After having seen myself just how powerful social media is as a tool to help publishing hopefuls improve their skills and capacities, I thought it would be extremely insightful to have a chat with a few of these hopefuls themselves. We covered pretty much everything from bookstagram to The Dots. There are so many ways to take advantage of the internet and, more specifically, of social media in order to gain experience that can later be transferred to our CVs as skills that would be relevant to a publishing position.
The publishing industry is highly competitive, and 2020 has made things that slightly bit more complicated for us hopefuls to find internships and entry-level positions. However, do we necessarily need to square our options down to the latter in order to gain experience? At least not in my opinion. Both Jenny and Avi decided to start a bookstagram due to its tight relationship with marketing skills, portraying a creative portfolio, and sharing their love for books. James, on the other hand, was told firsthand by HarperNorth that having one of these book accounts would be a great way to show one’s passion for the industry.
However, bookstagram is not the only way to keep up with networking, trends, and books. A creative blog is always a great idea - it will also give you the opportunity to write longer posts without having to stick to such a small word limit. Writing about books does not only show your love and passion for them, but it also shows initiative, enthusiasm and motivation.
Of course books are a big part of publishing, howbeit, should writing about them be the only way to show initiative and passion for the industry? Absolutely not. This is where networking came into our discussion. Networking is important in most industries, however in publishing it gives us even more of a boost for our future career. If we know how to network, it’s possible to meet authors, request copies of new books in order to review them (on sites such as NetGalley, for example), meet publishing peers, and even to get the chance to meet others with similar interests to our own. Pages such as Twitter, LinkedIn, The Dots… are all used for networking, however they could not be more different.
When it comes to comparing these different platforms, it’s easy to notice just how its users’ approach and personality change on each of them. On Twitter it seems there is humour and a whole lot of memes, in other words, it seems there is a more human feel to communication and networking with other hopefuls, or even with people who are already in the industry. However, LinkedIn can be tricky to use when some profiles seem to show an extremely distant and, sometimes, far from real side to their companies and people - it seems like a much more corporate ‘community’. This is where The Dots comes in; we classed it as the more artistic, creative and warm version of LinkedIn. Reading other articles and stories online, I have read about The Dots ’aiming to be the LinkedIn for creatives’.
Although all of the previous strategies, sites and networking pages are important for skill enhancing, creating contacts and building rapport with other hopefuls and people in the industry, it can be extremely disheartening to receive one rejection after another. This is where the Publishing Hopefuls Facebook group makes an appearance. The latter is more than just a group, it’s a community for all us hopefuls where we can ask all kinds of publishing related questions. Important information is posted on this group on a weekly basis, such as job and internship threads, advice on CVs and cover letters, answers to difficult questions regarding the industry and much more.
As important as the information above is, something that makes this group different to any other platform or page is the community feel that has emerged thanks to its creators, of course, but also thanks to each and every one of its members. If you need reassurance, support, extra information or even a compiled list of job opportunities, Publishing Hopefuls is definitely the place to be (or the group to join).
In the end, it all comes down to constancy and adaptability. It’s difficult enough to have the pressure of so many other wonderful candidates, and the need to make yourself stand out, to have to also gain experience in only one, set in stone, way. The key to success in every aspect in life is the ability to adapt, recreate and persist in order to achieve your goals. The above is only a small compilation of a few ways that will help many people to gain experience. However, there are infinite sources such as the internet, books, social media, articles and many others from which we can learn more each day in order to gain experience and knowledge. If what we are doing now doesn’t seem to be working towards our goal, it’s important to change our strategy - never the goal.