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

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