Insight into publishing & journalism blog

Michaela O'Callaghan - Chairperson of Society of Young Publishers UK & Trade Marketing Executive at Bounce Sales & Marketing

Which resources and websites would you recommend for insight into publishing and/or journalism?

I would definitely recommend looking at what the Society of Young Publishers can offer (and not just because I am currently the UK Chair!). The  Society of Young Publishers has 8 branches altogether including our brand-new Wales branch! We run lots of in-person and digital events throughout the year for both members and non-members. Plenty of resources can be found on our website and we also have a quarterly magazine and a podcast! The SYP run a mentorship scheme each year which is a great opportunity to gain insight into publishing through 1-1 discussions with a publishing professional. Most of our branches are on social media so it is worth following us or exploring our membership options.

The Publishing Post is a brilliant free bi-monthly magazine created by publishing hopefuls, for publishing hopefuls. There is also the Publishing Hopefuls Facebook Group which is full of tips and supportive interactions between publishing hopefuls. Publishing lives on Twitter and I would recommend following BookBrunch, The Bookseller, BookMachine alongside lots and lots of publishers!

Finally, I would suggest taking a look at the BookCareers website which has plenty of online resources and a podcast.

What myth would you want to dispel for people about getting into publishing and/or journalism?

That publishing is just for aspiring editors! I was initially hesitant about publishing because I knew that an editorial role wasn’t for me but there are so many different roles in the industry. Sales and Marketing roles are brilliant for those with an analytical eye and production is perfect for those who love organisation and refining processes!  Publishing is traditionally quite a backward industry in that it often feels a bit behind other sectors, but there are plenty of important roles popping up in data and audio. If you love travelling and the idea of developing working relationships with people across the world, then export sales or rights could be great options. Entry-level editorial roles typically receive the most applications which I think is down to a general lack of transparency about the variety of roles available and what these involve, and a slightly rose-tinted view of what working in editorial involves (in every publishing role there is a lot of admin so you won’t just be paid to read)!

It is also worth highlighting that publishing is more than just trade publishing. You can work in education and academic publishing and you shouldn’t ignore these when applying for jobs in the industry. 

What is your top tip for developing a career in publishing and/or journalism?

My top tip is to keep on learning and thinking of new ways you can develop your skills or knowledge. And to make sure you are creating space for other interests outside of publishing. It is not abnormal to do hours beyond a 9-5 and overworking is rife in the industry. However, knowing when to draw the line and make some space for yourself is important to avoid burnout. This means that you can be more present when you are at work and also keep that excitement for why most of us join the industry…the books!

Mary O'Neill - Publishing Project Manager at Harper Collins

Which resources and websites would you recommend for insight into publishing?

From an editorial point of view, the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading offers valuable insights, as well as useful courses and qualifications.

For a look into publishing in general, publishers’ websites hold a lot of useful information, and it is always worth following publishers on their social media. 

What myth would you want to dispel for people about getting into publishing?

That you have to be a particular type of person to work in publishing and thrive in the environment. The roles available in publishing and the makeup of its workforce is increasingly diverse. Also, publishing is not just about writing and editing fiction books – reference publishing and online publishing are also huge and have different requirements, and there are many other positions, for example in IT, finance, marketing, sales, and HR, to suit a variety of skills and interests. 

What is your top tip for developing a career in publishing?

Embrace every opportunity, however small, to work in the sector, from contributing to student publications to applying for internships, placements, or full-time roles.

Emma Sherry - Freelance Journalist at Times Radio and NBC News

Which resources and websites would you recommend for insights into publishing and/or journalism?

There are lots of great resources available for journalists. Twitter is invaluable to connect with people and immerse yourself in what's going on, as is LinkedIn. Journo Resources is a fantastic website filled with advice, job opportunities and grad schemes, as is @themediamentor on Twitter. I think it's also important to follow/read/watch/listen to a broad range of outlets

What myth would you want to dispel for people about getting into publishing and/or journalism?

A myth I'd like to dispel for people from journalism is that there's one pathway. The newsroom I work in has people from a variety of backgrounds who've had different journeys to becoming journalists. Some studied journalism, some have had career changes, some did apprenticeships, some worked at a variety of jobs (many a combination of these things). There's still a lot that needs to be done to create more diversity in the industry, but if you're determined you can definitely make it happen. 

What is your top tip for developing a career in publishing and/or journalism?

My top tip is to be open to opportunities, to be flexible, and to persevere. Reach out to people - go for coffees, ask for advice from as many people as you can. Getting your foot in the door feels like the hardest step, but as long as you keep trying, it will happen. Once you get your first opportunity, be as helpful as you can and make yourself indispensable - be positive, ask for feedback and make sure you follow up and ask for future opportunities and keep in touch. 


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