How can I get experience in the publication field?
I want to become a book editor, but I live in a place that doesn't have much opportunity to break into that career. #bookworm #opportunities #workexperience
Hello! There are several important steps and things to keep in mind if you want to become a book editor (but are geographically limited). Many companies are switching to using freelance or in-house editors, so you could look for positions on websites like LinkedIn and job sites that allow you to work remotely. Having a LinkedIn profile that highlights your passion for editing will help recruiters find you even as you are looking for them. Depending on where you are in your education (high school, considering college, graduating from college), consider what you are most interested in studying or what skills you want develop to be a competitive, unique professional.
Your first job in the field might not be actually editing. Be open to any position that will get you in the door and help you learn about the industry. Even being an administrative assistant will help you learn names, faces, and how everyone interacts. These are important things to know!
Here are a couple articles that might be helpful:
Jasmine recommends the following next steps:
I've been a book editor for 9 years, and I was in a similar position to you when I was in high school. I signed up for anything writing related. It's great that you're pursuing some work for a blog, but I would also consider a school newspaper or volunteer opportunities.
Book editors generally have college degrees, so if moving away for college is an option for you, I strongly urge you to do so. New York City is hands down the best place to go for this, as that's where almost all of book publishing happens. There's a very healthy magazine and newspaper publishing presence here as well. If it's possible for you to work your way into an internship in the Big Apple, you absolutely should do that. It's very difficult to land a book publishing job otherwise, if that's what interests you, and other types of publishers like to see a New York City gig as well.
Many universities have publishing programs; expensive ones include NYU, Columbia, and Yale. However, don't be dismayed; Hofstra University in Long Island has an excellent one, and they're close enough to New York City that you can still gain valuable internship experience while you study. And if none of these options are possible for you, do not despair; many of my colleagues entered the field through other colleges, studying English, marketing, and other valuable disciplines. It means you might have to work a little harder to get noticed, but it can be done.
If you are at a school that has a writing center or have the option of studying somewhere that does, the best piece of advice I can give you is to get a job there. Not only will you be paid for such work, you will really stand out when you're looking for internships. A writing center is a phenomenal place to learn how to work with writers. If you can't work in a writing center, look for volunteer work that's similar. I volunteered with a local homeless shelter and another domestic violence shelter to help the people there write resumes and cover letters. If there is a cause of this nature that is important to you, bring your greatest skills to the table to make a difference. Every little bit counts.
The final thing you can do--and possibly the easiest--is to spearhead your own work. Do you know how to use WordPress? If not, are you willing to learn? The world has really changed, most especially in publishing. If you want a future in this industry, you have to show that you are willing to change with it. Many publishers really value these technical skills.
But don't stop there: use your WordPress site to write and showcase your work. Use Medium to do the same thing. Write about anything. Showcase anything you do--create links to your work from other sources; if you do end up working on that blog, that's a great example of something that should go on your personal page. Build a strong portfolio of the work you can be proud of to demonstrate how motivated and talented you are, and you will definitely catch someone's eye.
And finally, don't be afraid to build a network! I'm personally always happy to give advice or lend a hand where it's needed. The fact that you've already reached out to this community is an excellent start.
Nadina recommends the following next steps:
Hi, Kimberly - My answer is based on my five years of experience as a freelance writer and editor. Being freelance means I don't work for a company. I work with lots of different individual clients. While I have never been a full-time book editor, I have helped some of my clients edit their books.
If you want to become an editor, the most important thing to do now is simply to read a lot and write a lot yourself. Put a lot of energy into your English classes. Get involved in an extracurricular activities (like student publications) that give you opportunities to write or edit. If you have friends who write Wattpad stories, volunteer to edit their stories for them.
I'm betting there are more publications businesses in your area than you realize. For example, is there an academic press? Is there a business that helps self-published authors? These could be great places to intern. You would probably not be editing as part of these internships. But you will learn about an editor's job and form professional relationships with people who can open doors to future opportunities.
Sarah recommends the following next steps:
Develop good technical skills: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, web coding - you can find classes online or in your community. Writing/editing skills, software skills, and a can-do attitude will improve your chances at finding work in publishing.
Use some of the online tools available to create a publication - zine, blog, website, book. Share your work in an online portfolio. Find work that inspires you online or in your community. Reach out to those people and organizations that inspire you. It takes time. You'll be ignored. Don't lose hope. Work is out there.
Here's a link to the 6-week Columbia Publishing Workshop: https://journalism.columbia.edu/columbia-publishing-course. This type of training gives you skills but also provides contacts within the industry. Networking and building relationships will help you move forward in the industry.
Mark recommends the following next steps:
I'd also suggest since you love to read that you consider writing book reviews of books you've read for online sites and possibly a local newspaper. Study book reviews in magazines and newspapers to see how they are written and make notes while you are reading books to get started writing reviews.
Let me first encourage you in your pursuit. I have loved almost every day of my career.
My first piece of advice, be a great communicator. Can you write a good email? Can you call someone on the phone and have an intelligent conversation? That one is critical, all communication can't be via email and text. Are you comfortable speaking with people one on one? Publishing is a people business. All the technical skills in the world won't help you, if you can't communicate well.
My major in college was journalism, and I think it was the perfect preparation for a career in publishing. You learn to write, you learn to ask questions, and you learn to be curious.
Do not put yourself in a box when it comes to editing or publishing. One place I saw numbers said over 2.2 million books are published around the world each year, over 300,000 in the USA. Yes, a lot of publishing happens in NY, but a lot more happens in the other 49 states. Your profile says you are in Salt Lake City, so is the University of Utah Press. Check out the wed site and find positions that interest you. Email or call the person and ask for an informational phone interview. My bet is they will jump at the chance to speak with you. See if they have an internship program. When I Googled book publishers in Salt Lake City, 30 publishers returned. Maybe a few of them publish books on topics you are really passionate about. Do not limit yourself right now to just books. There is another universe of journals that is worth learning about.
A great first position is editorial assistant. Marketing assistant is a good option as well. Sales is also a good option. Do not kid yourself, publishing is a business, and it requires sales to pay the editors and everyone else in the industry. You should be as much an expert in Excel as you are in Word.
A little bit about what I do. As an acquisition editor, I am responsible for all the content my publisher produces in a given specialty. Content includes books, but more and more electronic content and delivery are part of the mix. I identified topics I wanted to publish books on, and I went out and found authors to write them. I also responded to authors who approached me about a topic they were interested in. The most important thing I think I did was help get projects started in the right direction. I negotiated agreements to publish content. I supervised the development of the books as they went through the editorial development process. I celebrated with everyone involved when a new book published. I have been responsible for publishing over 350 books in my career. I have never copy edited one. I have proof read a few chapters in a pinch. I rarely read the books. Most were on how to perform surgery. I have no expertise on the topic. I do work with some of the most amazing authors in the world. I help produce amazing content. I had no idea that medical publishing existed when I graduated college and started my job hunt. It just kind of happened. I was open to it and grateful I was. I have never dealt with an agent.
I have worked perhaps half my career from home. Do not let geography limit you. Publishing is very friendly to remote work.
My hobby is woodworking. One of the biggest woodworking publishers is located in Litiz, Pennsylvania, population 9,458. Who knew? Publishing happens everywhere.
Books and publishing is am amazing business that I am so happy to have made my career in. I hope you may have a long and wonderful career in it as well.
It’s really about marketing more than production skills, so any media marketing experience or internships you can bring to the party will help.
Look for professional courses where you can earn credentials and meet people.
You may also wish to consider joining forums where you can meet people in the field, such as on LinkedIn.
Jeff recommends the following next steps:
This is great! Hopefully you have Internet access...a good place to start is to compose a portfolio of your editing. Most companies will ask for samples of your work. Then choose either where you want to work, or search for remote work (from home). It might be helpful to narrow down what you’d like to edit, as far as your search goes. Best wishes and Good luck!
Bleakney recommends the following next steps:
You can do an online internship, or fellowship remotely if there are none in your town.
You can also look for "gig" economy work -- but it's often not as satisfying or advisory.
I sometimes offer editorial and writing, internships for my film blog and my poetry/fiction anthology (paid if the budget for the year allows) to people of all race, creeds, colors and orientations.
Kate recommends the following next steps:
Your local paper or NPR station might take you on as an intern. Your college might let you help with something it publishes.
I might possibly be able to give you some experience with my company (Devil’s Party Press). Or contact your local Small Business Development Center and ask about entrepreneurship help.
I've worked with Disneyland and UCLA on how to develop an approach to careers, and I'd like to share that approach with you.
Here goes: Instead of visualizing a career LADDER with a single way to a single job, try the visual of a "CAREER WEB" with the acquisition of many skills and fllexibility in the jobs you will do.
That is, "reframe" how you get to your ideal job. A web lets you envision many steps in a career (the web is composed of skills, experience, and networks) that let you build a career that is flexible enought to accommodate changes in the world AND changes in your desired position at different points in your life. (I have powerpoint presentation on this concept that I've delivered to UCLA Students & Alums as well as the entire staff at Disneyland. (LMK if you'd like a copy.)
Certainly learn about the field by looking at current job descriptions on job boards and the skills they require. Note the companies where these jobs are located. And, as was suggested, fill in any skills that you don't have with coursework or remote internships. Start to identify what parts of specific job descriptions resonate with you and which companies (and locations) appeal to you.
A career is built on your learning about what you enjoy (which often changes!) with the overlap the value of your skills in the maket place. For example, I was the chair of a department at a university, a college professor — and I loved it! However, I transitioned into leadership and coaching in business because I liked the pace and clarity of a well-run business. (Along the way I added a certificate in Business Management and many business programs to my Ph.D.)
Consider settng into motion these specific networking actions that will encourage you to gain a network flexible enough to enable you to move from position to position.
First, make a list of companies that have editing jobs that you would like to have at some point and a list of people who like you and know your strenghts.
Second, Activate your networking around those PEOPLE + COMPANIES.
a. Set up a spreadsheet with the names of people who can connect you with people who may know someone in the field or at any of the companies at which jobs like the one you want exist.
b. Put these names on the excel spreadsheet along with contact info and the date you connect with them. With these first initial connections (who are probably teachers, friends, parents, etc.) ask only two things: what do they think would be your strengths/weaknesses as an editor? Do they know anyone in publishing/editing (even a local paper)? That is, do they know an author, an influencer, a blogger, a speaker, or anyone else tangentially connected to the COMPANIES you have identified (e.g. even in operations or human resources, etc.)
2. After talking with your first level connections, start adding any additional connnections onto your spreadsheet and start talking to your second connection folks. (See the web forming?) Thank your first level connections IN WRITING for their insights into your own strengths and sharing their connections. Connections are as valuable as gold.
3. Set up a specific number of contacts you will get to each week. Change your questions to fit the person with whom you are speaking. Remember to keep your "web of connections" involved with your search. Thank everyone and keep all involved in your search with monthly updates. Congratulations, you are developing a WEB of people that will support you throughout your career.
Third: identify twin goals. One goal for the number of people with whom you have connected with AND the second goal of the number of companies you have identified as within your interest.
Experts differ on exact numbers, but at some point (around 30 connections and 20 companies with jobs), you should be able to hone in on a job that is "right" for you. Start applying.
Fourth, if you have any difficulty with the interview process or with resumes design, linkedin seo, etc., don't hesitate to get an expert on the subject to coach you through.
Most social media networks are teeming with opportunities to volunteer your talents. Submit some work and prepare to be humbled. Every criticism you receive is a lesson that has the potential to inch you closer towards your ultimate goal. Stay focused, write everyday and make connections. Your opportunity will come.
There are a lot of companies around the world that provide freelancing opportunities, you can google and apply. Hope it helps!
This is just a few I joined after I published my first two books.
First thing the group hit me on when I posted a comment was whether I had an editor look over my work.
Writers, Authors, Illustrators, Agents & Supporters
Books, Blogs, Readers & Writers
Writers, Books, Promotions