Work In Publishing Tag
The Work In Publishing tag was created by Ain Chiara for #WorkInPublishing week in 2021. I don’t have a YouTube channel so I thought I would do the tag on my blog instead.
Work in Publishing Tag
What was your first publishing job?
My first ever publishing job was as an intern at a literary agency. I was there for six months, doing one day a week of basic admin like filing, scanning and system updates. It was unpaid but all my expenses were covered so I was never out of pocket at least. And it gave me a basic understanding of the publishing industry and how books become published.
What is your current publishing job?
I currently work as a Marketing Manager at Avon, HarperCollins UK. Avon is a commercial fiction imprint of HarperCollins UK, and we publish authors like C.L. Taylor, Helen Fields, Phillipa Ashley, and many more. It’s a great role, with a surprising amount of autonomy, and I really enjoy it.
What are your favourite/least favourite things about working in the publishing industry?
My favourite things are the access to books, not just the physical and digital books we get to read in advance but also the news about upcoming books. It’s really exciting to get first-hand knowledge about new books and new authors. But my least favourite thing is the lack of opinion you’re allowed. I’m lucky that my current role doesn’t limit me too much, but I know of others who can’t express personal opinions about sexuality, gender or race because of the sensitivity of these topics within the industry. Also, things like salary and career progression are still taboo topics when really they’re everyday issues and should be discussed openly.
Have your reading habits changed since you started working in publishing?
Yes and no. I still find it challenging to read for work because you have to read outside of work hours and those hours are mine to fill as I please – specifically to relax. But reading for work makes it harder for me to relax as I have to be in work mode when I’m reading these books (even though I enjoy them!) As a result, I now read through many formats which I didn’t prior to working in the industry – like audio and digital – to maximise my reading/relaxation time.
What is one publishing department you would like to work in for a day?
Department could mean many things within publishing: an imprint or an area of publishing. For me, I would love to work in a feminist imprint like Virago one day. But I would also love to expand on my commercial knowledge and market non-fiction, as it’s an area of publishing I’ve yet to explore.
If you could change one thing about the publishing industry, what would that be?
Up the salaries. The amount of work everyone does, particularly in a London-centric business, the salaries are still really low. It may be a creative industry but that doesn’t discount the hours, mental effort and passion people put into it, especially outside of work hours.
Can you share your top tips to stand out from the crowd when applying for publishing jobs?
Make sure you utilise the job specification when you’re applying. All the answers and cues you need to write the perfect cover letter are in the job spec. If it says they’re looking for someone ‘communicative’ and ‘reliable’ make sure you include examples of you when you were being communicative and reliable in your cover letter.
Have you ever been rejected for a publishing job you loved? Can you share any tips for anyone dealing with this?
I’ve been lucky that I’ve never been rejected for a role I really wanted. I’ve been rejected, but usually after the initial ‘that sucks’ reaction, I realised that the job wasn’t for me anyway. When you do get rejected – and you will; no one I know has ever got every job they ever applied for – you have to have a thick skin. It’s not personal. The competition is so high, and recruiters are often looking for a specific type of person. Prepare as much as you can but be conversational and natural when in an interview, it will make you seem much more approachable as a co-worker than if you’re stressed, obviously frustrated and feeling like you’re getting nowhere.
Can you share your top resources for anyone wanting to break into the industry?
Thankfully there are quite a few resources now; when I was started out seven years old, there wasn’t much. Now you can follow @pubinterns on Twitter, Eleanor Marie Rose and Ain Chiara on YouTube, The Publishing Post on email and of course you’re always welcome at a #MarketYourMarketing event.
What advice would you give to anyone trying to get into publishing from a different industry?
Attend events, pad your CV with voluntary work for example at events or with the SYP, the Publishing Post etc. Show an actual interest in the industry, and if you can develop certain skills you know you’ll need i.e. social media skills for marketers or event management for PR etc then that will help you stand out.
That’s the Work In Publishing Tag. I hope it was helpful. I tag people working within the industry – I can’t wait to read your responses on your blog, or Instagram or watch your Tag video on YouTube.