Monday, June 30, 2014

Why Work in Book Publishing?

I have always wanted to work with books, ever since I was a preteen and noticed in one book that I read, that the author thanks their editor. I thought being an editor must be a very cool job. I wanted desperately to have a job that involved reading all day long, and bringing into the world even more books that I loved. Of course, that's not exactly what being an editor is, but for me, it was never much of a question. My college jobs were in a library and a bookstore, and it was a no-brainer for what to do with my life career-wise.

However, if you're on the fence about whether or not publishing might be the right career for you, what should you consider?
  • For one thing, the pay isn't great. Therefore, you really do need to be passionate about it. We can all live on a budget but it's mentally a lot tougher if you don't actually like the work you do. Frequently in the work world, you can have money or like your job, but it's unusual to have both.
  • On the other hand, the work can be fulfilling. If you really love books, you can have an influence over what is published and how. You can help bring more YA/pet/cookbooks/[insert your favorite type of book here] into the world. 
  • On the negative side, in most departments such as editorial and sales, there is homework. Although you're not expected to stay at work to do it. You might be putting in 60 hours a week, but only 35 of that is in the office (and 10 of it is reading while riding to and from work on the subway).
  • On the plus side, you might get to meet celebrities! And hear gossip! And score free books!
Personally, when I was a kid I went through some rough years in elementary school being bullied and left out, and books were my friends. I have been known to say that books kept me sane. I didn't just love books as a kid, they were my friends. I myself think it's vitally important to get more good books out into the world to help other people who might also at times find themselves with mostly literary friends. And heck, I  just love to read so I might as well get paid for it. Although, much to the disappointment of my 12-year-old self, reading is a small part of the job. So you also have to be willing to put up with a lot of meetings, emailing, research, and paperwork, in order to get paid to read. Did I mention the free books?

If you want to work in publishing, I give advice and suggestions for how to get that first job in my new book, The Insider's Guide to a Career in Book Publishing,
available now.

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