Short but Sweet: An Introduction into Editorial Life

As someone who has never worked in an environment quite like that of a Publishing House, Ransom has given me a tremendous insight into the business in the space of just three days. Short but sweet – and very enlightening.

Since my personal interest lies with the editorial side of publishing, I was offered the opportunity to assist with the tasks that revolved around commissioning and proof-reading. These are things that have intrigued me for some time now: the whole process of how books are chosen to be published, and then the scrutiny of editing and proof-reading undertaken before the distribution of the text/novel. To an outsider, the final product might appear to be just another book, but I can assure you that piece of work has been put through the ringer before being allowed on the shelves.

The commissioning I was involved in was particularly in relation to Ransom’s imprint – Raven – hoping to bring something fresh and exciting to the genre of Young Adult fiction. The process of commissioning often starts with the publisher having manuscript after manuscript flooding in. Although this is great, it does come down to a couple of people reading through and choosing what is suitable to fit the target audience. But you never know, you might find the next Worst Witch or Lemony Snicket – which always promises a good read. The alternative method of commissioning means hunting authors down, instead of waiting for them to find you – more efficient maybe, but sometimes the best ideas can be worth the wait!

In my limited experience of this process it does involve a lot of time, even when just skimming the submissions to get a feel for their suitability. But what I enjoyed was being able to read something light-hearted and fun (in comparison to the books I read at University). I was able to read through several manuscripts that had been sent in as hopeful and potential titles for the new year.  It was endearing to see the effort and dedication offered by these budding authors.

After this crucial stage is complete and you have picked your texts, next comes the proof-reading. A lot more difficult and not for the faint-hearted. Be prepared to spend a lot of time reading and re-reading and picking out mistakes. But it’s all character building. Personally, I think this is one of the things that I enjoyed the most. Being an English and History student, I live to meticulously read texts. Although I enjoyed this stage, that doesn’t mean I didn’t find it challenging. Trying to find mistakes can sometimes feel like more of a challenge when that is the only purpose of reading. And since it is a critical stage of the whole publishing process, I did feel anxious about missing things out.

I would not expect to know everything about the business after three days, or even be able to perfect any methods I have learnt. But my time at Ransom has felt rewarding, and has affirmed that a career in publishing and editing is the career for me.

Megan Dale
English and History Student, Leicester University


Why reading in your teens is such a big deal

These days, it would seem that YA fiction is dominating the scene. Since film adaptations of novels such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games have become global phenomena, a whole generation are turning back to the books that inspired these blockbusters. Of course there has always been a market for young adult audiences, but with the constant cycle of books to films becoming the norm, the interest in both mediums has increased substantially.

Some get frustrated at those who only read the book because of the film, but surely anything that gets teens reading is a positive thing? Surely we should be encouraging young adults to read, whatever that may take? As I reach the end of my teens myself, I’ve come to realise that it’s one of the most pivotal times of your life, and actually, one of the most important times to be reading.

Teenage years are stressful ones: they are years where lots of big decisions are made about the path you’re going to take in life, and the person you want to be, and actually, I think that reading can really influence that.

As a child, I always loved reading, and that carried through into my teen years, even though the books I was reading were of a different style. A lot of people look down at YA, but to be honest, I think that YA Lit does perfectly target its audience, and teaches young people a lot. Although, of course, there will always be the trashy romances and the stereotypical high school dramas, I think that YA has a real gift in the way it captures the essence of growing up.

These years are the years where we do a lot of changing and a lot of growing- physically, mentally and emotionally. And though the rest of our generation is also going through the same thing, we have such a tendency to isolate ourselves during these changes, insisting that nobody else could possibly understand what we feel and what we’re going through. Instead, many turn to fiction, and it is in these fictional characters that we find someone who shares our experience. It is when we escape to these worlds that are so familiar yet slightly different from our own, that we find the connection that we so desperately crave.

There tends to be two main things that people look for when they read: they either want, as aforementioned, to find a narrative and protagonist that they deeply relate to, or they want to find a world into which they can escape. Although these things are seemingly opposing ideals, they both share that yearning for fiction to be something authentic and believable. When everything around us is changing, and everything within us is changing, to have a steady narrative that we can return to again and again is such a massive comfort.

Reading does not just comfort us however, it also has the power to challenge us and shape us. When we are trying to work out where we stand on so many issues, where we are trying to explore our spiritual and political positions, being able to immerse yourself into the words and bias of so many different authors from so many different backgrounds is such a blessing. By reading and absorbing so many different points of view, we are influencing our own world view, and by reading this wide range, we are able to consider differing views to help define our own.

As we decide whether we want to go to university or not, when we start to consider our future careers, as we enter relationships for the first time- we can always count on literature to be there beside us. Reading in this time will influence the way in which we approach these things, and also offer an escape when the pressure of these things gets too much (which it will). So to the kids who are just entering this period of life- Read lots. To the young adults who finally feel like they may one day have their life together. Read even more. But also look back on your teen years, reflect on them, and see the ways in which reading helped you when the world was changing around you. Maybe it didn’t, maybe you didn’t allow it to.

Regardless of that, I think that reading in your teens is so beneficial, and is in fact, a big deal. Try picking up a book now and then. Try and find yourself in that narrative. Question what the book says about people and about the world. Ponder these things and shape your own view of the world. Read lots, and expand your mind.

Rehana x
Social Media Intern

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin


Welcome to Raven

Hello young world!

Welcome to our brand new site for Raven Books. We are an imprint of Ransom Publishing aiming to release exciting, contemporary reads for Young Adults. These days, teenagers are some of the most active readers in the world, with YA Literature dominating popular culture: in films, in television, and of course, in the books themselves. Although Ransom has been an independent publishing house for twenty years, Raven is a brand new venture for them; and though we be but little, we be fierce. If you want to know more about who we are and why we do what we do, click here.

This blog will be home to all things Raven. From a catalogue of all our published titles and reviews of said books, to blogs exploring the YA genre in a fun and creative way, we hope that you find yourself at home on our site.

One of the great things about Raven, and our parent company Ransom, is that there is a real sense of community in the company. We are a family, and we hope that you can find a place to join us in that family.

So curl up on the sofa, pick up a book, and delve into new worlds…

Social Media Intern @ Ransom