Upskilling Tips: Publishing in Wales
By Meghan Capper, Sukhpreet Chana, Misha Manani and Joe Pilbrow
Despite its small size, Wales boasts a rich literary history, with the likes of Dylan Thomas, Gwyn Thomas and Rhys Davies leading the way and providing inspiration for a new generation of Welsh writers. As a result, Welsh publishing is thriving. There are a host of established independent publishers based in Wales, with new ones popping up all the time. Whether you’re a publishing hopeful living in Bangor or Bridgend, read on to find out about the best work experience opportunities, useful organisations to join and top tips for getting your publishing career started in Wales.
Work Experience and Internship Opportunities
Firefly Press: This is an award-winning children’s publisher that publishes everything from picture books to young adult novels. The team consists of ten people in editorial, sales, marketing and design. They don’t have internships at the moment, but you can send an email to the general enquiries inbox, email@example.com, asking if they have any intern positions available.
University of Wales Press (UWP): This is an academic publisher, similar to Oxford University Press (OUP) and Cambridge University Press (CUP). They publish journals and books related to European studies, politics and Welsh and Celtic history. For work experience opportunities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Parthian Books: This independent publisher of fiction, non-fiction, translation and poetry has been around for almost thirty years. Their aims are to become champions of Welsh literature and highlight fresh new voices on the book scene. Until they open up for internships again, read the blog created by previous interns to see what they learnt.
Occasional Volunteering Work: The Books Council in Wales (see below) collates a list of people who are willing to do administrative work from time to time. If you are keen, send an email to email@example.com.
Organisations and Resources
Creative Publishing Wales: This agency supports various creative industries in Wales. Publishing is the heart of their culture, which defines their passion. Rebecca Roberts, an award-winning author, tells her story about publishing many novels in both English and Welsh.
Society of Young Publishers (SYP) Wales: Established in 2023, the Welsh branch of the SYP was created by volunteers to accommodate aspiring publishers and create learning opportunities to support those starting out. The society covers everything from literary fiction to the essentials of Welsh children’s books. The SYP Wales panel highlights the importance of Welsh-focused literature and the scope of online events drawing in a wider audience. Check out their Twitter and YouTube.
Books Council of Wales: This is a charity organisation that promotes reading and literature for enjoyment purposes. They cater to different services in publishing, such as editing, design, marketing and distribution. The organisation also offers a grant scheme to publishers and booksellers through publishing organisations and supporting writers. Check out their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Literature Wales: This organisation develops, shapes and empowers lives through books by providing funds that assist literary projects. Whether it’s to enhance your skills or explore your talents further, Literature Wales inspires people to connect with society and fulfil their aspirations.
Join literary agencies in Wales: Consider reaching out to local literary agencies for reader roles, work experience and internships for insight into the duties of an agent. Agencies play a crucial role in all things author-related, such as pitching clients, negotiating publishing deals, signing contracts and reading manuscripts, all of which are essential in the journey to publication. Wales Literary Agency and MDMLA are two agencies you can reach out to in order to get started.
Gain experience with book retailers: Bookseller roles are an excellent way to gain knowledge of the book market and current reader trends. Many bookshops also hold author talks and events, which are great for meeting people in the book trade and for staying up to date with new talent. Here’s a list of some indie bookshops to check out: Book-ish (Crickhowell), Browsers Bookshop (Porthmadog), Seaways (Pembrokeshire), Cover to Cover (Swansea), Griffin Books (Penarth).
Network: Building connections is vital in the publishing world, so it is important to take any opportunity to talk to industry professionals. Specifically, getting advice from fellow Welsh publishers may help you identify similar paths into the industry. Start conversations by attending SYP Wales socials and careers events, as well as searching on LinkedIn.
Remote working: If you live in an area where the publishing world is difficult to access, building experience remotely is a great option. There are many freelance proofreading, editorial and reader roles available online. You could even consider starting a blog to demonstrate your knowledge of the book market or join The Publishing Post to write industry-based articles from home!
Thank you for reading issue seventy-one! Join us again for issue seventy-two, where we will cover Upskilling Dictionary: Rights.