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Working in Rights: Calling All Extroverts

uczcew024 February 2016

As a proud introvert, I must admit that the idea of working with books, which I often turn to recharge from too much social interaction, comforted me. While I knew (and even welcomed)  that socialisation would be involved with working in the publishing industry, I dreamed of the precious alone time, reading and thinking critically about the works my publishing house would be presenting to the world.

Despite introverts stereotypically holding the monopoly on being ‘bookworms,’ extroverts can love books just as much as they do. In fact, there are many bibliophiles that are energised by crowds and excitement instead of drained by over exposure.

And let me tell you, the book industry needs those extroverts. We need them in all segments to balance a workforce that typically attracts more introverts by the very nature of what they produce.

One section of publishing that you extroverts might want to check out is Rights. Below, I outline a few reasons why:

  1.     It doesn’t involve a law degree – Despite what it might sound like, this section of the industry has far less to do with copyright law and contracts than it does with selling. Of course, you have to be aware of the copyright and trade laws to know what you can and cannot negotiate, but your main duty is to “maximize a book’s financial potential – whether it’s selling translation … rights, merchandising, serial or book club rights, or even film rights” (Working in Publishing).
  2.     You may have the chance to travel – If you have a strong sense of wanderlust and love traveling the world and talking to people from different cultures, you should definitely look into selling foreign and translation rights. Not only are you often sent to the major book fairs (London, Frankfurt, BookExpo, etc.), but also to individual companies in many different countries all over the world.
  1.     You get to talk – a lot – This part of the industry requires a lot of relationship building between people both outside of your company and outside of your industry. If you work in serial, your interactions will be with the media, and if you work in film rights you’re talking to film producers. While there is a place for ‘getting down to business’ when making these negotiations, a major contribution to success is mastering small talk and lively conversations. It is a socialites dream, where they not only sell and promote a product they love, but also meet different types of people and build fast connections.  

This all being said, many introverts love socialising, travelling, and networking. If this is you, please consider Rights if it sounds up your alley. I only highlight Rights for extroverts because it is one of the more natural fits for extroverts wanting to be part of the book industry, but is less thought of than, say, Marketing or Sales. If any of these points interest you, please consider positions in Rights.

If, however, you have more of an artistic side that you feel needs feeding, check out next month’s post on Design to see if it may be a better fit for you.

Production: Where Books Come to Life

uczcew027 January 2016

After learning about literary agency in the last post, we are now going to jump to the middle with production. The bare bone definition of production is turning a manuscript into a physical book. While it may sound like working on an assembly line, the position offers much more creative opportunities than it sounds.

According to “Working in Penguin: Careers with Penguin Group,” production is, “the physical process of transforming a manuscript into a finished book. This includes everything from producing the initial costing, arranging the typesetting, and selecting and buying paper, to organizing the printing and binding of the book and its delivery into the warehouse.” (Link)

 

This segment of the industry is not as romanticised as positions such as editor, but it can offer people a place to express their love of books in a different way. See if any of these describe you:

 

  1.     If you are practical, but also somewhat crafty: While design does most of the work with the appearance of books, production isn’t completely void of chances for artistic expression. Production is the bridge from the abstract book to the incarnated version. Design team might have an idea that works in the head, but for some reason, be it budget or unexpected demands, it is impossible to follow the plan. Production has to then step in to give alternatives to allow the book to work.

 

  1.     If you like solving problems: Production team members often have to find solutions to any issue that comes up in printing. They also have to negotiate to get prices for the paper design would like, or suggest alternatives if a solution cannot be found. Their main task is to do everything to keep the book on schedule and overcome any unexpected delays. It requires a lot of thinking on your feet and flexibility.

 

  1.     If you are organised: In production, you are working on many projects at one time and often on a strict schedule. It therefore pays to be a little finicky to make sure none of the projects get mixed up and no dates are missed. So if you like fixing chaos and are a bit of perfectionist, you might consider this part of the industry.  

 

  1.     If you like people: Working in production requires interacting with companies who supply the puzzle pieces for the book, such as paper, foil, and printing. They are also in communication with the design team, as well as marketing. Production managers must build connections and relationships with both sides. So if you like talking to many different types of people and getting out of the office every once and while, this job might be a good outlet for you.

 

If you have any number of the attributes or skills above, you might think of exploring deeper to see if this part of the industry is a good fit for you. This job is especially desirable for people who love watching ideas become a physical book to hold (not to mention that production team members are the first to see the finished product!) It’s a job with a balanced mixture of creativity and resourcefulness.

Still not piquing your interest? Then come back next month, when I will be talking about Rights!

 

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!

UCL Publishers’ Prize Winners!

Samantha J Rayner17 July 2014

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UCL Publishers’ Prize inaugural winners announced

The team behind the UCL Publishers’ Prize have this week announced the winners of the inaugural award, which was launched earlier this year with the aim of discovering a new generation of literary talent among the current student body.

The Prize was set up as part of the MA in Publishing’s Publishing Project module, which requires students to work on their own book-related projects in small groups.

After drawing up a shortlist of just 20 stories from a submissions pile of over 120, the Publishing students were advised on the final decision by three guest judges from the publishing industry: fiction publisher Laura Palmer from Head of Zeus, literary agent Lizzy Kremer from David Higham Associates, and agent’s assistant Harriet Moore, also from David Higham Associates.

Competition was fierce for the first, second and third place spots, with the winners due to receive £300, £200 and £100 respectively. PhD scholars battled undergraduate students, flash fiction took on longer narrative and a variety of different genres vied for top place.

In the end, the winner was MA student Gwyneth Kelly for ‘MoodBeam SunSubstitute’, a speculative story about a sun-replacement salesman searching for authenticity in a world of artificial substitution. Lizzy Kremer called the tale “as finely wrought and fully realised as any short story by a professional writer”.

Second place went to archaeology undergraduate Lucy Smith for ‘Bud, Rose, Thorn’, a fairytale-esque piece about a newspaper reporter following a story of missing children to its chilling conclusion. Harriet Moore praised the story’s “charming and unsettling” narrator who “makes us aware of his own unreliability in a way that draws us in, seduces us even”.

Finally, third place was awarded to MA student Clematis Delany for The ‘Tale of Lena-Jane’, which opens with the narrator’s father dying… and then dying again and again. Laura Palmer called the story “morbid and blackly funny”.

Two further stories were highly commended: a second offering from Gwyneth Kelly entitled ‘Walker of Dogs’, and PhD student Kristen Perrin’s ‘The Rock Monster’.

The shortlisted stories will be published in an anthology which will be launched at an event in London at the end of September, where the winners will read from their pieces. Clays will print the anthology over the summer and the production will be managed by the MA students.

Supported by the recently relaunched UCL Press, the UCL Department of Information Studies and UCL’s Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies, the Prize will be a continuing legacy and will be passed down to the next crop of Publishing MA students.

Project Manager Molly Slight said: “We were delighted with the reception that the Prize had in this, its inaugural year. Our aim was to get over 50 entries and we ended up with over 120! All the shortlisted authors should feel extremely proud, as they were up against some seriously stiff competition. We are grateful to UCL for their fantastic support and to our guest judges, who offered us useful industry insight into which stories they felt were most publishable, and which authors they would like to see more from. I am really excited by the talent we have uncovered and look forward to launching the book and, with this, hopefully launching the careers of some brilliant young authors.”

The full shortlist of stories to be published in the anthology is as follows:
The Fourth Floor’ by Nicholas Baines
‘The Boys I Mean Are Not Refined’ by Kathleen Bryson
‘The Tale of Lena-Jane’ by Clematis Delany
‘After Hours’ by Alice Dunn
‘A Run’ by Oskar Gordon
‘The Room’ by Elizabeth Harvey
‘The Party’ by Callie Hitchcock
‘Unseasonable Snowflakes’ by Naomi Ishiguro
‘Untitled 1’ by Bruno Kaapa
‘MoodBeam SunSubstitute’ by Gwyneth Kelly
‘Walker of Dogs’ by Gwyneth Kelly
‘Demand and Supply’ by Yohann Koshy
‘Anne/En’ by Heather Lee
‘Apples’ by Anna Opara
‘The Rock Monster’ by Kristen Perrin
‘Bud, Rose, Thorn’ by Lucy Smith
‘West Country Funeral Honours’ by Luzia Troebinger
‘At The Other End’ by Jonathan Tsang
‘E’ by Sydney Vickars
‘Back Home for Christmas’ by Jeremy Yang

For more information on the Prize, please visit www.uclpublishersprize.com, follow @UCLPubPrize on Twitter or email uclpublisherprize@gmail.com.