Today’s blog post is the start of a new series in which I will be providing a helpful guide to the wide variety of different jobs in publishing. There are so many different jobs in the publishing industry, and it doesn’t help that often the same role will have a different job title at different publishers! This series will review a specific role in each post, and aims to give you some insight into what those roles are like. Some of the questions I know you’re desperate to ask, I will try my darnedest to answer.
Traditionally, people who go into publishing jobs are big readers, people who absorb books at the speed of light. However in reality, publishing attracts a diverse range of people with different skillsets. There are a huge variety of roles in publishing, which mean that really anyone can find their home in the publishing world. To help us along, I will be giving the roles I profile in this blog series a ***5 star rating***, comparing:
We’ll start today then with a very popular entry level role within the publishing industry: the Publishing/Editorial Assistant!
This role tends to attract fresh graduates that maybe studied English or History at university. It is a entry level role and according to Glassdoor.com, the average salary for a Publishing Assistant is around £23k. I think this is spot on. From experience the salary offered for this role tends to be around £21k-£25k depending on existing experience.
Just an FYI, Publishing Assistant and Editorial Assistant are the same! It’s usually the exact same level role, with just a slightly different title. In this role, you would generally be handling routine queries from editors, authors or reviewers, taking notes in meetings and collecting data to be analysed by more senior team members. You might be supporting the peer review process, but this is not the main bulk of the role as often the process of monitoring peer review and chasing up delayed editors/reviewers is completed by a separate department, or outsourced entirely.
In journal publishing, most publishers are looking for fresh graduates for the Publishing/Editorial Assistant role. In fact, most job adverts for journal publishers even ask for a science-related degree. I personally don’t have a science-related degree (proud History & English Lit. grad right here), and I know so many people who have started at the Assistant role and worked their way up to high level positions without having a science-related degree. So if you see a requirement for a science-related degree in a job advert for this level role, I say ignore it and go for it! Some publishers will accept graduates with no experience if they have a well-written, carefully personalised cover letter and give a decent interview. At this entry level, the most important thing is enthusiasm, show that you have done a lot of research on the company and really know your stuff. Taking the time to do your research on the publisher will show and will go a long way to impressing your interviewer. So in summary, for difficulty of entry into the Publishing/Editorial Assistant role, I give this role: 2 out of 5-stars.
This is the sort of role where you can do your job, close your laptop and go home, without having to worry so much about meeting targets or deadlines. Having said this, at certain times of the year the publishing world gets very busy and there might well be stressful periods where there isn’t much capacity in this role. This job can also become quite repetitive, which I personally would find stressful as I need a fast-paced varied role to keep me engaged, but others might enjoy the regularity this role offers. So for all these reasons, I’ve rated the stress level as 3/5-stars.
I think the Publishing Assistant role is one of the hardest ones to break out of. Generally, people have gained everything they can from the role in terms of new skills and challenges after about 1-2 years. The problem here is the potential of being pigeonholed into a job because you perform it too well! On the other hand, this role is an excellent platform to move onto more varied roles in the industry. It’s a great “all-rounder” role and provides a fantastic introduction into the world of publishing, but I’ve rated the career longevity for this specific role as 1-star, as most people tend to move onto other roles after a year or two.
That’s it for my review of the Publishing/Editorial Assistant role this week. It’s a great springboard role for learning about the publishing industry and developing a strong foundation of knowledge before moving onto new challenges. If you want to see a specific job profiled as part of this blog series, drop me an email!
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