How to Get a Job in Publishing Biggest Publishing Industry Trends for 2024 Basic Requirements to Start a Career in the Publishing Industry Most Popular Publishing Jobs in 2024 Best Platforms to Look for a Publishing Job Prepare Your Application Documents Prepare Yourself for the Interview Bottom Line
How to Get a Job in Publishing Biggest Publishing Industry Trends for 2024 Basic Requirements to Start a Career in the Publishing Industry Most Popular Publishing Jobs in 2024 Best Platforms to Look for a Publishing Job Prepare Your Application Documents Prepare Yourself for the Interview Bottom Line
Updated 05/01/2021

How to Get a Job in Publishing

Want to start your career in publishing but don’t know where to begin? No worries, we got you covered! Use our detailed guide on how to start working in the publishing industry and get your first job in no time.

Want to start your career in publishing but don’t know where to begin? No worries, we got you covered! Use our detailed guide on how to start working in the publishing industry and get your first job in no time.

According to a Statista report, the number of workers in the US publishing industry has significantly increased during the past two years. The growth can mostly be explained by the promising future of this field. It is not about just books anymore. Content can now be received in the form of audio or e-book or a web page. All these opportunities attract new specialists. In this article, you can find out how to get a job in publishing.


Biggest Publishing Industry Trends for 2024

The world is changing, and so is the publishing industry. Before you apply for any of the publishing positions, it’s essential to get a grasp of the industry itself. Take a look at some of the most prominent trends:

  1. The publishing industry is moving towards IT. Technology is slowly changing the world, and the publishing industry is no exception. Over the last couple of years, there has been significant growth in the consumer e-books segment, and this trend is projected to remain unchanged until 2025. Simultaneously, there has been a rise in the popularity of audiobooks, especially in the US. Now, one in five Americans prefers to listen to an audiobook than to read a paper copy. This means that anyone who wants to enter the publishing industry should now be tech-savvy.
  2. Publishing houses are improving their online presence. Publishers are trying to draw more clients online by improving their websites and investing in SEO. This means that new opportunities will arise for developers and designers who want to get into the publishing industry.
  3. Multichannel publishing is getting more popular. Publishing houses are now providing their books in many formats to make them more accessible for readers. It means making books readable on your tablet, or smartphone, or website, or e-reader. Such diversity allows publishers to reach a more significant number of potential clients and improve their sales.

Basic Requirements to Start a Career in the Publishing Industry

You may ask yourself: how hard is it to get a job in publishing? In fact, you have no obstacles for your career if you can meet the employers' current requirements. Sure all publishing jobs have their specifics. However, there are still some "must-haves" for all candidates who want to know how to get into publishing. Let’s take a look at them.

  • Great communication skills. A great deal of publishing jobs involves daily communication with other people. If you love that, a publicist's position, for example, might be an excellent fit for you.
  • Punctuality. Strict deadlines are something that one will encounter very often while working in publishing.

  • Attention to detail. Some types of jobs in publishing, such as editor or proofreader, require excellent attention to detail and the ability to notice the slightest mistakes in the text.
  • Design skills. Book production is not only about writing or editing content. A whole department is responsible for the book’s appearance, where you can put your design skills to good use.
  • Technical skills. The publishing business is no longer just about writing and printing books. Almost any book can now be turned into an e-book or adapted for reading from a smartphone, tablet, or computer. This is an excellent opportunity for technical specialists who are familiar with technology to enter this industry.
  • A degree. An academic background in the form of a bachelor’s or master’s degree in English language, journalism, public relations, or marketing is often required for publishing positions. However, some employers don’t define it as a mandatory thing – you would have to find that out for each particular position. In any case, a degree would be an excellent asset to your job profile.
  • Previous experience. Relevant work experience is something that is highly valued by employers in the publishing field. It can be a summer job, full-time employment, or an internship – having experience will increase your chances of being picked out as a candidate for the job.
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Most Popular Publishing Jobs in 2024

Below you can find some of the most popular jobs in the publishing industry and the necessary skills to apply for each of them.

Literary Agent

Literary agents play the role of mediators between the writer and the publishing house. They must have an excellent knowledge of the publishing market to promote their clients’ careers. Beginner writers rely significantly on their agents as they yet have much knowledge about editors and publishers.

Literary agents are responsible for every bit of work necessary to sell the author’s writing – managing contracts, negotiating on behalf of the client, managing the writer’s career, and consulting writers on legal matters.

To become one, you’d need to have at least a BA in the English language, Literature, or Journalism, a good knowledge of the publishing industry, and strong communication skills. You’ll also need to be an excellent salesperson and have a sense of what books might become a hit.

Book Editor

As a book editor, you’d be responsible for editing and proofreading writers’ works. You might also be in charge of finding talented writers or picking out interesting materials sent to the publishing house. It is a good career option for people who enjoy reading and can spot a book that might become a bestseller.

As for requirements – you’d need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Communications, or English language to be able to apply for this position. However, a strong passion for reading is far more critical in this case.


Working at the publishing house, a publicist is responsible for attracting media attention to newly released books and promoting authors. It might be a perfect career path for you if you enjoy reading and meeting new people.

This job requires stress resistance, as you would be responsible for solving crises and managing damage risks for the publishing house and its writers.

To become a publicist, you’d need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Journalism, or any related field and strong communication and organizational skills.

Copy Editor

A copy editor's job requires editing copies of authors’ writings and making sure that they don’t contain any grammatical errors. Such a specialist also ensures that the author’s writing is in line with the publishing house’s style.

Typically, copy editors work full-time in the office; however, some publishing houses might hire them for specific projects or part-time. It makes this position an excellent choice for students or entry-level specialists who want to begin their careers in publishing.

Anyone who wants to apply for this role is expected to have an excellent grasp of English, preferably (but not obligatory) a degree in the English language, and a good eye for noticing mistakes.

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Production Editor

Production editors take over the process of proofreading, editing, designing, and releasing a book. They ensure that the production goes without delays and stays within the set budget. A production editor does the final check before the book is being released.

Most employers prefer their applicants for the position of a production editor to have a BA in the English Language, Journalism, or any related field and some practical experience with writing and editing books.

Sales Manager

The sales manager is a pretty versatile job – they are needed almost everywhere. The publishing industry is not an exception. Sales managers in publishing sell books to bookstores, wholesalers, businesses, government, and private institutions. These specialists can also collaborate with bookstores to promote particular books to customers.

It is possible to apply for this position without a degree in Marketing or Communications; however, such a degree would be to your advantage compared to other applicants. What is more important is your experience in sales and marketing skills.

Marketing Specialist

Marketers in publishing mainly manage press releases, create catalogs, and write promotional materials for new books. It is a fast-paced job that requires some creativity, strategical thinking, and the ability to manage stressful situations.

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Best Platforms to Look for a Publishing Job

Now that you know about the most popular publishing jobs, it’s time to find out where you can find one. We’ve prepared a list of useful platforms that you could use in your job search.

  1. – if you’re looking for a traditional book publishing job or internship – this is the place. It is a career website for the Association of American Publishers and is often the first place people look for a publishing job in the US.
  2. – the publishing industry is not just about books. You can also work in a magazine. If you are looking for that kind of job – this website is what you need. Apart from the job openings, they also have much advice on how to get a job at a publishing house.
  3. MediaBistro – a great job board for those who are looking for a job in media, including publishing. Apart from work positions, they also offer various courses to improve your skills and get the job you want.
  4. Publishers Weekly – a news portal for publishing specialists that also has job hunting options.
  5. Center for communication – a media forum that can be a big help for recent graduates who are looking for a job in the publishing industry. They throw regular events for students in the NYC area where they can meet representatives of publishing companies and find out for themselves what kind of position they want to obtain in this industry.
  6. – you can find plenty of useful information here for anyone interested in the publishing industry – from interviews with authors to book reviews and news in the industry. As a bonus – you will have access to a list of relevant publishing job openings.

Prepare Your Application Documents

For most types of jobs in the publishing industry, you will need to prepare a set of documents before applying for the position you like. Here’s what you’ll need to increase your chances for an interview invitation.

Make Copies of Your Education Certificates

It doesn’t matter if you only have editorial courses behind under your belt, an internship at the publishing company, or a master’s degree in literature – you must make copies of all your educational achievements relevant for each position. You never know what skill of yours will be the one to impress the recruiter.

Build up a strong resume

A well-built resume might significantly improve your chances of getting the job you want. The competition in the publishing job market is fierce, and you have to show to your employer that you are better than the rest of the applicants. A resume is your way of showing all your skills, work experience, and professional training at the same time. Here are a few tips on how to make a winning resume for a publishing job:

  • Mention only that experience of yours relevant for the position to which you’re applying. Don’t over complicate your resume. If you are not 100% sure what your position implies, you can mention a wide variety of your past projects. It will indicate your professional versatility.
  • Attach a link to your portfolio. Most publishing jobs require prior writing experience, so showing a few examples of your works will be helpful. Make sure you choose the best ones.
  • Put a summary on top. You should give the recruiter the best impression of yourself from the start. It is typical for a recruiter to spend no longer than 7 seconds scanning each resume, so make sure to put all your strengths on top.
  • Focus on your soft skills. Getting a job in publishing without experience is still possible if you can impress them with your soft skills relevant to the position. According to research by LinkedIn, 92% of recruiters consider soft skills more important than technical ones. So be sure to add them to your resume.

Work on Your Cover Letter

Creating a cover letter is an excellent way of showing your interest in the position. It is less formal than a resume and should not take longer than one page. Do not duplicate the information mentioned on your resume, instead tell the employer why you are interested in this position, what skills of yours can be useful if you get this job, and what value you can bring to the team.

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Prepare Yourself for the Interview

An interview can be a definitive factor for whether or not you get a job. So you must prepare for it. Here are a few tips that might help when applying for a position within the publishing industry:

  • Read about the publishing company first. Each publisher has a unique style, and you need to understand whether it suits you. Take a look at their recent releases. It will give you insight into what you might be working with.
  • Prepare some questions. You can ask a recruiter about something they mentioned during the interview or come up with your own questions regarding the position. Be as specific as possible. Ask how the position you’re applying for relates to the whole department, what your career opportunities might be, how a typical working day in the office looks, etc. In either way, it will show that you are strongly interested in getting the job and might help you stand out from the rest of the applicants.
  • Become familiar with the professional vocabulary. It’s important to be able to hold a conversation with the recruiter on a professional level. Check out some relevant websites such as BookJobs, Publishers Lunch, BookSquare, Digital Book World, or Shelf Awareness to get yourself up-to-date with current events in the world of publishing.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Have at least 8 hours of sleep before the interview, stay hydrated, and don’t skip your meal. These simple steps will ensure that you will perform at the peak of your abilities.
  • Don’t forget to take a few copies of your resume, cover letter, and references. They will come in handy if the recruiter fails to print them, or you have to introduce yourself to multiple interviewers.

Bottom Line

Getting a new job is always exciting, especially in such an interesting field as publishing. Hopefully, our tips will help you choose the position that will suit you the most. Just remember to create a good resume, dedicate some time to your cover letter, and prepare yourself for the interview.

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