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So you want to work in Book Publishing?

The book publishing industry is comprised mainly of writers, editors, literary scouts, agents and actual book publishers. As a publisher you are responsible for overseeing the scouting, reviewing, selection, production, marketing and distribution of new works of writing across multiple genres. You can get started with one of the many publishing firms throughout Australia and the world, although there are a few non-traditional ways to become a book publisher; authors can now self-publish and people with a good knack for finding marketable books can start their own publishing company. With the emergence of the internet, e-books and websites have become other popular book publishing alternatives.

The benefits of working in the publishing industry include the potential for a high income. This is more so the case with actual publishers and editors, as for authors their income will often depend on whether something they write is published and popular with readers. There are often no specific degree requirements although qualifications in communications, journalism or English are well regarded. Long working hours are often required in this industry and competition is high for scarce positions. This can also mean that extensive experience is required for a number of top positions. Another thing to bear in mind is that job growth is generally dependant upon educational funding and general economic growth.

Types of jobs in the Book Publishing industry include:

  • Authors
  • Copy editors
  • Book editors
  • Literary scouts
  • Literary agents
  • Publicists

Personal Skills

Five key skills that will help you score a job in the Book Publishing industry:

  • Strong communication skills
  • The ability to work well to deadlines
  • Computer literacy
  • Being a quick, analytical reader
  • Having a knack for writing/editing/spotting marketable books

Interview and Job Hunting tips

  • If you want to get started in writing or editing, learn and practice as much as you can in order to master your skills. You don’t necessarily need a uni degree but short courses will help hone your skills. At the end of the day if you are a excellent writer or editor your work will speak for itself.
  • If you are going for a job at a publishing company, thoroughly research the company and the department. What type of books do they publish? Which authors or titles of theirs have you read or heard about?
  • Know the market so that you can talk intelligently about any recent books relevant to the job you’re going for.
  • Familiarise yourself with industry vocabulary. Start here at the Publishers Weekly Read publishing blogs and industry magazines so that you can stay up to date with current publishing trends, issues and events.