10 Tips for Finding a Job in Publishing



hi we're doing a very to-the-point video today about a topic I talk about a lot which is working in publishing if you don't know me hi my name is Donna I worked in publishing for about five and a half years I moved to London from the Netherlands after studying English wanted to get a job in publishing I'll keep it very short took me like nine months to find it then worked at hockey books and then at penguin now I'm a freelancer but I wanted to do video where I give you ten tips I think everyone should know before they go work in publishing or while they're trying to look for a job in publishing hopefully will help you out I wish I knew before I started looking for a job and publishing because when I started I knew nothing I knew zero I've probably mentioned some of these across the years in other videos but usually it's in like a wider story so it's harder to find this video will come in handy whenever people email me with questions that can be like here is the video I'm gonna try and run through them quite quickly but if you have any other questions leave them in a comment below tip number one for people who want to find a job in publishing follow publishing people and publishers on Twitter and on Instagram and wherever else you can find them I started doing this very slowly I sort of found some publisher accounts followed those then I went to the London Book Fair saw people speak there I was like oh they're interesting follow them on Twitter and that is how for example found out about some intern opportunities those are ones I didn't get but I did apply for and get response you can actually like have active conversations with those people but you don't necessarily have to so it's not like you're going to follow people and then just like respond to everything they say it's just so you get a feeling for how people talk and publishing what they're interested in what other things are sharing what the current conversation is you know they might tweet about jobs that come up as well and you might respond to some of their tweets and and you know become a bit more of a familiar face that was a very helpful tip for me my Twitter went from having no publishing stuff in it to becoming like publishing central number two is gonna sound like a cliche but I think it is actually very helpful and it can be done in a ton of different ways and that is do something in your spare time or with the part-time job if you can that shows your interest in this industry or in books or in whatever a particular section of publishing you want to work and so for me I had a YouTube channel that I've been running for I guess at that point like five years and for me that also functioned as a way to kind of show what kind of work I could do so videos I can do those present at an event I can do that as well but it can really be anything it can be volunteering at your local Oxfam bookshop it can be volunteering there is a lot of volunteering because very often these are not things that can actually make you money volunteering at another kind of book event or the London Book Fair very often there's certain events where they're looking for volunteers you never know who you'll bump into there or you can just like soak up all the information start your own lo-fi podcast where you just talking to your phone and upload that where you talk about books or talk about books on Instagram there is a variety of things you can do you can get in touch with your local newspaper or your favorite web site that takes contributions from people and see if you can write something for that really depends on what you want to go into what your talent is but something that you can show that you have initiative and you've set up something yourself it's really good number three follow and check all the intern and job accounts there are lots of Twitter accounts websites newsletters things like that that focus on publishing or the creative industry where they talk about new job postings but they also do q and A's and give you tips things like that very very helpful I will leave a bunch of those in the description below they're doing the good work the number four while you're looking at job listings really take a look at what kind of things they're asking for now very often you don't have to be able to do every single thing that they're asking for because it's obviously I think that happens a lot that you feel like I have that when I look at job openings I'm like oh I can't do that one thing that's on there are those two things and that might not even be relevant but if you're looking for a particular job and they all have the same requirements on it that you don't have see if you can study up and some stuff look at a free online course about how to become an Excel whiz or learn how to like mock up some Twitter graphics I don't know it can be like a bunch of different things but see what is in those descriptions see if there's something you can spend a couple of hours on to kind of brush up on number five people always say like go for coffee with the people that inspire you or the people that are in certain roles I would definitely recommend finding some people that are in assistant role exact rolls cuz very often obviously if you are able to get in touch with someone who is like really high up in a publishing company amazing but very often the people that are kind of maybe closer to your age or are in more like junior roles might have more time to meet up with you and they might also not get as many requests and then I think is very important and that comes from my experience of getting emails from people is have specific questions the conversation will just be so much more helpful for both of you if you have specific questions people do email me and say hi I heard you work at penguin can you give me some tips on how to work in publishing that means that for me I'm gonna have to write like a whole I mean it go write a whole book about it but like write a long email and then I don't even know if that advised the place to them so if you have a particular question about you know do you have any helpful websites that you use what was like the best part about your job and what should I prepare for well that's a bit more difficult like there's very specific questions you can ask have a list of questions just to make sure you both get the most out of your time together whether it's over email or in person number six keep an eye out for book campaigns now obviously in editorial that might be a slightly different case but if you're doing publicity or marketing or sales or anything like that basically just keep your eyes open what are you seeing on social media what are you seeing on the websites in book shops on the tube on the bus next to the highway wherever keep an eye open and see what you like take pictures of it have a think about why do you like it why do you think it's successful it is just good stuff to get in the habit of thinking about analyzing that wasn't even a sentence you know what I mean and then also I have to think about which people do you follow celebrities influencers book bloggers how do they talk about books what do you like about it which newspapers cover books that kind of stuff number seven look further than just your dream job it is hard to find the perfect job as your very first role realistically that's not going to happen for a lot of people I think I got very lucky finding the job I did but also I probably should have like thrown the net a bit wider because it took me nine months to find that first job after doing internships and stuff if it's not working out for you for whatever reason try and slide in sideways so you could for example look at something in the same discipline so if you want to do sales or marketing or PR try and look for something in that way or you can find kind of an adjacent cultural industry whether it's like museums or theatre maybe it's education maybe it's working on events it can be anything that has similarities but obviously isn't exactly the same or sometimes you just want to find an office job that will teach you how to do admin how to do emails give you those vital skills and while you're learning those things you can keep an eye out for the right publishing job and actually very often I've seen that publishers do appreciate and bring in people from different industries because they have a different point of view number eight look into the departments before I started applying eyes and know what the different departments were what they did and what would fit me so I didn't really know the difference between marketing and PR and then when I intern that was really helpful if you do some reading about different people's jobs and looking at the different again like job listings you might be able to figure out what does kind of the best combination for like your personality and the skills you have I think a lot of people would work for example in marketing for a few years and then realize actually they want to do PR so there are lots of options to move around but I think it's good to get idea of all the different things that are there I'm doing a series this year where I'm interviewing people who have a ton of different jobs and publishing so when that playlist is there hopefully that will be helpful too number 9 study the books study the book shops go in see what's out on the tables see what the big new titles are see what's popular are you seeing trends in covers or topics or anything just get in the habit of really thinking about it and you know when you do line the interview with the publisher you'll be able to talk about what you're reading what you're excited about how that fits in with the rest of the publishing industry it doesn't have to be that in-depth I think if you like read a you'll be able to go into a shop and you'll you know you'll figure it out things will stand out to you and it's also helpful to find out a bit more about awards and things like that I was entirely clueless because I had moved from a different country and I definitely should have looked into that more and at least like known the names of them and finally the last one I guess is a bit of a confidence-booster as well but it is learn the lingo I just put up a video with my friend Lena who works at vintage a penguin Random House UK and we talked through all the words that we didn't know we were interns or in our first couple of years on the job so have a look at that video and hopefully that will be helpful and if you feel a little bit more comfortable and then this is a bonus tip I've also done a video with Rosie Anna a few years back where we talk about how to nail your first day an internship or a job that video might be helpful if you are currently in that process all right I promise I'd keep this short I hope this will help you give you a bit of confidence maybe help you out a bit with which direction you want to go when you want to do a bit more work on your CV or building your confidence and I will do

18 thoughts on “10 Tips for Finding a Job in Publishing

  1. I know that this is completely off-topic but I'm travelling to London in a few days. My friends and I are going book shopping and I was wondering if you had a bookshop suggestion. I saw your book crawl video and your London bookshop faves video, but you didn't specify if you preferred one of the shops over the others or if one had a lot of YA and fantasy/sci-fi (which is what we’re mainly looking for).

    Also, I love you videos and the current frequency of them! Thank you for producing such good content 🙂

  2. I got like 4 books I started n having trouble finishing..but nothing relevant ..you're so cute n love the accent

  3. I'm glad you made this video! I'm sure people will find this helpful. When I started in publishing in Indonesia 3 years I ago, I literally had no idea of what I should be doing, but I made it. I'd love to try out publishing industry in other country.

  4. Just wanted to put this out there – I work in marketing at HarperCollins and I'm always happy to chat about publishing with anyone looking to get their foot in the door! Loved this video Sanne.

  5. Do you have any tips for getting a job at a bookstore? I've been trying for some months with no luck. 🙁

  6. Great video! Thanks for the tips. Please could you could do a video about the different departments and what each involves?

  7. Thank you for those tips, I am definitely doing all of these, and looking forward to my second job in trade in LND!

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