Monday, February 27, 2012

Dreams of Working in Publishing

Hello, I read your blog (Jessica's) about getting a job in publishing. I want so badly to work with new authors everyday, to be involved in the process of publishing and be with great works from the beginning.

It seems clear the main place to be is New York City. I live in West Texas. I am an English major (minor: Communications) and I will be certified to teach high school upon graduation. I do not have the resources to just up and move to the city. I was thinking of completing my Bachelor's degree and using teaching as a way to live comfortably and realistically be able to relocate to the city. That way, I could search for entry-level positions without fear of being destitute or having to move back home.

Is this a good plan?

I know it sounds like I'm not fully committed to my dreams of working in the publishing industry, but I think success stories I hear involve people who have money and resources. I have neither. And I've tried moving to big cities and waiting tables- let's just say that's not an option for me.

It warms my heart to hear someone say that their dreams are to "work with new authors" because that's really what publishing is all about. So many people go into this business because they want to be writers. I'm not sure I ever wanted to be a writer, but I wanted to be a part of the process, which is why my job is perfect for me. I get to work to my strengths and hopefully encourage authors to work to theirs.

You are correct that the right place to be is New York, and I think you have a good and smart plan. It's not easy to simply pack up and relocate to a new place. I know. I did it. When I first decided to move to New York to "make it there" I had nothing but a degree in hand. Okay, I lie. I also had five years of waitressing experience on my resume and, let's face it, you can almost always get a job waiting tables. I knew that I could find a waitressing job while I searched for my calling. That was my plan.

I think packing up to move to a new city and working at something while you achieve your true dreams is commitment. A huge commitment. Once you get to the City there are a lot of opportunities available to those who are searching for jobs in publishing. Both NYU and Columbia have publishing programs. I'll let others comment on the usefulness of those. I don't think they are at all necessary (I know more people who did not do those than did), but I understand they can be good for networking.

Publishers Marketplace has a Job Board that is a definite must for anyone looking for a job in publishing. I know there are other publishing job boards, but I can't say I know what they are off the top of my head. Watch the comments, I'm sure someone will post a list of other places.

There are internships every summer that might work perfectly for you if your "other job" is teaching. Most are unpaid or barely paid, but they will get your foot in the door. And lastly, send resumes blindly. You never know when an opening will come up, so every few months or so send a round of resumes to every publisher you're interested in working for. If you love mysteries, scour the mystery bookshelf and submit your resume to all of those publishers; if you love romance, do the same with the romance shelf.

And good luck. I think your plan is solid and it sounds like you have the drive to achieve your dreams.