Nope, nothing to do with chasing waterfalls…
On Friday, I happened to spot a tweet in my feed from someone I’d briefly met at LBF (hey, Jessica!), and had since exchanged tweets with. She was no longer able to attend the #GetAJobinPublishing course se had paid for, and was kindly offering to give up her ticket to someone from a BAME, low-income background. Having not had a proper salary for the last couple of years, I am currently on a low income; I’ll be paying this forward for sure. It’s amazing what such acts of kindness, however big or small, can do for someone else. This time, I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end.
I felt particularly fortunate, as this was an event I had seen online, but for which I couldn’t justify the cost for at this time. The group in attendance was a diverse one of all backgrounds (and certainly more men than I’d seen at the panels at LBF!). What lay in store for us was lots of information about the publishing industry.
Organised by The Literary Consultancy (TLC), and the wonderful Aki Schilz, with the course’s three musketeers who were delivering the course: Jason Bartholomew, Jessica Killingley and James Spackman (like the Scatman, but more Spackman), all ex-Hachetters with ample experience between them.
The course took place at the lovely Free Word Centre in Clerkenwell over both Saturday and Sunday, and here’s what was covered over the two days:
– an overview of the publishing industry (from better-known ‘editorial’ and ‘marketing’ through to lesser-known ‘rights’ and ‘production’) – each of the above areas broken down, and with a list of “joys” and “challenges” – routes into publishing (from work experience/internships to recruitment agents) – covering letters and CVs – interview tips (with a mocked-up roleplay) – networking + useful org’s – an author’s perspective: Chris Cleave shared his wisdom via his list of “unpublished truths” – lots of Q’s and A’s throughout, finishing with a big one at the end of Day 2
We also had little breaks throughout the day, and a longer lunch break, with lunch provided on Day 1. There was also the opportunity here for some chatting and mingling – and spotting others we’d seen on Twitter also using the #GetAJobinPublishing hashtag! In particular, I got to meet and spend time with Manveer (instantly recognisable – and the opposite of his twitter bio, btw), who it turns out I share a lot in common with!
For me, these two days were just what I needed. After still buzzing from London Book Fair, which had re-affirmed that publishing was the environment that I wanted to be in, I have been information-gathering to try to decide where in publishing I wanted to be – so that my job search could be more refine and, more importantly, I could have conversations/interviews where I was able to articulate what it was I wanted to do. (That said, as is also widely encouraged for your 1st job/start of your publishing career, I am keeping my options open – a slight contradiction!).
Hence, the overview of the different departments in publishing was really useful/ Equally, it was handy to know what Jason, Jessica, and James (triple-J, Union J?) look for in applications they receive. We were also able to hear from 4 more lovely speakers – Sharmaine Lovegrove, Briony Gowlett, Yassine Belkacemi and Hamza Jahanzeb. Each offered their unique story/journey, talking about what they have done and what they now do – I found myself listening attentively to each one.
Finally, it was great to hear from author Chris Cleave, a thoroughly nice guy and whose personality-type (infj) is just one letter away from my own (infp)! I also got to chat briefly with Chris in the pub that some of us went to afterwards; I was going to make a quick exit, but forced myself to go along. I got to chat more with other attendees too, and met another infp (hey Hana)!
Just like London Book Fair, this weekend just re-affirmed that these are the sorts of people that I want to be around. Whilst we’re all trying to get in, there’s a real feeling of camaraderies and wanting to support one another – an “all in it together” kinda vibe.
This was a spur-of-the-moment weekend, but one that came along at just the right time. Thank you, universe ✨
✏ Written: Wednesday, 25th April 2018 @ 8.57am