Preparing for Careers in Writing, Publishing & Marketing

I recently attended a high school career fair, and gave some advice to kids considering a career in writing, publishing and marketing. I prepared a couple of handouts and thought I would share them on-line in case others find the information helpful. Watch for Thursday’s post on preparing for a career as an author.

Recommended college course-load: A program with classes in writing, communications, graphic design, and marketing/business.

Possible jobs:

Book Publishing:
• Editorial department – read and reject manuscripts, acquire books, give manuscript feedback to authors, work with marketing, sales and art departments.
• Promotion and marketing department – write and distribute press releases, distribute review copies, write back jacket copy. Art Department – designs book covers and other materials.
• Literary agencies – Similar tasks to above editorial department, with added tasks of helping authors to find publishers, negotiating contracts, and assisting authors with managing their careers.
• Freelance editors, designers and publicists – Hired by authors, often those who are self-publishing.

Magazines and newspapers:
• Newspapers are dying out. There are some opportunities, but not nearly as many as in the past due to papers closing down and staff layoffs. Magazines and on-line publications are healthier fields. Jobs include staff writers, editors, and marketing people.

Marketing and Public Relations Specialists:
• Many companies and organizations have these departments, or have one or two staff members devoted to marketing and PR. Tasks include writing/distributing press releases; pursuing interview opportunities; writing and designing newsletters, flyers, brochures and web site content; and planning events.

• Build your professional writing clips – i.e. articles for school newspapers and local newspapers; or by volunteering to prepare press releases, newsletter articles and flyers for community organizations. Many writers are gaining clips by writing well-researched, unpaid articles for established on-line sites and blogs. Build a portfolio of clips and keep photocopies or extras to include with your resume.

• Learn some graphic design skills. This makes you a much stronger candidate for marketing jobs, if you have the design skills to create flyers, brochures and newsletters. Writing and design skills are a powerful combination.

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