Last week I attended a book publishing panel in New York City. It was hosted by Random House and targeted college students with an interest in the publishing industry (aka me). I scribbled notes like crazy, and here are a few things I learned:
-Not only am I interested in the editorial side of publishing (reading manuscripts, passing the gems on to the editors, copyediting) but the publicity side as well. The publicity people get to organize book launch parties, organize (and sometimes attend) book tours, work closely with the author (sometimes coaching him or her on what to say in interviews), social networking and anything else to make sure a book gets noticed. Since I'm always recommending books to people (even when they don't care/aren't listening), I feel like I'm pretty qualified. ;]
-Hiring managers look for a wider variety of things on a resume than I thought. You don't need to be a creative writing major (even though I am) to get a job in publishing. Even if you just work at a book store or library, that's something they'll take into account. They want to make sure you're familiar with the industry, where it's going, what people are reading. They also love volunteer work.
-Don't say you're currently reading Jane Austen. They've heard it a billion times before. BE ORIGINAL.
-Don't say you want to be a writer. You're not being hired to write novels. You're being hired to help other people write novels.
-Internships are even more scarce than I thought. Slightly paranoid about not getting one.
-Everyone (even the HR people who aren't directly involved with publishing) LOVES books.
These are my people! Now all I need to do is convince them to let me join their club!