• The Publishing Post

Upskilling for Underrepresented Publishing Hopefuls

By Amelia Bashford, Kaia Blaszczyk, Misha Manani and Rowan Groat


The beginning of October marks the start of Black History Month in the UK, an annual commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of Black people. For this issue, we wanted to highlight some of the opportunities, networks and resources available – often exclusively – to underrepresented publishing hopefuls.


Opportunities


In recent years, there have been many job opportunities, buddy schemes and internships aimed at those from underrepresented backgrounds. Below we have curated a list featuring some fantastic options:


  • HarperCollins UK BAME Traineeship: Established six years ago, this 12-month training contract is open to individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds and is designed to provide an insight into all of the key departments in publishing.


  • Penguin Random House The Scheme: This is a 6-month paid internship exclusively for individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and/or Black, Asian or ethnic minority groups. No previous experience is necessary.


  • BookTrust: They have put together a list of resources and opportunities available to writers and illustrators of colour, including calls for submissions and creative writing classes.


  • Creative Access: They provide equal opportunities in the employment market, regardless of your background. They have partnered with several publishers to advertise mentorship and positive action job schemes. Check out these opportunities in book publishing.


Black and Ethnic Minority Publishing Networks


Here is a list of employee networks to join in publishing for underrepresented backgrounds. We strongly encourage networking because it provides great opportunities to receive advice, to hear about other people’s journeys and to make positive connections with people in the industry.


  • @THRIVEHachette: This is open to all employees at Hachette, however, they launched a fiction development programme for writers from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background. They also host free events throughout the year with authors and a series of talks for Black History Month. Look out for more events here.


  • Black Agents and Editors Group (BAE): A wonderful community for those of African descent working in book publishing. They also established the first mentoring scheme for Black people who are hoping to break into publishing. If you work in editorial or agenting, register to be a member, and if you don’t work in publishing, sign up to be a mentee.


  • Black Young Professionals (BYP): Not publishing specific, but this organisation helps to bring Black professionals and students together for career guidance and opportunities. They hold free career webinars from personal branding to progression and have a job board filled with companies where diversity and inclusion matter. Subscribe to their newsletter today!


Useful Resources


  • Bad Form Review: A brilliant platform to showcase Black, Asian and marginalised writers, as well as books that feature ethnic minority protagonists. Their book reviews and interviews help celebrate diversity and representation in the literary world. Sign up to their mailing list to receive the best book recommendations and stay informed about their online events.


  • Hachette ‘Opening the Book’ Events: To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Hachette’s diversity and inclusion programme, this online collection of free events aims to make publishing more accessible. They also feature diverse panellists, help those who want to get a foot in the door and support aspiring writers. Watch the recordings of the previous webinars or register for upcoming events.


  • Publishing Hopefuls Toolkit: No matter where you are in the world or what your background is, this webpage created by Ellie Pilcher is an invaluable resource. It’s filled with information on how to write your CV and covering letter, interview guidance and where to find your first or next publishing role. Also, sign up for Ellie’s newsletter, so you never miss another post.


Join us for Issue 34 where we will return to our sector-focused series with Upskilling Tips for Magazine Publishing.


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