Feedback - Hazel Lancefield - Hachette Livre UK Publishing Scholarship
Hazel Lancefield was awarded the Hachette Livre UK Publishing Scholarship in 2008. You can read below about her experience on the MA Publishing at Oxford Brookes.
With my only experience of publishing being a part-time job as an admin assistant at a small educational publisher, I hadn't really got much idea of the ‘big picture' of publishing before starting the MA. By the end of the first term I had learned how to proofread, do production estimates, several copy-editing techniques, and gained an understanding of design software packages and marketing strategies, which stood me in good stead for my three-week placement at Hodder Education (part of the Hachette UK group) in January. As well as helping out with various admin jobs assigned by several members of staff, I was able to put my proofreading skills into practice, and sit in on editorial meetings. Although my placement was in the editorial department, I had induction meetings with heads of the Marketing, Design, Production and Picture Research departments, and so was able to see several areas of publishing first hand. Following my placement at Hachette UK, I embarked upon a paid placement at a small niche Oxford publisher which specialises in bespoke hymnbooks for schools, and so I also got to see the world of contract publishing during my time on the MA course.
Having done an English literature degree, the practical nature of the course was refreshing, and the novelty of answers being only either right or wrong was a new concept! I have also been able to choose modules which allowed me to further develop the skills I learnt during my undergrad degree, with the History and Culture of Publishing and Children's Publishing modules, which draw parallels between aspects of publishing and book buying culture, and contemporary markets and practices. The experience of group work, particularly in the New Product Development module, has also been an insight into real-world publishing, as the module simulates the workplace structure and environment. Having had first hand (albeit virtual!) experience of being part of a team which deals with all aspect of proposing a new product, I feel I have a better understanding of how the business world works, even beyond publishing. Perhaps the aspect of the course which I have most appreciated so far has been the richness of the overview of the publishing industry, through the course itself and external events such as the London Book Fair, and SYP and OPuS meetings. Doing the MA has not only given me access to the publishing industry by way of work experience and networking, but has also shed light on my real life experience of publishing both retrospectively and prospectively. The knowledge I have gained about how the industry works and the practical skills I have acquired are now enabling me to approach the prospect of job hunting with confidence.
Posted on 27 May 2009 around 9am