Get a job in publishing
Publishing is a very, very popular career choice. It’s associated with intellect, sophistication and influence. Editors at publishing houses have been responsible for unearthing literature that has shaped society. Lord of the Flies, for example, had been rejected by numerous publishing houses before Charles Montieth, an editor at Faber and Faber, saw the potential in the book. After its publication William Golding, the author of Lord of the Flies, went on to become one of the most influential British writers of the 20th century. He was rewarded with numerous accolades and prizes the culmination of which was a Nobel Laureate for his writing. It is not inaccurate to say that without the quality of editing at Faber and Faber Golding’s talent may have gone unrecognised and the world would never of known of those poor boys alone on that island. Stories like these are common in publishing. Great writers need great publishers and vice versa.
You may dream of being the editor that unearths the talent of the 21st century. But getting into a position where you can make those decisions is a different matter altogether. Here’s a quick guide to the first stage of your career, getting your foot in the door!
Your written work is key
Publishing houses will expect you to have impeccable written work. Your grammar should be excellent. They will meet your CV before they meet you. If there is sloppy use of commas in it you’ll be dismissed out of hand. Check and double check grammar. I can’t stress this enough.
Experience, experience, experience!
To get into publishing work experience is vital. Many publishing houses will expect you to have completed some voluntary work at a publishing house. If working for free is totally out of the question try and get experience working on your university publication, the paper or review. If you are able to work for free here are 3 ways that you can find work experience opportunities within publishing:
1. Family and friends
a. Exhaust all avenues available through friends and family. They’ll be able to get you into a publishing house easier than contacting them yourself.
2. Contact publishing houses directly
a. Research all publishers working in areas that you interested. If you are going to get work experience by contacting them directly you’ll need to know what they do. Show that you understand the basics of the industry and how their house fits in to the overall picture.
a. There are a number of recruitment agencies that focus on internships. Phone them to find if they have any live publishing placements or have worked with publishers in the past. If you are a good candidate they’ll be prepared to contact publishers on your behalf.
Turn your work experience into a full time position
If you are lucky enough to get some work experience make sure you capitalise on the opportunity. Get to know the names of all the editors, the authors and the companies the publisher work with. Understand the terminology within the industry and look to use it regularly. Talking the talk is as important as, if not more then, walking the walk. Question those you work with on marketing and sales. These elements are the life blood of publishing. If you can go into a interview knowing the terminology and have an understanding of how publishers make money you’ll be in a great position to get a job.
Thanks for reading and I hope it’s been of use. Some good associations that you might be interested in are are the Society of Young Publishers and Women in Publishing, for females only obviously.
I sure hoped this helped!
Patrick is guest blogging on behalf of inspiring interns. His literature enthusiast and his current favourite authors are James Ellroy, Edgar Allen Poe and P G Wodehouse.