After sharing my tips on How to Move into a New Industry, I want to share some publishing specific resources with anyone who is looking to get into our industry. It’s notoriously difficult to land your first job, but it isn’t impossible. I, myself, managed to get in without any previous contacts or outside help, through a combination of trial and error and a lot of applications. The current situation is certainly not ideal for anyone who is trying to start their career journey, but hopefully things will improve again and these resources are a good starting point to prepare for that moment. Let’s dive in!
Industry knowledge – to break into the industry, you’ll need to gain a basic understanding of it, and you can do that by looking through the below resources. There are many books, websites, social media accounts and podcasts that can help you gain more knowledge, and here are some of my favourites:
- Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook – this is the first book on publishing that I ever read before entering the industry. It has so much interesting information on the industry and lists publishers and agents.
- The Bookseller & The BookBrunch – these are two industry-specific magazines that are an incredibly useful way to stay up-to-date with recent bestsellers & trends in publishing. Although some of their content is only accessible to paying subscribers, there’s plenty to get you started for free. My favourite pages are the ‘My Job in 5’ column and the jobs board in The Bookseller.
- Publishers’ websites – lots of publishers have articles and posts on their websites that talk about the different departments and functions within the business. You can usually find this under ‘Careers’. Another page that is very important to check out is their mission statement, it will help you understand what the goals and values of the company are. A useful link to get you started from the Penguin Random House page can be found here.
- Podcasts – there have been quite a few interesting initiatives where publishing professionals have been interviewed to talk about their experience and their roles. My two recommendations are to check out Publishing Insight by the brilliant Flavia Marcocci, the Slumbering SlothCast (of which I have been a guest, episode here) and the Inspired Selection Podcast.
- Newsletter: The Flip (Female Leadership in Publishing) is my favourite one and very inspirational, but I’d also recommend subscribing to The Bookseller, BookMachine and the SYP ones.
- Social media accounts: in terms of social media accounts to follow, I suggest following Sam Missingham, Aki Schilz, The SYP (all branches), That Publishing Blog, Pub Interns and The FLIP, as well as publishers’ accounts (make sure to follow their dedicated career accounts as well) and all the other organisations mentioned in this article. Twitter is publishing’s main platform, but there’s also Instagram and YouTube for more bookish content, so give those a browse.
- Publishing organisations:
Events and Networking – these are a great opportunity to get to know people who are already working in publishing, listen to interesting speakers and meet people who are trying to get into the industry. There are many events, some are free (info below) whilst for others you will need to get tickets or a membership (most of these are moving online).
- The Society of Young Publishers – I will mention the SYP a lot, they are brilliant at organising events across their 6 regional branches, so do have a look at their website for updates on the next events near you.
- Borough Book Bash – London based & completely free, this is a great networking gathering that happens every last Thursday of the month in the London Bridge area.
- The London Book Fair – the annual LBF conference is a great place to immerse yourself in the publishing atmosphere and to see publishing professionals in action. If you are a student, you can get a free ticket. There are lots of seminars happening across different streams, but a shout out goes to the SYP How to Get into Publishing panel. This is sometimes also live-streamed on social media, so if you can’t get to the fair keep your eyes peeled.
- BookMachine – this is an incredible community of publishing professionals and Laura Summers & her team are brilliant at creating opportunities and events to discuss trends, to train your publishing skills and to facilitate networking. They have shifted all their events to the digital space and I would highly recommend checking them out and becoming a member.
Volunteer opportunities & Schemes – there are loads of opportunities that can help you land your first role in the publishing industry and, depending on your situation, you should consider volunteering or joining a scheme. In terms of volunteering, I suggest looking into opportunities with any of the organisations mentioned above. When it comes to schemes, it depends on what each publisher offers and I would recommend having a look through their websites (perhaps starting with the big 5) and identifying the best opportunity for you.
Publishing specific recruitment agencies – although this is not necessary to get into publishing, it’s good to get in touch with a recruitment agency and have a chat with them. They’ll be able to give you some pointers on your application and some honest feedback. Some of the ones I know of are:
Publishing Training and MAs – the majority of publishing houses have now dropped any degree requirement, which I completely agree with. However, this doesn’t mean that MAs or training courses are not a good thing to add to your CV. If you’re interested in hearing about my experience doing the UCL MA in publishing, do give this a listen. Some training and courses that I know of are below (but there are many more, I’m sure):
- Universities courses: UCL, City, Kingston, Oxford Brookes, Stirling, Bath SPA, Anglia Ruskin and many others.
- Publishing training: Get Into Publishing, Publishing Training Centre, BookMachine.
Although this is not a comprehensive list of tall the resources available, I hope it’s a good starting point that can help anyone new to the industry and trying to land their first job.