The All-In-One Guide to Publishing Jobs in London

About Publishing Jobs in London

Publishing is an established profession, especially in London. It involves the finding, editing, curating and distributing of writing, from books, magazines, and newspapers to online publications, ebooks and websites in more recent years.

Publishing jobs in London are competitive and require an education, love for reading and writing, and a will to garner the right experience to be competitive in a stiff market. There are various roles within the publishing sector, and these roles can lead to rewarding career prospects, but not without a little hard work and perseverance.

Publisher Job Description

There are many different roles that make up a publishing house. Afterall, creating a publication doesn’t just involve writing and editing, but also designing, packaging, marketing and many other intricate processes.

Duties

Typically, the following responsibilities are expected in UK publishing jobs:

  • Read content and evaluating its relevance to the set criteria
  • Verify facts cited in the material for publication
  • Collaborate with writers to improve their ideas and successfully create write-ups
  • Develop different content strategies and adopt ideas that are in line with this policy
  • Approve final drafts for publishing
  • Supervise the activities of other members of the publishing team
  • Oversee the artwork, photography, and production of the copy for publication
  • Edit materials to ensure proper style and accuracy
  • Handle the budget and ensure proper distribution of funds
  • Communicate with relevant stakeholders and vendors
  • Coordinate the distribution of the publication
  • Coordinate the production of online materials

Types

There are many different jobs in publishing in the UK. They range from marketing and sales to editorial and production roles.

Literary Agents

This role requires scouting for fresh and new talented writers. Typically, if you spot a promising author and manage to sign them, you need to sell his book to editors. For compensation, you obtain a fee from the publisher for acquiring a new author.

Publicist

Publicists work in different industries, from corporations to media outlets. When it comes to books, however, they typically work in publishing house jobs. Working as a publicist is quite interesting and allows you to mingle with different people and navigate interesting situations.

Publicists also tend to work with authors and maintain a great relationship with critics or the media. On rare occasions, they might have to prove they are well-skilled in damage control. For instance, when a writer does something reckless or a publishing house becomes involved in a PR crisis. Being a publicist is one of the most dynamic and popular jobs in publishing in London.

Copy Editors

Not all published content is in the form of books. Today, we have a variety of content forms, including magazines, online articles, and newspapers. Copy editors ensure that all texts, manuscripts, or so-called “copy” pieces are accurate.

Book Editors

In this role, your main task is to find talented writers and help to publish their books or other types of content. The annual book editor salary in the UK is £27,972.

It might not be as lucrative as other careers, but if you are passionate about reading and polishing write-ups to perfection, this can be a rewarding job. Aside from looking for written content to publish, you get to edit it and ‘sculpt’ it into the final product worthy of being on the bookshelves.

Editorial Assistant

Having editorial assistant jobs in London is an important step toward becoming an editor or building other careers in publishing. With that said, the editorial assistant goes through all points of the publishing process. Whether it’s overseeing the issuance of contracts or handling fees and supporting different stages of production, this role is nothing short of being comprehensive. You might even get a chance to negotiate with different authors.

Production Editors

Editorial jobs in London also include production editor roles. Typically, in this role, you will be in charge of editing manuscripts, dealing with cover design, and printing. So, if you love reading and graphic design, this would be a good fit for you. While working in the production department, your final goal is to ensure that every published content is professional and engaging.

Marketers

Having a marketing job in the publishing sector means having a dynamic job that often requires excellent writing skills. Their duties involve drafting press releases, catalogues, or copies for books and campaigns.

Sales

Of all the publishing jobs in London, sales are the least typical. However, the industry can’t go without it. If you have excellent communication skills and can sell your favourite book in no time, this is the job for you. In a sales position, you will collaborate with both the editorial and marketing departments and work on completing sales targets.

Work Environment

In 2019, 50,000 people held jobs in book publishing in the UK, showing an increase of almost 10,000 from 2018. The majority of publishing employees work in an office environment. Alternatively, some people work from remote locations or from home.

Scanners, electronic publishing software, or similar equipment are some of the essential tools used in publishing house jobs in London and everywhere else. Typically, the jobs are not physically demanding. However, stress can be a common experience among employees of this profession. Tight deadlines and heavy workloads are sometimes unavoidable and require working extra hours under pressure.

Typical office-related risks are also present if you want a career in publishing, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, lumbar issues, and other indirect health implications as a result of sitting in an office all day.

Work Schedules

Like most other jobs in London, employees in the publishing industry typically work full-time — 40 hours per week. Sometimes, when trying to meet a publishing deadline, overtime and long hours can be expected. If you hold one of the many publishing jobs in London that are entry-level, your work schedule might not be as hectic as the roles with bigger responsibilities.

On the other hand, due to its comprehensiveness, editor roles are typically stressful, especially when dealing with numerous tight deadlines.

How to Get a Job in Publishing

In order to get a job in publishing, you will need to possess a specific combination of skills, education, as well as a passion for reading.

There are many opportunities for some entry-level publishing jobs in editorial, marketing, sales, and production, but also digital areas. Especially with the growing popularity of e-books and other online forms of publication, skills in online design and search engine optimisation are increasingly valued.

Important Qualities

Some of the skills that will set aspiring publishers apart from the competition are the following:

Writing Skills

The first competence on the list for every publisher is writing skills. How else would you be able to edit and decide which manuscript is worth further deliberation? It is a particularly important skill in academic publishing jobs. Nonetheless, it’s a must for any publishing profession.

Creativity

Curiosity and imagination lie at the centre of every publisher’s job. Being well-informed on a variety of topics and having a keen eye for what grabs readers’ attention is paramount.

Interpersonal Skills

Being a publisher requires you to cooperate with different writers, so having good interpersonal skills can take you far, especially if you consider how protective authors can be about their work.

Good Judgment

Since the final decision on publishing content and verifying its accuracy lies on publishers, it’s important to be vigilant. Imparting good judgement regarding style, accuracy, and promotability is a skill that must be refined for positions in publishing.

For example, in legal publishing jobs, publishers of law content have to consider all relevant sources and confirm accuracy to avoid misinformation.

Detail-oriented

Aside from deliberating the value of the text itself, publishers have to make sure the content is free of errors and follows the publishing strategy.

Computer Literacy

Publishers often work with electronic software for publishing and similar programs. On top of that, familiarity with Word, Excel, and Quark is crucial.

Education Requirement for Publishing Jobs

Although few publishing companies require a degree in publishing, they prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree. This can be in several related fields, such as English, communications, or journalism.

Alternatively, it’s not rare for aspiring candidates to have an irrelevant degree but have excellent writing skills. Sometimes, this is enough to qualify them for the job, especially for entry-level book publishing jobs in London. In addition to having great writing skills, they probably are subject matter experts on the niche they’re applying for.

It may not be a guarantee that you’ll get the job, but having a postgraduate degree will help you be noticed in the eyes of potential employers and give you in-depth expertise.

For instance, if you have a degree in an unrelated field, a Master’s in publishing could be a step in the right direction if you want to combine your past experience with your goal of working in publishing. Aside from providing you with an adequate set of skills to work in book publishing jobs, it will help expand your professional network.

Some universities that provide great Master’s programs in publishing are:

  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Plymouth University
  • University of Derby
  • University College London
  • Kingston University London
  • City, University of London

Gaining experience while you’re still studying is also important, so take advantage of opportunities for publishing internships in the UK. Not only will this help you in your future job applications, but the company you’re interning for might hire you full-time as well.

Internships provide invaluable experience and knowledge on the everyday tasks performed within a publishing company and the current trends in the industry. They can also help you grow your network and familiarise yourself with the big names in the industry.

Although internships are available across the UK, most publishing internships are found in London. Opportunities range from editorial to marketing and sales, but it’s worth noting that editorial internships are highly competitive.

Advancement

Despite the strong competition in publishing, there is always room for growth. For instance, if you have a chance to work in a non-editorial publishing job, don’t turn it down just because it’s not your dream job. There’s a thin line between other positions and editorial positions once you demonstrate your skills and get your foot in the door.

The majority of candidates start in publishing assistant jobs in London. Following that, the logical step is becoming an editor and deciding which niche to specialise in. You can suggest projects for publication, work on already selected pieces, and even work with writers. It’s also common to switch positions from editor to other publishing positions.

Finally, a major advancement would be to open up your own publishing house or turn to freelance work to have more control over workload and project selection.

Pay

The average salary for jobs in publishing in the UK is £37,500 per year. However, the average is slightly less in London (£34,784 per year). It can also go as little as £18,000 per year for entry-level jobs to £61,750 for upper management roles.

Starting salaries may seem small, but they can progress with experience and hard work. That said, even as an editorial assistant, the salary in London tends to hover around a yearly rate of £23,322.

Of course, your salary as an editor and publisher depends on which magazine you work for and how broad the scope of your responsibilities is. With a yearly salary range of £15,000 to £40,000, working in news publications can be a very rewarding way to launch your career. On the other hand, the average senior magazine editor salary in the UK is between £35,000 and £65,000 a year.

Job Outlook

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were around 71,000 jobs in London in 2019 that involved publishing activities.

However, going into specifics, you will see that traditional publishing jobs, such as periodical, book, and newspaper publishers, are actually declining as more and more people prefer reading news and blogs online. On the other hand, internet publishing has increased in employment for the past four years.

This is a direct result of online publishing houses increasing, while the traditional publishing houses decrease in number.

Job Prospects

Since online publishing jobs are the most in-demand right now in the industry, these publishing jobs in London often require working knowledge of how SEO and the internet work in general. You’d also need to keep yourself abreast of the different software that online publishers use.

In general, competition for jobs is tough, particularly if you aim to work for well-established magazines. Additionally, the publishing industry is in transition, and while print is still a popular option, the shift to digital works is a major consideration for what types of jobs are available and what skills will be considered valuable over the next decade.

It might be an advantage to try working in editorial assistant jobs in the UK. This will allow aspiring candidates to gain specialised experience and in-depth knowledge of how publishing houses work.

Some of the top names in the industry are:

  • Penguin Random House
  • Hachette Livre
  • HarperCollins
  • Faber Independent Alliance

FAQ

First and foremost, you need a degree in journalism, English, communication, or any related field. Some employers may not need you to have a relevant degree, but having one will certainly be an advantage.

Next, it’s important to do your research. Learn more about the different departments in a typical publishing company, the position you’d like to apply for, and what requirements they typically need. Publishing houses may have varying requirements for their applicants.

If you have an innate passion for books and reading, this will also come in handy when applying for your favorite publishing jobs.

If you are passionate about reading and creating content, this can be quite a rewarding career. Like any job, it is highly competitive and requires diligence, perseverance, and a strong work ethic. With the right attitude and opportunities, advancement in this industry is quite profitable, with yearly salaries going up to £70,000.

The average yearly salary for publishing positions in the UK is £37,500. Even so, not everyone earns the same. Some jobs are better-paying than others. For instance, the salary’s bottom range can go as low as £17,000 per year for some entry-level positions. Alternatively, some of the higher-paying jobs can get you upwards of £55,000 annually.

The publishing industry is a large field with many roles to choose from. Some of the essential positions are book, copy, and production editors, literary agents, publicists, and literary scouts.

Moreover, it’s not all about editing and searching for manuscripts. Someone has to market and sell these. So, many people work in the marketing and sales departments of publishing companies. When it comes to online publications, working knowledge in digital marketing would also come in handy.

Every good publishing employee requires these set of skills to navigate the industry better:

  • Powerful communication and interpersonal skills
  • Creativity
  • Detail-oriented
  • Good judgement
  • Computer and digital skills

With these skills, it’ll be much easier for you to find the perfect match among the many available publishing jobs in London.