Your career in book publishing…



Publishing is the funnest job in the world a manifesto full for breakage which is what the YouTube platform has been built on and a very Brechtian way they just saw me do of setting up this scene and it's going to be continued with the fact that I'm gonna eat a wagon wheel during this video and drink some tea from a Charles Darwin mug is how I do my videos on this website anyway but it's particularly poignant because today I'm going to be talking about my career and now I haven't made this video and even though I've been on YouTube about nine years because I've been in publishing a long time and I love it and but here's my career it's my it's the bread it's how I pay for these flashy curtains you've got these from a charity shop when you are a kind of medium creator like me this isn't my like full-time job and I still need my full-time job to eat to eat the food when I thought about making videos about publishing but particularly this one I always felt like I needed to be super paired for it needed to be like the most eloquent to the point professional and presentation which are things that I have given and things that I can do and I've gone to universities and given big like long lectures on publishing and I feel like I can academically and in a professional business setting talk about publishing but that's not what this platform is and that's what not what you guys have been asking for and to be honest I feel like I have a duty to pass this information on that I've got to like you guys about the publishing world because it can't feel inaccessible for a lot of people and I'm also so passionate about it that I want lots of people to join it and make it bigger and grow it the procrastination and the pressure of trying to make it almost job interview like has stopped me from making it and I don't think that's it no we're about here so I'm making this in a big blink-182 hoodie with my hair in a bun eating wagon wheels and setting this up as not a professional maybe an ASMR listen mes and our fans are setting this up not as a professional presentation or everything I know about publishing but hopefully a spontaneous unplanned way that young people who know nothing about publishing and them don't have any access to people who tell them about it I hope it'll be a little like conversation starter and and thought process for you guys to start thinking about and trying to understand like what you were doing publishing why you two want to join no notes this is just what I'd say to you if you came up to me in a pub and you were like hey I watch you on YouTube I want to get into publishing but I don't really understand what you do in publishing I would ask for a pint of cider from you from my time and I would tell you this so I've got some videos on publishing already that you can watch here there should be a whole playlist by now ones about ways you can tell that you might be a good person to work in publishing whether it's a hard industry to get into how to get an internship hopefully all that will be up there or it will be bothered you know hopefully soon but once you're in publishing there's so many different skills you could use degrees you could utilize or not utilize and so much to do so much the still needs inventing that can't really think of a skill that wouldn't be useful and publishing there are so many departments and there's so much to do I hope I can give you a little rundown of the general gist of the roles they exist and I'm gonna note just very quickly whether I've worked in them let's do books conception to it getting into readers hands very quickly and very briefly writers pen to bookshop writer writes the book well done it's hard writer finds an ancient agencies are there to find authors publishing deals they're there to spot new talent they're there to put all the time into reading the slush pile reading things are very unprepared kind of new freshly finished book level and kind of almost matchmaking a publishing house with an author and say hey this editor is really talented at this this publishing house is really good at selling this kind of book I think they'd love your book I'm going to tell them about it and I'm going to sell it to them the best agents are really good at spotting trends in publishing they're good at understanding what a good manuscript is before it is edited properly they're really good at business deals and money in a more bargaining sense of it they didn't necessarily have business degrees or anything but they're they're good at doing a deal but they're also highly emotionally intelligent and they can work with authors because as you can imagine there's authors with all sorts of different personality types being emotionally astute enough to make friends with an author and understand where they're coming from and really get them to the next level or get them to the next place they need to be at without losing momentum or getting frustrated and it's the best Saints basically as what I'm saying agents are crafty Saints wagon-wheel broke this is a job I've never done although in other roles I've worked closely with agents I give for coffee with them and learn about their jobs and once a book is signed with a publisher the agents can be quite a big part of that relationship between you and the author so yeah they've been around in my in my professional life after the agent hopefully an editor buys the book the editors again Saints incarnate you can get anything from a really commercial agent who specializes in cookbooks and self-help and or you know or you get ones that are really into sci-fi and like no or the whole of the sci-fi canon you get ones that are really literally which i think is the stereotype that lots of people think when they think of editor is somebody who went to Oxford and has read all the classics and knows how this new book fits into that classic thing and and gets people to a level where they can win the Man Booker Prize which is the thing but it's only one type of editor and their role is to not just edit the book because I think again people think that editors are just there to like move commas about where actually that's a copywriter editors do that too but they also do so much more they commissioned books so they're the people are also watching for the trends and watching what they think will do well but also what they think could be a good fit for their lists and their brand and their reputation and also just like good but like then they're often really passionate people that are looking for books that other people should get to read and you know there's always editors that have lots of books on their list but they also have these little passion projects that they're like this is just a good book and I might not sell a lot straight away but I believe in it they're usually the linchpin of the way a book is phrased its title and what the cover is as well as like being somebody who can chapter-by-chapter be like doping that chapter works I don't think it's chapter works editors and authors often become really good friends because they spend so much of their emotional time together and it's and you know what it doesn't always work but when you find an author and an editor who are friends it's kind of like this weird thing to experience because they just they're just more than they've they've done something together and it's anyway I really think being an editor is it would be a really cool thing to be because you're developing your you're finding talent and people that you think should be heard be also getting a chance to develop this really close kind of artistic relationship with another human and I imagine when lakhs of people in the general population agree with you and buy the book and are moved by it imagine that's a great feeling so yeah I think that's another thing editor's are usually the one that everybody know exists but don't really understand everything they do and much less appreciating they do see a round of applause for the editors keeping the ceiling high keeping the ceiling up propping up the ceiling once the book is finished and it's a manuscript there are lots of different places they go and it's like all hands on deck each team is working on that book to the right steam if you are in the right steam you're well going to contract you hopefully boss at legal terms and maths ish although often people do this with an English degree or any other kind of degree but learn it on the job if you're responsible for foreign rights you know a lot about the trends in other countries the markets in other territories if the publisher holds them you might be looking after the movie rights of a book you'll be helping the editors make think they help their tutors make the contracts I'm pretty sure they do but once the contracts are signed they're the people that go out and then sell the rights to other countries or other territories they also look after serial rights which means that if a book gets extracted in say a national newspaper or on the radio they're the people that go in and make a contract with the newspaper or the radio and and they often pay a pay the publisher a fee to to read the book aloud be the first people to read the book aloud or be the first people to print an extract from the book and usually a lot of that goes to the author they also give permission when people want to extract a bit from a book or like quote a book in another book and they're the people that will deal with that and and especially if it's images as well they're the people that they're kind of like huh saw the value of the content and a responsible for licensing it's to be repurposed in lots of different ways basically again I've never worked with them but I've worked closely with them and I've been to Frankfurt Book Fair with them before there's lots of there can be lots of travel involved in that depending on where you work but there's definitely lots of there's lots of bartering and knowing about markets and being on the ball in general basically while the right seem are doing that the sales team are on it they are running about the sales department basically making the book what it is so sales teams are selling the book into various markets and various outlets so an outlet could be WH Smith travel or it could be water stones or it could be Amazon or it could be Urban Outfitters and pre-publication they are getting sales materials together about that book and they're going two key accounts managers in those outlets and persuading them to buy in the book so not going to too much detail before it was published they'll try and get as many people to commit to taking and stocking as many of that book as possible before it's out so they've got lots in their shops ready to sell I did this a bit but in eBook sales and export sales they're also responsible for moving books around so they might be the people who monitor how much stock we've got of a book send out into place that needs to be sent out to they're responsible for shipping books overseas as well they work with the production team to make sure that books are printed in the right territories and countries and areas and at the right price and then they're shipped to a warehouse and then they make sure that they're still in the warehouse and they don't get wet or crushed or lost and they are the people – – they're the people to watch if we willow on a book of me we need to reprint they also have to have a huge amount of social skills because they're usually meeting the kind of accounts people in person and and really getting them behind books so that's they're usually really bookish enthusiastic people people my first job actually in publishing was doing ebook sales and exports say also the e-book side of it I was like making friends with the people who run a books and some of the key accounts managers at Amazon and trying to do daily deals of them trying to get books on the front of their platforms and like kind of in their front facing and consumer advertising I also kind of worked in the production side of that in that I was like kind of fixing ebooks if they went wrong checking that they were working properly sometimes going in and trying to recode them if they were broken but and revising on how you can convert books into ebooks so say we'd like a graphic novel there's lots of different ways you can do that so I was doing a little bit of that as well like doing some advisory stuff on the conversion and remember my going to mission to detailer knows it's boring who could say so I was doing some of that but generally my ebooks role was like that and then export sales I was tweaking copy so say for a British audience the the copy on the back of the book might have been written for and a British salesperson a British consumer and I was tweaking it for territories like the US so making it a bit more us-centric if it mentioned celebrity that isn't really big in the US I change it change American spellings change American words and just make it better for an American audience so it's helping the sales director to do that and also shipping books which is stressful so being like okay we need to ship two thousand books of this over the seas by this point where's the where are all the forms where are all the certificates to make that happen did it get there the other end have I told everybody you know the weight of every book but that kind of thing so yes they else can comprise a huge amount of things and when I used to run national newspapers book shop so it's to meet with lots of sales people and they're incredible like the ones that are really good so they just stand out and you're you're in love with everything they say and you get persuaded to take these books that you're like I don't know why I'm taking a lot of these books but I am and you get persuaded to feature books that you you might not have got worth for your audience but they really get your audience even more than you do um and they're just bloody wonderful and some of the best ones even told me about books that they didn't publish because they were so passionate about and what they were reading they were like look this isn't our book this is somebody else's but you should stock it because I've just read it and it's great so yeah I moved in that wagon wheel break production production is something that I have been in loads of meetings about and talking about and in decisions where they make decisions about this but I've never worked in it but it's like such an interesting especially if you're into stationary and you're into the production of a book it's so interesting although I can imagine very precise and something I might not be suited to I did film a video of a brilliant production woman called Polly on the vintage channel that are linked and so she explains a little bit about what it is you're working all the other stakeholders like design and editorial to work out the possible price of a book and how you want it to look how thick you want the pages to be what tail ribbon you want whether you want foil or not how many pages is going to be your work or how much it would be to print that book and in what quantities softly it's cheaper the more you print and you make sure that book looks good you do loads of checks on all the precision around it and you make a book look sexy basically you're really the linchpin between what the you know the ideals of what everybody wants the book to be and what is financially possible this has become an even more interesting role like in the last like five to ten years because there's such a big focus on production now that you can buy books in ebook and audiobook you know you have to give people a reason to buy the physical book and so I think books in Britain at least books have been looking a lot better in the last ten years and that's because publishers are really investing in making them beautiful objects and who've I missed design design they make the book covers very simply a lot of publishing houses that are smaller and use freelancers for this because they're trying to get the right person for each book but when you're working in a bigger publishing house there's often a whole design team they might do they might just commissioned a book but they might do everything from literally painting an illustration on the front cover to designing to doing concept and for high production value books designing the inside of books as well and they've got really interesting jobs I'm always like I always wanted to sneak around the design department like what are they doing what are they where are we Jesus lots of things to do oh yeah my department so quite a lot of my roles in the past have come under the umbrella term M&P or comms short for communications this basically means that you're trying to tell the people who might read the books about the books and you're telling the people who know the people who might read the books about the books that's as simple as I can get it and there's often a lot of crossover between marketing and publicity and so sometimes in companies those roles are separate and sometimes they're together and but in very basic essence I was a publicity executive and then a publicity manager for a while my job was to drum up excitement about a book amongst the people who edit newspapers the people who run radio stations the people who produce TV programs and sometimes bloggers and vloggers I'd make friends with book reviewers and features editors to try and get pieces about authors in newspapers I would often accompany authors to events I'd organize those events I would get authors on TV how does moment seeing authors that you love on TV and you've got them there it's for nonfiction making news stories out of books and finding out you know pulling out either a personal story from the author or something that is newsworthy and relevant in the book and that could be an article or feature and then also just on the traditional side getting people to review the book getting people to talk about the book so there is events planning so there's events planning there's writing pitches there's preparing authors for interview taking authors to festivals there is sending out a hell of a lot of books in the post and it is super fun marketing on the other hand usually involves having a budget although not always marketing is more directly talking to the readers or the prospective readers so finding out where they walk so maybe like getting a poster on the tube finding out what they read and listen to and placing an advert in that paper rather than making them cover it in an editorial sense which would be publicity placing a literal ad in the paper to more innovative social media campaigns and that kind of thing creating POS which is points of sale so leaflets presenters badges anything like that I feel like I'm butchering what people do I've seen them do everything from producing videos to making sound scapes to organizing public stunts marketing is a really creative role and it's also one that you can move into from other industries I feel like that's a really like obvious one to move in between and then there's what I do I am have a role in a publishing house where I am a social media producer so I produce edit you know organized so I produce the podcast YouTube videos and I run the Instagram Facebook Twitter writing website pieces coordinating campaigns with marketers or publicists but also upholding like the publishing brand so making sure that all of our copy is in keeping with the brand creating content that just encourages people to read whether that's classics or around a theme and generally making the publishing house a friendly reader centric place to follow oh I don't know how long let at me probably quite a while so what we got we've got agents editors production sales marketing publicity rights and then like what I do which is under the brand team really it's like social media producer there are lots of other jobs on top of that but those are the kind of like most basic departments within a publishing house that pretty much every publishing house has to have to run and if you're in a small publishing house you might be just one person for each department 7 7 maybe a manager maybe like a director 8 people could run a publishing house that could that could happen I've seen it done with a lot less some people do more than one job and or you can have 2,000 people in those roles it's just a spectrum the wagon world is coming to an end which means I should probably show up I hope that was helpful I hope that if you do want to get into publishing that gives you some kind of idea of the thing that might interest you and there's no you know you can try out you might not like it what I will say is for most of these roles is that you can have any kind of degree to work in publishing you can have a special ism or you can learn it on the job sometimes you um you can love books first and learn the skills later you can have all the skills and then you know suddenly have a passion for books and start working in books even if you haven't before it just depends which way around but in every department consistently people all read and they read so much and they've always got books that they're like crying with passion about and that is the key theme I've seen from all of the best people in those departments although most successful people see and I think that also help that might give you an a good steer if you are struggling to get a job in publishing I would advise thinking of a department that you think would suit you and going to work in a different industry but for that same department do be picking up transferable skills and also means that later down the line you can apply for a position that is an entry level or you'll have something really good to offer or you have something different and and more filled out to offer when you apply that was it please to leave your comments and below if you are a publishing profession when you work in publishing please help me out in the comments below I don't know everything and please help me answer their questions that was all off the top of my head so I'm sorry if I missed anything out I always haven't mentioned other things I've done that are also possible when you're working with books working as a bookseller working in a library running a bookshop they're all legit things to do with books too doesn't always have to be up making them it can be about shifting them that is all for now don't forget to watch my other videos on publishing you can find them here thanks for watching and I will see you in my next one frogs my cap [Applause] [Applause] yeah

27 thoughts on “Your career in book publishing…

  1. Thank you for this brilliant video. I sold my first novel recently (now at edits stage) and I feel like I now understand what's going to happen to my book from now on. So far so lovely though – everyone I've met seems incredibly passionate about what they're doing.

  2. I wanna go into publishing, but idk how it will end up for me because i live in the states and not UK, my dream is to maybe work for harpercollins or simon & Schuster in like NYC, and have my own office

  3. The thing is, publishing is the only thing I want to work in, and now I think specifically as a publicist or producer. But I have no work experience, a psych degree, and am getting a masters in Marketing right now. I have always managed to convince myself that it's not possible for me, and I think I'm just basing that on my anxiety about leaving education. I need to watch your other videos on this for sure, I have a placement year for my masters where I need to get a 12 month placement and I'm desperate for it to be in a publishing house. I just have no idea how to find it.

  4. My ultimate life goal is to be an editor in the US or UK. I'm OBSESSED with watching videos about the industry and am just so passionate about everything it entails but it hurts me so much that my dream is unachievable because I'm not a native English speaker. At least I'll always have books ๐Ÿ’•
    Great series!!!!!! Thank you for letting us see some of the industry!! ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

  5. This is so so so helpful, I graduated uni last summer and I've finally decided it's publishing I want to go into. Now I'm just scrambling to try and find work experience and/or a job that can get me there! It's a hustle :'(

  6. This video is so helpful! I havenโ€™t family who are telling me thereโ€™s no work in publishing / copywriting because everything is online now but this video really proved that wrong. Although things are online, thereโ€™s always going to be someone needed to design things, edit large bodies of texts, etc. no matter what. Thank you!๐Ÿ’–

  7. Thank you so much. I'm an aspiring novelist whose 3/4 way through my first book, but looking for a job in publishing to actually survive. (The only way I could be more of a cliche is if I worked at a coffee shop). BUT this helped so so much. I realised which sections I have more experience in, or where I could be of more use. I am definately going to go make myself a cup of tea, grab a notebook and binge all your videos. Thank you so much.

  8. THANK YOU! This is such an informative video! I'm just starting my journey into publishing and this is so helpful!

  9. Hi Leena, I m from India being working in books industry for 12yr need ur guidance for my development… Still working hard in sales but poor in development pls help me…

  10. Hey Leena, I'm going into the third year of my undergrad degree in communication studies with a minor in film and english. I just wanted to tell you that I have been planning to go into publishing for some time because of my passion for books and that this video was extremely helpful in framing the different jobs that may entail. (so โ€‹thank u)

  11. this is really interesting to me cause when i was younger i wanted to get into literary editing and publishing, and now post-uni have kind of gone unintentionally more into media/visual stuff but still on an editorial level, like being an editor for an online platform with articles and short stories and then now doing editing for closed captioning and subtitles for tv and film. i think id still like to try out literary publishing at some point tho and stuff like this is really cool to see how it all runs on that side of editing/publishing!

  12. I have been trying to get into publishing for well over a year now. I have loads of experience in many aspects of publishing and even a degree in publishing. I have very little problem getting interviews, but getting an actual job is the issue. I would love to know if you or anyone else has some tips for acing a publishing interview as those types of interviews seem to be so different from interviews for other types of companies. The tips I get from Google searches aren't super helpful.
    These videos just make my desire to work in publishing grow so much.

  13. Oh my god, a Wagon Wheel! You wanna know something super depressing? I can't eat Wagon Wheels because they have gelatine in and so they're not veggie friendly ๐Ÿ™ But Pom Bears are still fair game so I mostly spend my time hunting the elusive multipacks of salt and vinegar Pom Bears.

  14. LOVE this!! Currently trying to get into publishing and just finished my Master's so all advice is appreciated!!!!

  15. I think this was so fascinating! I love listening to people talking about something that they are passionate about especially when it's something that I know almost nothing about. Somehow this made me very excited about publishing. ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. this video (and seriously all of your videos) made me so happy! I did a bit of researching about working in book publishing one or two years ago but I kind of abandoned that because I remember reading that you're much more likely to start a career in book publishing if you have an English degree, and I don't think I want to study that in college. I'll be a freshman (first-year) in the fall and I'm not decided on what to study. Since watching this video (and your '5 Signs you should work in publishing' video) I've come to the realization that I want to study something that will give me a skillset of things that really interest me that's also broad enough to be applicable to a lot of careers. I've loved reading since I was a kid and am always talking too much about the books I love to friends and others, as well as developed a hobby (and habit) of going to a new independent bookstore every time I'm in a new town that has one!! I also realized that I really like recognizing the significance/importance/uniqueness of something (books or otherwise) and sharing it with others! I really appreciate this video and watching your enthusiasm radiate to your audience. I'd love to learn more about working in book publishing and am anticipating any other videos you'll create about this topic! ๐Ÿ™‚

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