On Monday 6th March from 10:00 am – 11:00 am, Man Met will be holding a ‘Your Career in Publishing’ talk by Senior Publishing Lecturer David Barker. This talk will provide a broad overview of the publishing industry: different sectors within it, key skills employers look for and the wide range of roles to pursue. This opportunity is not to be missed if you are seriously considering a career in this competitive industry.

You don’t necessarily have to study an English Literature degree to succeed in publishing or gain a graduate role in this sector. A career in publishing can be an attractive career option for any students or graduates who have a strong interest in reading, writing and literacy.

The role of a publisher is to take control over all elements of a book publication.  A publisher may delegate elements of the process to other members of the team, such as editors, marketing, designers or illustrators. However, this often depends on the size of the publication house as some publishers may work freelance and independently. The overall aim of a publisher is to get publications into the commercial market that will generate interest and successfully sell to its target audience.

Some publishing houses may have a specific specialism in the market. For example, fiction or non-fiction, or a specific genre such as science, art, cookbooks or children’s literature. Specific specialisms may require more intricate work than others may. Non-fiction books may need to be carefully fact-checked before publication and legal permission may be required regarding quotations, photographs or other personal information. The ever-expanding world of digital publications also means that a publisher’s role will have to cater for the digital market and the application of digital technology.

This industry is open to all graduates; even graduates of specific subjects such as science may find their degree is useful if working with non-fiction titles that they have studied.

The key skills you need for a career in publishing are:

  • Comprehensive knowledge of the English language or of the language that the publication is written in, including excellent grammar, spelling and punctuation knowledge;
  • The ability to negotiate – as this will be a key element if working with authors;
  • Strong time management and ability to work tight deadlines as you may be working on numerous projects at once;
  • Concentration and great attention to detail since a lot of the role will be reading and re-reading various texts.

Internships and work experience with publishing houses are key to connecting with others in the industry; however getting involved with university based literacy opportunities such as Humanity Hallows will also be advantageous to your CV and building on the above skills. Also check out the Prospects website to see how you can find work experience in this area and how to increase your chance at success!

Want some more information on a career in publishing? Our Humanities Careers Consultant runs a drop-in service every Tuesday in the Student Hub, Geoffrey Manton Building from 12.30pm-4.30pm to help you with all of your careers questions.