Welcome to Breaking Into Publishing, where we talk to publishing hopefuls about their job hunt experience, and wider tips they want to share with others. For our first feature, we spoke to Amy Lynn about her job search, lockdown learnings and all things book related!
Hi Amy! Can you tell us a bit about who you are?
Hi, my name is Amy, I’m 23 and from Hertfordshire. I studied English Literature at university and graduated in 2019. Since then, I have been gaining experience within the publishing industry and avidly reading in the hope of getting through my TBR pile.
What is the book that inspired your love of reading?
I have a long-standing love for literature and as a child, I read every adventure story I could find. Therefore, I would have to say Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome because I could connect to the narrative and draw parallels to my own life as a child, when I would spend summers sailing and exploring. My English teacher at school also hugely inspired me. We read Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway which piqued my interest in feminism and modernist literature and these topics became a big focus for me at university.
Which area of publishing do you hope to get into and why?
I am still learning so much about the different areas of publishing, however, I am really interested in publicity and editorial. Publicity interests me because it is all about communication and generating exposure to a new book using digital platforms. This is exciting because I enjoy creating original content and building hype around my own social media channels. Editorial also appeals to me because I believe that literature should be a consumable entity that is accessible and can be read widely. I think that managing a book from acquisition through to publication would be so exciting.
Has the role you wanted to pursue changed as you learnt more about the industry?
Not necessarily, but now I am more aware of technology and digital innovation within publishing. I have been learning to code during lockdown, and I am currently witnessing many similarities in the exactness of grammar and flow of narrative compared to the patterns and numbers of code. It is rewarding to see how coding can speed up tasks and reduce costs. I have also taken a digital marketing course, which has taught me a lot about outreach, data and analysis. I have learnt that to be competitive during this pandemic is to have excellent digital skills and a flair for technological innovation.
What would you say is the biggest challenge you have faced whilst job hunting?
For me, the biggest challenge has been not having any contacts in the industry, so I have had to really put myself out there when meeting others and building connections. The Society of Young Publishers is a great resource for this. Recently during lockdown, social media has also been hugely important for connecting to others in the publishing industry. I have also had to research everything on my own, so speaking to other people about their role and how they started a career in publishing has been extremely valuable.
What’s something that has surprised you about the industry that you didn’t realise before?
I am surprised by how many different types of publishers there are – it's not just the Big Five! There are so many smaller indie publishers, and they often focus on specific topics and issues that society is facing. Contacting smaller publishers is also a great way to get some experience, as you are more likely to get involved with the entire process of publication.
Do you have any advice for other publishing hopefuls?
My advice would be to speak to as many people working in the industry as you can. It's really important to build connections with others and it's also great to know there are others in the same situation as you. Take every opportunity you can to develop your skill set, even if it's not directly publishing-related. Finally, social media is hugely powerful as it allows you to engage in conversation and share your thoughts and opinions with others in the industry.