Work in Publishing week
To mark the Publishing Association's Work in Publishing week, I've put together a list of five reasons I enjoy working in the publishing industry. If you're thinking of moving into the publishing sector, and editorial work in particular, I hope that this article inspires you to find out more about a career in publishing!
Some background on my publishing experience: I provide freelance editorial services to publishers and businesses, mainly copy editing, proofreading and editorial project management. I have worked in-house at Pearson, an educational publisher, and the European Parliament. Nowadays, I specialise in educational publishing, sustainability and languages.
1. Creating books!
Like most people who work in publishing, I count myself as a bibliophile. Working on language textbooks at Pearson combined my love of books with my passion for language learning. Nothing beats the feeling of flicking through an advance copy of an exercise book, having witnessed its evolution from an on-screen manuscript over several rounds of proofs!
2. Learning new skills
If you opt for a career in publishing, there are endless routes you can follow, from specialist areas (languages and sustainability for me), to the services you provide (development editing, proofreading and picture research, to name a few!).
You are able to train in a wide range of areas, gaining new skills and building on your existing ones. For example, in the past few years I have attended an 'awayday' for freelancers working in English Language Teaching (ELT) and gained a qualification in editorial project management. To me, professional development is an important aspect of my career, and it means that my day-to-day work never gets stale!
3. Wonderful colleagues
This speaks for itself, really – I've found that publishing people are generally pretty great! Colleagues tend to be supportive, knowledgeable about their specialist areas and passionate about their projects.
As an editor, I am generally part of a wider team that might also include a commissioning editor, a native speaker checker (if it is a foreign language book), a picture researcher and a designer, among others. In the last few months, I've worked with teams based in Paris and Bonn. I love working with and learning from people with such varied skillsets and backgrounds.
4. Varied projects
A career in publishing comes with endless possibilities in terms of specialisms. From fiction to cookery books and from creative advertising copy to technical manuals, you can build your career around your interests and experience.
The training opportunities mentioned above (can you tell I'm a fan of learning?) enable you to add to your arsenal of specialisms and skills, and freelancing allows you the freedom to pursue the projects you find most interesting. Personally, I relish taking on projects that are varied in terms of topic and scope, where an in-house role may be more restrictive.
5. Make a difference
Educational resources are designed to be used by learners; the aim, in the end, is to support their learning. As a member of the team behind the product, you are part of that creation process – and that's a great feeling!
Part of an editor's job is to ensure that the text is inclusive. On a textbook, for example, this may involve checking for inclusive language, keeping learners with dyslexia or colour blindness in mind, and making sure that illustrations are representative and avoid stereotypes. It can feel very rewarding to work on resources where readers will feel seen and represented.
If you'd like to find out more about a career in publishing, search for the hashtag #WorkInPublishing on social media.