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Centre for Publishing


Where book lovers unite


Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category


By Helena, on 1 December 2016

So no one tells you that an MA in Publishing keeps you so busy that you turn around and realise you haven’t sorted out the accompanying blog yet even though it’s almost December. Oops.

Hello, everyone! We are the new blog runners representing the MA Publishing course here at UCL, as part of the Department for Information Studies – you can find more information about us on the ‘blog managers’ page. We’ll be posting regular round-ups of important news and opportunities in the Publishing world, hosting guest posts from members of the course and others, as well as posting our own features and updates on how the course is going. Anything you want to know about the UCL MA in Publishing? Anything you want to see up here? Let us know!


Helena and Emily

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!

Celebrities Use Pink Post-it Notes Too! – Russell Brand at The Reading Agency

By Caroline A Murphy, on 26 November 2014


Photo courtesy of Amy Davies

By Caitlin Mehta (@CaitlinMehta)

Every now and then when reading a book I’ll struggle to find a book mark. While I used to use the (barbaric) method of folding down the corner when I was young and foolish, the older and more considerate me now opts for old train tickets, receipts (for food most likely) and occasionally the odd post-it note. This may seem completely unrelated to the fact that a few of my course mates and I went to hear Russell Brand give The Reading Agency’s annual lecture, but bear with me!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this evening: was it going to be a serious affair? How could it be with Russell Brand as the guest speaker? Would he focus on books? What’s his favourite book? Would he talk about political affairs? Would it just be about reading? I should have already been able to answer a lot of these questions based on my knowledge of him. It’s funny that feeling of familiarity we get when thinking of celebrities we’ve actually never met. Having grown up hearing about this man constantly in the news and seeing him prance around in an (admittedly) hypnotic manner on my television screen I should have known.

It wasn’t all jokes but at the same time it wasn’t deadly serious or even the ‘b word’ (boring) either. There is something about Russell Brand when he gets going on a good rant that you just can’t ignore. Perhaps it’s the purposefully intricate vocabulary he utilises that you may not have previously understood, but do now however due to the context and manner in which he so eloquently weaves it into his speech (that was a pretty good attempt at his style of speaking, right?).

The narrative theme of Russell’s lecture (a title I would use very loosely), was to explain what reading meant to him as he read extracts from books gifted to him by family, fans and other famous people. One particular highlight was his rendition of an early chapter of Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. Before mocking the crude seeming, old-fashioned names ‘Dick’ and ‘Fanny’ in typical Russell style (there I go pretending I know him personally again), he went on to explain to the audience that this book, bestowed upon him by Auntie Pat, showed him that books could open portals to other worlds. This is a notion that I feel some adults forget as life gets in the way of reading for pleasure.

Whilst reading from these books I suddenly noticed that curiously, much like myself, Russell Brand also seemed not to be in possession of a real bookmark. Sure enough as the comedian worked his way through the hefty stack of books he brought on stage it appeared that in each one he had marked his place with a bright pink post-it note. One of these even got stuck to his trousers much to my amusement.

I realise this was not the main message to take away from the evening. Books really are fantastic; libraries are too. That was the eventual point of the long-winded lecture. However to me, the makeshift post-it bookmarks were a sharp reminder that yes he is a “celebrity” but still  a human being not so far flung from myself. A human being with flairs and flaws who likes to read stories both factual and fictional as a means of escapism. It is stories, as Muriel Ruysker was quoted as saying, that make up the universe.

That and funny men with long hair and pink post-its stuck to their legs!


Check out Caitlin’s blog at www.caitlinlouisemehta.wordpress.com

UCL Student Life

By Caroline A Murphy, on 16 November 2014

cake sale





So far, the life of a Publishing MA student at UCL has been an adventure of all sortsAs Marianne mentioned in her post below, there has been a small revolution that has occurred in each of us when it comes to our ideas surrounding publishing. Just from small chats after classes, I know that many people are now interested in areas of publishing they had barely even thought of before. The possibilities and options now seem endless now that our knowledge is expanding each week.

Aside from the academic life of a UCL student, the social life here is great. The two student reps have done a fantastic job in getting us all involved with a literary themed Children in Need Bake Sale (which raised a brilliant £175!), Books are my Bag Treasure Hunts, and an absolutely fantastic Christmas get together in the making. Not only are fellow students wonderful, the staff are friendly and welcoming, making the first term a treat. We’ve had so many work experience opportunities, and more free tickets to literary events than you could shake a stick at thanks to Mel, Nick, Sam, Martin and Iain. So far, so good for the life of a UCL Publishing student!

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Thought of the Week: “DO judge a book by its cover”

By Lucy Broughton, on 3 November 2014

You are probably more than familiar with the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, which for most instances is probably good advice. However, the more we learn on this course, the more I’m inclined to think that in the literal cases, we should judge books by their covers.

The cover is the first point of contact a consumer has with a book, and no matter how well it is written, or even how good the blurb is (which is also very important), they won’t pick up a book with a bad cover. Publishers know this, and spend a lot of time and money into making the best, appropriate, covers for their books. They design their covers specifically with the target audience in mind, and ensure that it is relevant for the genre of the book.

During the first week of the course we had a great lecture from Auriol on the book cover process, and even got some insight into how the iconic One Day cover came about. And from that point onwards we have continually been told about the importance of the cover, and the impact it can have on retailers stocking the book, and particular likes/dislikes based on the type e.g. supermarket or bookstore (Asda, anyone?).

One Day Cover

Even though ebooks are increasingly popular, the cover is still important – and publishers have had to adapt to this, for example, white covers don’t work online. But this is also an opportunity to get creative with the covers, because online it is easy to change them.

Moreover, as we have heard, one impact of digital is to make physical books more of a luxury item. A beautiful cover can make a book into something that you want to display – and consequently something you would buy in physical rather than digital format.

So, although a cover can’t tell you how well written, or how good a story is, it does tell you a lot of things. It gives you an indication as to the genre, it shows you how much effort the publisher has put into the book, and it makes you pick a book up (or click on a link).


Book covers sell books, so DO judge a book by its cover.