This page is based on a resource that I wrote for students at UEA to answer the question, ‘How do I get a job in book publishing?’ It was designed to provide ten tips to help land a job, but somewhere along the line I’ve thrown in an 11th.
- Build your CV (I): do some activities at college that are publishing related. For example: write for a student newspaper; edit a newsletter; manage a website.
- Build your CV (II): get a relevant part-time or occasional job. For example, with a bookseller, library, magazine, or printer.
- Build your CV (III): do a professional course, preferably even obtain a qualification. Further information is available from the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (www.sfep.org.uk), the Society of Indexers (www.indexers.org.uk), and the Publishing Training Centre (www.train4publishing.co.uk). Some distance courses are available.
- Ditto for technical skills. There is a shortage of technical skills in book publishing, so people trained in, for example, Adobe Acrobat and InDesign tend to be employable.
- Research the industry. Read The Bookseller (www.thebookseller.com); get e-bulletins from booktrade.info (www.book2book.co.uk); and read Giles Clark & Angus Phillips, Inside Book Publishing, Kelvin Smith, The Publishing Business, and Alison Baverstock, How to Get a Job in Publishing.
- Go to the London Book Fair (www.londonbookfair.co.uk). Attend some of the (free) seminars.
- Network. Use networks such as the Society of Young Publishers (www.thesyp.org.uk), Women in Publishing (www.wipub.org.uk), and Diversity in Publishing (www.dipnet.org.uk), and your university’s alumni.
- Send your CV to named people in publishing houses. Be methodical and persistent. Find lists of publishers from organisations like the Publishers Association and the Independent Publishers Guild and from annual publications such as the Directory of Publishing and the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.
- Be prepared to move to London or Oxford. They’re the main centres in the UK.
- Get your foot in the door. Offer to work somewhere for nothing (whilst asking yourself what that tells you about the industry). You’ll get experience, goodwill, a network, and testimonials.
- If you get an interview and are asked why you want to work in publishing, don’t say, “Because I like books”.