I am currently a student studying English Literature and History at The University of St Andrews, and for as long as I can remember I have fantasised about working in the elusive publishing industry after I graduate. Everyone I've told this aspiration to has responded along the lines of “Oh, good luck with that!” which filled me with even more doubt about whether I could ever have a career in this difficult industry.
I have always been interested in independent bookshops and publishers, spending hours looking up different examples and imagining myself in the shoes of people who, in my eyes, were very lucky to work there. When I came across the Emma Press on a similar such search I was immediately taken. I loved the beauty of the books and the boundless creativity of each title; I really thought that this was something special and the kind of place I could only dream of working at. I decided to take a chance and emailed them to ask if there was any opportunity for work experience, and when Emma got back to me not only saying I could come in but also suggesting a range of formats to suit me I was over the moon.
Some Cannot be Caught: The Emma Press Book of Beasts and was over-excited about both being given such a responsibility and also writing about a book which I thought was so incredibly interesting. It felt as if my hobbies had merged with a work environment, and I couldn’t imagine a better job.
While at the Emma Press I was given the opportunity to get to grips with the publicity side of publishing, emailing out press releases and also finding and emailing bookshops which I thought would be interested in the titles. I was also able to engage with some of the upcoming children’s titles through writing the blurbs and selling points for forthcoming Latvian translated works, and even browsing for illustrators which I thought would suit certain works. I feel like I have been given such a rare opportunity to experience all the different aspects of publishing, and also the different genres published. Before my time at the Emma Press I hadn’t thought that publishing children’s titles would be for me, and now believe that to be an area I would love to pursue.
|The PUPLAKS workshop!|
A further highlight for me was discussing the short-list of pamphlet submissions with Emma. I felt so incredibly lucky to read the talented work that had been submitted, but also to be able to voice my opinions in a space where it felt they were valued despite my inexperience.
A final highlight of mine was researching potential Norwegian children’s books for the Emma Press to consider publishing, and once again I was astounded with the responsibility I had been given. I found researching the literary scene of another country riveting and also enjoyed looking for works that would really suit the Emma Press.
I will genuinely miss coming into the Emma Press. I have loved my time experiencing a wealth of new things and truly feel my time here has affirmed my aspirations for the future, and even given me a little more confidence in this journey. I think it’s safe to say the reality of the Emma Press was even more exciting than my fantasy of working here.
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We loved having you here, Alice! – Emma