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Thread: Looking into the Future for a Publishing Job

  1. #1
    hanging around for a spell
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    Looking into the Future for a Publishing Job

    I'm going to be entering my final year of a BA in English this September and I'm starting to think about what I'm going to do afterwards. Of course my ultimate goal is to be a full-time writer, but I don't see myself accomplishing that one in the next 12 months. So I'm wondering what kinds of "day jobs" are out there in the publishing industry.

    I would do anything from slush-pile reading and up. If I could get in contact with some companies and ask what kinds of positions they generally have and what kind of experience/qualifications are required, I could start working on prepping myself now in hopes of becoming a better candidate once I graduate--however, my Google searches have so far been more overwhelming than helpful. Does anybody know exactly what kinds of (entry level?) jobs even exist in the industry? And what would be the best companies to contact, or where would be the best place to look?

    Also, I'm in Canada.

    And finally--I fear this part may be slightly trickier--what are the chances that any of these types of jobs could be done from home/a distance? I may be developing a desperate desire to split my time between more than one province after I graduate, and a job that I could do anywhere would be ideal.

    Oh, and I'm not expecting something like what I'm talking about to be super high paying, but am I being reasonable thinking I could get by for a while on something like this while I work on writing?

    Thanks in advance for any tips, advice, road maps or general thoughts and ideas

  2. #2
    phoenix blazing Parametric's Avatar
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    Not wanting to sound discouraging, but I got a law degree from a top university, then a postgraduate publishing degree from an even better university, plus interned at a major trade publisher for six weeks, and even with a reference from a senior editor, I couldn't land an entry-level job in publishing. I packed it in in despair after numerous unsuccessful interviews.

    As for salary, recruitment agencies told me to expect no more than 18,000 a year for an entry-level role in publishing. Some jobs offered 14,000. This is in central London, where it can cost 500 a month just for a room in a shared house (bills not included) and travel costs alone are upward of 1000 a year. With income tax, national insurance, student loans, masters loans, rent, council tax, electricity, water, gas, food and a million other bills, I'm not sure how easy it would be to get by.

    My internship was fantastic, but I'm feeling pretty sad about my prospects of getting into trade publishing.


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parametric View Post
    Not wanting to sound discouraging, but I got a law degree from a top university, then a postgraduate publishing degree from an even better university, plus interned at a major trade publisher for six weeks, and even with a reference from a senior editor, I couldn't land an entry-level job in publishing. I packed it in in despair after numerous unsuccessful interviews.
    Oof, well, better that I know this now and keep my hopes from soaring too high then I guess!

    I'm in the very early/dreamy "what if..." stages of planning my future so I'll be continuing to brainstorm backup plans. Thanks for your input.

  4. #4
    Mentoring Myself and Others Debbie V's Avatar
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    This site lists jobs in publishing as well as internships. Many of the positions are based in NYC. They should give you a feel though. I think an internship may help you get a foot in the door though it is no guarantee. From what I've seen (I'm not now nor have I ever been employed in this industry), it's hard to find full time work from home. Many companies expect new employees to appear a few times a week for meetings and the like. You'll learn more in the office than out. Good luck. http://www.bookjobs.com/

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    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witch_turtle View Post
    Oof, well, better that I know this now and keep my hopes from soaring too high then I guess!

    I'm in the very early/dreamy "what if..." stages of planning my future so I'll be continuing to brainstorm backup plans. Thanks for your input.
    Do be prepared to relocate to, pretty much, either San Francisco or New York. Even for Canadian publishing, in terms of fiction.

    Do take every internship related to publishing you can—and look not only at big six fiction but academic presses and text book publishers.

    I'd look very closely at the University of Toronto press, and might even inquire now about internships or advice. They're a top notch academic/scholarly press, with some super editors and book designers.

    Keep in mind that salaries are typically in the 25K to 40K for a top editor with tenure. Especially keep that in mind if you'll need to repay students loans etc.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 06-05-2012 at 12:20 AM.

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  6. #6
    Writing like a madwoman Ginger Writer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie V View Post
    This site lists jobs in publishing as well as internships. Many of the positions are based in NYC. They should give you a feel though. I think an internship may help you get a foot in the door though it is no guarantee. From what I've seen (I'm not now nor have I ever been employed in this industry), it's hard to find full time work from home. Many companies expect new employees to appear a few times a week for meetings and the like. You'll learn more in the office than out. Good luck. http://www.bookjobs.com/
    This website was exactly what I was going to post. It's what my university's Career Services gave me. I graduated in May and have been using it to apply to publishing, etc. positions whenever possible. I have a BA in Creative Writing with a bunch of experience--Editing and Publishing courses, running a magazine, etc.--under my belt, and I haven't heard anything back yet. I think it (partially) may have something to do with so many people looking for work right now. But if you want to get into the industry, definitely look at what the qualifications are on these jobs. Some require professional experience (i.e. have worked for publishers, etc. before). But others look at things like editing experience and things like that. If you have campus lit mags, get involved as much as possible. See if there are any relevant courses as well if you can squeeze them in. Good luck!
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  7. #7
    hanging around for a spell
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    Thanks everyone! Great resources, I will definitely keep this stuff as an option/something to prep for in my future planning.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW TheHungryFreelancer's Avatar
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    If you want to work remotely, visit WAHM.com. It's for moms, obviously, but there is a ton of information on working from home, finding writing jobs where you can work from home, etc. If you want to work as a writer, you can always work at a content mill to make ends meet for awhile. I also second whoever said be ready to relocate. This is obviously going to be more difficult if you have children or a relationship, but if not, don't be scared to try living somewhere new. I think a lot of people get nervous at the idea of moving somewhere, but if you limit yourself to jobs only in your exact area, you're going to have a harder time finding work.

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