Job hunting ahoy

As Miranda has recently discussed, job hunting within publishing is tricky business. Daily visiting Indeed.com and the Bookbuilders of Boston postings for new leads, while easy in itself, can become discouraging after rejection e-mails or worse – no replies. Since moving to Boston I’ve applied to over 20 jobs in publishing (a small number, I’ll admit), none of which have come to fruition. Which, I think I can say, is a blessing in disguise – as a result, I’ve been able to focus on my graduate coursework and focus on what I want to pursue professionally (i.e. e-books and the like).

But as my time in school draws closer to the finish, the idea of getting an actual job within the field both puzzles and terrifies me, because I end up wondering whether I would fit the bill in general. Going into a profession within publishing is a relatively new thought for me; the idea of working within the realm of books, in any aspect, didn’t hit me until a few months before I earned my bachelor’s degree, just as I was about to decide on pursuing that dreaded M.A. in English literature.

The practicality of the path (oh, hey, I can do other things besides teach?) appealed to me greatly. But I did not realize (perhaps a little too late) how competitive the field was – or better yet, how competitive it has become.

Of course, I’ve been given a lot of pep talks about it*. Kinda in the same vein of that “it’s not you, it’s me” business.

It’s the economy. It’s the fact that publishing, as a whole, has taken a hit. What’s more interesting though, and more concrete reasoning to me, is that right now it’s near the end of the fiscal year, and publishers are trying to stay lean and mean before they can look to spend money on possible hires.

I would hope Wiley & Sons is at a place where they can offer positions after posting significant gains. But it’s this little piece news that’s interested me the most, from CEO Stephen Smith:

The shift to digital continues to enhance all of our businesses, resulting in new revenue models, new opportunities in emerging markets, and margin and working capital improvements. (emphasis added)

And also, according to Publisher’s Weekly,

E-book sales alone rose to $23 million, including a 145% increase in the fourth quarter to $9 million, 8% of group sales.

E-books are booming, e-books are the future, everyone’s buying e-books and e-readers – that seems to be all I read these days. Publishers are turning to e-publishing with incredible enthusiasm (for the most part), and yet the related jobs are still hidden like easter eggs. (If you disagree, by all means, show me the way!) As someone who is determined to enter electronic publishing, these bursts of good news and optimism have to be a good sign for me.

Right?

* Pep talks courtesy of one John Rodzvilla, electronic publisher-in-residence at Emerson College, who can be found at Gutter Type.

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About Iris Amelia

Graduate student at Emerson College. Likes the color purple.

Posted on June 17, 2011, in ebooks, epublishing, jobs, publishing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Right.

    It’s a long, arduous process. At least it was for me and is continuing to be so for some of my classmates. I think you’re doing yourself a huge favor by trying to make a career in ebooks, as opposed to being wedded to print or something completely unproductive like that.

    It seems to me that, in general, publishers haven’t figured out what the heck to do with this whole ebook thing. No concrete strategy = how can they know what kinds of epub jobs to create and fill?

  2. It might take a bit longer, but as publishers realize that digital in-house talent pays off they will start to hire. Us print designers who have in-house jobs now are scrambling to stay current, learn what we can, and build the departments necessary to, if not create, then at least monitor the quality control of the ebooks and create partnerships with outsourcers. Hang in there – ebooks aren’t going anywhere and once they start making more money for pubs (our biggest revenue driver is still print) then they will be looking for people like YOU!

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