Careers in Publishing

Ok so I know I’ve promised to post these several times over – so I am finally putting out there what I have been talking about – what basic career paths are there in publishing.  As I said in my first post ever, way back when, that I did a very basic search of Careers in Publishing via a search engine, and came up with a basic list from several websites – namely and and here’s what I found:

  1. Book Editors – finding literary talent and then working with writers to publish their books, they squire books, read manuscripts and decide whether the work should or should not be bought and sold to the public.  Much of their time is spent sifting through manuscripts that’ll never see the light of day, ultimately looking to discover new talent, working with them as they build a bigger audience.  Generally requires a B.A. in English or Literature and an awareness and interest in the subject matter.  This is an arena I might be semi-successful in, I think – I have an interest in books and literature, however, I am sorely lacking in the education department – with my education centered around Management (I have a BA in Management and an MBA in Marketing)
  2. Copy Editors – generally work for publishers, but also work for newspapers, magazines and websites primarily – they work with editors and make sure an authors’ work is clear of grammatical errors.  They are the grammatical gatekeepers, they check the “copy” for everything from typos to grammatical errors.  They possess a love of language and a firm grasp of usage.  Here is an arena I would without a doubt NOT be successful as I do not have a firm grasp of grammar (having had someone else read all of my college papers checking for grammatical errors).
  3. Literary Agents – find new literary talent – like editors only earlier in the process – they find promising authors and sell their books to editors.  They represent the authors, sell proposals to book editors, find and package the talent. Usually start in the industry as an assistant to an editor working at agencies, and are the line of defense for the editors.  This is just one of the positions I think I’d love to have, like an editor I could work to find new talent, read manuscripts  and build a marketing, PR, and sales plan. It would be an arena that I would need to further my education in and re-learn some of the new marketing concepts and how to utilize Twitter, Facebook and the internet as tools.
  4. Literary Scouts – they are the finder of books – generally for foreign publishers (looking to publish US Books overseas, though rarely is it the other way around) or studios to publish abroad or adapted for the screen.  They are in the business of finding new material, they are first and foremost readers (Um HELLO!!!) They work for scouting agenies, usually hires by foreign publishers to identify American books they should purchase for their country – they monitor what books are being sold to American editors by agents, reading those titles and identifying those they think are promising for their client to buy.  What have I been saying all along, I am First and foremost a READER, I read just about anything and everything I can get my hands on, and if there’s a chance to marry that with a chance to put my MBA to work, then well sign me up! I know it’s not quite that easy, but man!
  5. Publicist – they work for the publishing house and they try to get press attention for the books and authors that the publisher houses.  They issue press releases, sending out en masse to the press to alert them of news and hopefully generate stories and talk about their authors and books.  They work to cultivate relations with journalists in order to place their stories with them – and they understand the inner workings of the media so they can recognize the stories certain journalists want to write about.  This is another area that my MBA would be able to play to, though I am not sure if this is a position that would require more of a journalism background, a sales one yes, but I am not sure.  I think talking to a publicist might yield more answers.

So this is that – I have an idea of where I want to go, and some idea of which of these would work best for me.  I am written a rough draft of a letter I will be sending out to Publishers, Agents, Scouts, etc. in hopes of getting someone to just talk to me.  I want to know this industry inside and out BEFORE I decide where I want to go and which career path I am going to pursue.  I’ve given myself a year, we’re just a mere 2 months into that year, we have a long way to go before we’re done!

2 thoughts on “Careers in Publishing

  1. Pingback: Happy First Anniversary! | ncreadergirl

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