Image of two shaking hands

How to ace an interview with a book publishers

Posted on May 13, 2016

All your friends call you a bookworm but this is hardly surprising. You spend more of your time hanging off your Kindle than you do hanging out with them.

It’s OK though because today you feel vindicated. The thousands of hours you’ve spent immersed in your favourite books have paid off and you’ve finally landed a job interview with a top book publisher.

Sure, take a moment to celebrate, but you’re not quite home and dry yet. If you’re going to ace this interview you need to nail some essentials. It won’t as easy as wowing them with all your literary references but luckily for you, we’ve put together these tips to help you the competitive edge.

Have detailed answers prepared for these questions

  • Who is your favourite author and why?
  • What is the difference between a publishing house and a literary agency?
  • What genres are your favourite and why?
  • What is your favourite imprint and why?
  • Why are you interested in a specific type of literature?
  • What are you currently reading?

Read, read, and then read some more

At this stage, it’s safe to assume that you’re a bona fide book nerd but however much you think you read now, the reality is that you can always read more. To succeed in the sector you really need to live and breathe books so impress your interviewers by showing them that you know your JR Tolkien from your JK Rowling.

Turn up your social media output, including your blog

You may love to read but can you write? In today’s publishing sector you’ll be pushed to find a major, or even independent publishing house that doesn’t have their own blog and full spread of active social media channels.
Whether you’re going for an Editorial or Marketing role it’s imperative that your blog and social media channels showcase your writing style. You also need to get to grips with the role social media plays in the publishing industry and use this to keep up to date with the latest industry trends and hot topics.

So if you’re not already on social media, start today and maybe even start following some of your favourite authors and publishers.

Get clued up on the different departments

Right now you may be thinking to yourself “I’m going for a Foreign Rights role, why do I need to know about what the Marketing department do?” well, you’d be wrong. All of the departments are subtly connected so it wouldn’t hurt to gain an understanding of the role each of them play in the overall picture. You don’t need to be an expert overnight on them all, but understanding what each of them contribute is invaluable when you’re sat in an interview. Here are a list of the departments you should know about:

  • Contracts
  • Foreign rights
  • Marketing
  • Accounts
  • Publicity
  • Sales

We hope these tips have given you the confidence to ace your interview.