Live client publishing projects

Students on our MA Publishing course work directly on live projects to produce industry-standard outputs.

At the start of the year, the group receive client briefs focusing on different aspects of the publishing industry (including editorial, design, marketing). They then form small project teams, assign roles and responsibilities, and liaise with their client to agree a set of deliverables. Students take responsibility for setting all schedules and managing budgets where necessary, and are supported be experts in the field to use industry-standard software when creating and delivering their end products.

The process of working on live projects builds hands-on knowledge and business skills that have a direct impact on future employability.

Please see below for examples of our recent industry collaborations.

Indy and the Lion-Sized Worries

Students on this project received a brief from a community interest group (CIG) working to support primary school age children who find it a challenge to communicate their emotions
 clearly – the CIG had a draft manuscript and wanted help to turn it into a publishable product.

The team worked with the client to develop the concept and then fully copyedited, illustrated and typeset the final book. They were supported by experts from across the editorial, design and production fields to deliver end files that were truly industry-standard.

Indy and the Lion-Sized Worries is an excellent example of how a project can be taken through the full publishing process, and the end result is now under consideration by a major mainstream publisher – a fantastic outcome and a real sign of the quality of the work we produce.

Reading Passport

Students on this project were asked by the client, Literature Works (https://literatureworks.org.uk), to develop a concept for their ‘Reading Passport’ campaign – a promotion aimed at encouraging library usage across the South West. 

Literature Works  are the regional literature development agency for South West England, a registered charity and an Arts Council England National Portfolio organisation. They’re also based at the University, so this was a perfect opportunity to channel our creativity towards benefiting our local community – something we were all keen to do.

In order to meet the brief, students created a postcard campaign focusing on emerging  literary genres. The postcards  are fully illustrated, with suggested reading for the genre included on the reverse, as well as QR codes linking through to more information for those who want it. The aim is to expand reading habits – either by flagging up titles within a genre that’s already of interest or providing a gateway to a new area.

In addition to the assets themselves, students provided a strategy document including costed plans for a library tour, guidance on printing options and a print and social media campaign. The project is now being pitched directly to regional libraries, and is slated for a September 2021 launch. 

Shekinah

Shekinah are a local charity supporting adults in recovery, whether from homelessness, drug and alcohol issues, offending behaviours or mental ill health. They were seeking help with their editorial, marketing and design strategies, so students worked with them to put together a package of materials that included writing, copyediting and publishing a series of interviews on the charity’s website. The team developed a coordinated social media strategy, introducing new design templates for the charity to use and put together companion print marketing materials (featuring QR codes) that are now in use around the city.

This was an excellent example of students bringing their knowledge to bear to directly address local community issues, and provided the team with valuable business skills.

I’m Fine

This is a great example of a project aimed at students who wanted to enhance their marketing and events management skills (another aspect of the publishing industry). ‘I’m Fine’ was the University’s first day-long conference exploring the role of the Arts in supporting mental health.  The team who handled this project coordinated the event programme, commissioned branding/design work, planned and ran a social media campaign, liaised with the University events team and eventually provided support on the day. The roster of speakers and performers was broad-based and internationally appealing, including Raynor Winn (author of The Sunday Times’ best-seller The Salt Path). Engagement on the day was high – which was no small feat in a world where we had to pivot rapidly between in-person and online delivery

Rights2

Rights2 are consultants known throughout the publishing industry for providing advice on copyright and permissions issues. Students were provided with draft chapters from a proposed book setting out best practice in the field, and were tasked with helping the client to shape the final product.

The team worked with Rights2 to develop the full manuscript, including holding interviews with industry experts for the concluding chapter. The manuscript was both structurally edited and copyedited, and cover design and cover copy were supplied. Students also provided targeted research into pricing, production options and marketing opportunities.

This was an excellent example of traditional book publishing, providing the team with many opportunities to develop their project management and communication skills.

Save Our Seas!

Students in this team worked with their client (Plymouth City Council) to identify a theme for our annual collaboration on an anthology of young people’s writing and art, and to put out a call for submissions. The students coordinated a series of digital workshops for local schools to use to help inspire pupils, and orchestrated a fantastic promotion campaign to spread the word.

Once entries had been received, the team worked to identify and edit the items that would be featured. They also undertook all design work, and typeset and copy-edited the final product before liaising with the University of Plymouth Press to arrange printing and distribution. The end result is a fantastic example of team work and community engagement.

INK

Published annually through the School of English INK is a truly collaborative project. MA Publishing students coordinate a development team from across the Faculty to identify a theme; collate, select and edit submissions; liaise with Illustration students on design and artwork and prepare the final files for production alongside the University of Plymouth Press. They also plan and execute a successful marketing/launch campaign.

This is a fantastic example of end-to-end publishing, with students demonstrating excellent skills in leadership and self-management.

“The live publishing projects we work on give our students the opportunity to really stretch their wings. 

"With advice and input from industry experts, the teams produce exceptional editorial and design work, in both print and digital, and learn a huge amount about the commercial aspects of the industry (including sales, marketing and promotion). Students end the course with industry-level portfolios of work, valuable practical skills and strong client relationships to build on – all of which help with future employability. 

"These are busy, lively projects that reflect the multidisciplinary nature of the publishing industry itself. The opportunity to engage directly in knowledge exchange work with live clients makes everything relevant and hands-on, and really helps students’ confidence grow. It’s always a pleasure to see them shine.”

Lynda Cooper, Lecturer in Publishing