Sometimes it can feel as though getting into the world of book editing is an impossible task. According to Bustle, publishing can be a “tough field to break into.” It is an overwhelming industry but a desirable one for those with a love of books and proofreading. Like many, as an aspiring editor, you’re likely to be well-versed in scrolling through job websites and applying for publishing jobs left, right and centre. As important as this time is, it’s also a good idea to spend time becoming more employable for the publishing world.
So while you’re applying for every publishing job going, what else can you do to increase your editing employability?
Read… a lot
It’s no good wanting to work in book publishing if you’re not always reading. Employers want to see you’re knowledgeable on all things books. They want to see you’re passionate about your all-time favourites and that you know the books everybody is talking about.
Some top tips:
- Read the books published by companies you’re interested in and/or companies you have interviews lined up for. If you want to stand a chance in getting the job, you need to do some revision.
- Read the books of your favourite publishing companies’ top competitors.
- Read some of the classics; maybe dip in and out of Goodreads’ “100 Books to Read Before You Die” list.
- Chronicle Books even suggest reading books that explore the editorial process.
Write book reviews
Setting up a book blog will prove to employers that you are book driven, both in your work and personal life. Through publishing book reviews you can prove your writing skills are strong; showcasing that your editing skills are second to none. You could even consider including guest writer reviews; employers can see, first hand, how well you proofread. Writing book reviews will really show employers how serious you are about the book publishing industry.
Try your hand at freelance work
Your CV will shine if you have some experience. Not only this, but you can improve your skills and be editor ready for when you’re offered a job in publishing. Guardian suggest joining the Society of Freelance Editors and Proofreaders. Spending time freelance editing will allow you to get to grips with the job and learn while you wait for interviews to come your way.
Spend time researching
Ensure you spend time researching the publishing industry; this way you can work out what skills you need to develop or improve. Read relevant articles and watch helpful YouTube videos. Hearing what publishing is really like from the professionals means you can be fully prepared for interviews. You can show off your knowledge from your research when facing an interviewer.
Work at a bookshop
You love books? So while you wait for your dream publishing job to come around, go and work at a local bookshop. The Bookseller claim you will “learn more about the book trade as a whole” in a bookshop than anywhere else. Here are some of the many benefits for aspiring editors:
- You can deepen your knowledge of so many publishing houses.
- You’ll soon see which publishing houses crop up the most.
- You’ll begin to understand which books sell and which don’t.
- You’ll see who buys what books.
- You could even meet some authors and get to ask them questions. Your go-to question should be about the publishing industry!
Volunteer at a library
Similar to working in a bookshop, volunteering at a library will allow you to learn a lot about books. And a bonus? Employers will really see how keen you are when you choose to volunteer your own time for the sake of books. Additionally it’ll be a lot of fun! You may even be able to lead or take part in the library’s events.
Just because employers aren’t getting back to you, it doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of worthwhile things to do in the meantime. Developing your skills and experience while doing some things that’ll look good on your CV will speak loudly to employers. Although the job hunting process can be demoralising, there’s lots to do to ensure you’re spending your time wisely in the meantime.