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

uczcew018 December 2015

The_Bookseller_Logo

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!

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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!

Everyone Wants to be an Editor

uczcew02 December 2015

On the first day of classes for my Publishing MA, our tutors asked, “Raise of hands, who in this room wants to be an editor?” More than half of the hands, including my own, made their way into the air. To this they gave us a knowing smile and said, “By the end of the week, we’ll see how many of you stick to that.”

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During a week-long module titled, “Publishing Context,” the class was introduced to people from every nook and cranny of the industry. While some of us stuck to our editorial dreams, many hands that were once eager for editing had switched sides. I myself began to waver in my convictions. The reasons for this included a better understanding of what editors actually do and a more comprehensive explanation of other parts of the publishing process. In my series, “Everyone Wants to Be An Editor,” I will be exploring the secrets this module revealed.

To begin, I think it is important to dispel some myths about what editors do. I don’t do this to scare away people from being editors, but to better inform you of what the job entails.

  1. Slush piles have moved – I know that I dreamed of starting my publishing days going through the fabled “slush pile” to find literary gold like I was Indiana Jones. The truth is nowadays most publishing companies do not take unsolicited material, meaning that many editors get the picks of the litter and are pitched books. If you want to be a manuscript archeologist, you will probably want to try working in a literary agency instead.
  1. Copyediting is rented out – Though I do not fit in this camp, there are those odd but beautiful people who enjoy the nitty-gritty of editing. They spot misplaced commas and spelling errors from miles away. While this skill is helpful, it is not always the main concern of editors. In fact, more and more copyediting is now given to freelancers because it is more economical. So if you felt you needed to join an editorial team to rid the publishing world of poor grammar, you might consider offering your services in this way. The work is more flexible and, if you’re lucky, you might get to work from home!
  1. Editors don’t make bank – On the first day of class, our guest lecturer asked us who wanted to be an editor. With a laugh, he said, “Oh good, so you don’t want to make money.” This is slightly hyperbolic because, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10% of editors do earn almost $100,000 a year (around £65,000). However, in the UK, the pay averages to £26,500, and that is only if you are lead editor. Assistant editors get around £20,000 and editorial assistants get around £18,000 (PayScale). Comparatively copyright/rights directors can make £45,000+ (Prospect). But book publishing isn’t about the money… right?
  1. You’re not always an author’s best friend – There are two reasons for this. First, you will have less contact with them than in the past. Literary agents often play liaison and technology makes it easier to send drafts back and forth with little interaction. Second, most authors will not appreciate you telling them that one of their characters doesn’t work or their favourite line is pretentious. Some authors might see you as the enemy, trying to change “perfection.” So if you wanted to enter publishing to rub elbows with literary geniuses, editorial might not be the best section for you.

 

These are just a few things to think about before you continue to pursue your editorial dreams. Next month, I will start to show you other publishing career options that might interest you, starting with literary agents.