Inside Orion: editorial decision-making in action

The Kingston MA in publishing includes a work placement element, where students gain experience within a publishing organisation and reflect on their learning.

Part-time Publishing MA student, Amy Cartwright has just finished her  placement working alongside masterclass speaker Alan Samson at Orion:

“My experience was mainly editorial as that was the department I was working in and I got to do all sorts of tasks, such as reading through proposals, writing jacket copy, proof reading typescripts and writing the entries for the catalogue. I also sat in on one of the weekly editorial meetings, which was a useful experience as it opened my eyes to the fact that the book really is a product and the main motive is to sell that product to as many people as possible, regardless (to some extent) of personal taste. Although I already knew this, is was insightful to hear how potential titles were discussed.

When one of the editors pitched a book, all things were being considered, not just the merits of the text, but how likeable the author is, what the cover design would look like, would there be the possibility for a series/TV tie-in. While I knew all these things were important, I didn’t realise they were thought about so early on, before the editors even began buying. For example, I presumed the cover design got left to the art department once the book was pretty much finished, but in practice it is thought about from that start and every department gets to input their views to ensure it has maximum market appeal. The book industry is a business after all, and every successful business is driven by profit.”

You can read Amy’s full account of her work placement experience – including some big celebrity names – at her blog.


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