Books on a shelf

February 27, 2015, by Charlotte Lambert

The more experience, the better

By Charlotte Lambert, student blogger

At the start of the second year of my degree I sent email upon email to various publishing houses. As I am currently considering either the marketing industry or the publishing industry, I decided to aim for a little taster of both to determine which suited my interests best.

Stepping outside my comfort zone

Having secured a placement last term marketing with Sky, I started the spring term with a placement at John Blake Publishing, a small publishing house that concentrates largely on biographical and crime thriller books. Not the type of book or publishers that I would ordinarily be drawn to, but as experience is key to finding out my career likes and dislikes I stepped out of my comfort zone.

Similarly to the application with Sky, the application for this work experience was relatively simple. I sent a copy of my CV with a covering letter discussing which biographical books I have read and why I was interested in publishing. I heard back within a few weeks and there was no interview required.

Insight into the publication process

During my time at John Blake Publishing, I was acquainted with various stages in the publication process. I was allowed to make my way through the multiple processes from the commissioning of a book idea to examining received book proposals and proofreading actual manuscripts. As this latter task involved me hunching over a book for two or three days solid it did become a little tedious! But at least I know that the proofreading marks and symbols are firmly lodged in my head should I ever need them for reference in the future. As well as looking into how a book is edited and directed by the publishing firm, I was also able to witness the involvement in market research that John Blake carries out in the process and the monitoring of the finished book in the media through past archives.

Importance of public relations

There is a close association between the publishing industry and public relations. A publishing house must maintain a strong affiliation with their bank of writers, retailers and with the media in order to keep up with competitors. While I was on placement I managed media planning and saw the importance of press releases in publicising a new book and writer in the market.

I’d recommend work placements

Short work placements are perfect for a no hassle taster into an industry, a week or so adds a fast pace to the proceedings. I would definitely recommend them as they are a great way to gain transferable business skills.

Explore our web resources on careers in publishing and attend our Spotlight On..Magazine Publishing event with Bauer Media on Tuesday 10 March.

(Image source: Casey Fleser)

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