#InspiredTweetUp – How To Get Into Publishing


Inspired TweetUp – 20th September 2012, 12 midday

How To Get Into Publishing

  • Calling all those looking for their first role in Publishing.
  • We’re about to start our live tweet-up on How To Get Into Publishing, feel free to send us any questions!
  • The next hour will offer an overall discussion on entry-level publishing roles and tips on how to get your foot in the door.
  • Publishing is a competitive business so it’s essential when applying for jobs in the industry, to have a basic understanding of the various sectors and roles.
  • Here are a few things to think about to ensure you use your time effectively in advance of applying for jobs:
  • What sort of role suits you best? What do you think you will enjoy the most?
  • There is a lot more to publishing than editorial!
  • Take some time to investigate the different departments involved in the publication of a book or journal.
  • What sort of publication would you like to work on?
  • In addition to book publishing, have you considered academic journals or electronic publishing, for example?
  • Now let’s take a look at entry-level roles in the different departments within a traditional Publishing company.
  • Editorial Assistant: to assist senior editorial staff in the administration of commissioning or production (editorial process) of content.
  • The level of responsibility and range of tasks will depend on the structure and size of the company.
  • A fantastic way to gain an insight into the Editorial process!
  • Key skills: proven Administrative and computer skills;
  • A qualification in editing can help but is not essential;
  • Educated to degree level or equivalent;
  • Word processing skills & enthusiasm to learn & carryout what can sometimes be repetitive & mundane tasks;
  • Previous work experience in a publishing environment (ideally in an editorial department).
  • You will also need: an eye for detail, good organisation skills & good communication (written & verbal).
  • Design: Some books from fiction to STM books follow pre-set typographic designs, but for the more integrated colour books, a more complex design function is required.
  • In-house designers work either in a design department or in a production department, reporting to the design or production manager.
  • Key skills: A creative mind and an idea for what sells & understanding of the market
  • A vocational qualification or equivalent (pre-entry specialist training is virtually essential);
  • Technical proficiency; a concise and well-presented portfolio; knowledge of QuarkXpress/InDesign, Photoshop, or other software packages.
  • Production: The production department is the link between editors and designers and external suppliers.
  • They are responsible for the physical process of transforming the manuscript and artwork into the finished book or journal. 
  • This includes everything from ordering the paper, obtaining estimates for typesetting, printing and binding to arranging proofs and print-run numbers with an appropriate printer.
  • Production staff must be able to work with editors and designers effectively, as well as prioritising tight cost control and the maintenance of dates, which requires excellent communication and people skills. 
  • Key skills: Numeracy; Effective communication skills (in-house staff and external suppliers);
  • Computer literacy & often knowledge of InDesign.
  • Sales: Sales involves calling on booksellers and encouraging them to stock both new and backlist titles.
  • Their role in supporting the efforts of marketing is critical to the success of a book and the sales team work closely with the editorial and marketing teams.
  • Academic and Educational Sales people also have to visit bookshops, schools and institutes of higher education.
  • This is to discuss forthcoming publications with buyers, teachers and academics, and in some cases establish where there might be gaps in the market for future publications.
  • Key skills: Articulacy  & excellent communication;
  • An ability to build relationships, and influence people;
  • A good understanding of the UK book trade.
  • Marketing: Marketing is frequently divided into two separate functions.
  • One focuses on pre-planning the marketing campaign including press advertising and the production of catalogues and promoting materials, the other is publicity.
  • Obviously the market will strongly influence the type of marketing activity carried out.
  • There are, for example, substantial differences in the way children’s books are marketed and sold and the way an adult bestseller or an academic journal will be promoted.
  • The aim of the Publicity Department is to make the media, book trade, and consumers conscious of the company and what it offers or a particular new title; and hence stimulate demand. 
  • It concentrates on getting press exposure and organising promotional events such as book launches and author signing tours to establish a book when it is first published.
  • Key skills: Educated preferably to degree level or equivalent;
  • An understanding of consumer buying habits and why people want to read books.
  • It is advantageous in looking at the way to market them – bookselling experience is often seen as an advantage.
  • Specialist knowledge of the material being published (i.e. a Maths degree if working in the Marketing department of a publisher that is printing Mathematics textbooks).
  • Rights: The selling of rights is a small and specialist career area.
  • Rights departments have the responsibility for the selling of all kinds of rights for published books including serial rights, foreign language rights, rights to publish in paperback, television and film rights, merchandising rights and occasionally electronic.
  • Rights staff check and monitor the contact made between the publisher and others.
  • The reactive work involves responding to enquiries and seeking copyright permission to reproduce material.
  • Rights work involves close contact with all the other departments on a regular basis.
  • Key skills: Educated to degree level or equivalent;
  • Good interpersonal & negotiation skills;
  • Modern languages;
  • Customer related skills;
  • In a small publishing house, the editor will probably deal with the author contracts but in larger houses, there will be a contracts department.
  • They will maintain responsibility for ensuring that these documents are in line with the original deal arranged by the editor.
  • Substantial liaison needs to take place with the rights department to take into account all possible markets for the book and therefore organising permissions on relevant materials.
  • Key skills:  Meticulous eye for detail;
  • Legal background could be useful;
  • So there is an overview of the types of roles. Now to think about the types of roles.
  • Which area inspires you?
  • Trade publishers:
  • These make up the most visible part of the industry.  They form the mainstay of public libraries, bookshops and book clubs.
  • Consumer publishing is the high-risk end of the business – book failures are frequent but possible rewards great.
  • Children’s publishers:
  • Children’s books are published by the specialist children’s divisions of the major consumer book publisher.
  • They must appeal to both children and adults and are usually aimed at age bands reflecting the development of reading skill.
  • Educational publishers:
  • These provide materials for schools, chiefly textbooks and sometimes supported by ancillary printed materials for class use or for teachers i.e. workbooks, cassettes and teacher’s books.
  • The books are market specific.
  • A knowledge of and interest in the national curriculum would certainly stand you in good stead as would any teaching qualifications (e.g. PGCE, CELTA).
  • Academic, STM and Professional book publishing:
  • Academic publishing can refer to books published in all subjects from 1st year university/college students and above.
  • The term is often restricted to the humanities and social sciences.
  • Scientific, technical and medical (STM) is undertaken predominantly by large publishers.
  • These publishers are mostly outside central London with a high concentration in Oxford.
  • Professional publishing serves the “professions” such as law, veterinary studies, architecture, accountancy, engineering etc.
  • As with educational publishing, it is a distinct advantage to have a qualification in the subject matter that you are printing.  This is especially true of STM publishing.
  • Journals publishing:
  • Journals are published by not-for-profit societies and research institutes and by divisions of academic, STM publishers, including the university presses.
  • The content is not pre-determined and is based on contributors submitting papers and original research to an academic editor.
  • How do you know you are doing the right thing?
  • It is possible at the start of your career to move across to other departments and areas of publishing.
  • Over time this becomes more difficult, as you will need specialist knowledge of a subject area and specialist knowledge of the activity and markets. 
  • In smaller firms, it may be easier to move around the firm and learn different jobs.
  • Such knowledge, however, may not be considered specialist enough by the larger companies. 
  • Junior staff in large firms may find it hard to cross the more pronounced departmental boundaries but will gain in-depth expertise afforded by the greater resources of the publisher.
  • Tips: Do lots of research into the different types of publications and relevant publishing companies.
  • Make as many contacts as possible – during work experience placements or join relevant societies, eg. The SYP, WIP etc.
  • Networking can play a key role in helping you find your first job and here are a few tips when working the floor…
  • Make sure you introduce yourself;
  • Dress to impress;
  • Maintain eye contact with whom your speaking to;
  • Ensure you bring plenty of business cards;
  • Try to get a list of attendees prior to the event;
  • Identify key people you want to meet ahead of time ;
  • Look them up on LinkedIn before you go;
  • Think about specific information you want to find out, and prepare some related questions;
  • Remember that other people are there to network too;
  • Do follow up any interesting conversations with a brief thank you email or perhaps a connection on LinkedIn;
  • Do as much relevant work experience as you can. This looks great on your CV and also reinforces your decision about what sort of role you are looking for and type of publisher.
  • If unpaid work experience is not possible, then a good track record of administrative and general office work is also very valuable.
  • This proves computer and IT skills, and competency in working to deadlines, working in teams, attention to detail, receiving instructions etc.
  • Have a look at jobs being advertised in publishing.  This will give you a good idea of what is involved in specific roles and basic requirements you need to aim for.
  • London first jobs in publishing, contact: Abigail Barclay; Tel: 0207 440 1491 Email: a.barclay@inspiredselection.com
  • Oxford first jobs in publishing, contact: Mel Cunningham; Tel: 01865 260277 Email: m.cunningham@inspiredselection.com
  • We hope you found that useful, please do email us any questions and sign up to our blog for details of the next one https://inspiredselection.wordpress.com/
  • For those who joined us at the end, all the tips will be published shortly on our blog https://inspiredselection.wordpress.com/
  • Details of our next tweet up will be on our blog and on here! https://inspiredselection.wordpress.com/
  • Thanks to everyone that got involved, we’ve really enjoyed it.
  • To keep abreast of the latest publishing roles sign up to our free vacancy alerts http://www.inspiredselection.com/candidates/-/page/vacancy-update-service/
  • Sign up on our website to register with us http://www.inspiredselection.com/ Look forward to hearing from you!



International Publishing


One of the exciting aspects of Publishing that makes it for such a fascinating industry in which to work is that there are so many international opportunities which can broaden the horizons for people looking for a new challenge.  If you are someone that is open to discovering new cultures, has a passion for learning in a global environment, and are keen to become a citizen of the world, then publishing provides a host of opportunities internationally.  The world is a huge place; why not try utilising your publishing experience abroad and soak up the culture of another country whilst learning best-practices from others?

Over the last few years we’ve seen publishers revolutionise their way of working and adapt to the changes and opportunities surrounding them.  Thanks to advances in technology and a change in consumer reading habits the role of the publisher has rapidly evolved and publishing professionals are hungry to learn new skills in order to keep up with the changes going on around them.  A key way for professionals to learn new skills and become more innovative in the way they work and what they bring to their company is through learning from others around the world, and by experiencing new ways of working from the publishing sector in other countries, providing an international perspective and a global mind-set.

Emerging Markets

From our experience of working with global clients and candidates, the main emerging international markets which are currently developing their publishing sectors include:

  • Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA)
  • Asia Pacific (APAC)
  • Latin America (LatAm)

At the recent International Publishers Congress in South Africa held earlier this month, speakers highlighted the importance of Middle Eastern publishing and we’ve seen growth in the number of publishing roles we’re working on across this territory.  According to data from Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Global Entertainment and Media Outlook “the consumer and educational book publishing market in EMEA will decrease slightly during the next two years and then rise to $44.8 billion by 2016, returning to its 2011 level.”  The other area which provides a host of opportunity for the publishing world is Asia Pacific, where Japan, South Korea and China will lead the way on growth.

Main Players

The various publishing sectors are developing at a different pace.  We’ve found that the following key areas of the publishing industry are currently developing rapidly at a global level with there being huge opportunity for them to expand and enter new international markets around the world:

  • Scientific, Technical & Medical (STM)
  • Academic
  • Educational (ELT, Higher & Professional)

Key Skills

If looking to progress in your career and transfer your skills to an international publishing environment, the desired skills of a candidate will likely include:

  • Knowledge of local language
  • Flexibility to travel
  • Digital awareness
  • Open mindedness
  • Motivation to learn
  • Excellent communication
  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Global mind-set

The benefits

The obvious benefit of working in another country and developing your skills abroad is that you are able to bring a new way of thinking to a publishing house and knowledge of international publishing and the best practices of other publishers from around the world.

Through international publishing opportunities, publishers can benefit from the exchange of knowledge and expertise within the global publishing community. Candidates who are working in an international environment can make full use of the opportunity to discuss various issues affecting the publishing industry with publishers from all over the world.

Common ground

Publishers around the world are experiencing similar obstacles and risks including the opportunities for and challenges of digital publishing, the impact and implications of the slow recovery from the current economic recession and intense debates on copyright law and intellectual property rights.  Through experiencing different publishing environments, these issues can be tackled together and ideas and opinions can be shared.

Inspired Selection’s global remit has been rapidly expanding over the last year.  Our experienced Consultants have been helping more and more publishers around the world by placing the best publishing professionals from our talent pipeline into all types of roles from Senior Executive to Assistant level.  We’re currently helping to recruit Educational and Clinical Publisher’s in the Middle East, Digital Programme Managers in Spain, Solutions Directors in Asia, Sales Managers throughout Europe and Marketing Associates in the US.

If you’d like to be considered for international vacancies or if you have any international recruitment needs please don’t hesitate to get in touch, contact:

 Verity Hawson || Email: v.hawson@inspiredselection.com || Tel: 0207 193 7903

Interview Tips & Advice #Inspiredtweetup

Inspired Selection @Inspiredjobs Tweet-ups #inspiredtweetup

Topic Three: Interviews

  • Streaming live from Oxford & London, we’re about to start our third live tweet-up..
  • This week we’re looking at Interview Tips, feel free to send us any questions!
  • Firstly, let’s kick off with the first things you should do when you’ve been invited for an interview..
  • Make sure you have all the relevant details so you can get cracking on planning getting yourself to the interview
  • If necessary, have a ‘practise run’ for your route – be sure you know how long the journey will take!
  • Do some research on the company – use their website, The Bookseller and LinkedIn
  • Get familiar with any developments, the main focus of the business and their market!
  • Mentally prepare yourself- do a practice run on competency questions
  • Have some examples ready of how you can prove that you have relevant skills and experience
  • Make LinkedIn work for you…check out your interviewers before you meet them
  • Do flatter them! Everyone likes a bit of ego stroking of their achievements, awards and prizes
  • See if they have an interesting background and everyone is impressed by you knowing something about their career
  • Know who their main competitors are and how they distinguish themselves in their market
  • Tricky questions: can you answer the biscuit question?
  • Make sure you prep questions that show your interest in their company
  • Ask a friend to really push you to answer those tricky questions…
  • What about company culture? Is there room for progression? What do the employers expect of new employees?
  • What are the training opportunities? What is the next stage of the interview process?
  • Ask about extra responsibilities that might not be on the job description…
  • Let’s move onto the big I-day…
  • Firstly. let’s be professional in your choice of clothes for those all important first 7 seconds impression!
  • Appearance – make sure you are neat and tidy, your hair is brushed, shoes polished and you are looking professional.
  • Don’t wear brand new clothes, you need to be comfortable
  • Avoid that lovely smelling fragrance! Check your breath? Double check those teeth after your pre-I coffee/snack
  • Arrive 10 minutes early – get focussed, calm and collected and into that interview zone!
  • Positive and open body language path the way for good impressions
  • Firm handshake, no limp lettuces!
  • Walk tall, exude self confidence, but not arrogance
  • Also back to basics on meeting new people: remember those manners
  • Remind yourself that the interviewers themselves might be nervous too- they’re also being interviewed by you
  • Make sure you’re using appropriate and professional language…definitely no swearing!
  • Maintain eye contact with your interviewer
  • Smile! Be positive and enthusiastic, interviewers will respond to a good attitude
  • Demonstrate that you can bring something new, or give an example of a gap in the market you’ve observed
  • I’ve noticed you’re looking at developing throughout Latin America; this is an area I’m familiar with…’
  • Show you potential to ‘learn’- you should grow within a role, not already be able to do it all!
  • If you say you can do everything then they may think you’ll be bored in this role and will leave in a short space of time
  • Do highlight the areas that you do want to gain experience in, particularly for career development
  • Be able to talk through your career movements on your CV, making each move a positive one
  • If a role did not work out, be honest about why and what you have learnt. Keep to the FACTS!
  • Take an honest look at which parts of the required experience you lack
  • Plan how to address questions about how your transferable skills will allow you to make the transition into this role.
  • Don’t criticise a current or past employer, stay professional at all times
  • Now rounding off: ask your prepared questions, building up a discussion around these
  • Take in your CV and covering letter to interview – it sounds strange, but be familiar with it! Thank you your interviewers for their time and consideration
  • Be prepared for questions about your hobbies! the manager might be very interested in swordfighting/scuba diving/crocheting
  • Be yourself – if the fit is not right then it’s better to find this out now rather than pretending to be someone else
  • Finally, remember to bring your sense of humour! At the end of the day, it’s your personality that’s important for team fit
  • A few other things to think about..
  • So, some what ifs? What if I get sick? What if I’m late? What if I need to cancel? Use your common sense and communicate!
  • If you’re really sick, don’t drag yourself in, they won’t appreciate being passed on bugs
  • What if you don’t understand a question? be honest, ask them to rephase the question, and ask for time to respond
  • Have your phone charged, have taxi money, make sure you have the numbers to contact the company to apologise
  • What if you get lost: call them, they know how to locate themselves..
  • What if you go blank on your example? USE YOUR CV – look at your achievements, THERE are your examples
  • So everyone has lots of advice- follow what works for you.
  • We hope that was useful, please do email us any Q’s & sign up to our blog for details of the next one https://inspiredselection.wordpress.com/
  • For those who joined us at the end, all our tips will be published shortly on our blog https://inspiredselection.wordpress.com/
  • Subscribe to our blog as later today we’ll be posting details of a competition we’re running for five lucky people…
  • The five winners will have a chance to get some personalised interview advice through live interview videoing
  • Thanks to everyone that got involved, we’ve really enjoyed it.
  • To keep abreast of the latest publishing roles sign up to our free vacancy alerts http://www.inspiredselection.com/candidates/-/page/vacancy-update-service/
  • Do sign up on our website to register with us http://www.inspiredselection.com/
  • Look forward to hearing from you!