#WorkInPublishing 2020 | Publishing Myths
This week is #WorkInPublishing week and I wanted to share some posts about the publishing industry. Today we’re kicking off with a post about publishing myths.
There are tons of common misconceptions about the publishing industry, but today I’m just going to focus on a few.
You need a degree to work in publishing
Maybe once upon a time, but not anymore. I know a lot of people still get publishing MA’s, which is fine because they usually involve some form of work experience. Plus you can develop specific publishing skills when doing a master’s. But there are plenty of skills you can develop that are relevant to the industry outside of higher education, from social media and IT, to design and communications.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
I remember being told this a lot when I first started applying in the industry. It’s not true. Sure, having contacts helps in some cases, but having contacts helps whether you’re looking to get into publishing or looking to haggle at a farmer’s market. To get into the publishing industry you need to have drive, passion and a thick skin. Having contacts isn’t necessary and doesn’t always help – nepotism is fairly frowned upon now.
eBooks are killing the print industry
You what?! This is a total lie. Ebooks, like audiobooks, paperbacks and hardbacks are just a format of reading, it’s not killing anything. In fact, it’s making it more accessible for more readers to read. Never discount an independent publisher or a division that is digital only when applying for jobs. Ebooks are here to stay and print sales have not dropped as a result. As Stephen Fry said: One technology doesn’t replace another, it complements. Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.
You just sit around and read books
Hahahahahhahahahah. Oh gosh. This truly is a myth. Although, I’m pretty sure this is what my family and friends think I do all day. There’s actually a rule against reading during the day in publishing. Unless you’re editing a book or reading submissions (usually the first chapter only), you’re not supposed to read during work hours. Reading, even reading books for work, should be done outside of office hours. I never read a book during office hours. Ever! If this is what you think publishing is, I’m afraid I have to burst that bubble.
Editorial is the only job
Nope. Whilst editor and editorial assistant are the most obvious jobs in publishing, there are tons of others. There are marketers, publicists, sales teams, production teams, designers, strategists, human resources/recruitment, management/executive staff, distribution, communications and so many more. Roles are being created every day as well. From staff responsible for an increase in diversity throughout the industry to specific roles focused on the development of YouTube channels and less company wastage etc. Editorial, whilst important to publishing, is not the only role.
What other myths have you heard about the publishing industry? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always happy to share insight into the industry and to break down the barriers that make it seem daunting or inaccessible.