Much more than reading manuscripts

When you think about publishing houses, you probably imagine solely literature graduates reading countless authors’ manuscripts in search of the next publishing phenomenon. That kind of work is undoubtedly crucial, but publishing houses also provide a diverse range of other roles. There are plenty of publishing jobs for people with technical and practical skills, in addition to roles for those with literary insights.
Whether you’re an ambitious student or experienced professional looking for a career change, read on to find the publishing house job that’s right for you.

Spotting the next bestseller

At the heart of a publishing house’s activities is the Editorial department, which tends to be the most competitive area of the publishing industry in which to secure a job.
The entry-level role is Editorial Assistant, which involves administrative duties such as liaising with other departments to ensure that publishing projects stay on schedule.
Eagle-eyed Copy Editors proofread manuscripts, check references and ensure that any necessary corrections are made. When manuscripts require extensive revisions, Copy Editors need to give feedback to authors in as diplomatic a way as possible.
Commissioning Editor is the most sought-after editorial job – in this role, you’d be selecting what you judge to be the best manuscripts for publication, as well as choosing titles to reprint. Detailed knowledge of market trends is essential.
Book Designers have the exciting task of creating memorable book jackets, illustrations and promotional material. They’re expected to have art and design qualifications and be confident using cutting-edge graphics software.

Looking after legal issues

The Rights and Contracts departments are concerned with the legal aspects of publishing, such as copyright, licensing and financial agreements.
The Rights Manager licenses the creation of translations, film adaptations, serialisations, etc. ensuring that each book generates as much revenue as possible.
The Contracts Manager drafts contracts between the publishing house and authors or other publishers, as well as interpreting legal documents from other sources. They’re both supported by Rights and Contracts Administrators.

Preparing manuscripts for print

The Production department gets writers’ manuscripts ready to be made into books. The process involves typesetting, proofing, dealing with suppliers and printers, etc.
Those activities are overseen by the Production Controller, who creates cost estimates for each project. The aim is to produce high-quality books on tight budgets, and so the ability to negotiate effectively with suppliers is advantageous.
The Production Controller is supported by Production Assistants, who must ensure that the printers have all the material and information they need to go to press.

Spreading the word

Great communication skills are vital in the Publicity and Marketing departments, which are responsible for bringing books to the attention of the press and public.
If you have experience of working for a public relations firm, you could be well suited to the role of Publicity Manager. You’d be drumming-up interest in books by persuading journalists to write about them, spreading the word via social media, as well as organising book launches and other events with the relevant authors.
The Marketing Manager creates advertising campaigns designed to inspire the books’ target audiences. As marketing budgets are often small, he or she needs to give careful consideration to where and when the adverts should appear. Publicity and Marketing Assistants handle much of the administrative work, such as distributing leaflets, finding venues for events and conducting market research.

Persuading retailers to stock titles

If you enjoy frequent travel and want to put your interpersonal skills to the test, consider becoming a Sales Representative. It’d be your job to persuade retailers to order books and display them in prominent positions on the shop floor.
Sales Representatives are assisted by Sales Administrators, who produce sales kits designed to help Reps brief retailers about books. They process orders, too.

Our key role in the publishing industry

A publishing house is a hive of activity and needs to co-ordinate its diverse operations across several busy departments. That makes using the perfect enterprise systems absolutely paramount.
At Ribbonfish, we’re experts at tailoring Salesforce and other technologies according to the needs of publishers, ensuring that the data they require is at their fingertips. For instance, we’ve implemented a Salesforce solution for Macmillan Learning that’s making the work of over 250 Sales Representatives much easier and more efficient.
If you’d like to speak to the knowledgeable team here at Ribbonfish about how our expertise could enhance your organisation’s processes, please contact us online.
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