Qualifications and training
Work experience and qualifications
It can be useful to get some work experience before you apply for a job. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in publishing – related work can be extremely valuable eg bookselling, book festivals, copywriting, events and general office administration.
In addition to work experience, you may also want to consider a publishing qualification or participating in training courses. Publishing Scotland runs short courses in areas such as proofreading, design and marketing: all of our courses are listed on our training pages.
Traditionally entrants to publishing have been educated to degree level and many of them now have publishing degrees or post-graduate qualifications. Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Stirling offer publishing courses in Scotland:
EDINBURGH NAPIER UNIVERSITY
MSc in Publishing (programmes of study)
UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING
MLitt in Publishing Studies
MRes in Publishing Studies
But a degree is not always necessary
Increasingly when they are recruiting, publishers are not asking for a degree or other higher education qualification in an attempt to create a workforce that better represents the demography of the UK.
And indeed many jobs in publishing involve skills and knowledge not covered by a university course. Consider whether you have relevant skills and the desire and flexibility to learn and don’t be put off applying.
Some big companies in London run training schemes that are open to all and encourage applications from those without degrees or who are under-represented in the industry. See eg Hachette, HarperCollins and Penguin Random House.
Some publishers in the south of England are also taking on publishing apprenticeships. This new scheme (delivered by LDN Apprenticeships) started in September 2019.
Diversity in publishing
The publishing industry is not diverse enough yet and while there have been some initiatives, much requires to be done. See eg
- Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing (2020) is the first in-depth academic study in the UK on diversity in trade fiction and the publishing industry.
- Scottish BAME Writers Network Call to Action (2020). See now Scottish BPOC Writers Network.
- ROAR (a group working to identify, interrogate and combat inequality in Scottish writing and publishing.
- Inklusion. This is a project to develop a guide to make literature events accessible for disabled people. The guide will cover accessibility at events and include information on running in-person, online, and hybrid events.