unearth the next Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Junot Diaz, or John Elder Robison and whose instincts may be muddled by a one-dimensional idea of ‘the reader’.

What you won’t hear enough about is that the next generation of writers is tucked away in places like The Baytree Centre, in Brixton. In this all-women’s culture and literacy centre, young girls of BAME background aged 10-14 are attending Creative Writing and Reading classes voluntarily, and will soon submit their edited, original creative writing work to the Global Girls Project, with the hope to be published.

However, you will certainly hear about the commercial benefits of diversity. What you won’t hear is about the value of culture – especially in a melting pot like the UK. What you don’t hear enough is how good, loyal employees are the ones attracted not to the commercial aspect of the industry, but the fact that their presence is reflected in the workplace; that they are part of a community – just like ‘the reader’. The fact that when, finally, they get that book proof on their desks, more than once in a blue moon, they can read about ‘others like them’.

The momentum is now, and the opportunities are here: where there is a will, there is a market. If Nichelle Gainer could sell out for an illustrated coffee book like Vintage Black Glamour (£30 apiece) and even a major cultural institution like the V&A is doing a Black British Experience exhibition after recognising a “gap” in their knowledge… What’s stopping the publishing industry from recognizing the full scope of ‘the reader’?