The most important thing to remember from the second masterclass in our series – ‘A career in publishing: all you need to know,’ by Suzanne Collier and Suzanne Kavanagh – is to “read and understand instructions,” although there is much that was learnt besides that.
These two lovely ladies tested the brains of us publishing students with quizzes on the industry, brilliant asides (what is the future of publishing? Will we eventually need anti-gravity space readers?), and thought-provoking ideas on how to get into it and how to advertise you!
A predominant theme running through was that publishing is not as elusive as it seems, even if it is quite exclusive. Networking is required to get in, but they still need to hire because they need to expand and improve upon their services. Ultimately, publishing is ‘an industry like any other, and it’s aim is to make money.’ Worrying about the elitism and gatekeepers, it’s easy to forget that!
Statistics comforted students though, as they showed that publishers were still recruiting educated individuals – that degree isn’t a waste! They also showed that certain sub-sectors were still struggling to be filled, so don’t focus on being an editor: maybe it’s not what you think it is, and maybe you’d be better elsewhere! Keep an open mind, and get as much as experience as you can (just don’t get caught in the free labour cycle!).
The main points we took away were that you are never too old to stop learning, so expand your skill sets; make contacts – you never know when you might need them (or them you!); get experience from all areas, and then make up your mind; use every tool possible to market your passion (Facebook, Twitter, blogging sites, and LinkedIn are just a few named free tools that can help with this!), and finally just have fun – the industry is filled with papers, long hours, coffee and cakes, so if you really want to work there, get a sense of humour and prove that you’ll pull out the stops! Who could refuse you then (with a good CV, of course)?