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How can I Prepare for Careers in Publishing?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
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Publishing is an exciting world with many job opportunities for those interested in turning the dreams of artists, writers, and musicians into real products. Preparing for careers in publishing usually takes some training and an assertive attitude. Learning about some of the basic jobs and requirements for careers in publishing can help put a passionate person on the road to a satisfying career.

Many, but not all, careers in publishing do involve formal training of some kind. People often end up in the field after getting degrees or even having careers as writers, musicians, or teachers. Others come to careers in publishing after deciding to use skills gained in another job, such as sales and marketing abilities, to pursue a more creative future. Still others start as office staff or assistants in publishing companies, determined to work their way up the ranks. Any of these methods of moving into the workplace can work, as long as a person is determined and willing to take any opportunity to get in the door.

In order to prepare for careers in publishing, it is important to understand the jobs available. Careers in acquisitions allow workers to try and seek out new authors, writers, musicians, or other artists who may need a publisher. Development professionals work directly with clients to help prepare their work for publication, while copy editors comb over written material for typos and continuity errors. Designers may handle the packaging, illustration, and even font of the finished product. Sales and marketing professionals put together a publishing package meant to catch the attention of the public, including advertisements, reviews, and signing tours.

There are some basic tips that can help prepare for careers in publishing, whatever the area of specific interest. First, become a scholar of the market and learn the companies. Different publishers specialize in different material, so scout for jobs at companies that produce published material that matches personal interests. If interested in sci-fi novels, try to read everything that comes out; if fascinated by Celtic-inspired music, be sure to have a working knowledge of all the major recording artists in the field.

Consider trying to get an internship or entry-level job at a publishing firm. While the pay may be bad and the tasks menial, this is a great opportunity to make contacts that can later lead to jobs. Be sure to come in every day with a good attitude; seeming grumpy or ungrateful is a surefire way to get a bad reputation. If a job opening comes up, be sure to apply. Even if qualifications aren't quite up to spec, this will be a good chance to meet with the bosses of the company and talk about aspirations for the future.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
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Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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