Do you want a job in book publishing as a book editor, librarian, or bookstore manager? Or maybe your idea of a job in book publishing is to get paid to write.
Many book lovers wonder what it would be like to work with books, and there are hundreds of different job possibilities in the book publishing industry. Whatever bookish career you envision, here's what you should know.
How to Get a Job in Book Publishing
If you want to find a job in a traditional New York City book publishing house, preferably at one of the Big Five book publishers—Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, or Simon & Schuster—or a reputable small publisher, first it's a good idea to do your research.
- Learn about the major departments in a book publishing house
- Know to differentiate between the different positions in the editorial department
- Learn the many and varied types of book sales positions
- Understand the publishing process, from the author's manuscript to the end product
- Brush up on the Big Five traditional publishers
- Review book publishing's annual calendar, as the industry is very seasonal
Research the Job You Want in Advance
There is much guidance on how to write a resume or prep for an entry-level job interview. But the book publishing industry has its own set of parameters, and you want to be sure you're prepared with as much information as possible about the company to which you're applying.
Do you wish you could work with the research databases of the New York Public Library? Or maybe you want to help acquire and archive the ancient manuscripts of the Morgan Library and Museum, or help local kids find the appropriate children's books to read. Librarians today can be anything from data consultants to specialty archivists.
For many book lovers, opening a bookstore is a dream job. But as with any business, the realities of opening a bookstore are a lot more complicated than the fantasy of spending all your time with books. If you're considering it, first familiarize yourself with what it takes to open a bookstore, the available resources for independent booksellers, and the different types of retail booksellers that exist.
There are certain thrills to being a published book author, such as the privilege of having your words available to an audience of readers. Those who are publishing a book for the first time or those who aspire to should learn the realities of author-dom. You can start by reading about the life of a prolific author in the words of one who's been there, or learn through the Author's Guild, a professional association for authors.
It might also be helpful to read up on some of the realities of being an independent author as well as questions to ask yourself before becoming one.
Want to be on the deal-making side of publishing? If you're good at advocacy and negotiation, but don't necessarily want to edit books, you might want to consider being a literary agent and reading up on some of the functions a literary agent performs for his or her authors.