Book publishing can be one of the hardest careers to break into. Graduation is sitting on the horizon for many third years and publishing is often a highly sought-after career path for literature students. However, since the rise of the e-book over the past decade, its well-known amongst readers that the book industry has fallen, and for graduates looking to peruse a career in book publishing, the competition has become increasingly high. Furthermore, self-publishing has become popular, particularly with the support of large companies such as Amazon. In the book world, even Penguin, who are part of the top five were threatening to cut jobs due to a decline in demand during 2015. However, it is important not to let this daunt you. Here are a few tips that might just come in handy.
Children’s Book Publishers
Those seeking to find the next J.K Rowling may want to consider looking into the Children’s book industry. Reports show that the children’s book market has increased in the last two years, making up 25% of the market. That is a lot considering the amount of technology that is on the market for young children. Another report also claims that 90% of children from 5-9 read most days of the week. Conclusion? An expanding market for publishers. Furthermore, picture books are still flooding the shelves, as these will always be fundamental to a child’s education. After working with picture books myself, its interesting to note that children’s books provide a wider variety of work as compared to regular novels. This is due the mixture of artwork and often fantastical stories that are aimed at the child’s imagination. They are also a lot more colourful.
Before applying for that role as publishing assistant, it might be worth honing in on your Adobe skills. Searching for publishing jobs, it is hard not to miss the software looming under the ‘required skills’ section of the job advertisement. Indesign is often used as a way of laying out pages, rearranging texts and images before moving on to the editing stages. These sorts of jobs are often given to the entry-level employees, so it would be well worth learning the basics. If you are still a student, you can download Indesign as well as the whole creative cloud for as little as £15.49 a month.
It may seem obvious, but yes, work experience is incredibly important if you are hoping to land a paid position in the industry. The job description may not require it, but it will most certainty give you a leg-up. A report in 2016 by Highfliers determined that ‘graduates with no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process…’ As intimidating as this may seem, it isn’t all that hard to obtain work experience, if you know what you’re looking for. Email as many publishers as you can. Many are happy to take on work experience students and interns; this way they can delegate our work for free. You might also be surprised at the amount of skills you pick up on the way.
Kindles and e-books have not obliterated the physical industry yet. Sales statistics from last year suggest that a return to ‘physical’ book reading is on the rise and in fact, a decrease in e-reading suggests that Waterstones might stop selling Kindles due to lack of sales. That isn’t to say there is no career in e-publising. Many publishers offer online copies of their books, but understandably, any graduate looking to jump into book publishing would prefer to work with the real thing. It is, after all, what we love.