Publishing Executive Career Information
What a Publishing Executive does
If you are an avid reader in love with language and possess good marketing skills a career in the publishing industry is the answer to your prayers. Interesting? Here's more…
Did you know that India ranks 10th in the world book trade, exporting books, periodicals and journals to over 80 countries? Well, now you know.
But before that you have to know that publishing is an industry and not a profession. A publisher's main responsibility involves converting an author's manuscript into a finished book and reaching it to the readers.
Publishing houses specialise in the nature of the books they bring out - textbooks, paperbacks that include fiction and non-fiction, academic/technical books, periodicals and art books.
A publishing company is usually divided into five major departments:
• Production (including manufacturing, editorial and administration)
Now let's see what you'll do in each of these departments:
• Editorial Department: The creative minds can hop in here. As a publisher, your work will involve identifying authors, commissioning manuscripts and fixing deals and contracts with authors. If that sounds boring you could even double up as a writer, author or translator on a freelance or full-time basis. Basically you'll judge the market potential of the manuscripts handed to you. Let's see if you spot another Arundhati Roy or Jumpa Lahiri.
• Illustrator: In the field of publishing as an illustrator, you can bring out your creative skills for designing the artwork for books, book jackets and covers and also develop graphics and illustrations to enhance their content.
• Production department: In the field of publishing as a department head, you'll decide on the appearance of a book in consultation with the editor, in terms of its shape, size, cover, number of pages, type of paper, font style and illustrations. You'll also co-ordinate with suppliers like printers, paper merchants and bookbinders.
• Marketing Department: If selling is your forte, in the field of publication you'll plan sales campaigns, write 'blurbs', and research for review lists. Visiting schools, universities, bookshops, libraries and other potential customers, to provide them with information on forthcoming publications and collecting orders is part and parcel of the job.
• Publishing also covers a number of similar activities:
• Distribution: This is exclusive to sales and marketing. There are some publishing offices that only handle the distribution of books and periodicals. Your work will involve promotion, supply and retail of all kinds of books.
• Desktop Publishing: This is a recent development, involving a personal computer, which makes it possible to edit, design, layout and typeset copy. Cheap production cost has made this branch of publishing very popular among companies to produce brochures and newsletters for their internal circulation as well as for books with small print orders and limited sales.
You can enter the publishing industry in one of the functional departments as an assistant. Selection is done on the basis of a simple written test and personal interview. Production and marketing departments prefer individuals with work experience.
Some of the areas of work are:
• Book Publishing House: It could be a very large international company or those run on a shoestring budget by a handful of employees.
• Various central and state government agencies: These include Ministries of Information and Broadcasting and Education and Culture. Publishing department of a university or educational institution have their own publication divisions.
• Government-sponsored organisations: Sahitya Academy, India Council for Cultural Relations and Indian Council of Social Science Research employ publishers. Organisations run by public trust funds like are National Book Trust, NCERT and the Children's Book Trust Fund are some other options. These agencies are mainly concerned with cultural or educational publications.
• Book Packing: This is mainly for the marketing types with good selling skills. You'll take care of promotion, sales and distribution in all related fields of publishing.
• Distribution: This deals with sales and marketing. This is a lucrative business, where infrastructure and overheads are high. Work involves promotion, supply and retail of all kinds of books.
• Magazine Publishing: It's different from book publishing and involves production and marketing skills with knowledge of journalism and advertising. As a magazine publisher you'll be responsible for the commercial side of the business.
• Desktop Publishing: In today's net savvy world, the computer makes it possible to edit, design, layout and typeset copy, making desktop publishing immensely popular.
• Publishing Systems Co-ordinator: You'll work with the editor, authors and vendors on digital submission of manuscripts and artwork.
• Production Editor/Assistant Production Editor: You'll oversee all manuscripts to bound book, and work directly with authors, compositors, freelancers and artists.
• Marketing Database Administrator: If you possess excellent computer problem solving skills and have experience with relational database systems or information retrieval systems, the field of publication is the right one for you.
• Desktop Operator: You'll be responsible for taking edited manuscripts and processing them into electronic files suitable for web delivery and printing.
• Editorial & Production Manager: You'll supervise all stages of editorial and production work from scheduling projects to meeting deadlines, hiring freelance resources as required to negotiating printing contracts.
• Graphic Designer - Web: You'll be responsible for maintaining and developing online activities. An understanding of web usability and interface issues is necessary.
• Publisher (Online Products): You'll be responsible for seeking new business opportunities, interacting with authors on the progress and proofing of projects.
• Marketing Executive/Senior Marketing Executive: If you love travelling a marketing post will give you ample opportunities. Your main areas will be identifying opportunities, achieving individual sales target, negotiating, competitive scanning, operational planning & implementation with respect to exhibitions, seminars and conventions.
The entry of foreign publishing houses has brought with it more money and larger markets, attracting young professionals. Some of the younger generation of publishers are founding their own indigenous companies and exploring new avenues.
The publishing world is highly competitive. It is difficult to keep supporting and promoting writers year after year. Publishing is viewed as a tradition-bound area, where careers are slow to take off. After gaining a few years of experience, it's possible to freelance or work part-time for one or more publishing houses.
From a career in publishing you could move to art and design, book selling, information work, journalism, languages and printing. Publishing houses also have multimedia arms such as CD-ROM's audio video etc. You could be doing that too!
Abilities & Traits Required
• Interest in marketing
• An avid reader
• Good writing skills
• Interest in social, economic and literary trends
• Good memory
• Computer and Internet savvy
• Good command over language
Most courses in publishing are post-graduate courses that require a basic degree in any faculty. With the exception of production posts, you don't need special qualifications to enter this field. You can learn on job.
But if want to excel in this filed you need to have knowledge of:
• Basic office software
• Lotus Smart Suite
• Desktop publishing software
• Adobe Pagemaker
• Quark Express
• MS Publisher
• Design software
• Adobe Photoshop
• Web page design software
• Macro media
Of course the skills are specific to certain types of publishing houses. For e.g., if you're looking for a job in print, Quark Express/Pagemaker will make your life easier. If you're looking for a job in Internet media, knowledge of Macro media/Fireworks will make your prospects stronger.
Publishing, on the whole, is not a very lucrative career. It's possible, though, to maintain a reasonable standard of living on the money offered by most organisations. Salaries and grades vary from one publishing house to another.
Starting salary: Rs 15000-18000 depending on your qualifications.
Newspapers and publication houses pay well.
The publisher who looks after the business aspects of a publication, gets paid in the range of Rs 35000-60000 or more a month, obviously this comes with other perks.
Marketing posts offer: Rs 150000- 400000 (for different positions)
Product Analyst: Rs 125000 - 400000 (for different positions)