The very best way to get into editing and publishing, according to almost everyone who is already in the industry, is to get internship. As with many other companies, internships can often lead to real jobs. And even if they don’t, at least you’ll have that much more experience, and hopefully a great recommendation.
This is really broken into two categories: formal and informal education. You’ll have to make a decision fairly early about formal education. Are you going to go to grad school, or do you think it would be more beneficial to just get a certificate? Or maybe you feel more comfortable going in headfirst right after graduation. As far as informal education, you should always be educating yourself. Keep up to date on what’s going on in the industry. Read Publisher’s Weekly, keep up with the New York Times Best Sellers List, pay attention to what books are getting special attention in Barnes and Noble, and follow publishing companies on Facebook and Twitter—a lot of them post about career and internship opportunities. Read everything you can get your hands on, especially in the genre you are interested in publishing.
It’s impossible to get a job without experience, but it’s impossible to get experience without a job: the vicious circle that is trying to start a career. Fortunately for editors, finding experience early on may be easier than you thought, as long as you’re willing to think outside the box. Many places need copy editors that you might not have thought of, and though it might not be the most interesting reading, it’s still experience. A lot of law firms are more than ready to hire someone to come in and read over all their paperwork for proofreading and fact checking. They don’t care if you have any experience, all they care about is that you make sure their lawyers don’t look like idiots in front of other people. It’s tedious, time consuming work, but just remember that it’s experience, and they’re going to pay you. The medical industry as well hires copy editors all the time to copy edit technical material, correspondence, and other paperwork that gets passed around.
For more information:
- http://crazyindustry.blogspot.com/—Editors Jennie and Rachel blog about their own experiences and offer advice to those in the industry and those trying to break in. They’re great about answering questions as well.
- http://www.copydesk.org/ —Home page for the American Copy Editor’s Society
- http://www.harpercollinscareers.com/careers/index.html —This is the Career website for Harper Collins, but they have heaps of great, basic information about the publishing industry.
Image source http://blogs.kqed.org
By Katie Kennedy, English Major, Texas Christian University