It’s National Careers Week; a celebration of careers guidance and advice. The aim is to help students as they’re leaving school to pick a job that suits them so they can start working towards it.
As we work in publishing, we asked the senior members of staff how they got into the industry and what advice they would give to young people who want to join this wonderful world.
“I started as a temporary Export Sales Assistant at Dorling Kindersley. I was temping because I couldn’t find a job. I quickly fell in love with publishing and 25 years on I am still here, having worked across many departments including Export, UK Sales, Rights and more recently, in technology that supports publishers. The key to a successful career in publishing is a love of books and the ability to be a good networker as the industry is small and well-connected.”
– Jane Tappuni, Head of Business Development
“As with many other industry friends and colleagues, I got into publishing totally by accident. I went off to a job agency specialising in placing people in ‘The Arts’ (it doesn’t exist anymore) and they sent me to an interview in the publicity department at Hodder & Stoughton. 30 years later and the rest, as they say, is history…. If I was to pass over any words of advice for anyone wanting to launch their career in publishing now, I’d say make sure you have a passion for books. Publishing is not the best paid job in the world, but it more than makes up for it if you love what you do and you believe in the product you are selling. I’ve never had any other job, and I wouldn’t swap it for anything.”
– Alex Hippisley-Cox, PR and Communications Director
“After graduating in Spanish and French literature, it was only natural that I would segue into the international literary world… I didn’t expect this to involve envelope-stuffing proofs of a sex guide destined for potential co-publishers overseas! As it turns out, the life of a rights and co-editions manager isn’t limited to sex guides, and I highly recommend this career to anyone with an interest in languages, books and with an attention to detail to rival Knausgaard. I landed my first job in publishing via an interview for a production role, for which I was (thankfully?) deemed unsuitable. Instead my interviewer recommended me for a role in international rights. After seven years attending book fairs, I started working for them, and I now work in rights and technology. My advice to anyone starting out is to keep an open mind; you never know where an interviewer might spot talent you didn’t know you had, even if it’s not for the role you’re applying for.”
– Amy Webster, Head of Sales
“I was (and am) a huge book nerd. At 16 I decided I wanted to become an editor, dreaming of discovering the next big bestseller. I studied literature & economics and did a few internships in the publishing industry. My last one – in a small academic publishing house after I graduated – led to my first job and they took me on as an editor. From there, I changed jobs to do a traineeship in a bigger house in Munich. After that, I participated in a French-German exchange program for young publishing professionals, which allowed me to work in a literary agency in Paris for three months. This programme got me in touch with the lovely people at Frankfurter Buchmesse. Through multiple strikes of luck, I ended up back in my hometown and at the Book Fair which had – remember I was a book nerd and could read from age 4 – always been a go-to event for me. Though I am no longer an editor, I am not sorry for it. In fact, the advice I would give anyone interested in publishing is this: Keep your eyes and mind open. Publishing is diverse and so are the jobs.”
– Jenny Küehne, Sales Manager
If you have any advice, share it in the comments or tweet us at @iprlicense.