A career in publishing – Part 1

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One of the first questions a young child hears is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. This annoying little question has become even more difficult to answer today. Over the last 50 years, the world has been relatively peaceful which has led to an abundance of career options across the world. In addition, young citizens today want to make career choices that reflect their values and ideals and care about making a difference. Wealth creation continues to be important but people focus a lot more on work life balance and want careers with substance. So how do you go about making this important decision? How do you make a choice that has a future given the rate at which machines are taking over traditional jobs?

I would like to make a case for a career in publishing. Publishing is the activity of making information available to the public. This could be literature, music, science or just information in general. The key factor that is bringing us all close together today is the ease of sharing information and accessing it as well. The internet has been a huge enabler across the world and particularly in emerging countries. We are able to share ideas and express our opinions and our collective learning has grown almost exponentially. I recently read about Ryan, a 6 year old who made over $11 million last year publishing his reviews on the latest toys on YouTube! Enough to make you realize that the engine that is at the core of the information age is the publishing industry!

Assuming I have whetted your appetite about this $200+ billion industry, let’s take a closer look at the different jobs on offer (sources: thebalance.com and creativeskillset.org).

Art Editor – Creates the overall look of a magazine or a book, making sure it’s both attractive and easy to read. Responsible for making the book stand out on the shelf and creating a great experience for the reader. If you have a flair for design, this might be a good career for you.

Blogger – Uses the internet to communicate news, thoughts or ideas to a bigger audience. Good bloggers start small and soon become thought leaders and experts in their fields opening up careers as authors or public speakers.

Commissioning Editor – Reviews all new books and ideas and takes them all the way to the print. Commissioning editors are in the business of finding the next Dan Brown or Stephen King. Not only do they find good projects, they are the genies behind who edit the writer’s work and help in applying the finishing touches to make it a masterpiece. If you love reading and have a good eye for detail, a career as an editor might be just right.

Copy Editor – Ensures that the author’s work is free of spelling and grammatical errors and corrects any inconsistencies. They play a very important role in improving the readability while retaining the author’s voice. Experienced copy editors typically work as freelancers allowing them to pursue other passions as well.

Copy Writers – Create press releases, media kits and other marketing materials to promote a new book, article or series. People who have good writing skills and can work under pressure with very short deadlines do well in this role. This is a fast track career option for those who excel leading straight to the top.

Illustrator – A skilled artist who can create illustrations for children or technical or medical drawings. A role that requires a love for art and an ability to understand and translate authors instructions into descriptive illustrations. Good illustrators are hard to find and are highly sought after for their ability to make the content pop out of the page.

Journalist – Researches and discovers interesting new stories or topics for an article or the next bestseller. Journalists start behind the desk, toiling away till they are noticed and hit the fast track to become Pulitzer award winners or editors or tv anchors.

Literary Agents – Agents find and recruit literary talent to long term contracts before they hit it big. It is their job to spot diamonds in the rough and find good editors to take on their projects. There would be no JK Rowling without a Christopher Little. They know how to find, developer and promote authors and share their success through a healthy commission.

This is a two-part post. Click here to view the Part 2 of this post <hyperlink to part 2>

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