Are you interested in pursuing a career in publishing? If so, you may be wondering how to get started and what steps you should take to stand out in a competitive industry. At MMA, we understand the challenges that come with breaking into the world of publishing, and we’re here to help. Our team have compiled a list of top tips to help you make a great first impression when entering the industry. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional looking for a change, these insights are here to help you navigate the publishing landscape successfully. 

Madeleine Milburn, CEO and Literary Agent

It’s important not to underestimate the value of smaller agencies and publishers.  Usually, there are more opportunities available at boutique agencies and independent publishing houses. With smaller teams, you are typically involved in every process so you can quickly gain a deeper understanding of the publishing industry.

Olivia Maidment, Head of Books and Literary Agent

It’s always a good idea to make sure you have read at least two or three books from the agency or publisher you are interviewing with. Choose a range of successful or recent publications and take the time to research them, finding out about accolades like awards, reviews, or key press coverage. Doing so will show your interest in the company and your understanding of how those titles were published.

Giles Milburn, Director

A key to writing a successful cover letter is to emphasise the unique skills and qualities that you can offer to the company, rather than focusing on what you hope to gain from the position. The person who reads your cover letter wants to know what tools you have in your skillset that will make you a great fit for the role. These tools may include your commitment to literature across all genres, experience in administrative work, or participation in relevant societies or organisations. Additionally, if you spot the advert in time, try to submit your application before the deadline: quite often companies will make hiring decisions before the application period ends, should the right candidate present themselves.

Hannah Todd, Literary Agent

Internships are an opportunity to try different roles and discover your passion in publishing. People often overlook areas like production, publicity and cover design, so be sure to apply for roles that offer a breadth of experience and take the time to figure out what you enjoy. Also, remember your worth! Value the time, skills and hard work that you’ll be bringing to a role and ensure that your internships are paid.

Maddy Belton, Literary Agent

Be persistent and don’t give up! It may take some time to land your dream job but networking opportunities can help. Go to events, introduce yourself to others, and use social media to your advantage. Ask people what their jobs look like and be vocal about what you’d like to do! Don’t forget to include all of these experiences on your CV as evidence that you are proactive and committed to publishing.

Meghan Capper, Agent Assistant

Never undermine the skills you already have! Take some time to reflect on your past and current work experience, including part-time jobs in different fields, volunteer work, or university education, and consider how these skills can be transferred or used to enhance your qualifications for a publishing position. Most entry-level jobs in publishing tend to involve a lot of administrative work,, so showing strong organizational and administrative ability is key!

We hope that our Top Tips will help you with your future applications! 

Best of luck from MMA x