Let me set the scene
There I am sitting in a packed lecture theatre - panicking, my mind racing with so many thoughts of the future. The Queen of Last Minuteland. I was battling with the uncertainty of where I’d end up after graduation. BA English Language and Linguistics sounded fancy, but I knew for certain I didn’t want to be in charge of a class of thirty teaching Ms Havisham and Letters From My Aunt in Pakistan. (Although now, I’d kill for the summer holidays, that’s for sure).
The Social Sciences department had put together a small conference where they had invited professionals who graduated with an English degree to come and talk about their careers in various industries. I didn’t expect to get much out of the conference to be quite honest. I had booked a train ticket to London straight after the panel discussion and was more concerned with making it home to surprise my mum for Mother’s Day weekend. And food. Oh how I missed a home cooked meal.
There was a whole heap of accomplished professionals, but one career stood out to me the most. Publishing. Editorial to be precise. The penny finally dropped. I loved to read, write and edit. Popular culture was my bag. I had a fascination for the science behind language. I had a passion for looking into the many ways we consume literature and information. It really was a no brainer - I could combine all of my passions and be surrounded by creativity. The commissioning editor within the Adult division at Simon & Schuster spoke about how they got their foot in the door of publishing. I amped myself up and affirmed, “Right at the end of this discussion, I’m going to be proactive and ask them for more information.”
And that’s just what I did.
I plucked up the courage to start a conversation, exchanged contact details, followed up and managed to secure a month’s work experience within their Adult Non-Fiction department.
Sure, I knew of publishing - both magazines and books. However I really had no clue what the industry was all about. I did my googles but skim reading the history of the printing press didn’t really prepare me for the hours spent inside the post room or reading submissions of books that would never survive an acquisitions meeting. The bubble of university popped the minute I stepped foot into the working world. Here a different language was spoken, one that I had to learn quickly and efficiently. My experience has centred around finding my inner confidence, trial and error roles and persistent perseverance. I’m still relatively new to it all. The past five years have been excitingly eventful, and I know that the best years are still to come. However I know that I would have benefited from advice on the best way to get a firm understanding of what to expect. Which is why I’ve decided to share my experience.
She Wrote is a blog depicting my journey in the publishing industry. My main goal is to document my career growth, simplify the industry jargon and break down the barriers that so many creatives, especially those from the black community, face trying to get their foot through the door in this field. I’m just going to keep it real, let you know what’s worked for me and hopefully be able to really help anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in publishing. I’ll be sure to include some industry insight and advice, employability tips and tricks, book reviews and recommendations.
Thanks for reading!