[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

[UCLPUB2015] Week 8


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 8: 23rd Nov – 27th Nov

It’s been another busy week on the course with a pretty varied collection of topics. My final week at HarperCollins begins tomorrow (already!) and the deadline for our Theories of the Book assignment is looming, which can only mean that Christmas is coming!

On Tuesday morning we had a workshop on vlogging. We spent a lot of time talking about Zoella and other famous YouTubers who have stormed The Bookseller’s chart recently, but I was kind of expecting more of a focus on the role of BookTube in the publishing industry. We have to upload a short vlog for our publishing channel so it would have been cool to get to grips with the practical side of creating content and filming too.

In the afternoon we launched the Twitter and WordPress accounts for our project: The Arcanum! We’re currently looking for artists who would like to contribute to a collection of YA mythology stories, poems and illustrations (the details for authors will be released soon!). Take a peek at our call for submissions and visit our blog for more info.

Illustation Call for Submissions.png

In our Author Management class we broke down foreign rights and permissions from both a trade and academic context with Lynette Owens and Diane Spivey. I’ve really been enjoying our recent in-depth lessons on contracts and copyright, especially as we’ve considered them from an author’s, agent’s and publisher’s angle. It’s an area of publishing I didn’t expect to feel this comfortable with but thanks to my internship I’ve had the opportunity to see (and even write!) tonnes of contracts – I’m so grateful!

Thursday afternoon was a fun lecture on literary citizenship and how we can contribute to the wider publishing and bookish community. Sam asked us to draw our own literary citizen-ship (we do love a good pun) and it was brilliant to see how creatively and differently each group interpreted the brief. Check out some of our ships on the UCL Instagram!

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 21.45.27

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 

[EVENT] New Trends in Publishing Seminar 2015

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be able to attend the New Trends in Publishing Seminar, hosted by BIC and sponsored by Nielsen and Ricoh. I don’t start my Publishing course until the end of this month but since I’m now finally in London, home of publishing events, I thought I should get started early!

COXglWOWwAAcNw3The event was held in the absolutely beautiful Stationers’ Hall (I wish I’d taken some photos of the inside) with stunning stained glass windows and wide open rooms filled with dark wood furniture. There were six us of there from UCL and Alaina-Marie made us feel so welcome and included – publishing really is the best industry.

The seminar consisted of five talks, with the obligatory coffee break half way through: 5 Top Trends for Trade Publishers (Jane Tappuni and Chris McCrudden), The Digital Print Revolution (Mike Levaggi), Publishing as a Service (Alison Jones), Building Better Brands with Neuroscience (Andre Breedt) and finally New EU White Paper – Single European Digital Market (Susie Winter).

The Trends for Trade Publishers was definitely my favourite segment of the seminar, discussing the rise of fandoms, fanfic and how publishing can learn from this highly social way of reading. Sites like Wattpad allow for high levels of personal interactivity with the story, keeping its audience engaged with the whole experience from conception to publication. The speed to market is something we can also learn a lot from, as the author is able to instantly share their work and receive feedback. COXqq23WcAADpFkImpatient online audiences simultaneously love the anticipation of serialised stories but will lose attention if they have to wait too long. In traditional publishing, it could be 12-18+ months between novels, but online it can be anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

I also really enjoyed the contemplation of eBook subscription services such as Scribd. We were significantly behind other industries in the conception of these services (think Netflix and Spotify but for books) but that does mean we have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. While Scribd seems to be growing in popularity, Jane and Chris considered if it was potentially attracting the ‘wrong’ kind of customers – ones that go through a mountain of content and end up eventually costing the company money in the long run. It was interesting to hear the business side of this situation, as it’s very easy just to think about the service as a user. I’ll definitely be more aware in future of how much content I’m using – hopefully services like Scribd will be able to fix these teething problems sooner rather than later.

The neuroscience talk with Andre was insanely interesting. He spoke about an alternative option to traditional consumer insight tactics, as these methods assume that the participants can accurately comprehend, access and articulate their thoughts and feelings – we can all be unreliable when self-reporting IMG_4296all sorts of situations from how much we drink to our favourite books depending on how we assume other people will judge us. Andre explained how neuroscience can access the instinctual, fast, emotional thinking that proves valuable in narrowing down how resonant an image or advert (for example) truly is.

Learning about digital printing and the EU Digital Single Market was really interesting – as a publishing newbie it’s always great to hear about current affairs direct from the people who know these issues inside out. It can be a little unnerving to hear how difficult it is to be in the industry at the moment, but I’m excited to try innovate new trends and help push publishing forward as the world becomes increasingly reliant on digital.

I really enjoyed this event and just wanted to say thank you to Alaina-Marie at BIC for the opportunity and to all the speakers for bringing such interesting and thought-provoking ideas. I’m so excited to finally get started with my course at UCL now that I’ve had a taste of the London publishing scene – the countdown to Induction Week begins!

Charlotte x

@BIC1UK @Nielsen @ricoheurope @LastPhoenixDown @JKTappuni @cmccrudden @bookstothesky @AndreBreedt @PublishersAssoc @HarperCollinsUK @uclpublishing @rituleh @kategriffiths77 @meganelwright @Miljosse @zoesharples