As can be seen through a quick Google search, the publishing industry is expanding in many ways. It is becoming more inclusive, promoting diversity and expanding its reach across the UK. The Northern Fiction Alliance are making huge strides toward publishing reaching past London, and publishers such as Sharmaine Lovegrove’s Dialogue Books mean that there are far more platforms from which a variety of voices can shout. If this is all news to you, go and have a quick search of these things and come back later. This is key information for working in this industry.
If you are looking for a publishing job in 2019, you have to consider the current state of affairs in the publishing world. It will help if you know basics, such as the differences in ebook sales and paperback sales from 2018, and more in-depth things, such as how Brexit might affect the industry. Especially if you’re applying for more senior roles, having suggestions on how to adapt to these things will boost your application a lot.
However, most people reading this will be looking for internships and entry-level assistant roles. So what are the key things to be aware of in the publishing industry that will help you get that all-important first job in 2019?
- Diversity is key: read fiction from a range of voices, and be aware of what’s out there.
- Brexit WILL affect the industry: you don’t need to know much more than this right now, but having read a few Bookseller articles on the issues faced within the industry might benefit you
- Audio is on the rise: you don’t have to like audio books, but being aware of who the customer is and why they are growing in popularity will put you in favour
- Up-lit, fantasy horror and crime thrillers are all the rage
- Booksellers are very important
From these 5 things, you will probably talk about three of them in an interview; you will more than likely be asked about current trends, potentially about technology within the industry and what you’re currently reading. You may even be asked your opinion on some recent releases.
So why is it important to be aware of Brexit and booksellers?
Quite frankly, just in case. Brexit is crucial to sales and rights roles, but COULD also affect other areas of a publishing company, including marketing and design. And if you’re applying for publicity roles, you are expected to be up-to-date on current events and the news anyway, so Brexit knowledge is always useful. It is also influencing many works of fiction and non-fiction right now, including The Survival Game and Malorie Blackman’s 2019 release, which will be a continuation of the popular Noughts and Crosses series.
Being aware of a bookseller‘s role is important in sales, marketing and publicity primarily, but simply being aware of the huge impact they have within the industry and having respect for them will always work in your favour. Understanding that they can make the difference between your book having a huge poster in the window and being turned spine-up on the shelf is key knowledge.
To summarise, 2019 is all about inclusivity, respect and understanding which all go hand-in-hand. Obviously market awareness is also crucial, but ensure that you are applying for job roles where you understand the job description, what the publisher does and respect their values. If you have any ideas about diversifying the company, voice these gently and respectfully. Finally, always know what’s going on politically and what the current trends are in genre fiction, non-fiction and publishing technology.