Advice from Publishing Professionals Part 2

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a Thanksgiving filled with food and gratitude. Here is the second part of my post on advice I have gotten throughout my internships in NY’s publishing industry. As always, I start with a song!

~If you have ever been interested in a career in publishing, you have probably heard of the publishing programs offered by NYU and Columbia. These are useful for meeting people. One of my bosses did the Columbia course. She got her first job because she introduced herself to one of the speakers and said she wanted his job. Her asked her for her contact information and offered her a job when she graduated.

~Know your customer. Knowing who buys your books (or product) and what they are interested in will help you publish more books they will want to buy.

~It was made obvious in my previous post that publishing is a time consuming career. If you have kids, you will probably need full time help.

~The two most important things in book publishing are content quality and marketing.

~The difference between marketing and publicity:


  • author appearances, interviews, etc.
  • holding the author’s hand through it all*


  • using social media to get the book visibility
  • coming up with a campaign (like giving away advance copies of the book)
  • reaching out to popular web sites/blogs to get readers excited about the book

~A little bit about how publishing houses sell and distribute books: Publishing houses have a large minimum for book orderers. Wholesalers will buy in bulk. Small book stores buy from wholesalers instead of direct from the houses. That way, the can put in one order with books from different publishers, saving them time and money.

Music break! I have to thank my brother, Tom, for showing me this track. If you like my music, check out his blog because he has some really great stuff.

~The traditional route of undergraduate English degree followed by Publishing Course is not required. One of my bosses started interning in NYC right from high school. She went to school at night to get her undergraduate degree. She was able to follow one of her employers into the job she holds now. (Lesson: Be nice to the people above you).

~She also worked freelance jobs for a little while; ghostwriting, copyediting, project manager/editor.

~A project manager can do anything, but their main task is to keep a project on schedule.

~Illustrated books are very different from fiction. Illustrated are a lot more labor intensive. Editors get to use their editorial and visual eye. My former boss culminated her visual eye by watching her boss evaluate manuscripts.

~Bad design is when the readers notices it, or is pulled out of the text and has to push themselves back in. The eye should naturally flow where the designer leads lead it. Good design is when the viewer doesn’t notice it. Readers don’t notice when they are turning the pages (why the printed book is a perfect technology).

~Editorial skills are applicable to other jobs. Like I said in my advice post, there isn’t a lot of money to be made in publishing. If you want to make lots of money, see what else is out there.

~My former boss has a toddler and unlike the editor from my previous post, she can’t take her work home with her. She has to be extremely efficient when she is in her office. It is hard to balance a 9 to 5 job and be a single parent.

~Different publishing companies have different personalities. If you don’t like working at one, try a different one.

That concludes all of the advice I have gotten from people in the publishing industry. If you think I have been told something drastically wrong, please save me a grave error in my future by commenting below! If any of this advice was helpful, please comment on that too! Thanks for reading! I leave you with a song!

*I don’t agree that authors need “hand holding”


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