View Full Version : Jobs at a publishing company

05-20-2009, 02:32 AM
I'm not sure if this is the right section, so mods feel free to move it if you see fit.

I just graduated and like most of my class I don't have a job. One thing I was thinking about was book publishing companies. There are a few small publishers in town, and I was thinking of seeing if they were hiring (or if they weren't, convince them they need me anyway ;) ). But one thing's stopped me so far: I don't really know what kind of positions usually make up a book publisher. Is there anyone here on AW who can break down a book publisher's office for me? I would really appreciate it.

05-20-2009, 02:53 AM
Visit publishing company websites and look at their job listings. That's likely your best bet.

I think they have all kinds of jobs from clerical to readers at an entry level. Others on here are more knowledgeable, but you might just try the company websites.

Sorry I can't help.

05-20-2009, 03:59 AM
What kind of degree do you have, Sai? English? Something else? You may be better qualified for some things than others. I don't know much about the structure of publishing houses, but I know where you work will probably have a lot to do with what your degree is.

And what are you looking for? I'm thinking you don't want to be a secretary (you didn't pay good money to go to college and be a secretary). Are you thinking editorial assistant (which is where you start before becoming an editor yourself)? Or something in marketing? Or . . . ?

p.s. CONGRATS! I'm done, too; I graduate on Friday!

05-20-2009, 04:03 AM
Hey jodiodi, that is a really good idea. I just wanted to tap the vast reservoir of knowledge at AW and see if anyone had some inside tips.

angeliz2k, I got my degree in journalism. So, in theory good writing skills and could also go over to the dark side of the force (aka marketing) ;) ). I'm just trying to look at all my options right now.

Have fun at your graduation! Mine was a blast.

05-20-2009, 04:18 AM
Moved from Novels.

05-20-2009, 05:01 PM
Check out the Web sites of the publishers in your area. Typical positions could include editorial assistants, administrative assistants, rights and permissions, IT, marketing. If the companies don't have jobs posted that you're suitable for, ask them if they have any internships. These are sometimes paid and, depending on the company, could help leverage you into a full-time position later.

05-20-2009, 06:52 PM
Here's a basic breakdown of the options at a large publishing house (I'm in editorial, so I don't have tons of specifics for the other jobs):

Editorial--entry-level is an editorial assistant position, which involves working for one or more editors and doing a lot of secretarial work (phones, copying, mailing, etc.). You will likely read the editor's slush and some submissions, but won't do much editorial work for the first year. You will do a ton of work on your own time, nights and weekends--most assistants don't read in the office.

Publicity--entry-level is "publicity assistant," which includes the usual assistant duties, and lots of scheduling/travel arrangements/mailings. You'll work for one or several publicists, helping them with media outreach, fielding author requests, and doing lots of follow-up work.

Marketing--entry-level is...wait for it..."marketing assistant." You may be asked to generate and manage reports, check ad rates, support marketing managers with promotional plans, or keep tabs on online sources. You deal less with authors or stories here--it's more about creating and fulfilling demand for product, and the product happens to be books. (This is not to say that marketing people don't love books--just that they usually have to have a more company-wide focus.)

Sales--What you think it is. Assisting sales reps, lots of spreadsheet work, managing numbers, keeping tabs on printings/ships/returns, generally organizing data so that it's useful to your boss/es.

Subsidiary Rights--These are the people who sell foreign editions, book club editions, that sort of thing. A sub rights assistant will do the usual office support stuff, probably collects/organizes catalogues, schedules the sub rights director's meetings/travel to the international fairs. Here you're not dealing with creating the books--they already exist, and your department finds more markets in which they will sell.

There are other departments, like contracts, art, or ad/promo, which require specialized skills or degrees. Those are beyond my ken. In generally, you will be paid the least and take the longest to advance in editorial--but you are closest to the books in their raw form, and if what you really want to do is edit, that's the deal. People can move up more quickly in departments like publicity and marketing, because the turnover is higher (because those skills are more widely transferable to non-media jobs). If your ultimate goal is to become a publisher, most of those top-level execs come from the business side (sales/marketing, etc.).

Hope this helps!

05-20-2009, 09:42 PM
Hope this helps!

It does! Thank-you very much.

05-20-2009, 10:03 PM
Alison Baverstock has a book out called How To Get a Job In Publishing (I would like to go in to publishing but still have two years to go.)

I did a career module at University which really opened my eyes to publishing. Do you have experience in a book shop or in a publishing company - if not it would be worth looking into.

Getting into publishing is highly competitive. I did research into Macmillan's Graduate Trainee Programme; they get thousands of applications for the maximum of 6 posts. You have to REALLY standout from the crowd: so far I have experience in bookselling (2 years); experience on the University newspaper (writing and proofreading); quite an impressive writers CV; and experience of freelance editing and proofreading. Over the next few years I am planning on getting some work experience in publishers; book production courses; and maybe try get some paid work at Christmas in Waterstone's.

That is what you're competing against - and I don't think I'm anywhere near what I need to, to stand a chance!

05-21-2009, 04:08 AM
gothicangel, the competitiveness could depend on the type of publishing a person's looking to go into. I suspect fiction may be more competitive than a university press or reference publisher. Anyone interested in publishing should look into the different aspects of the industry. What are you interested in doing? How might the work differ? Would you like a smaller publishing house to a larger one? If you like to learn new things without paying tuition for classes, nonfiction/reference publishing can be a good place. If you're interested in publicity, fiction's probably the better place to be. Location is also important. New York City is likely far more competitive than Chicago or Denver or Washington DC, for example.

05-21-2009, 04:16 AM
Most sites have job listings from what I have seen.

05-21-2009, 08:50 PM
In the UK the best place for job ads is The Bookseller. Websites probably just as good; just don't expect to get see an ad in the local jobcentre.