Hello fellow book people!
Have you always wanted to work in publishing? Do you already work in publishing, but aren’t sure if you’re in the right place? I’ve answered yes to both of these questions before, and now I want to share how my experiences have brought me to where I am today. If this can help others find their place within this wonderful industry, I’m thrilled to be able to help.
Do you think you’re best suited to work at a large publishing house or a boutique literary agency? If you’re trying to decide between the two, I hope you’ll find an answer by the end of this quiz. Now, in case you’re wondering, Jackie, what makes you such an expert? Let me put your skepticism to rest. I have, in fact, been employed by both.
For one year, I worked in subrights at Penguin Random House, and I currently work at New Leaf Literary & Media Inc. I’m proud to have both jobs on my resume, and I’m hoping that based on my experiences, I can help others find where they fit, too. So take my quiz and see whether you’re suited for a big publisher or a boutique agency! But please note, these answers are based on my personal experiences and in no way reflect any company’s opinions.
Publishing Quiz: Where Should You Work?
1. I like my role at work to be:
A. Structured – I like a job with pre-determined guidelines and tasks in my specific department. Everyone has a role to play, and my position is well-defined.
B. Mixed – I like the opportunity to try new and different things that may not have been in the job description and help out in areas other than my own.
2. I like my work environment to feel:
A. Corporate, with plenty of coworkers all working for one company.
B. Informal, with fewer employees and a smaller feel.
3. I’d like the content I work on to:
A. Stick to the same genres. Having a type of book I’m known for and building a list that has a certain reputation. I like being people’s go-to for “X,Y and Z.”
B. Be varied. I don’t won’t to get burnt out on the types of books I work on, so I like to mix it up with genres and age groups.
4. I tend to prefer working on:
A. Projects that are pretty well polished, if not finished, by the time they get to me.
B. Projects that might need my help but have excellent potential.
5. I like working for a company that:
A. Has a recognized brand. People can point out the books my company has worked on quite easily.
B. Does a lot behind-the-scenes work. I don’t mind that my company isn’t widely recognized by general readers.
6. When it comes to authors, I like:
A. Working with someone in the middle to mediate for us. They can work more closely with the content creator so I can focus on the product/book itself.
B. Working directly with them to make sure they are productive and happy.
7. When it comes to hierarchy, I prefer:
A. Having a corporate ladder. I like the pecking order that exists and always knowing who I directly report to/who directly reports to me.
B. More freedom/fluidity. I like having to answer to myself more than anyone else. I prefer team efforts as opposed to a chain of command.
If you chose mostly A’s:
You’re best suited to work at a publishing house! You prefer structure, set guidelines, and familiar tasks. You dream of working for a particular imprint so you can build a list that complements that publisher’s brand. You like being but one part in a well-oiled machine. It’s so fun to see your company’s logo on the spines at bookstores and it makes you proud to be a part of such awesomeness. You give books and authors a home.
If you chose mostly B’s:
You’re best suited to work at a boutique agency! You like variety at work. You don’t thrive under rules or guidelines and like to have a hand in editorial, publicity, ideation, etc., rather than focusing on just one role. You dream of working directly with authors and being their guide to find the right editor/publishing house. You find books and authors a home.
Again, please note that some answers could potentially fit either a publisher or an agency, depending, but I’m generalizing based on my personal experience. Getting to work for both has been amazing. I wish everyone luck on their publishing path, and I hope you’ve found some of the tips in this quiz helpful. Cheers to all!
Jackie earned her degree in English in her home state of Wisconsin. After college, she trekked to Colorado to attend the Denver Publishing Institute, eventually landing an internship in NYC with New Leaf Literary & Media. Following the internship, she found a job with the publishing house formerly known as Penguin Group as a Subsidiary Rights assistant. One year later she finds herself back at New Leaf as an assistant handling client care, mailings, and best of all, reading manuscripts. Follow her on Twitter or Pinterest!