Tuesday, 20 October 2015

UCLPub2015 - Term 1: Week 2 [12th-16th Oct]

So begins our first real week; "real week" meaning a 2-day week (joy of joys for those of us who came from Arts and Hums backgrounds and are only used to being in for 12 hours a week!). With Publishing Contexts over and done with, bar the assignment, we start our Publishing Skills, Publishing Project, Author Management and Theories of the Book modules.

We kicked things off Tuesday morning with the Publishing Skills, where we were introduced to the Nielson BookScan; a database that will become a key tool in our futures in the publishing industry. It allows the user to do something as simple as see both the volume and cost of sales of a particular book, and also identify sales patterns in a particular genre, or of a particular author. When it comes to identifying which books will do well at the commissioning stage, Nielson BookScan would allow us to track the trends and sales figures of similar books and help us to figure out how well a manuscript might do.

Tuesday afternoon we had our first Publishing Project and we (finally!) got to find out our groups. But not before a revealing session with the wonderful Anna Faherty of the Wellcome Collection on CREATIVITY. We started the session with a question on how we'd rate ourselves in terms of creativity in a scale of 1 to 10. It was only myself and one other who rated ourselves under 5 on the scale. It was decided that we merely hadn't found our sparring partners; we had not found the ideas creator to our ideas developers. Which is a nice thought.

So the Publishing Project module feels a little familiar to me. In my second year of the Classical Civilisation degree at UoN we had our Independent Second Year Project. Our brief: create anything on anything from the ancient world. Broad, that's for sure. Our brief, essentially, for the Publishing Project: publish something. A physical book, a digital book, whatever! And do this in a group of people you have never worked with before. So on the back of a series of personality tests, our lecturers put us into our Publishing Project groups and it all seemed a little daunting. As someone who rated themselves as below 5 in terms of creativity, I was (and still am) very worried about what I'd be able to bring to the table. Anna gave us little time to dwell on this as she quickly got us breaking down the ideas process and the process of creativity. Particularly at the beginning, the majority of us found ourselves constantly having to reign ourselves in as we got ahead of ourselves trying to figure out the feasibility of our ideas and trying to figure out how they worked. It was actually a surprisingly enjoyable session considering I fear this kind of creativity to my core.

After taking Wednesday as a day to relax, and maybe some of us do the reading for Thursday, we arrived Thursday morning (to yet another basement) for our first Author Management lecture with Rachel Calder and Mal Peachey. This lecture gives an insight into everything at the author level from copyright to what authors feel they do and don't need from publishers. Seeing how authors are (obviously) immensely key in the publishing process it is important for us, as future publishers and particularly for me who is considering the literary agent route, to understand how we can best benefit our authors.

Unfortunately, our lecturer for Theories of the Book came down with the flu so we weren't able to start this module this week so updates on this one to come next week!

Thanks for reading,
Naomi Joy x

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