Monday, 30 November 2015

UCLPub2015 - Term 1: Week 8 [23rd- 27th Nov]

Tuesday morning's Publishing Skills lecture was on vlogging; something most of us were really quite hesitant about. With YouTubers flooding the book charts at the minute - greeted with joy by their fans and cynicism by booksellers and publishers alike - it is becoming more and more important for publishers to make sure they're making the most of this particular form of social media. Nick Coveney (part of the team that brought Alfie Deyes The Pointless Book 1 & 2 into the world) enthusiastically attempted to win us over to the side of the YouTubers with a mix of fun facts and plenty of emojis. Personally, I'm maybe slightly less cynical about it all, but I'll still be glad for every week they're not number one in the charts!
Next week: further InDesign training with Marita Fraser

Tuesday afternoon is probably what made this week slightly stressful. Having decided that we would open our submissions on 30th November, we gave ourselves very little time to get on top of all of the marketing and social media. Tuesday afternoon's session, and the rest of the week really, became a manic stress pot as we designed a temporary logo (drawn by me, very glad to say that that has now been removed from the internet) and a full set of official profile pictures and banners to plaster our social media platforms with (designed by the awesomely talented Kara Dekko). At the time of writing submissions are now open so we're looking forward to getting our first submissions while we continue to work hard on getting our hands on the best prizes and judges to make this the best UCL Publishers' Prize yet!
If you fancy keeping up with how things are going follow us on Twitter (@UCLPubPrizeYA) or like our Facebook page here.

In Thursday morning's Author Management session we discussed Rights Management with the dynamic duo of Diane Spivey and Lynette Owen from Little, Brown and Pearson respectively. They were able to give us an insight into both the fiction and the non-fiction side of rights and permissions and the importance and methods of rights selling. This includes territorial rights as well as serial, TV & Film, and translation etc.
Next week: Literary Agents with Matthew Hamilton (from Aitken Alexander)

Theories of the Book on Thursday afternoon was, once again, a hugely interactive session. After a short information segment on the Literary Citizenship movement Sam asked us to create a literary citizen-ship full of things we could do to make us better literary citizens. Us being us, and therefore nerds, we decided to forego the standard pirate ship idea - oh no, much too simple. Instead we went for a spaceship; and not just any spaceship but the Starship Enterprise (check it out below, shoutout to Kate for the unmistakable drawing!). Noticing how tired we all were, Sam followed by giving us an abridged and punny version of her talk "Star Texts: The Next Generation" (get it?!) - about classics and canon texts and who it is who decides which texts fall into these categories.
Next week: Globalisation and the Book with our own Melanie Ramdarshan-Bold

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

UCLPub2015 - Term 1: Weeks 6 & 7 [9th-20th Nov]

As you know, Week 6 was Reading Week. It was the week we handed in our first assignment, a case study analysing of the social media and online presence of a given publishing house for the Publishing Contexts module we had at the beginning of term. I promise, it was far more interesting to research than it sounds!

A super exciting thing happened during reading week though: we found out what we're doing for our Publishing Project. We are doing a spin off version of the well established UCL Publishers' Prize; a short story competition to all current UCL students, both part- and full-time, with the shortlist to be turned into a physical book. Our version will focus on YA fiction and we're all so excited to get started!

Week 7 [16th-20th Nov]

Tuesday morning's Publishing Skills session was on data and search skills with Dr Merlin Fox from the Royal Society of Chemistry. He told us all about metadata and ONIX and XML; essentially all the techie information that goes into what you get in a search engine or online store like Amazon. He also told us about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It sounds dull perhaps but he made it as interesting as possible. Towards the end of the session we talked about piracy and its implications for publishers and authors outside of just sales figures. I find piracy a really interesting topic and its one that doesn't really get addressed all that much with regards to the book industry so was very glad to have a discussion from Dr Fox.
Next week: Vlogging with Nick Coveney.

As I've mentioned we finally know what we're doing for our Publishing Project, so Tuesday afternoon was mostly about making sure everyone was on the same page in terms of what we hoped to achieve with the Prize and coordinating with the other half of the UCL Publishers' Prize; figuring out how interrelated we wanted to present ourselves, and what we could share between us. We're all really excited to take on this new Publishers' Prize and hope we can do it justice!

Author Management Thursday morning was on contracts, an entirely unavoidable aspect of publishing. Mal talked us through the contract from the point of view of the publisher, what they hoped to get out of a contract, what absolutely needed to be addressed in all contracts and how we really have to be careful what we say because verbal contracts definitely count. Then we heard from Sarah Baxter from the Society of Authors who talked us through how the SoA helps authors to negotiate a contract that best suits them and advises them on what to look out for.
Next week: Rights Management with Diane Spivey (Little, Brown) and Lynette Owen (Pearson).

Theories of the Book was run by Sam that afternoon with the help of Dr Alison Searle from the University of Sydney on scholarly editing. Sam let us in on her love for all things Le Morte D'Arthur and told us the riveting and suspenseful story of the race for the lost manuscript (look this up, it's an action-packed race involving motorbikes and trains). After this, Alison showed us the trials of scholarly editing by allowing us to attempt (emphasis on the word attempt) to transcribe a handwritten letter written by a really rather sassy woman from the 1800 who refused to sign the letter with her name she figured it was about time her reader recognised her handwriting!
Next week: The Literature Industry with our very own Samantha Rayner.

It was a great first week back after Reading Week, necessary as everyone (but me, it's not December yet) counts down the days to Christmas.

Thanks for reading :)
Naomi Joy x

Monday, 9 November 2015

UCLPub2015 - Term 1: Week 5 [2nd-6th Nov]

We're almost half way through already! This week was our last week before Reading Week (in which I will be doing my utmost best to get on top of all of the work we've been set in the first half of term. Though this was our last week before a fun (read: stressful) week off, our lectures did not let up.
We kicked off Tuesday morning's Publishing Skills lecture with every Publishing student's worst nightmare: finance. Fortunately our guest speaker Richard Balkwill from Copytrain did a top job of making it as understandable as possible and not horrendously confusing us for 3 hours. 

Tuesday afternoon was pitch time for our Publishing Projects. I think we were all quite pleased with the way it went and are very excited to find out which one of our pitches was successful.

Author Management on Thursday morning was on copyright and intellectual property. Once Mal and Rachel had given us an overview, Richard Mollet, lobbyist and CEO of the Publishers' Association, gave us a really interesting look at the importance and future of copyright in the digital age. Richard kept us all interested and made the subject - which had the potential to be ridiculously overwhelming and confusing to us novices - really accessible. With the rise of digital media, copyright laws and the need for revisions are becoming more and more important, so we were all very grateful to learn about it all from such a capable speaker.

Thursday afternoon was a great end to the week with a super interactive session with Mel on the evolution of authorship. Using what we'd learnt from our readings of Foucault and Barthes' works on the author, we had a mock debate with one half of the class arguing that the author is a collaborator while the other argued that the author is an original genius. I was on the side that argued that the author is an original genius and we took the stance that while an author's idea may not be entirely his own (a truly original idea is near impossible) every time he puts pen to paper - or finger to keyboard - he creates an original piece that only he could write. Unfortunately it was not the winning argument, though I would say that was more down to our sub-standard debating skills rather than an inadequate argument.

So as I've said we're at our reading week now so I won't be posting an update. Once I've done all my work I may be able to get a review up after I've (hopefully successfully) squeezed Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind in around my work.

Thanks for reading,
Naomi Joy x

Sunday, 1 November 2015

UCLPub2015 - Term 1: Week 4 [26th-30th Oct]

This week in Publishing Skills we looked at copyediting and proofreading practices. We looked at the differences between these roles, and how they have changed with the publishing industry as many publishing houses look to freelancers to fulfil these jobs rather than keep someone in-house. With the help of Wendy Toole, a freelance academic copyeditor and proofreader herself, we not only learnt about the intricacies involved in the job but also got to practice all of the weird and wonderful symbols used by proofreaders to edit and alter work; something we'll be expected to get to grips with if editorial is the route we're hoping to head down.
If you're interested in finding out more head over to the Society for Editors and Proofreaders' website: where you'll find more information and training options.
Next week: Publishing Finance with guest speaker Richard Balkwill (Proprietor at Copytrain and consultant and trainer at The Publishing Training Centre)

In our Publishing Project session this week we had our last opportunity to finalise our ideas ahead of our pitch on 3rd November; it was quite an intense three hours that involved a lot of back and forth, a lot of ideas being thrown around and a lot of repeating ourselves as we all sort of lost track of what we were working towards. In the end though, we've come up with two ideas that all seven of us are really excited to pitch next week! So by my next weekly round up I might just be able to give you a bit more than a hint about what we're looking to do for this module this year.

Author Management this week was on commissioning; what editors are looking for and how they go about commissioning it when they find it. As many of us are still holding on to the editorial dream it was something we're all very excited about. We had two guest speakers in this week both from trade but while Hannah Main (Picador) covered the fiction side, Ingrid O'Connell (Sidgwick and Jackson) gave us a really interesting insight into the non-fiction side of trade. Ingrid's coverage was a really new take on it as it was the first time we've really had someone share their experiences in the editorial side of trade non-fiction publishing. Now, non-fiction has never really been something I've been interested in - so far I've been very fiction-focused - but Ingrid's experiences sounded so exciting and really gave me something to think about.
Next week: Intellectual Property and Copyright with guest speaker Richard Mollet (Publishers' Association)

Theories of the Book was on the history of reading/social spaces. Though was a tad less intense than last week, it was a highly interactive session with Dr Shafquat Towheed and Dr Danielle Fuller who guided us through a discussion on the differences in reading spaces and habits in the 18th century compared to now. It was a very interesting and enlightening discussion that drew on more of our not at all creepy observations (read: stalking) of readers on public transport, in pubs, cafes and various other places. 
Next week: The Evolution of Authorship