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Upskilling Tips: Publishing in Southern England

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

The publishing industry is iconically London-centric, which often means that other regions of the UK, like the South West or South East of England, are overlooked or neglected in discussions regarding jobs, networking opportunities and events. It is important that we help to decentralise the industry and to increase awareness of the publishing scene in other regions. Many independent publishers are well-established in the Southern region. In this article, we share prospective work experience placements, resources, communities and top tips. Whether you are seeking work, looking to build relationships or gain insights into the sector, Southern England has a lot to offer.

Work Experience Opportunities

  • Bristol University Press (BUP): A non-profit publisher of academic and scholarly titles with specific areas of interest in politics, economics, business, law and human geography. BUP offers a six-month internship via the Kickstart Scheme and they advertise jobs on Creative Access and the Society of Young Publishers.

  • Tor Mark: A leading publisher in the South West for local books. They publish everything from cooking, history, heritage, geology and adult and children’s fiction. As they are growing their team, they love hearing from passionate book lovers and local publishing and selling enthusiasts. Check their jobs and social media pages regularly to see when roles become available.

  • Triarchy Press: A small, independent publisher based in Dorset. They focus on system thinking that can improve the world around us, for example systemic change that enhances institutions, leadership skills, the planet and economies. Contact them on their website for enquiries into work experience placements, internships and job vacancies.

  • Mabecron Books Publishing: Cornwall’s leading publisher of illustrated books. This children’s publisher originates from the company’s bookshops in St. Ives, Falmouth and Padstow, where their experience in bookselling highlighted gaps that needed to be filled in the market. Although work experience is not advertised on their website, you can get in touch via their social media or contact form to enquire. Look in their stores for bookseller roles, too!

Companies and Organisations

  • Society of Young Publishers (SYP) South West: This branch holds meet and greets, webinars and reshares job opportunities. They cover Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire, Avon, Herefordshire, Dorset, Devon and Gloucestershire. Sign up for their newsletter, follow their Twitter account (@SYP_SouthWest) and apply to join the committee when positions open!

  • New Writing South: An organisation mainly for writers in South East England. However, it is great for building your commercial awareness of the events, authors, workshops and writing competitions in the region. This knowledge is also useful if you are applying for jobs or internships in Southern England.

  • The Bookseller Regional Spotlights: The UK publishing industry’s main source of news, like Publishers Weekly for the United States. For each issue, they shine a light on books set in or about different UK regions. They also include author interviews and location-specific updates. You should pay attention to these or do a keyword search by location on the website to get more information.

  • Literature Works: A bespoke organisation to support strong relationships in the South West literary world. They share awards, conferences, podcasts and mentoring opportunities that involve people who work or have worked in publishing. It is a brilliant chance to network and learn about what stories are important to writers in this area.

Top Tips

  • Google Maps: If you’re struggling to find local publishing companies near you, try doing a search on Google Maps for ‘publishing houses.’ Send emails to any that you find asking whether they have any current or upcoming work experience opportunities. You never know what you might stumble upon!

  • Volunteer or Work at Bookshops: There are loads of independent bookshops in Southern England including David’s Bookshops in Hertfordshire, October Books in Southampton and Red Lion Books in Colchester. Volunteering at a bookshop is a great way to demonstrate your interest in the industry and build transferable skills.

  • Consider Commuting: No publishing houses near you? Depending on where you live, commuting to a literary hub like London, Oxford or Cambridge could be a viable option. These locations have good transport links and will usually have more job opportunities and internships available. Some companies will even pay for your travel expenses.

  • Attend Book Fairs: Visiting book fairs is one of the best ways to meet people in the industry, make connections and even find out about job opportunities before they go online. Check out the Brighton Illustration Foundation’s Fair in November, or the City of Literature Publishing Fair in Norwich in December.

  • Start a Facebook/WhatsApp Group: Take the initiative and start a social group with other publishing professionals or hopefuls in the South of England. Share tips and tricks or organise meet-ups to socialise and chat in person with other people in the industry.

Thank you for reading issue seventy-six! Join us again for issue seventy-seven where we cover the Upskilling Dictionary: Production.


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