how long ago with 9th grade?
Well, 9th grade was Fall 2001-Summer 2002, and it was one of the first things our teacher explained, so almost 12 years ago… **insert flood of awkward high school memories**
Are you an EA, associate, etc.? How long did it take you to move up?
I’m an assistant manager and I function in a weird limbo between marketing and sales.
I’ve been working in publishing for over four years now at two different houses and am on my fourth role/title. My promotions have been a combination of hard work, and having some solid math/systems/Excel skills. I’m also intelligent and ambitious, which never hurts. I’d also like to give credit to the cosmos, because positions need to be available for promotions to happen.
I do not work in editorial but from what I know from talking with editors, promotions take longer in that department because being an editorial assistant is more along the lines of an apprenticeship since you need to really hone your skills.
I think this applies to all career fields, but you need to be your own advocate. People usually do not just hand over promotions and raises. You need to present a solid record of your awesomeness over an appropriate period of time, and then ask for said raise/promotion.
Can you explain POS?
POS is Point-of Sale. POS is a different way of tracking sales. What we consider to be a sale is when we sell a book directly to a vendor like Amazon, B&N, etc. POS is when that vendor sells a book to their customer or the end-user.
POS is a way to track how books are actually selling in the market place, and it’s a way to indicate returns. If your sales to vendors are way up, but your POS is down, it’s a good indicator that you should be expecting some returns from the vendor.
Bookscan is a third party company run by Nielsen (yep, the tv people) that helps create an industry standard so all publishers and stores can compare book sales. Bookscan gets POS information from a variety of vendors, so we can all get an idea of how the book industry is doing.
Does that make sense?
I am soon to finish my bachelor's degree in Biology and I wish to do a master's degree in creative writing. I haven't found my calling yet, all I know is that it's deeply linked with books and writing. So I'm curious...What do book publishers do exactly? And what do you suggest I'd do or study if I desire to choose it as my future career?
A publishing house is comprised of several different departments who all work together to get an author’s work from rough document, to a finished product into the stores and the hands of the consumer. Pretty much everything that doesn’t involve writing the actual book is done by publishing houses, or if the house doesn’t do the work it is contracted/freelanced out.
If you’re interested in working in publishing I’d recommend before you graduate applying for one of the Summer Publishing Institute’s as a much cheaper alternative to getting your MFA. Please keep in mind that I’m not totally qualified to provide career advice. From what I’ve seen in my office, people do have MFA’s but they start at the same entry level position as non-MFA’ers most of the time. If you don’t have creative internship experience, a publishing certificate can really help. You may still have to be an intern once you’re done with the program, but a lot of publishing internships lead the way to a permanent position.
Hope that helps a bit and good luck!!
When I started out I wasn’t sure where in publishing I wanted to work, but I’m pretty happy with the way things have turned out.
what's a buy report? do all publishers have them?
Howdy Anon. Good question.
A buy report is a way for publishers to help larger companies like wholesalers know how many units they should take on new titles that are forthcoming, and which warehouses they should have them shipped to.
I am working on one for a large national wholesaler, and I would assume that all academic publishers would need to fill these out. I cannot speak for the trade houses though. Fiction is such a different beast sales-wise.
how did you meet your husband? does he work in publishing too?
I met him during my sophomore year in college, he was a freshman and I was one of the Community Leaders (an unpaid RA) for our dorm. It wasn’t love at first sight, but we became friends and after dropping what felt like a million hints that he never picked up on, I made one of my signature moves during a Halloween party and we’ve been together every since.
He does not work in publishing, he is a market research analyst.
It’s kind of funny. We both went to Mizzou for Journalism and both of us changed our majors within the first year of being in school. I honestly don’t know if we would have met otherwise, so I’m really glad that we both thought we wanted to be journalists for awhile.
what do you look like?
A little something like this but with glasses.
At which store are those pens?
The Boo and I were out and about in Chelsea today. We stopped in at A.I. Friedman. Never been in there before, will definitely be heading back in the future for all my nifty journal need.
What was your major in college, and how did you get to where you are now?
I have a BA in English with an emphasis in creative fiction, a BA in Sociology, and a certificate in publishing.
I moved to NYC for the publishing certificate, and once that course was finished, applied for as many jobs in the books industry as I was qualified. I went on a few interviews, had two second calls but it was starting to get depressing. Finally I was offered and accepted an unpaid internship at a boutique literary agency in September. On the first day of my internship I was offered a position as a Marketing & Sales Assistant at a luxury illustrated book publisher as a full-time freelancer. I accepted and thankfully the agent in training that I was helping more than understood why I was leaving.
I spent a year at that job, and then started looking for a new position elsewhere. I was hired at the house that I currently work for, and have been there for almost three years. I started in the sales department and now I’m in marketing and work with analytics (and surprisingly really enjoy it).
I interned in the publishing industry for a bit and I'm itching to find a full-time job in NYC. I've tried many of the big houses but with no luck. Do you know of any smaller houses around?
There is an incredible amount of small presses all around the country.
Poets & Writers (pw.org) has a wonderful online database of small publishing houses that you can check out here. And here’s another listing of Independent Presses that you should check out from Bookmarket.com. These are by no means exhaustive, but they definitely provide you with a lot of companies to look into.
Don’t get discouraged if you can’t find work immediately at a bigger house. Keep checking Mediabistro.com and Publishersmarketplace.com. They tend to get job listings from houses of all sizes.
Good luck in the job hunt!