Monthly Archives: November 2013

Books, Beer and Biscuits – Marion Sinclair Talks Books and Publishing

Another riveting guest speaker at the university of Stirling’s publishing course – Marion Sinclair the chief executive of Publishing Scotland, and herself a 1987 alumna of the Publishing course.DSCN4609

Marion informed the class of how the combined turn over in Scottish publishing is roughly 350 million, with around 17.000 professionals directly employed within publishing, with also much of publishing related work being outsourced out of house. This means the Scottish publishing industry s roughly the same size as the cashmere and salmon industries – the two biggest export goods from Scotland. Banks, biscuits, books and beers is what the Edinburgh city as founded upon, and this is why Publishing Scotland is actively encouraging growth within publishing business – and here Marion’s message to the publishing wannabe’s coincide; it is a great time to be entering the industry. The industry is in constant move, and even if a main street publisher disappears from Edinburgh, another will start in Glasgow and eventually vice versa.

How does Publishing Scotland fit into the Scottish publishing scene and why does the publishing business need a support organisation? As a small nation with so much to offer, it makes sense to have a collective voice, a collaborative organisation that can voice concerns and operate as a liaison between organisational bodies.  Publishing Scotland is “the network body for the book publishing industry in Scotland, working to promote and protect the interests of its members, both nationally and internationally”; with over 60 members (or over 95 per cent of Scottish publishing industry). These members consist of suppliers, universities, booksellers, literary agents, publishers, and other relates to the industry either directly or indirectly. Publishing Scotland, as an non-governmental, charitable organisation, can collectively on behalf of book industry professional negotiate and find the most beneficial deals, assist in setting goals and all in all find the best solutions to all questions and issues raised for all parties involved. As Marion explains, the Publishing Scotland as an organisation offers specific, targeted advice, planned activities and events for publishing industries – including magazines, libraries and schools who are out to find the best opportunities. These activities and advice include training opportunities, marketing advice, infrastructure projects and tailored advice related directly to your organisation and the goals you have set out to achieve. And what is more, Publishing Scotland helps you find the right kind of funding. In collaboration with Creative Scotland, Publishing Scotland offers the Go-See Grants Fund; purpose of the fund is to enable Scottish-based publishers to attend national and international book trade fairs for the first time. (Deadline for this is next week – there is still time!) The other notable fund Publishing Scotland and Creative Scotland have teamed to administer, is the Go-Digital Fund which is aimed to help publishers in three areas:

(a)   in accessing training or consultancy on digital matters;
(b)  attending digital events in the UK and overseas; and
(c)   marketing their digital books and content

This fund is especially interesting, considering how the evolution of book industry is moving; it is necessary to embrace all things digital; we might not wish to consume digital but it does consumer us.

All the support that Publishing Scotland aims for is to aid the publishing professional and those just entering the business to be responsive to the sector needs, operating as the network body, offering advice, digital support and helping to get the message out there, enabling contact and assistance from government bodies where necessary. Much of the work is relating to consumers and the nature of the market. Simply put – Publishing Scotland is there to strengthen the business capacity of the members of the industry and to support them to be the best they can be, to build their sustainability in a precarious book industry; for publishers by publishers.

DSCN4610Considering that Scotland already has strong government objective for supporting creative industries (a category under which publishing fits), and how there is a strong national sense in how the knowledge economy needs to be supported Marion maintains there would not be reason for anything to change drastically whether Scotland achieves independence. There would be no sense to start creating trade barriers, alienating Scotland as a separate, peripheral entity. Marion sees the future as re-birthing of a nation, re-creation and refreshing and rather than hinder will help the creative industries stance within Scotland as a vehicle of celebrating nationality and uniqueness.

After a thorough insight into the inner operation and mission statement of Publishing Scotland, Marion reminds the students of how it is a great time to be entering the industry; book industry is not dead or dying, but it is changing. And this is why the skills gathered through the publishing course will allow each of us to set ourselves apart; the degree can show we have abilities and keen insight into the industry already as we enter it, instead of entering blindly. It is a complex industry, requiring perseverance and hard work – with the constant changes and other industry advances, there is no other way than to keep up to date. Marion especially emphasises the importance of networking – become known and know the key players, as within creative industries it is often who you know rather than what you know to be able to get ahead and to get that chance. And another rather different advice Marion gave, one we have not heard in class before, is to become numerate; know the key facts, statistics and figures and make sure you understand what they mean to your sector as well as in grand scheme of things. There is power in numbers, and ultimately – publishing is a business.

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Winter in Edinburgh – St. Andrew’s Day

Written by Aija for the Edinburgh Address Blog
Saturday, 23 November 2013 
Whereas in many countries, my own included, a national holiday is just another bad excuse for drinking more than usual – but in Edinburgh it seems to be another good excuse for celebrating the extraordinary creative power in the city and country’s ingenuity. It is not for nothing Edinburgh is considered to be the best city in the UK, and one of the leading travel destinations in the world with the ever-growing success and room for opportunities. So, next weekend it is the time for another one of those fantastic Scottish celebrations – St. Andrews Day.St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland – Andrew was first recognised as an official patron saint of Scotland in 1320 at the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath an appeal to the Pope by Scottish noblemen asserting Scotland’s independence from England, and his patronage extends to fishmongers, gout, singers, sore throats, spinsters, maidens, old maids and women wishing to become mothers. What an eclectic mix – same as is the city of Edinburgh and the extravaganza of St. Andrew’s Day.

This year the city celebrates yet again in style and lavish – with a whole day of free events and celebratory atmosphere on Edinburgh’s Grassmarket from 2pm till 10pm – and sticking to Edinburgh’s tradition of catering to all, the whole day is free! All the shows and extravaganzas of the day showcase the very best of Scottish culture. This includes musical galore by Dougie MacLean, Blazin’ Fiddles and Breabach! And not to forget if you get hungry, the Grassmarket Market will be trading throughout the day from 10.00am to 6.00pm offering a range of quality foodstuffs from locally sourced vegetables, fish and meat to hot food with a distinctly international influence! And it is not all happening just in Edinburgh – Fife has its very own St. Andrews Food and Drink Festival l coinciding nicely with St. Andrew’s Day – on going already all the way until December 1st!

From traditional music and dance to storytelling, St. Andrew’s Day is sure to have something for everyone, and it is just another taste to what rich, vibrant and full of life city Edinburgh actually is!

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Set yourself apart from the norm – visiting speaker Sara Hunt of Saraband

Sara Hunt of Saraband gave an invigorating guest appearance at the Stirling Publishing course, the day after their Edinburgh launch of Lesley McDowell‘s Unfashioned Creatures. saraSaraband is a renowed independent publisher, known for its engaging, well-written non-fiction and attractive illustrated books, and also becoming renowned as an innovator in digital publishing, as well as the winner of Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Award.

Sara started off with emphassing the hanges that are happening in publishing. With the introduction of all imaginative, exciting cross-platforms and available transmedia, it is all the plurality and diversity of opportunities they provide that makes this the most exciting times for publishing. Theoretically, Sara says, those (read: us) entering the publishing business now are better off as we are by nature and education more media, digital developments and social platforms savvy than the generation of publishers before us. Almost anyone can start a business now, and there is a sense of optimism in the air. Publishing business is healthy in the overall revenue, though under the bonnets of individual publishing houses there are unseen challenges yet to be conquered.

Sara notes, with a tinge of despondency, how the value of the book has drastically eroded in recent years, for reasons that are as varied as books published. The consumer confidence is lacking and with the plurality of choices available make planning within publishing very challenging – to make the choice of what project to take on and back all the way is not always as obvious as it had been before. Another challenge faced by publishers – the conglomerates as well as independent – is how is the consumer going to find the new title you put out in the huge sea of published titles? People do not use the bookshops to browse, they use the internet and the web is never-ending source of all the information anyone could ever want, and investing in any one project above others is always a gamble. Though, Sara states, publishing decisions are always an informed gamble. Especially in the expanding culture of self-publishing it is the publisher whom is needed for discoverability. They have the know-how, the venues and the connections to bring out a title in the best possible way.

Speaking of discoverability and the changing market – apps. Sara is keen on the opportunities for marketing and visibility that an app brings to any title (though not all titles are app-able; if is to be made into an app, it has to have an element of interactivity). An app has to be more than a book converted into a phone compatible format. If this is done right, an app becomes that monetising part of the titles success. Yet, why apps? They are time consuming and expensive to produce, and monetising an app is even harder; the digital age generations has come to expect for everything online to be available for free or (thanks, Amazon) very, very cheaply. Sara explains how the answer is simply that there are more smart phone users out there now than there are readers.

Sara explains how digital marketing is in its prime now – social media, video trailers, audio clips, D2D and the mere scale of ebooks are the thriving force in modern marketing. Although, it is fallacy to think any of this would be easy; it is time consuming and expensive, and as all of it changes nearly over night, any campaign taken on becomes obsolete faster than you can type obsolete. Also, if there is a successful campaign of any sort, it will soon be adopted by others, making it a norm rather than an unique strategy – the window of opportunity here is minimal and the margin for error is massive. One definitely good way to get notices is to make sure you are not just following another trend, but to attempt to top the hot topics with something matchless. Saraband, for example, has just published A Capital Union by Victoria Hendry – and the review in the National Collective agrees taps into that “political atmosphere in Scotland today raising the stakes for any political work of art“. Scotland voting for independence in 2014, what better time would there be to bring out those titles that will discuss the impending referendum whether, like A Capital Union, from the historical point of view or then taking part in the current discussions. Knowledge is power – that is the gist of things; to think outside the box, and to think globally.

Sara ends her visit with a handful of helpful tips for the publishing wanna-/gonnabe’s, with the most important tip being to extend your skills. Learn more, read more and become an expert in something. Have something to show for those abilities you have obtained, be it InDesign or copy-editing, a keen sense of marketing or editorial knowledge. Show commitment and set yourself apart. Scavenge the vast amount of available information and use it to your advantage, and most importantly – find an outlet for your skills and opinions.

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The lively Leith

Written by Aija in the Edinburgh Address blog
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 19:23
Another part of Edinburgh worth every bit of your appreciation and keen exploration is Leith . A port district to the north of Edinburgh city centre, Leith and Leithers – though now part of the burgh of Edinburgh – are still fiercely independent in nature and character. And they have every right to be, what with all the undiscovered gems which most Edinburgh visitors have not dared to venture out to scavenge. Of course, Leith Port is also where the Royal Yacht Britannia resides, for those curious.

Leith brims with personality and creativity; quirky off the trodden path indie shops and bars, high quality restaurants and cafes providing respite from all the walking and exploring. And not to forget, there is a whole film on the beauty of Leith – anyone seen Sunshine on Leith?

The best way – weather allowing – to find your way into Leith is along the Water of Leith walkway that leads from Stockbridge, Dean Village or Canonmills all the way to Leith’s picturesque The Shore area. Alternatively, you can also use some of the excellent public transport connection from New Town Edinburgh centre down Leith Walk.

If you are out looking for some culture, Leith is definitely the place to go, as there is always something going on (same as the whole of Edinburgh, really – this city never sleeps!) and there is a varied choice from exhibitions, to live music, to the general hub of night life. And you could never stray away from Leith hungry – the abundance of restaurants and cafes is stunning. For those looking for a snack or a comfortable lunch, you cannot go wrong with any of the Boda crew’s places along Leith. From the top of Leith Walk starting with Joseph Pearce, then  Boda, Victoria, and Sofi’s, you are sure to be in for a treat! As well as yummy treats we mustn’t forget the tongue-in-cheek, contemporary and definitely unique monthly changing art exhibitions.

The other lovely pit stop for coffee and, ethically sound, home-made delicacies fix is the Word of Mouth café, just off from Leith Walk. Just alone their savvy local sourcing of products and support of local businesses especially in and around the Leith area is worth to stop by to show this lovely café some love.

Up for something with a laid back and distinctive atmosphere for that dinner of yours? The restaurant e:s:i (or the Englishman, the Scotsman and the Irishman) is a gorgeous restaurant with enviable first class food. A warm and friendly restaurant with excellent service provided by the Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman – three friends who have joined together to open their first restaurant. What originally was a fire station has provided the brasserie a unique layout, entering e:s:i into the nu-Leith era in style

And of course if you can tear yourself away from the Michelin star restaurants of Kitchin and Martin Wishart and the Plumed Horse, there is the splendid The Ship restaurant, with inimitable sea food of highest quality – and a wine list to match! And the cook’s in The Ship are not shy about their skills either, explaining how with over 200 varieties in Scottish waters, they are in the enviable position of being able to offer a world class product that’s enjoyed in the world’s finest restaurants. I do agree – plus you will be onboard a ship for your exclusive dinner, overlooking the quaint The Shore.

And of course, now that Christmas is on its way, there is no way Leith would not join the jolly season with its very own switching on of Christmas Tree Lights event with a hearty sing a long officially starting the Christmas season in Leith!

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Literally Literary Edinburgh

Written by Aija on the Edinburgh Address blog
Saturday, 16 November 2013
One of the greatest assets of Edinburgh is its rich, centuries old cultural legacy – and none other is as impressive as the literary cocoon the city has been, being the birth place of many of the literary greats. And what better way would there be to enjoy the city’s finest than following on the footsteps of just, for example, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson or the more contemporary Ian Rankin?

Edinburgh has the honour of being one of the UNESCO’s cities of literature and as such, prides itself with numerous literary events, fairs and other literature themed accessories around the capital city. A lot of the masterminding behind the events is by Edinburgh City of Literature Trust, who constantly come up with new ways of celebrating the literary richness in the city (just look at their events page!). And of course during the festival season there is the ever-amazing Edinburgh International Book Festival. But when it is not festival season, there are numerous ways of getting yourself acquainted with the literary affluence.

For example, you might want to take part in one of the literary tours – the most popular and always exciting are the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour and the Edinburgh Book Lovers’ Tour And what is more, if up for it, you can conduct your own walk following the storylines of some of the best literature set in Edinburgh or written by a Scot.

During your literary exploring, you might also want to pop in for a hot drink and a delicious pastry while you browse the selection of books and rest your feet. This is ideal in the abundance of selection of indie bookshops around the city that also have cafes and events within them.

Personal favourites, for a literary puff like myself, is the Looking Glass Books and Pulp Fiction Books. Always a great atmosphere, always great service and both with unique flair to them.

And after all that exploring of the literary scene and history, what would a bibliophile want more than obtain a copy or few of the thing itself; books! City of Literature Trust has come up with the amazing Bookshop Trail app that is up for free download on their homepage, and lists 53 bookshops around the city centre that are worth scavenging thoroughly. And as Christmas is nearing, it is always good to remember a book is a gift that keeps on giving – it does not go out of date and it does not wither away; it is your best friend, your biggest challenge and the greatest comfort one could have.

Never boring in the city of literature, with whispers of profound cultural inimitability following you with every step – what more could anyone want?

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Ex Tempore

 

 

Written by Aija in the Edinburgh Address Blog

Saturday, 09 November 2013

Arthur's Seat view from HolyroodEdinburgh never ceases to amaze me. Just when I think there could not be more to discover, I go for a walk, on that rare sunny day this time of year, and as the weather is so uncharacteristically warm and sunny, I keep walking.dunsapie loch2

This ex tempore day stroll took us through Grassmarket, up Victoria Street to the Royal Mile, down all the way to Our Dynamic Earth. Can’t stop here now can we? Through the Holyrood Park up to the foot of Arthur’s Seat and little ways up there’s the Dunsapie Loch, filled with what seems like dozens over dozens of swans and other water birds. What’s that? Up the hill overlooking the Loch still remain the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel. The view from up there is breathtaking. You can see big part of the city centre, all the church peaks and the Castle.

Back down through the park to go behind Holyrood Palace, up Abbey Hill and towards Regent Terrace, a road I haven’t before walked through. Probably that was why I was surprised to encounter the Old Calton Burial Ground – a beautiful old cemetery that whispers of history, clashing with the modern times abuse it suffers from the hands of renegades of all sorts. Another beautiful view of Arthur’s Seat, from a different angle.

It is nearly impossible to stop walking in Edinburgh once you’ve started. Just wanting to walk through yet another path or passage, wondering what they could possibly lead to. From the Old Calton Burial Ground we walked to the steps at the bottom of Calton Hill, deciding to go up the Hill as well – why not, we were there already!

Walking the curving path winding up towards the top of the Hill, getting an almost full 180° view of the city. Unbelievable.

After all that walking (whole walk was about 4 hours, with breaks to take in all the beauty and sun) there are no words to describe how hungry I was! faber emporiumCandy proved to be the best place for tea – some finger food for starters, a great burger for main. The whole dinner for two with drinks came to just over £21 and is absolute quality!

After dinner the dusk had set, which proved perfect for a walk through the city itself, with the street lights and street performers adding to that eerie, yet magical feel. Sometime is hard to understand how lucky I am living here, and how happy just a walk in the city can make me.


Last but not least, we ended up back in Grassmarket and although it was chilly, the outside seating area by the Last Drop was too tempting. Another amazing view, people watching with a wee dram of Dalwhinnie wrapped up the perfect day.

 

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Chan eil aon chànan gu leòr

Written by Aija in the Edinburgh Address Blog
Saturday, 28 September 2013 15:57
The headline translates to “one language is never enough”.

Today when I was walking to a meet in the city, I heard an older gentleman greeting another with “Feasgar math! Ciamar a tha thu?”. I am by no means a proper linguist, but that did not sound like any other greeting I had heard before. The two gentlemen continued their conversation in English, but that phrase stuck in my mind until I got home and got to make some research. After multiple attempts to write phonetically what I had heard, I found out that “feasgar math” is Scottish Gaelic for “good day” and “ciamar a tha thu” is “how are you”. Now, I couldn’t pronounce that to the life of me, but I find it fascinating that an ancient language such as Gaelic, abeit being a minority language, is still spoken and even educated in schools.

Scotland is one of the three countries that belong to Gaelic language group. The three Gaelic groups – Irish, Manx and Scottish – are distinct from each other and unfortunately a minority language that in places is facing extinction. A sad example is the Manx Gaelic, where the last native speaker, Ned Maddrell, died in 1974. On a positive note, though, Scotland and Ireland are still undertaking grand measures in keeping the rare language alive. Edinburgh being a wonderful example of this – with opening its first fully Gaelic school; Bun-sgoil Taobh na Páirce, or Parkside Primary School, has a roll of 211, 58 of whom are in Primary One. A further 79 children are in the nursery. There are 30 Gaelic-speaking staff and the curriculum will be taught entirely in the language. The Parkside Primary join other two fully Gaelic language schools in Scotland.

An indigenous language that might be in decline, but recent efforts to revive Gaelic in Scotland seem to be working. The previous Census results recorded an 11% drop in speakers, while the new figures suggest a 1.2% fall from 59,000 to 58,000. The latest results also show a 0.1% increase in Gaelic speakers aged under 20. This increase in interest towards Gaelic and in the numbers of people who regularly speak Scottish Gaelic is encouraging, and communities and the cities are providing more and more opportunities to enjoy events and entertainment in Gaelic. Edinburgh being an exhilarating and culturally very diverse city, with a steeped heritage in Gaelic, it is exciting to see the growth and trust in the origins of the Scottish culture.

Fascinating, don’t you think? Slàinte mhor a h-uile là a chi ‘s nach fhaic!

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‘Tis the Time

Written by Aija
Saturday, 02 November 2013 in The Edinburgh Address Blog
 

The Jolly Season is nearly upon us! Winter in Edinburgh is yet another magical time – with markets and events happening all around the city, there couldn’t be much better a-place to get that Christmas shopping done and to do it in style – and that means with a mug of mulled in your hand!

When you make your travel bookings, make sure you plan around some of these extraordinary events – and keep in mind the Winter Special deals on our apartments to make sure you get the best experience from your stay!

For a day out with your mates, loved ones and kids, a special New for 2013 is the Real Christmas Tree Maze, which is bound to be a joy for children and adults alike, explore the maze in East Princes Street Gardens – can you make your way to the centre and back again? If you do find the centre, then Santa’s elves will be waiting for you with a present.

The best attraction that will keep you busy for a full day or two are the three special Christmas markets that spring up for the season. The Traditional Scottish Market at St. Andrew’s Square will offer the shoppers and connoisseurs the best of Scottish food and drink on offer. If you are a tourist, there is no better place to find that special Scottish treat to bring home with you for the holidays. The Edinburgh European Market on the Mound Precinct and West Princess Street Gardens then follows more the traditions of Germand or Bavarian Christmas markets, including the variations of Glühwein to keep you warm, and where you can find those quirky trinkets that make your Christmas that much special. And finally, there is the Children’s Market right the heart of St. Andrew’s Square is the Children’s Market, a host of magical child-friendly shopping, aimed at to enable children to be their main customers.
All of the markets are open from 22 November 2013 – January 5 2014. Sunday – Thursday 10am – 9pm and Friday and Saturday 10am – 10pm.

If you get cold and yearn for a moment of warmth, department store’s Jenners and the shopping centre St. James both have a fantastic Christmas atmosphere – with special deals and decorations all around to ensure that jolly holiday feel. And if the Christmas market food is not enough for you, Edinburgh always has a selection of culinary delights to choose from for you brunch, lunch and dinner.

Light Night
Sunday 24 November 2013, 2.30pm to 5pm, is free for all to enjoy and encapsulates the spirit of the festive season: the family and the community. As always, the Light Night will follow a theme and this year it is the Twelve Days of Christmas, with a selection stages along the length of George Street and an estimation of 850 performers giving their best. The theme is the Twelve Days of Christmas. Hosted by Arlene Stuart of Forth Radio, the event will culminate with the lighting of the Edinburgh Christmas Tree, a traditional gift of solidarity from Norway, at the Mound, with the Olympic Gold medalist Sir Chris Hoy switching on the central Edinburgh Christmas Lights!

LIMBO
22 November to 5 January 2014
For the first time, St. Andrew Square becomes a major arena for the Christmas Event.
St. Andrew Square will host the magnificent Paradiso Spiegeltent, which will present LIMBO, the international circus sensation, direct from Australia and London’s Southbank before it heads to the Sydney Festival and an international tour in 2014.

For the all night partiers, looking for that special Christmas sensation – in the Summerhall
for ten day special tour, 4 December to 21 December 2013, back by popular demand is the sell-out hit of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013, Hot Dub Time Machine: Best. Party. Ever, makes a triumphal return to Scotland for 10 exclusive nights.

After all that shopping and events out, all you probably want to do is lay your head down on the comfort of home away from home. Here at the Edinburgh Address we appreciate the joys of Christmas, and in the spirit of holidays offer a range of special Winter Specials:

Apartment Castle Terrace @ 9A – 15% Off in November!

New Town Boutique @ Northumberland Street – 10% Off in November!

The Gatekeepers Cottage @ Blacket Estate – 15% off in November!

The Studio @ Drumsheugh Gardens – 10% Off for Midweek stay in November!

Stockbridge Grandeur @ Carlton Street – 10% Off, bottle of bubbly and a free late check out to make that shopping spree that much more special!

Oh, and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow soon!

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