Friday, October 27, 2006

Getting Into Publishing

I'm a senior in undergrad (English major, writing concentration) and I'm interested in becoming an editor eventually. What WOULD you suggest to do that? Is grad school necessary and *must* I move to NYC? I've tried finding out by browsing around online but the results are somewhat murky and my career services officer wasn't much help either. (Ok, I know that NYC is optional but I still *feel* like it isn't, esp. for fiction.) Thanks!

Grad school is not necessary or recommended. It is expensive, takes 2-3 years, and doesn't really aid your career in publishing.

The main way these days to get into publishing is to do an internship at an agency/publishing house, and then be an assistant to an agent for about a year before applying to a publishing company to be an editorial assistant.

Moving to New York, however, is basically a must, unless you can find employment at a small company/agency in the town where you live.


bebe said...

And don't get your heart set on fiction. Be open. If you've never even done an internship you can't possibly know fiction editorial is the only thing for you.

You don't have to be an agent's assistant--you can go straight from internships to EA. But you probably won't do so at any major New York publishers with only one summer/semester internship. Several is good...or one or two long ones. Also, look into associates programs.

Come to New York. You can go from here to there, but from there to here is harder. Publishing, particularly editorial, is for the truly passionate...moving to New York may seem like a hassle, but it's just the beginning...

Also, be open to waiting tables during that internship/interview period.

emeraldcite said...

Also, check for job listings, especially for editorialships.

Find yourself a professor to copyedit. When I was an undergrad, I copyedited at least a dozen books and a few journals.

This kind of experience will give you a leg up, not to mention a taste for the workload. It's long, sometimes boring, and unforgiving.

Great rewards, though...

Anonymous said...

I actually don't expect to work in fiction; that's just what I would ultimately love to do if I'm allowed to dream, you know? It's interesting because from what I can tell, most people say that living in NY is optional but grad school isn't. You're saying the opposite! I live in suburban Philly so I'm hoping to find something in the city and commute. I appreciate your taking the time to answer my question.

Anonymous said...

I'm an editor at a NYC publisher.

Edtiorial interships are not necessary.

They help, maybe, but in the 7 years I've been at my current house, we've not hired a single editorial intern for an editorial position. Not one.

We have, however, hired plenty of editorial assistants fresh out of college, no publishing courses, no internships, no grad school.

Grad school for entry level editorial positions is a waste of time. If anything, when looking for an EA, and seeing resumes that feature grad school, I wonder how much they were actually interested in publishing, considering they spent buckets of money to get a degree that is useless in the industry. My first thought is that they wanted to be an academic, but couldn't get a job, and this is a fallback.

But yes, if you want trade publishing, NYC is where you go. There are smaller houses elsewhere, but 99% of the bigger players in the industry are in New York--thus more jobs here, more turnover for the lower level positions, and more opportunity.

go to mediabistro, spring for the subscription to publishers lunch and look at their online job listings, and check the new york times classifieds all the damn time.