“I work in publishing because…” by Simran Sandhu
To mark this year’s ‘Work in Publishing’ week 2018 (the campaign aimed to promote career opportunities available at all stages of the publishing supply chain) our former Creative Access intern and Publishing Assistant at Pan Macmillan, Simran Sandhu, tells us her story…
“I work in publishing because… the job is essentially to love books: read them, help shape them and grow the important voices behind them – how could any reader not love that?
I’m lucky to work with an incredible team of talented, wonderful and passionate editors who take the time to include me in as much as possible and let me pursue my own interests within the job. I’m able to be my true self and the different perspectives I bring to discussions are valued and appreciated, which is a pretty new experience for me.
The opportunity to help bring a book onto the shelves that might help someone feel more comfortable in their own skin, especially where that’s not the message they’re getting all the time from other platforms, is probably the other reason I work in publishing.
Books have always been a space to explore new ideas, reflect experiences and spend time in someone else’s shoes.
With calls for diverse books punctuating articles and blog posts, especially in KidLit, I feel like I joined the industry at a point where I can really make a difference by making sure our books are as inclusive as possible and highlighting diverse submissions that I really relate to. In short: publishing is the best and everyone should join.
I knew I wanted to work in publishing by the time I was 14, so I managed to secure work experience all over the shop, during summers and half terms. I geared all my GCSE’s and A Levels towards recognising good writing and entertaining content and when I got to university I became President of Warwick Literature Society and production manager for a magazine showcasing creative writing on campus. I made it impossible for people not to know what I wanted to do.
As a result, I was invited to be a Warwick student champion of the (then) biannual Warwick Prize for Writing. I gave a speech on the importance of diversity in publishing at the prize-giving ceremony and was approached by Andrew Franklin, Managing Director of Profile Books, who told me about the brilliant internship at his company. By the end of second year, I had that lined up for when I graduated. During that internship I was constantly applying for jobs and longer internships with a focus on Young Adult (YA) literature.
I had a million interviews and got nowhere until a friend told me about her great experience working with Creative Access and I checked them out.
A couple months later, by some miracle, Venetia Gosling at Macmillan Children’s Books 6+ hired me as a Creative Access intern for six months – and I still haven’t left! I’ve been here a year as Publishing Assistant and couldn’t be happier!
If you want to #WorkInPublishing my main advice is to not give up. It can be so disheartening when you give your all to every application and don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere.
But the industry needs people like you, who are passionate and bring fresh perspectives to the table. There are loads of places designed to help you get a job in publishing. Creative Access were my fairy godmothers…
…but yours could be the fabulous Society of Young Publishers. You could try temping until you find the perfect fit. Build a strong Twitter profile and follow people in companies you’d like to work for or who may promote roles, like trade publication TheBookseller and @pubjobsuk. Don’t just go for roles in editorial; you can start working in any area of publishing and move around.
Once you’re in, and you have some experience under your belt, doors start to open. YOU’VE GOT THIS.
You can follow Sim on Twitter at @SimKSandhu or Instagram at @simksandhu95 and if you ever have any questions, feel free to slide into her DMs.