Top tips for how to make it in publishing

The publishing industry is a popular career choice. Jobs in the industry can be rewarding, interesting and flexible. But they are also notoriously difficult to get. If you're looking to get your first break in publishing, read on for some inside information on how to do it.

First, think about which area of publishing you might like to work in. The publishing industry is vast, and covers books, journals, newspapers and magazines. All of these are published in print and electronically. Within each sector, there will be editorial staff, writers, production staff, researchers, marketers and a host of other niche and support jobs. Think carefully about which area you want to enter. Although there is some crossover, the skills needed for each can be very different, and it might not be possible to switch later in your career.

Regardless of the area you want to enter, publishing companies will expect you to demonstrate an ability to use the English language well and a strong interest in the area that they publish in. Most publishing jobs, even entry level administrative jobs, require a degree. This doesn't need to be in English, but it should demonstrate your ability to write well and possibly be in a subject relevant to the publisher's specialism. Some large publishing companies and media groups run graduate training schemes, although they tend to be very competitive. Taking an administrative or support role in the area you want to work in and moving up from there is an accepted route into the industry, particularly in book and journal publishing. If you're not a new graduate, but looking to change career, you could consider entering the industry through freelance work as an editor, proofreader or writer. While it will take time to build up contacts, with the right training and some hard work, you can be successful. Courses run by The Publishing Training Centre are considered to be the industry standard and will help you get your first break. The Bookseller, Publishing News, and The Guardian are key publications in which to look for jobs in publishing.

Book Publishing
Jobs in book publishing can be some of the most rewarding around. You could work in small publishing houses where you could be working with exciting new novelists or niche non-fiction publications, to large houses like Harper Collins or Penguin in London, for whom publishing is big business. You could work directly with the manuscripts and authors as an editor, work to manage and sell author's rights all over the world, co-ordinate the production process or work in book marketing.

Journals and Academic Publishing
Publishing houses such as Wiley, based on the Oxford Business Park, publish a range of journals and specialist non-fiction, and also publish online. There are also many small, highly specialist journal publishers. Opportunities are similar to those in book publishing, although there are also editorial and writing jobs in particular specialist areas (such as law or science), which require a relevant degree.

Newspapers and Magazines
From small, specialist business magazines, to national dailies: the newspaper and magazine market is huge and offers endless opportunities to work in writing, editorial, marketing or research in print or online.

Rachel is a freelance blogger on a variety of subjects, including publishing and careers.


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