1. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    On the other side

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Nicoel, Apr 23, 2015.

    Hi All.

    I've been trying to come up with a career for myself to pursue, and I've finally settled on the publishing industry. I still consider myself a writer, and I want to continue writing, but I do want a job that offers some stability.

    Does anyone know what the job market is like in publishing? How high is the demand for things such as editors (like Editorial Assistant, or Commissioning Editor). Do you have any suggestions for jobs to look into in the field?

    Degrees that might be helpful?

    I would love any knowledge/advice you have for me. :)
     
  2. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    How old are you? It's great to have an idea of what you want to do, but I also think it's important not to tie yourself down to it before you have a chance to try it out. If you're planning on going to college or are in college, you might be able to get an internship to see what it's really like and whether you like it.

    I know of one person who got into publishing a few years ago at a local publisher, but she left because it didn't pay very well. My understanding is that is it's not an easy career to get into, but it's not extremely hard, either. I'm sure these jobs are "English degree or Creative Writing degree preferred," but I highly doubt it's necessary if you can show you have the requisite skills.

    As with any job, it'd be really helpful to have some internship or other experience that resembles publishing. If you're in high school or college now, you might be able to join their newspaper. Another thing you should do is find someone who already has this position. Talk to people you know if they might know someone in the business, or see if your school has some alumni network you could search. Or, you can even find some email address through company websites and cold email them with something along the lines of "My name is ____, and I'm a (e.g. senior in high school). I am very interested in finding out more about the publishing industry, and I thought you would be a great person to contact because ____. Could we meet in-person to discuss the industry or have a brief conversation over Skype?" This is a great way to not only find out more about the industry to decide if you would really like it, but also a great way to start building a contact network which can help you get a job. ALWAYS end the interview by thanking them for their time AND asking them if they can recommend other people for you to talk to.

    I personally don't know much about the publishing industry, but I'd be happy to share more general advice about landing a job.
     
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I watch CSPAN's BookTV every weekend and sometimes they have publisher panels. This panel had a brief mention of how one gets into the industry. It's free to watch online: http://www.c-span.org/video/?325091-4/panel-discussion-publishing
    Sounded like one of those industries you work your way up in. It's an hour long panel discussion with only a brief mention of how to get into the business. It's near the end in the question and answer segment.
     
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  4. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    That sounds like great advice, thank you! I'm 18 and finishing up a 2 year degree at my local community college in Arts. I'm planning on going to a University, to get a degree in whatever is best for what I'm doing. I've already talked to the librarian at my college to talk about volunteering there, and going to see if there are any jobs in town at the local public library and/or book stores. I don't think there are any publishing houses in my town - it's a small one.

    Would someone from a publishing company actually Skype me about the job position and it's requirements and pay? That sounds like a great idea, but I didn't really know you could do that. I'm very new to all of this.. And yeah, I feel like this job is one of those where a contact network can mean the difference between a well-paying job and McDonalds.
     
  5. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Thank you so much!
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    I would think a degree in English language arts or English lit would be a key element. Most all the publishers I see are heavy in the editing field as well as publishing.

    Also a minor in computer programming or at least something related couldn't hurt with publishing moving into the digital age.
     
  7. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been able to talk with two elites in a different industry over Skype, so it's definitely doable. There are going to be some people who ignore your email, but all you need to start with is one. If that one person gives you one more person to contact, that second person is very likely to talk with you because it was through someone they work with. From there, you can repeat the process. If you are polite, thankful of their time, and let each of them know you're contacting the person specifically because of the person's expertise, people will be willing to talk with you.

    I would probably avoid a direct salary question, but something like "I'm worried that the salary for an entry-level publishing position might be difficult to live on. How did you make it work?" would probably be fine. Asking about requirements or what you could do to prepare for a career in publishing would be fine. Just make sure that the first few questions are about the person you're interviewing, not yourself. Ask them how they got into the industry, what they like most about their job, what they like least about their job, what's the most important skill needed for their job, etc.

    I'm definitely an advocate of this approach. You get to understand better about the industry, allowing you to better determine if it might be right for you and to be better prepared for an interview because you can highlight specific skills that you were told are important. Also, you get to build a contact network. Doing so can help you find out about jobs that haven't yet been posted publicly (after your conversation, you can send a thank-you email that also says you'd appreciate it if they'd alert you if they are made aware of a job that might suit you) and help you make a bridge person to better your chances of getting a job after you apply for it (after applying, you'd email the person saying you've decided to apply for x job in their company and would appreciate it if they would help advance your resume).
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You may be able to build up some experience on-line even while living in a small town - a lot of e-publishers do business almost entirely electronically, so it doesn't really matter where you live.

    I'm not really sure how you'd go about getting a job with an e-pub, but I know some of the smaller/less-reputable ones use volunteers for, say, reading galley proofs right before the book is published. You'd just be looking for typos at that stage, nothing too exciting, but it might be an entre to the field.
     
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  9. Commandante Lemming
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  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I would think internships are actually far more important than necessarily a degree - although having a degree never hurt anybody and of course a degree these days are the pre-requisite to nearly any job, so it's best to have one anyway in case you change your mind about getting into publishing.

    When I worked at studentbeans (that's a student discount website), it included articles on student life and university tips and the like. At the time it was a pretty well-known website amongst British students but as a company it was still very small. Essentially, if only I actually had the talent for these things, I probably could've got somewhere with them. Alas, I don't. However, there were 7 of us including the 2 brothers who founded the company. They gave me the title Assistant Editor because they didn't know anything about editing and wanted me to bring in fresh ideas - problem is I was a graduate who didn't know what I was doing. Like I said, if I had the actual potential for the job, probably could have gone far.

    Looking back, it was more of a Content Compiler sorta job - not too sure what the title should have been. By the time I left, the company had expanded to 14 or more employees across 2 rooms rather than one, in the space of 1 year. The website did well since it predominantly gained its traffic through offering student discounts and this was during the recession. But basically for you, getting into an up-and-coming entrepreneurial company like this is likely a good opportunity.

    The Editor they eventually hired in who determined what articles needed writing and created plans for networking and content promotion etc - he doesn't have a degree. The one time I asked how he got into the field, he told me it was through an internship. He was doing one right before he was supposed to enter university to study something publishing-related, and it was a gaming magazine I think. The magazine loved him and offered him a job at the end of the internship. So he cancelled his university place and took the job. Stayed in the field, formed the right contacts, and became an editor. This was probably along the lines of Content Editor I think, or Managing Editor perhaps, since he determined what content should go on the website to best promote site traffic etc.

    The company also hired in Writers - two of them, and both with degrees but that wasn't why they got the job. I remember talking to one of them, and I asked how she got the job she has now. She said it was again, through internships. Writing internships are notoriously hard to get, so I asked her how. She said it was sheer persistence. She hounded the newspapers with emails and phonecalls until eventually one big paper let her in as an unpaid intern. The Times, perhaps (one of the largest newspapers in the UK). And she said once one such paper let her in, the rest were easy because the moment the other big newspapers saw the name The Times, they trusted the quality of her work and let her in too. Pretty soon she secured internships with various large newspapers, all of which served her well on her CV as well as her writing portfolio.

    Still another, one of my friends - she wanted to get into publishing, so she went ahead and did an MA in Publishing - not sure what her masters was called exactly. After that she got herself a full-time job at an academic publishing company and I believe continues to work there now (like, 5 years later).

    So, there are many routes - I do believe internship, contacts and a good portfolio are more valuable than a degree, but a degree certainly can't hurt. In the UK I seem to be under the impression that publishing degrees tend to be at postgraduate level, rather than undergraduate, but I could be wrong.

    Another thing to bear in mind, however - just because you enjoy writing doesn't mean you'll enjoy publishing. They are really two different fields. I remember reading on The Guardian, one of those opinion articles I think, and it was on the question of whether editing is the job for you, and several professional editors chimed in with their advice. One piece that stuck out to me that I've always remembered since - the thing that told me once and for all that I personally should not be an editor - is this: "You've got to be happy to polish someone else's work - your job is to make someone else shine. You have to be happy with not creating your own content and helping someone else create."

    And I knew there and then. No. I will never be happy to just watch someone else create. I'll never be happy with just polishing someone else's work. I never wanna be stuck in a job where I cannot create my own work.

    So you gotta ask yourself some honest questions. What is it that you love to do? What is it that your personality, your nature make you suitable for? Not just what you're good at - but what's your temperament suitable for? For example, I can't stand offices, I've realised. I need constant interaction, preferably where I'm moving around a little, because I'm highly sociable. I've been teaching for the past 4 years and it's great. On the other hand, I withered at studentbeans when all I did was stare at the screen all day. I know now I need a job that lets me create. When I teach, it is creative to a certain extent. I enjoy games and I play games with my kids when I teach. I enjoy laughing and pulling funny faces and a little bit of spontaneous acting. All this is great for interacting with little children.

    But just because I also write, and make art, and sing - none of that means I make a suitable editor, or agent, or publisher. It doesn't even make me a suitable artist - whether one who sells her own art or a digital artist or graphics designer. Because I don't like repetition and I don't like to do things to other people's specs. And again, I need interaction - I'd die if I was stuck by the screen all day. I'm also not particularly business-minded, nor am I interested in business (so, for example, literary agent would be a bad job for me!)

    Maybe the best job for you wouldn't even be writing related - take into account your temperament and what you need to feel alive, what your character is good for, and see if there might be a job that fits. If it is indeed publishing, then horray - start looking at internships! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
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  11. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    This is probably the most helpful thing anyone has said to me my entire life about getting a job/choosing a career. So, thank you.

    I was thinking about doing something like a Commissioning Editor - and helping other people, but I don't know how well it'd work out. As for your quote - that's definitely something to look at. My entire life I've always helped other people succeed, and I've always been the one in the wings helping the person on stage. Part of me enjoys it, a lot, but there's another part of me that wants to say, "It's my time to shine!" Haha.

    I think I would be okay in an office/desk job all the time. It's not exactly what I dreamed of as a little girl, but because of my physical problems it would guarantee that I'd have a job, and that I could do it. I'm a sociable person, but I'm uncomfortable being the center of attention all the time (like being a teacher). I love writing, and I love literature. I'm opinionated, and sassy, and I enjoy helping others.

    However, I wouldn't be happy just helping other people create - I want to create things for myself. Which, in whatever job I get, I fully intend to keep writing and keep creating things.. At least, I want to try to.

    It's bright outside and I can barely see the screen, plus my keyboard is messed up so I apologize for any huge mistakes. I better hit send before my laptop dies and I lose this entire message. Thank you! :D
     
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  12. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    Does anyone know what the job market is like in publishing?

    Its renowned for being extremely competitive and rather poorly paid. Expect to be competing against people who have done long stints as unpaid interns to get experience.

    How high is the demand for things such as editors (like Editorial Assistant, or Commissioning Editor). Do you have any suggestions for jobs to look into in the field?

    This page lists the top 60 publishers in the world. You can search for jobs on their sites.

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/58211-the-global-60-the-world-s-largest-book-publishers-2013.html

    I had a look at Random House, one of the biggest and they have a lot of posts advertised for NYC. One that might suit you is here (sorry its in frames so cant link)


    "[​IMG]Job descriptionEditorial Assistant- NAL Entry Level, Full Time, -, Administrative / Clerical, Editorial Department
    Penguin Random House U.S.A, NEW YORK, New York
    Your challenge:
    We have an exciting job opening as an Editorial Assistant in our NAL imprint at Penguin Random House! Reporting directly to two Executive Editors, the Editorial Assistant will provide administrative support, write marketing sheets, read and evaluate manuscripts, and oversee the manuscript production process.
    Specific responsibilities include:
    1. Provide administrative support to two supervisors, which includes handling correspondences, answering phones, taking messages, making photocopies, filing, keeping track of supervisors' schedules and department projects' due dates, and fielding questions from authors.
    2. Evaluating manuscripts by reading them, writing reader's reports, and writing and sending rejection letters.
    3. Oversees entire production process from finished manuscript to bound book works. Liaise with authors and related in-house departments.
    4. Writes marketing sheets for the sales department.
    5. Prepares revision letters and line edits manuscripts, once acclimated to basic duties.Your profile:
    Please apply if you meet the following minimum requirements:
    • 4 year college degree or equivalent work experience
    • Prior office experience
    • Interest in the publishing industry
    • Highly engaged in pop culture
    • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to prioritize multiple assignments
    • Strong attention to detail
    • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
    • Ability to multitask and follow-up
    • Strong proficiency with Microsoft WordAbout our company:
    Penguin Random House is the leading adult and children's publishing house in North America, the United Kingdom and many other regions around the world. In publishing the best books in every genre and subject for all ages, we are committed to quality, excellence in execution, and innovation throughout the entire publishing process: editorial, design, marketing, publicity, sales, production, and distribution. Our vibrant and diverse international community of nearly 250 publishing brands and imprints include Ballantine Bantam Dell, Berkley Books, Clarkson Potter, Crown, DK, Doubleday, Dutton, Fodor's, Gotham, Grosset & Dunlap, Little Golden Books, Knopf, Modern Library, Pantheon, Penguin Books, Penguin Press, Penguin Random House Audio, Penguin Young Readers, Portfolio, Puffin, Putnam, Random House, Random House Children’s Books, Riverhead, Ten Speed Press, Viking, and Vintage, among others. More information can be found at www.penguinrandomhouse.com.Salary for this position is $35,250. Full-time employees are eligible for our comprehensive benefits program.Submit application to:
    Please apply using our online application process, and please include your resume and cover letter.
    http://global.penguinrandomhouse.com/"


    I would give them a call and try and speak to the recruiter to unpack the job particulars a bit. They are very vague and I imagine they are inundated with resumes. Someone should be able to give you an off the record example of the ones that are discarded. If they don't take anyone without an Ivy League college degree and 3 years experience for this entry level job then that would be useful to know.

    Degrees that might be helpful?

    The world is crammed with Creative Writing students hoping to work in publishing if they don't make it as a writer. My advice is that publishing is a commercial business and CW, while showing willing for sure, may be better complemented with something a bit more hard edged.

    An English Lit degree is decent and respected, even better if you can complement it with a business related discipline.
     

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