Alumni - Cameron Sclater - MA Publishing 2014-15

Working at Pan Macmillan

When I had the epiphany two and a half years ago that publishing would be the ideal job for someone like me who feels slightly uncomfortable without a book within arm’s reach at all times who likes to dabble in some creative writing I was incredibly naïve about how many people felt exactly the same way.

Living in Scotland at the time armed with nothing more than a Bachelor’s in English Literature and a slight journalistic background I optimistically fired off my CV at every publishing opportunity I saw. Cue to a few weeks later and feeling extremely privileged to just to earn a response reading ‘Thank you very much for your application however…,’ even for an internship, I became aware that a different tact would be necessary.

After conducting some research I saw that moving south would be in my best interest as I came across the Oxford Brookes Publishing MA which boasted “unrivalled industry link and networking” and high levels of employability offered to its graduates. Applying for and eventually being accepted onto the course was not only an absolute thrill but wound up being the best decision for my career that I ever made.

My initial image of publishing as a bunch of book nerds sitting around with glasses of wine discussing their favourite new manuscripts was quickly transformed. Discovering how many facets there were to this business and being able to get a feel for them all and how they work together caused me to discover areas I never would have thought I’d be interested in, particularly production! All areas were covered in illuminating lectures by experts with years of experience who clearly had a passion for and loved what they did.

As anyone who works in publishing or has done the course will know one of the, if not the most important word is ‘networking.’ While the MA was invaluable in establishing a brilliant, in-depth knowledge and experience across all aspects of the industry, it’s the connections the students get to make with publishers that really make it worthwhile. Having a Publishing MA on your CV will undoubtedly help get your foot in the door; however meeting people through guest lecturing, conferences, book fairs and internships is what will secure a job in the industry.

It’s due to the MA that I was put into contact with the commissioning editor at Harper Collins Helen Huthwaite , which was a brilliant editorial opportunity. I was able to critique manuscripts, sit in on cover design meetings and get the feel for day to day life in the publishing world.

And now four months after handing in my dissertation, thanks to my contacts and experience on the course I was able to secure a yearlong internship with the trade publisher Pan Macmillan as part of their brand team which has been brilliant so far. My job involves researching a list of Pan Macmillan’s best-selling authors to see how they’re perceived by their readers and is there ways we can improve this through different events or special promotions which we then present to the authors. My first week led me to an encounter with one of my all-time favourite illustrators Chris Riddell who is also the current Children’s Laureate!

I know there’s no way I would have been able to secure the position without the contacts and experience which has been offered to me through the brilliant Publishing MA at Oxford Brookes, which I could not recommend highly enough for those trying to enter the industry.

Posted on 19 Feb 2016 around 11am