…Without having a job in publishing!
So, you’re plugging away at those applications, reading more than you ever have before and practising your interview skills for that all-important entry level role in the publishing industry. However, you wish there was more you could do to get involved with the industry and learn more about it before you finally get an offer. Maybe it could even help your job prospects!
Fear not, for I am going to break down for you all of the various ways that you can get involved in publishing without having a job in the industry. This will include Twitter handles that are useful to follow, including people with inspirational publishing journeys and great blogs, as well as events you can attend, groups/societies you can join and recruiters you can register with.
If you’ve decided you definitely want to work in publishing, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the industry without even leaving the house is setting up a Twitter profile; I could write an entire separate post about why Twitter is so useful in connecting with the publishing industry. Set up a “professional” account (so don’t swear or post controversial posts about hating Trump) and follow a variety of people and companies in the industry. The best way to find people to follow is this:
- Follow all the publishing companies you’ve heard of e.g. Harper Collins, Penguin, Hachette, etc.
- Scroll through their ‘following’ section and follow all of their imprints
- Also follow people that work for them, especially in the department you’re interested in working for
- Follow some of their authors and your personal favourite authors so you can see how they interact on Twitter
- Follow their job accounts, which WILL be separate
Now you’ve done the most basic setup, follow these accounts:
- @SYP_UK and then whichever region you’re closest to – @SYP_LDN, @SYP_Oxford, @SYPScotland, @SYPNorth, @SYPIreland
- Follow the committee members for the SYP region you’re closest to
- @polesofie (that’s me!)
Once you’ve done this, you’re good to go with Twitter. Interact as much or as little as you like, but I do recommend retweeting things you find interesting, replying to accounts when they set poll questions, etc. It just helps you to feel that you’re part of something.
The next thing that you can do if you live close to any of the SYP regions listed, is join the Society of Young Publishers! The society is an incredible, cheap way to meet people in the industry, build your network and learn so much about the industry through socials, panel events, skills workshops and much more. For around £20-30 per year, it is definitely worth your while!
Another great way to learn more, get involved and network is through Book Machine; another society-type of group based in publishing who again have great events at reasonable prices, which can give you an in depth look into different parts of the industry. A paid membership with them also gets you a free ticket to the London Book Fair. LBF is an incredible first event for aspiring publishers; there are talks about careers, the industry, from authors and publishers alike; you can watch authors pitch their books to agents; you can walk around and chat with people to find out how they entered the industry and attend the Book Careers clinic hosted by Suzanne Collier, where recruitment professionals from various publishers will check out your CV and offer you tips on applying for jobs and interview skills.
As well as the London Book Fair, follow literary festivals on Twitter and Facebook and keep an eye on their websites; they often offer voluntary positions in which you will get to work with authors and meet publishing professionals. This is a great way to get publicity experience! On top of all that, find your local bookshops websites, Twitter and Facebook accounts and find out when they are having readings or book signings/launches and attend them; meet the authors and publicists and find out what they do. People love talking about themselves and their jobs.
Finally, read everything! Even if you don’t blog about it or share it on social media, read multiple books from a variety of publishers, including independent, non-fiction, and all genres of fiction so that you know the kinds of titles that you could and would enjoy working with! Make sure you’ve read at least 3-5 books by a publisher before you go for an interview
Through these mediums, you can and will learn an invaluable amount about publishing, applying for jobs, routes in and out of the industry and how to network fabulously. If you are feeling nervous about attending an event, drop the host a message on Twitter/Facebook and they will be more than happy to address your concerns.