6 Things to know about the Publishing Industry UK

6 Things to know about the Publishing Industry UK

6 Things to Know about the Publishing Industry UK

It’s Work In Publishing Week 2022, and today I thought I would share 6 things to know about the Publishing Industry UK.

There is more than one type of publishing

When I speak to people about publishing they tend to think there is only one form of publishing: Trade publishing. This is the sector that publishes Fiction and Non-Fiction books for children and adults. However, there are so many more. From B2B or Business to Business Publishing, Education, STM, Academic publishing and many others.

If you’re looking for your first full-time job in publishing then these sectors are worth applying to, just as much as Trade Publishing. They will offer the same skills and development opportunities, and if Trade if the ultimate goal you can move over when you have enough of those skills.

Also, there are more regional opportunities for publishing roles outside of Trade publishing.

75% of Trade Publishing is London based

As above, there are trade publishers outside of London, and more and more London-based trade publishers are expanding their offices outside of the city. But there are very few BIG publishers outside of London.

You’ll find a few in Scotland, like Canongate, and some in the Midlands like Sweet Cherry Publishing. But if you’re trying to work in fiction and non-fiction publishing for adults or children then you’re going to have more chance if you are based in or near London. It’s unfortunate fact, but that’s the current situation, even with Hybrid and Flexible working.

Editorial isn’t the only job

When I speak to students looking to enter publishing most of them say that they’re looking for editorial roles, and that is the role they’ve prepared for with copywriting and proofreading courses. However, there are so many roles in publishing that you could join with or without experience. From Marketing and PR, or Comms roles. To Sales, Production and Audio. There are also Distribution, Operations and Admin roles, Design, Special Sales and more.

If you’re looking to work in publishing see what all the areas have to offer before applying. You might be surprised by which area appeals to you most.

You don’t need a university degree

Thankfully you don’t need a university degree to enter the publishing workforce. When I was joining about 7-8 years ago, it was still a requirement for many of the Big 5 Publishers that you had to have a relevant degree in humanities. But now you won’t find this as a requirement for 90% of publishers if not all.

Having a degree may be helpful in regard to your skills as a worker, and potentially your knowledge of the industry if you did an MA. But having or not having a degree with not swing the pendulum in your favour anymore.

Experience is still a requirement

As much as applications often say ‘no experience required’ it’s been my experience that this isn’t true. Yes, publishing looks for diverse applicants across all industries, but if you haven’t got any experience in bookselling, editing, marketing, admin or some relevant area of work then this industry is going to be hard to break into.

You don’t necessarily need to have experience working in publishing, but you need work experience in some relevant area. Working in a bookshop or administrative skills from working in an office environment are relevant. The more experience you have the easier it will be to break into the industry, but yes, I’m aware of the hypocrisy of the ‘entry-level’ job actually requiring work experience.

Having a profile is handy

If you have a social media profile within the bookish community this is handy. At least from a Publicity and Marketing point of view. If I see an applicant has over 10,000 TikTok followers or a successful Bookstagram or YouTube account this will make me sit up and listen. It’s because it tells me that this applicant has an understanding of the industry, they also have a genuine passion for books that we can utilise in our own platforms and brands. Not to mention self-motivation, which is key to publishing.

I hope that helps to remove some myths or grey areas around the Publishing Industry in the UK. For more resources check out my Publishing Hopeful’s Toolkit. And drop me a line if you have any questions by email, Twitter or by leaving a comment below.

Love Ellie x

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6 Things to know about the Publishing Industry UK


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