How to Become a Publisher

If you’re looking for a career in the media, love reading and publications, then you might like to become a publisher.

Publishers work to release books, novels, magazines, and other printed works to the public.

They find talent, edit works, format the final product, and also have a hand in marketing.

Publishing is a secure career that leaves plenty of room for creativity.

To be successful in this role you’ll need a broad skills base.

A publisher needs to have a good understanding of literary works and to keep abreast of what’s popular, while also being organized, pay attention to details, and always meet deadlines.

Education Requirements to Become a Publisher

A educational background to become a publisher is a four year bachelors degree.

A major in English, journalism, communications, writing, or the liberal arts would be ideal.

It’s not necessary, but a masters or other postgraduate degree in publishing would be attractive to perspective employers.

If you want to work in publishing, you need to know your field inside-out.

If you want to work with novels, read a lot of them.

The same goes for newspapers and magazines.

Spend time in local bookstores and libraries, and attend events whenever you can.

While at college, taking advantage of opportunities to complete an internship would be of great value.

This will give you experience of how a publishing house works.

You may also meet contacts which will help you to secure full-time work later on.

The publishing industry is set to decline in the next few years, due to the onset of electronic media and the internet.

This means that the industry will get more competitive, especially for entry level jobs.

You may wish to set your career path in the new media areas, for instance electronic publishing and web publishing.

Employment opportunities in these sectors will be strong.

Computer literacy is a must in the publishing industry.

If you are not picking up skills at college, then look into doing a short course.

Photo editing skills can also be helpful in formatting works, although not essential.

Publisher Job Description

When you become a publisher, you become responsible for the journey of a book from the raw workings of a writer to a finished piece on a bookshelf.

A publisher starts their work by scouring for new talent.

They keep in contact with literary agents, and are often looking at magazines, blogs, and journals for the next talent.

They also receive plenty of unsolicited submissions as well.

Most publishers will only print a handful of works each year.

A publisher will oversee the editing process of a book, and sometimes complete this themselves.

They negotiate with the author as to what stays and what goes.

They will also format a book, choosing fonts, cover art, graphic work, and mastheads in some cases.

After a book has gone to press a publisher will coordinate its launch.

They may organize events and see that the book gets plenty of good publicity, and may send out review copies to newspapers and magazines.
Some publishers work within other mediums, such as newspapers or magazines or the growing electronic publishing sector.

Publisher Salary and Career Path

When you become a publisher you should expect entry into your first job to be competitive.

You will likely start out as a publishing assistant.

There will be plenty of filing, admin, and coffee runs to keep you busy.

After a while, you could be promoted to the role of junior publisher, then to publisher when you will be able to manage your own clients.

Some publishers go on to management positions, or leave to start their own publishing houses.

The average salary for an experienced publishing manager is around $100,000 a year depending on what sector you’re in.

Those starting out would earn much less however.

You can find out more information about careers in publishing from the Association of American Publishers.

Some similar roles to that of publisher you might be interested in include:

  • Author
  • Writer
  • Journalist
  • Public relations manager
  • Sports agent
  • Administrator
  • Reporter

Publishing is an interesting industry that is currently seeing many changes.

If you would like to become a publisher, entry is competitive but those with experience have good job security and get to do what they love.

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