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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Upskilling Tips: Publishing in London

By Meghan Capper, Sukhpreet Chana, Misha Manani and Joe Pilbrow


London is the UK publishing hub because it is where many publishers, literary agents and adjacent companies are based. It is the creative heart of our nation which provides social, economic and cultural benefits. However, the cost of living in London is rising and it is especially difficult for those pursuing entry-level positions. In previous articles of this geographical series, we have explored the smaller publishing scenes in other parts of the UK. Here, we cover the important work experience opportunities to get a foot in the door, organisations to support living and our advice for working in London.


Work Experience and Internship Opportunities


· The HarperCollins Traineeship: A paid annual twelve-month training programme which provides the opportunity to work on books from manuscript to bookshelf across different teams. Applications for the 2024 scheme will open in the summer.


· Hachette Traineeship: Another paid annual programme designed to make publishing accessible to underrepresented groups. The trainees spend time with one of the trade divisions or the education business and specialise in either editorial, marketing and publicity or rights. Look out for 2023 applications opening this summer.


· Penguin Random House’s The Scheme: This runs across several imprints and departments. They’re looking for candidates with initiative, curiosity, organisation and attention to detail. Trainees are paid the London Living Wage and financial support is offered to those commuting from outside London. Applications opened on 7 June 2023.


· Bloomsbury Apprenticeships: This gives trainees the opportunity to learn about the entire publishing process by exploring the roles of production, marketing, publicity and sales. After fifteen months of hard work, you will earn a Level 3 Publishing Assistant Apprenticeship. Visit LDN Apprenticeships to learn more.


· Independent Publishers: Check out this blog post for a huge list of London-based publishers who offer work experience or internships.


Organisations and Resources


· The Book Trade Charity: An organisation supporting colleagues across the book trade to provide grants and housing. They have helped hundreds of publishing hopefuls enter the industry and relocate through their ‘entry to the trade’ grants. These can cover career development sessions, support travel costs to interviews and living costs. They aim to remove barriers faced by underrepresented groups in publishing.


· Society of Young Publishers (SYP) London: This is one of the largest SYP branches, hosting over twenty-four events across the year for publishing hopefuls and junior-level people. They hold career panels and Q&As with industry professionals on Zoom and in-person, as well as socials that enable you to meet like-minded book lovers and form a publishing network. Joining SYP is a productive way to make connections within the industry.


· The Spare Room Project: This initiative was set up with the support of the Publishers Association and Penguin Random House (PRH) UK. It aims to match interns and job-seekers outside London with capital-based book industry people who can offer a place to stay. This enables people to take interviews and internships that are otherwise difficult to access financially.


· PRH London Starter Kit: PRH have a series of blog posts on their careers website which gives advice on moving around and networking for those who have made the leap for a job in the capital. They detail useful websites for relocating such as Spare Room, Move Flat and Room Buddies, travel must-haves such as Citymapper, as well as tips for a great social life!


Tops Tips


· Attend Assistants in Publishing Meet-ups: This is a WhatsApp and Facebook group for those earning under £35,000 in publishing, where there are regular catch-ups in London. If you don’t live locally, moving to the big city can be daunting, so this is also a great way to meet other people who work in publishing.


· Learn How to Budget: Finding ways to budget in London can be an eye-opener, but also challenging. You can do this through money-saving tips, travel and food. For instance, London School of Economics demonstrates ways if you are a student studying in London. There are many discounts such as using Travelcards or an Oyster Card. Applying for grants and bursaries can also help with the cost of living.


· Start Volunteering: There are many great organisations in London which can help build recognition, experience and give you a confidence boost. Some suggestions that might spark your interest are The Society of Young Publishers, OpenBook Publishers, SmashBear Publishing, The British Library and Hack Publishing.


· Do your Research: When pursuing your endeavours, it is important to know where your expertise or interests lie. There are many publishing companies in London that specialise in different books and departments. Doing research can demonstrate your understanding and knowledge in the sector by using job boards and general guidance from BookCareers and Creative Access.


Thank you for reading Issue Seventy-Three! Join us again for Issue Seventy-Four, where we will cover Upskilling Tips: Pride Special.

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