How To Find a Job in the Publishing Industry

There are many different job opportunities in the publishing industry today and several different ways to find the job that is perfect for you.  The first step is deciding exactly what kind of publishing job would be perfect for you.

  1. Marketing and sales.  This involves more of the business end of publishing. It would be your job to assess the potential of proposed books, and once a book is published, to get it "out there" and make consumers want to buy it. A degree in Marketing would be helpful.
  2. Design If you go into design, you will need to understand the many facets of book design, from paper and print style to cover and illustration design. You would need a basic knowledge of graphic design and a portfolio of your artwork.
  3. Editorial Jobs in this field require a strong knowledge of the English language and grammar.  You would be responsible for wading through submissions, editing text, doing research to detect plagiarism, and researching the content of the book to make sure that all the facts are correct.  You could obtain a degree in English or journalism or you could  take some noncredit classes on how to become an editor and do some freelance work to establish a name for yourself.
  4. ProductionThis job involves preparing the manuscript for the printer.  You would need to acquire knowledge in the production process such as printing, book binding, and typesetting.  In today's high-tech world, computer skills are a must.
  5. Rights. Jobs in this field have to do with the legal side of publishing.  You would be involved with the selling rights of the book both nationally and internationally as well as writing the contract with the writer.

Once you decide which field is right for you, it is important to acquire the proper education before you start your job search.  This can include going to college, taking training courses (there are many non-degree classes offered at several universities across the nation), or becoming an apprentice in the field that you would like to enter.  There are also some "publishing schools" that you can attend to learn about the publishing world, and meet potential employers. One well-known school is called the Columbia Publishing Course (formally Radcliffe Publishing Procedures Course). Their graduates tend to work at companies such as Simon & Schuster, The New Yorker and Elle, just to name a few, and many have those jobs--thanks to an excellent career fair--before they even graduate.  More information can be found on its website. Once you complete enough education to where you feel comfortable doing the job, there are several different ways to acquire one.

  1. Use the Internet.   The Internet has several different job search engines, such as Monster and Hotjobs, that can help you find a job in your area of expertise in the city of your choice.  Just log onto your favorite and follow the site's instructions. Usually it will pull up a list of available jobs, their requirements, and the contact information for the company. Also, most publishing companies will have a list of available jobs on their websites and information on how to apply for them.
  2. Contact the publishing company directly.  Even if the publishing company that you want to work for is not advertising an open position, take the initiative and contact them anyway. Send a letter of introduction and a resume to the person in charge of the department in which you would like to work, and follow up with a phone call a few days later.  Let them know that you are a go-getter who would really like to work for that company. As soon as a position opens up, they might consider contacting you before they even put out word that they are about to hire.
  3. Newspapers and magazines.  Many companies still put ads in local newspapers and magazines advertising open positions.  Look in the classifieds every day and act on an opportunity as soon as you see one.

  4. Become a freelancer.  Who says that you have to work for a specific company? Many publishing companies hire freelance copywriters, copyeditors and illustrators. You will have to be in charge of marketing yourself and going out and finding work.  Many people make a good living being their own boss and working when they want to. 

When you are called for an interview, be prepared. Bring some samples of your work, letters of reference, and, most importantly, a confident attitude.  Write a handwritten (not an e-mail) note, thanking each person who interviewed you the day the interview took place. Hopefully, with a little time and effort, you'll be on your way to the publishing job of your dreams.


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