It started in 2015. In Scotland. We were at the end of our second semester, of our Master’s in Publishing Studies. This meant no more classes and assignments; we were going to spend the last few months of the academic year sleeping in the library in the name of finishing up our dissertations (or travelling around the country seeing as there were no more classes).
So it was the end of the semester, and the lecturers asked how many of us ‘still’ wanted to pursue editing careers after our degree. About four hands went up. Out of the about twenty-four students. To their amusement. It was amusing because they ask that question at the beginning and end of every academic year, to each new group of students. And they get almost the same response each time. When we were asked at the beginning, almost everyone in the class wanted to be editors. However, after months of rigorous research, assignments and sleepless nights, we’d been exposed to the flamboyance of careers in marketing books (which often includes attending fancy book parties and dining and wining at book launches). We’d dabbled in the intricacies of book design and layout (one of our course units required us to ‘design’ our own publications). We’d studied the history of publishing, learning how fonts and printing had evolved from the days of Gutenberg to the days of Adobe Indesign. We’d observed the ways in which the publishing industry has been disrupted worldwide by developments in technology, and we’d gotten angry at the hopelessness book piracy proffers. We’d spent sleepless nights in the library contributing to the general body of knowledge in publishing, through our theses. Needless to say, when I got back, I was ‘different’, as my friends and clients put it. I didn’t see how at first. I had been editing publications for 6 years prior to the Masters, and by the end of the course, all I really wanted was to get back to normal sunshine, normal sleeping hours, and to lots more books to edit with my newly gained editorial insights. But they say I was different. I was not just editing anymore, I was teaching my clients more about publishing. I was animatedly discussing a friend’s publishing options (RIPNevender), when he said, “You know a lot about publishing, you should use your masters more.” By ‘using it more’, he meant taking my business and knowledge online. He was not content with my contentment with staying behind the scenes, sitting at my laptop all day, editing and emailing clients and receiving phone calls to teach them about publishing and their publishing options. And so it was that the journey to Scribe House (online) began. Friends, some of whom are part of the Scribe House Team, put their knowledge and skills together to become us. And so here we are, stepping back from the desktop and phone and bringing our services to a better light.
We are looking forward to walking with you, as we all continue to do our part to put together the pieces of the puzzle that is Uganda’s and Africa’s publishing industry.
Crystal B. Ruatangye
Editor and Book Consultant