Getting ahead in the publishing game

Kingston University Creative Writing and Publishing graduate Neringa Pangonyte shares her tips on how to play and win the publishing game.

The publishing game has five core levels:

  1. You want to join the game. You like people who play it, and you know some of them. You think you would be good in the game, but you haven’t yet thrown the dice to start.
  2. You are learning about the game. You visit online sites like the Bookseller and read blogs like Futurebook and Digital Book World. You tweet about publishing.
  3. You get serious about the game. You go to game-related events like those run by BookMachine, the Galley Club and the Society of Young Publishers. You get a placement and may even take a whole MA course. You apply for publishing jobs.
  4. You get a part-time job in the game or a job in a related profession.  You say you are a publisher but you’re only playing the game half of the time.
  5. You are a full-time game player. You’ve reached your end goal and won the game! You can start to achieve your potential and do great things in the industry you love.

How will you reach Level 5 of the publishing game? Aiming high, curiosity and persistence may help… Image courtesy Flickr/Leo Reynolds

While some players may transfer straight from level one to five, others will need to work through all the stages to reach the end of the game. To have the best chance of progressing quickly, you should:

  • Hang around where the game takes place, both online and in physical places.
  • Volunteer your time. Even if it’s only smiling and directing people around at an event, you may get to talk to organisers, guests and other participants.
  • Know who’s who. Make sure you know who to ask for advice and which tutors or placement supervisors are most likely to help you get ahead.
  • Prioritise. This is all about time. Whatever other games you may play alongside the publishing game, publishing has to be number one if you want increase your odds of succeeding and climbing to the top.

Finally, the three rules of the game are simple:

  1. Read a lot and read widely. You’re unlikely to progress beyond level two if you don’t.
  2. Network, network and network. That’s a requirement if you want to pass beyond level three. These networking tips from BookMachine’s Laura Austin might help.
  3. Use social media. See my list of who to follow on Twitter and Jon Reed’s tips about using social media.

Read more tips on getting your first job in publishing from the 2012 Chair of the Society of Young Publishers Andrew Turner.

Neringa Pangonyte (@GagulisNP) has just graduated from Kingston University’s MA in Creative Writing and Publishing. She is currently involved in a shoe business and works on the Galley Club Committee – the social club for those involved in publishing, where Kingston lecturer Anna Faherty will be giving a game-themed talk on the 6th of February 2013: What Angry Birds can teach publishers about developing on target digital products.


One response to “Getting ahead in the publishing game

  1. Pingback: Breaking into the publishing industry: standing out in a crowded room | Kingston Publishing: inspiring future publishers·

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