[UCLPUB2015] Week 9


Welcome to my new blog series – UCLPUB2015! Every Sunday I’ll be posting a roundup of my week as a student on the UCL MA Publishing course, talking about my experiences and passing along any handy tips I pick up along the way. I’m so excited to share my journey with you and hope that maybe these posts will help other aspiring publishers too!

Week 9: 30th Nov – 4th Dec

I have been absolutely dying to finally use my December graphic for this series! The term is almost over with only two weeks left until the Christmas break (WHAT). I have an essay due on the final day of term and plenty of homework to squeeze in between now and then. The topic is pretty open; we can choose between four essay titles and the last option is almost a ‘write your own question’ type. I’ve liberated the necessary books from the library and looks like tomorrow it’s time to get started!

This week we sent out a call for submissions to find writers who want to accompany our confirmed illustrators for The Arcanum. We’ve had such an overwhelmingly positive response and we could not be more excited about this project! We have lots of talented and creative people involved and are always open to hearing from more – if you’re an author or illustrator willing to contribute to a YA collection of mythology, legends and fairytales then please get in touch! We have a small number of pre-set myths that we’re specifically commissioning artwork and stories for, but we’re also looking for myths from all over the world.

Call for Authors.pngAll the details can be found over at our blog: thearcanumbook.wordpress.com

Asimpsons-fires part of our Publishing Skills class, our group also filmed a vlog to be uploaded onto the course YouTube channel. Our only brief was that it had to be part of our scifi theme (other groups were given themes like YA, crime, cookbooks etc) so we decided to have a go at creating our own tag. None of us felt like acting on camera and I found it much more comfortable to just be myself and enjoy filming! I’m not sure when it’ll be uploaded but rest assured that if it’s as horrifically embarrassing as I think it will be, then I will never mention it again (but seriously, it’ll be fine right?).

In Author Management we looked at the relationship between authors and their literary agents, paying specific attention to the contract an author can expect to sign as part of an agency. In the afternoon, we had a lecture on the effects of globalisation on the publishing industry and whether it’s necessarily a bad thing (spoiler: I still think it is). We talked about the importance of translation in the publishing industry and tried to address why the UK publishes such an embarrassing number of translated works every year.

My thoughts were that our lack of diversity in books available stems from the lack of diversity in the people we employ. It’s no secret that the publishing industry here is dominated by white women who are increasingly being told that they don’t need another language to work in this industry. English-speaking Editors aren’t commissioning any translated works because they simply can’t or won’t read them in the first place. I’ve sent countless brilliant books to publishers overseas for translation whilst on my internship, but we just don’t return the favour. By not exploring authors writing in their first language we’re missing out on not only a lot of amazing books, but also the opportunity to grow and learn.

Charlotte x


[EVENT] The Next Five Years

Last night I had about as much fun as you can have at a publishing event without taking your clothes off (although I did see some suspect tweets about imagining the audience naked).

FullSizeRenderBookMachine, sponsored by Unite, hosted a huge birthday bash to celebrate five years of events in the publishing industry. With a thought-provoking and engaging talk from George Walkley, we cast our minds forward to contemplate what the next five years could hold in such a fluid and adaptive industry.

Taking inspiration from the infamous Donald Rumsfeld quote, George explored some of our industry knowns and unknowns in 2020. He suggested that we can be confident that, while consumption patterns may change, our basic human desires will not; entertainment and education are still going to be the driving force behind the industry for many years to come. He argued that not only is there a place for publishing in 2020, there’s a place for publishing in 2120 too – just not in the capacity we know it today.

While we cannot truly predict the consumer preferences of the future, we can certainly prepare for the continued growth of digital – technology definitely isn’t going away. Innovation is a long term process that has to be constantly moving forwards in order to be successful but at the moment publishing is too short term, only peaking round the corner of the next season.

Foreseeing a broadly mixed economy of print and ebooks in 2020, Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 13.34.09George also commented that self-publishing has become a complete unknown due to the huge gap in the figures.

After George’s session, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview publishers and other industry professionals, discussing their vision of the future and broadcasting a live steam on Periscope. It was such a fun experience that allowed me not only to meet some wonderful people, but also engage in lots of interesting and insightful conversations. The general consensus? It’s impossible to know. Many people shared their hopes and wishes for the future of our industry and others simply just couldn’t say. The interviews are still available on Periscope (@fireflyreads) if you’d like to catch up!

As for me, my vision of the future is an enormous increase in the diversity of the literature we commission, produce and publish. As a YA and fantasy reader, I’ve seen a number of campaigns spring up over the years in support of diversity and I can only hope that their small successes can translate into big wins by 2020. This isn’t just a problem in the publishing industry, however, and I feel that as society as a whole becomes more aware of the injustice this lack of diversity brings, we will begin to rectify it in more constructive and positive ways.

In any case, the landscape of publishing will certainly look very different in 2020. We may not be able to gaze into a crystal ball and see exactly what’s coming, but making our future bright begins with the choices we make today, tomorrow, next week and next month.

I had a wonderful time at the BookMachine event and loved making so many new connections. It was great to meet even more of my MA Publishing cohort too! Let me know if you’ll be attending the next BookMachine/Unite event on 27th October – I’d love to meet you there!

Charlotte x

@BookMachine @UnitetheUnion @UniteLE7064E @walkley