What is your personal experience like working in the publishing industry?
Hi, I'm interested in working in the publishing industry, so I really want to hear about the personal experiences of professionals in this industry, especially because I'm not sure which specific department I want to work in (e.g. editorial, marketing, production, sales, publicity, etc). If you don't mind, in your response, could you also answer how your department works with the other departments (e.g. as a publicist, how often do you interact with editors, and what do those interactions look like?) and describe what kind of traits are most important for an individual to succeed in your specific department? For example, I'm not confident in my math skills, so I don't think I could ever work in sales. I enjoy editing and have had extensive experience with it throughout my school years, but I've also worked a number of administrative/clerical jobs and enjoyed interacting with people a lot, so I have reason to believe I could thrive in other departments other than editorial as well. Thank you in advance for your time and input! publishing publishing-industry publishing-company editorial marketing production sales publicity business career editor editors book-editors book-editor copy-editor copy-editors agents agent literary-agent literary-agents scouts scout literary-scout literary-scouts publicist publicists production-editors production-editor marketer marketers copy-writer copy-writers career-advice advice job work career-counseling help career-planning career-path student student-advice career-help job-experience work-experience
Hi Catherine, I'm wondering if you have any opportunities to apply for internships with either a literary agency or a publishing house? I worked in book publishing years ago and it's an exciting, dynamic environment where you are exposed to such a great range of ideas, topics and personalities. At the time, we used to have what was called 'slush' parties where all the newbies would get together and review the unsolicited manuscripts that were mailed in without a literary agent, once a month. If there's a publishing house or literary agency near you, and/or if there are limited internship opportunities, perhaps you could see if you could sit in on a slush party or two and have a chance to chat with folks about their experiences.
Valerie recommends the following next steps:
What area of publishing are you interested in? I work directly in the music licensing and publishing business. We focus on the placement of music in TV and film.
Kelly recommends the following next steps:
I am what they call a Learning Experience Designer in educational and tech publishing. I work in editorial in the Literature and Language Arts department where I work on literature textbooks and related digital products. I got my BA in English and started interning in publishing wherever I could. For me, that meant starting at Encyclopedia Brittanica, which is now under Scholastic. When I moved to TX from NY, I looked into opportunities in publishing and found Holt Rinehart Winston, which has now been subsumed under Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). It helps that I also had an interest in secondary education. Before I got my first official job as an editor, I worked at a printing company where I learned more about production and design and did some editorial projects for private clients. New York has long been the publishing capital in the US, but this is slowly changing as more and more opportunities are available for remote work. If possible, you might want to take a publishing course to see what area of publishing you might want to join. https://www.uclaextension.edu/writing-journalism/editing-and-publishing/courses looks like it has some good courses.