Feedback - Renada Arens - MA Publishing

Renada Arens was awarded the Macmillan Publishing Scholarship for the year 2009-10. She writes about her experience on the Master’s in Publishing at Oxford Brookes.

‘I have wanted to work in publishing since I was fifteen years old. With that goal in mind, I studied English literature and planned to get an editorial job upon completing my undergraduate degree in the States.

I am very glad I came to Oxford Brookes, however, because my time here has equipped me with a knowledge of the challenges facing the publishing industry and the skills to tackle those challenges. As I complete my MA in Digital Publishing, I have a sense of the technological and economic obstacles to the process of spreading ideas, which I believe remains at the heart of publishing.

The most valuable thing I’ve learned in this course relates to the interdependency of every aspect of publishing. In the New Product Development module, I realised the absolute necessity of having a unifying vision for a project that can carry the different members of a team through the challenges that arise. Following that and the other modules, I can begin my career familiar with all the aspects of the industry, from rights sales and royalty schemes to ebook pricing and website building.

My work experience at Attwooll Associates, a digital licensing agency, has also helped shape my understanding of the industry. I have attended many events that have given me a glimpse of what the future might hold for books—whether on mobile phones or iPads. I’ve researched new markets for small nonfiction publishers, and realised that even big technology companies are hungry for the quality content publishers can provide.

Perhaps nothing exemplifies my learning process over this entire course better than the difference between my experiences at the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs.

At Frankfurt, just a few weeks after moving to Oxford, I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the industry. I felt totally out of my depth as I wandered the stands of publishers from all over the world and tried to find my way through the massive halls. I had at best a dim idea of what was going on in the meetings happening around me, and no idea of what I could contribute.

Fast forward six months to the London Book Fair, after I had completed the editorial management, marketing, and production modules and was well on my way to designing a website, producing an ebook, and developing a new children’s series. At the London Book Fair, I not only helped run the speaker rooms and attended meetings in the International Rights Centre, but listened to many seminars about changes facing the industry. I was conversant in the issues addressed, and enjoyed attending meetings with Attwooll Associates clients and keeping my eyes open for new technologies that might impact publishers.’

The Macmillan scholarship has been of assistance throughout my time here, and helped offset the cost of moving overseas. I am grateful for what I’ve learned in my time at Oxford Brookes. The industry knowledge, teamwork, and real-world experience have all helped bring me closer to my goal: to be part of shaping the words that shape lives.

Posted on 24 May 2010 around 10am

Filed Under PublishingMA PublishingPublishing Work ExperienceScholarship and Funding