Friday, January 3, 2014

How to land a job in publishing?

Hello. My question is about getting your foot in the door of the publishing industry without a college degree. I left college after a year to travel & after completing two novels while living in Australia, I decided I didn't want to go back to school. I consider myself very knowledgable about writing, publishing, & the industry. While considering both the traditional publishing, and self-publishing route for my novels, I spent years doing extensive research. In addition, I'm extremely passionate about all things literary & I would love to be surrounded by it all on the daily basis. I've applied to everything from internships to secretary positions at agencies & publishing houses, but I quickly learned that not having a degree makes it wayyy harder.

My question is, is it impossible? I don't mind difficult, as I'm extremely determined. I just want to learn more about the industry I plan to make a living in & be able to submerge myself in something that I love SO much. I have the skills & I know I'm completely capable of handling whatever is thrown at me, all I need is for someone to give me a chance to prove myself. But what are the chances of that happening without a formal education?

Thank you for your question.

Usually, the best way to land a job in publishing is to do an internship--or several of them, if need be. It is not always easy. When I was starting out, I'd already had 3 summer-long internships at great publishers, and even then, it took me many months of interviewing (and rejections) to land an assistant job.

It is hard for me to answer about whether not having a B.A. would prevent your landing an internship. On the one hand, it is true that most other interns will have a B.A. or equivalent--but that said, I don't see why not having one should make it impossible. I would imagine that if you tried hard enough and long enough, you should encounter at least one person smart enough to take you on for an internship, especially if you are so determined and passionate.

In your case, since you are serious about your writing, another possibility is that if you, as an author, land an agent or publisher and establish a good relationship with your agent/editor, then possibly they might be more open to hiring you as well. It can't hurt to try everything.

No matter what, if it's your dream, don't give up, and somehow the door will open.

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