So You Want to be in Publishing?

Look for a post about BookCon soon, but for now I want to take a moment to spread some wisdom. On Sunday, I staffed the American Association of Publishers (AAP) booth. We were spreading awareness of employment in publishing. Below are a few of the things some of my friends and I wish we had known before considering a job. Please keep in mind I work in book publishing, magazines may be different.

It’s time for Real Talk.

  1. Publishing salaries are not great (at least in America). Don’t believe the movies. You will not be sashing into work in Prada or Dior. Unless you come from money, you will probably be living on a budget and with several roommates. Assistants are paying their dues.
  2. Speaking of paying dues, you will be paying your dues. Yes, any experience is great and can be relevant, but just because you were a manager in your old industry, don’t expect to be starting anywhere but at the bottom with the rest of us. Publishing experience rules the day here.
  3. The hours are long. I work on the weekend. It is part of my job to read submissions and manuscripts. 40 hours a week are just not enough to finish everything I need to do.
  4. Fit matters. What do I mean by “fit”? Fit is how well are you going to fit into the group, or with your bosses; are you going to click.SO you have gone on tons of interviews and haven’t heard yes? You are not alone. I thought fit was nice, but not necessarily required. BUT FIT MATTERS. It can mean the difference between a job you are happy to go to and one you regret ever taking.
  5. Everyone wants editorial, but no everyone can be in editorial. I am all for going after your dreams, but it takes time to get them. If you have to settle for another position in a company, I recommend taking it. It gives you work experience, and gets your foot in the door. Only hold out for your dream if you resume and cover letter can back up your stance.

Most importantly: Doing what you love is the single greatest thing ever.  Every day, my work contributes to a beautiful book, and every day I fangirl about stories. If you want nothing more than to work with books, and can live with the aspects I pointed out above, consider a job in publishing!

And if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me at socalledyalife@gmail.com . I am always happy to answer questions.

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