Okay, entry level publishing hopefuls, I understand that you all want to be Editorial Assistants at Harper Collins or Little, Brown. But, just take a second and consider a different path; one in academic publishing. Why? I will give you a list of reasons why:
- Entry level pay: As much as we don’t like to admit it, everybody cares about their salary, especially in cities like London. Well, academic/scientific publishers have much higher budgets, as they are selling their books and journals to universities and laboratories, so therefore can afford a liveable entry level salary and are open to negotiations on salary to make it better for you to work there.
- Job training: Working for an academic publisher will mean that you have the chance to learn a lot and be trained on various systems. Many also have their own online training plans which you can undertake at home or in your free time at work, meaning that you can develop skills in specific areas to help you steer your career path.
- Career progression: One time-old stereotype in the publishing industry is that the assistant must wait for the executive to leave before promotion and so on. In academic publishers, which are constantly growing, there is a consistent stream of recruitment and promotion so long as there is the capacity. Again, thanks to higher team budgets, an assistant can be promoted to an executive whilst the current executive is still in place and a new assistant hired. There is always enough work for as many staff as there are in the publishing house.
- The industry: In academic publishing, the industry is exciting because there are always new scientific discoveries, new research and thoughts on old research. This means that your job will always be needed and that as you grow in the role, you’ll be offered more responsibility which will not be relented as there will always be more and new exciting developments for you to help with or manage yourself.
- The environment: From my experience, academic publishing is a well-oiled machine. If you work well within this machine, turning your cogs in time and quality-checking everything twice over, then you will get to arrive and leave on time. There is little expectation of working unsociable hours or through your lunch hour – if there’s a meeting during it, you’ll be allowed an earlier or later lunch. This makes the environment a healthy and happy one where people work hard.
- Finally: it isn’t that different! All of the activity you will be doing as an assistant in any company anywhere will pretty much be the same anywhere, and most publishers use similar systems; once you’ve used one, you can learn to use other similar systems. Learning-wise, you can do so in any publisher and ingratiate yourself in the trade side of the industry in other ways.
So, there’s my ramble on why working in an academic publishing house is great and can be just as good, if not better at entry level than trade publishing!