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The Publishing Project, Group 5: Early Challenges

uczccgl23 December 2015

(To read the first post in this series, click here.)

 

It seems as if there are a 1001 things to do when working on a major project. For students, this seems especially true. Time scheduling becomes something of a necessary skill, and managing all of one’s obligations is an absolute must. Staying on top of things will definitely help in the long run, but no matter how prepared one is, there are, inevitably, hurdles along the way.

Skjermbilde 2015-12-21 kl. 17.54.10

‘Works in Progress’ logo – Created by UCL publishing group 5, 2015

For our publishing project, Works in Progress, things have run smoothly for the most part. We have even decided on an official logo!

However, there are seven of us, with seven different personalities and opinions that do not always align; communication is key. We recently ran into a bit of a snag with three of the pieces for our short story collection. Initially, we wanted the exclusive ebook rights for these works, but it turns out they were already available for kindle via Amazon as individual pieces. Additionally, while the pieces were all written by different authors, they were published by the same guy. This caused some discussion among us. We loved the pieces, but some of us were uncomfortable with them already being in circulation and what that would mean for the project as a whole. We had to decide on how tackle the issue: keep the pieces and re-negotiate the ebook rights, or discard the pieces from the collection entirely? After talking it over, letting everyone have their say, we decided that we really loved the pieces, and chose the latter. This all means that we not only have to negotiate with the authors for the right to these pieces, but we also have to consider the publisher’s stake in all this. As of now, we are currently trying to figure out exactly what the publisher’s right to each piece is.

It’s a tedious process that is dependent on the speed and efficiency of the communication between five entities (us, the publisher, and the three authors). Not an easy task, necessarily, but an incredible learning experience all the same. Through UCL’s publishing project, we as students are given the opportunity to experience what life in the publishing industry can be like. We are learning that as publishers, we are forced to adapt and respond as best as we are able to any given situation.

Except the current pause concerning the three aforementioned authors, we appear to be on track for the rest of the project. We have received signed contracts from most of our authors, and have and talked through any concerns they may have had or amended the contract when necessary. With the go ahead from the authors, we are now able to turn our focus towards the editorial process. Our plan is for all seven of us to edit a couple of pieces each. Then, our two appointed ‘main editors’ will go over each story before final approval. As we are now on winter break before the beginning of term two starts up, we hope to take advantage of the free time and to get started on the process. Some stories only need a bit of tinkering, but others need bigger edits, and it all requires communication and a good working relationship with the authors.

Finally, as Works in Progress is a multi-media project, we have now started to look for artists to provide music and artwork that will feature in the project.

 

For more information or other inquires, contact us at:

Email: WorksinProgress2015@gmail.com

Twitter: @WorksInProg2016

UCL Publishers’ Prize for Young Adult Fiction

uczcslo4 December 2015

BY ISABEL POPPLE

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!

The Publishing Project: Group 5

uczccgl25 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.

infographicFor 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.