Upskilling Tips for Networking
By Annabella Costantino, Misha Manani and Rowan Groat
Publishing is a relationship-driven and collaborative industry in which knowing how to network is key. Networking not only helps you make connections, but also provides an opportunity to meet publishing professionals you might end up working with one day. Networking offers a solid basis from which to understand the industry, find out about available jobs, determine relevant skills and stay up to date on current news.
How to Network Like a Pro
Common Ground: If they attended the same university, have similar interests or experiences as you, mention that in your introduction. You are more likely to catch their attention.
Appreciation: Show your gratitude when someone has taken the time to offer you advice. They are more likely to remember you and come away from the conversation with a positive feeling.
Open-mindedness: You may already have an idea of the department or company you wish to work for, but it’s important not to discount other options. You might find out about a role that suits your interests or a publishing house that aligns with your values better.
Preparation: Have a pen and paper by your side. Take note of any unique insights.
Professionalism: Keep in mind that they have not met you before. Asking for too much or appearing pushy might come across as rude and inconsiderate.
Your Story: Before networking, know your purpose, what makes you different, your career goals and your strategies for achieving them. This will make you come across as credible and authentic.
Insightful Questions: If you ask questions that you can find the answers to online, it may look as if you have not done your research. Instead, ask questions about their role, working environment and career journey.
The Society of Young Publishers: This UK-based organisation is led by volunteers in Oxford, London, Scotland and other regional areas. As part of your membership, you will have access to their newsletter and InPrint quarterly magazine.
Book Marketing Society: BMS represents marketers within the book industry. As part of your membership, you will receive workshops, events, training and more.
Eleanor Marie Rose: Eleanor works at Bloomsbury and runs a publishing YouTube channel. She also sends out a regular newsletter highlighting her videos which include interviews with other publishing professionals and information on top areas of development in the industry. Check out her Twitter for more information, @eleanormrosee!
The Indie Insider: A monthly newsletter that focuses on the independent side of publishing. Run by Elise Middleton, Grace Robinson and Ellie Nightingale, this is essential for those who want to learn about the indie corner of publishing.
Book Machine: Run by Laura Summers, Book Machine produces regular newsletters which are accessible to members through a sign-up list. Check out their website for more online resources, events and blog posts.
#MarketYourMarketing: Ellie Pilcher has run a series of monthly networking events, all of which are up on her YouTube channel. She has one on How to Network in Lockdown and Manage Burnout in Publishing.
Comma Press: A publishing house based in Manchester whose Publishing Conference from 24-25 April covered how to break into the industry. The weekend was live streamed on their YouTube channel. If you missed it, watch that space for the recordings.
SYP How to Build Social Media Presence: This virtual event happened on 1 April and hosted guest speakers Daniel Bass, Christina Storey, Beth’s Book Nest and Joel Rochester. A recording will be uploaded to their YouTube channel. In the meantime, check out their bookish projects.
Top Tips for Online Networking
DO follow publishers and publicists: Whether on Instagram or Twitter, following the companies that you are interested in will complement your job search.
DO attend events and ask questions: This is the best way to meet new people and share any side hustles that you are working on with like-minded individuals.
DO make connections and follow up: Nurturing professional relationships is a key part of any position. Beginning now prepares you for a life working in the industry.
DON’T have an incomplete LinkedIn profile: Like you would with a CV, we advise keeping your LinkedIn page updated and personalised. Make connections where you can.
DON’T privatise your Twitter: If you want to receive genuine engagement, tweet about industry areas that interest you and engage with trends and current news.
DON’T post online content in isolation: Growing your audience is all about engaging with those that you reach out to or those that interact with your content.
Bonus Tip: Publishing Facebook communities such as The Publishing Hopefuls and Gals Who Read are friendly online spaces where members share everything from job rejections and book recommendations to general advice. Group admins host casual evenings over Zoom, so keep your eyes peeled for future events.
That completes Issue 21’s Upskilling Tips for Networking. Next issue, we will share advice on Upskilling for a Side Hustle!