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SYP Scotland Presents Skill Seekers: Navigating the Rollercoaster World of Publishing

By Hayley Cadel

This year, the SYP Scotland host their upcoming hybrid conference Skill Seekers: Navigating the Rollercoaster World of Publishing. The theme for this year is equipping young publishers whether a publishing hopeful or in the first few years of your career with the skills you need to be successful in the industry. This year, their engaging panels and interactive workshops will cover the “hard” skills required to thrive in individual publishing departments, as well as the “soft” skills needed to find your feet. Alongside this, they will be running an in-person exhibition to showcase various publishers, which will include interactive stalls.

SYP Scotland believe that “gaining tangible skills and experience to best support your career ambitions is important to [their] audience,” and as such the skill-based theme of the conference has been integral when planning their content. As well as this, it has been consistently important to the society to offer events with accessibility at the centre. By offering a hybrid conference, they give ticket holders the chance to view all the panels and workshops online until 31 May live on the day. SYP Scotland are also offering limited free digital tickets to those from underrepresented backgrounds and those who have had their finances adversely affected by the cost of living crisis.

The conference begins with an opening keynote from the independent publisher 404 Ink. It has been an incredible year for 404 Ink, winning The Bookseller FutureBook Team award for their In(k)ternship as well as winning the Saltire Society Publisher of the Year. From publisher to published author, the conference will conclude with a closing keynote from 404 Ink author Carrie Marshall, author of the memoir Carrie Kills a Man. Carrie Marshall writes prolifically across genres and her memoir featured as one of The Scotsman’s books of the year. The conference will conclude with a performance from the author and poet, Michael Pedersen. Pedersen has published two acclaimed poetry collections and has recently been praised for his memoir Boy Friends about close male friendship.

Additionally, the conference offers a range of panels and workshops. The conference features workshops on podcasts and audiobooks, with “Make Some Noise: Podcasts & Audiobooks,” hosted by Christopher Phin, who moved into podcasting in 2019 and creates and leads shows on education, business, culture and sport, to name just a few! Phin will be taking delegates through the ins and outs of audio production and editing. With podcasts and audiobooks only increasing in popularity, this won’t be one to miss! As well as this workshop, they’re offering “One Ticket to Freelance Publishing,” a workshop which aims to equip attendees with the skills to conquer publishing independently. As the Scottish publishing landscape is so ripe with independent publishing houses, this will quench your curiosity if it is something you’ve ever considered.

Similarly, the conference includes the following panel discussions: “Join the Queue: The Journey of the Book,” which will guide listeners through the journey of a book through the various publishing departments, with quick pitches from various professionals. If you want to know more about your colleagues' role, or haven’t quite worked out which aspect of publishing most suits you, this is the panel for you! Similarly, their panel “What About the Fast Pass? Routes into Publishing and Their Aspect Barriers” highlights routes into publishing and discusses the various access barriers of each especially relevant if you are assessing your current options and want to work out the best option for you. Additionally, the “Networking Out: Flex Your Interpersonal Muscles” panel will demystify networking and guide viewers through what networking is and how to get the best out of it. Finally, their “Zines, Indies and Non-trads” shines a light on the alternative avenues to pursue within publishing, featuring panellists with a breadth of industry experience.

Furthermore, alongside this skill-based theme, SYP Scotland want to offer attendees the toolkit to tackle more serious issues, with the panel “From Skillseekers to Chillseekers: Balancing Long Hours and Informal Work.” The focus is how to strike a healthy work/life balance in a heavily competitive creative industry. Finally, “Movin’ On Up!: Pay Rises, Promotions and Professional Development” focuses on how to navigate promotions and pay rises and how to be less daunted by potentially uncomfortable conversations.

Whether your aim is to work for a Big Five publisher, an indie, a magazine or as a freelancer, SYP Scotland has got you covered. Join in-person and online on 1 April at Central Hall in Edinburgh for the conference, tickets on-sale now. Keep your eyes peeled on social media for speaker and workshop announcements. They can’t wait to see you there!



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