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Upskilling Tips: Publishing in Northern England

By Meghan Capper and Misha Manani


Publishing has been a London-centric industry for a long time, with hopefuls from other UK regions moving down south to get an internship or job. However, the pandemic has seen a shift in the number of companies offering hybrid working or remote roles. Many publishers have realised that people do not have to be in London to contribute economically, socially and culturally. Therefore, the industry is slowly making an attempt to diversify geographically. In this article, we will explore opportunities for work experience and top publishing organisations to join, alongside giving advice for those hoping to work from Northern England.


Work Experience and Volunteering Opportunities


  • And Other Stories: Independent book publisher located in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. They provide placements for those who can gain funding elsewhere. Universities often have schemes in place for financial support on unpaid internships, for example Sheffield Hallam’s Graduate Internship Scheme. Additionally, this indie press has a mentorship scheme and annually recruits an individual from a background less represented in the industry for their first publishing job.

  • Sweet Cherry Publishing: Located in Leicester, this indie company accepts work experience applications based on their company schedules and availability.

  • Comma Press: Small company located in Manchester. Although they are not currently advertising work experience, they have previously offered placements, so keep on the lookout for updates on their website and express your interest in an email.

  • Manchester University Press: Offer a volunteer placement programme and advise vacancies through the University of Manchester jobtrain site. Their placements are closed but keep an eye out on their website.

  • Northern Literary Festivals: Volunteering at bookish events is a great way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for reading and the publishing world. Here are a list of festivals that might be near you: Leeds, York, Huddersfield, Bradford and Manchester Literature Festival, Hexham and Durham Book Festival, Leeds Poetry Festival, WoWFEST (Liverpool-based) and Books by the Beach (Scarborough).


Companies and Organisations


  • The Big Four: Hachette UK is based in Sheffield, Manchester, Bristol and Newcastle. HarperCollins has offices in Manchester and Yorkshire. Penguin Random House and Pan Macmillan are yet to open a location in Northern England. There are some options for those wishing to work up North.

  • Northern Fiction Alliance: This is an initiative to promote independent publishers in Northern England. It was founded by Liverpool’s Dead Ink Books, Manchester’s Comma Press, Sheffield’s And Other Stories and Leeds’ Peepal Tree Press. Members have increased over the years, highlighting their importance. Find the list on its website under ‘publishers’.

  • New Writing North: Even though this agency is curated for writers, they connect people through their love of reading, writing and creativity. If you are interested in publishing, understanding the authors and consumers is vital. They hold free and paid panel discussions, network events and conferences. This also includes their videos and podcasts. Sign up for their newsletter here.

  • Society of Young Publishers (SYP) North: The SYP is a wonderful organisation dedicated to making publishing more accessible. They have a branch in the North, where there are great networking opportunities and events in Leeds and Manchester. Sign up for the newsletter from the Northern England Committee here.

  • Northumbria University: This is the only MA in Publishing in the North of England where you will have the chance to get direct experience in the industry. They have a publishing placement module in partnership with Hachette UK and New Writing North where you must dedicate 100 hours of activity in-person, remotely or hybrid. If you opt for a Master’s, this could be for you.

Top Tips

  • Transferable Skills: If you find that there are less opportunities to gain first-hand publishing work experience in the North, think about how you can harness your skills elsewhere. For example, seeking out local bookseller roles, volunteering at regional literary festivals or supporting schemes such as ReadNorthEast (National Literacy Trust) are great ways to show your interest in books.

  • Networking: Making connections can be crucial to create opportunities for yourself in your publishing career. Seek out guidance from those who have been on a similar path to you and are established in the Northern Publishing world via Twitter or LinkedIn.

  • Tailor your reading: If you’re interested in working in book publishing in the North of England, chances are you are already reading books by northern writers! Make sure to take note of the nuances and distinctions that make northern publishers and writers stand out in the industry. It’s important to be passionate about the work being produced by your region.

  • Be Proactive: Although smaller independent presses may not advertise work experience or internships on their websites, there is no harm in reaching out and emailing with a speculative application. You never know when the timing might be right!

Thank you for reading issue sixty-six! Join us again for issue sixty-seven, where we will cover Upskilling Tips: Publishing in Scotland.

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