Upskilling: Publishing Edition

Hello my aspiring publishing professionals! I figured seeing as most publishers are not offering work experience opportunities, and are probably not organising for the future yet, that it’d be great to talk about what I wish I’d known before I started working in this industry. Most of this will likely be geared towards marketing because that’s what I know best, but hopefully you’ll find it useful even if you have no intention of following the path to marketing.

If you have any resources to add please let me know, the more the merrier!!

More Publishing Content from Me
Work Experience Diaries:
Inside Story | Vintage | Seren | University Wales Press 
First Month Publishing Update | Three Month Publishing Update
Six Month Publishing Update | One Year Publishing Update 
When to Quit: Publishing Update | Two Years in Publishing 
Publishing Editions: 
Publishing Skills | Dealing with Rejection | Academic Marketing Assistant
Remote Interviews | SYP Podcast ft. Me | Making a Sideways Move

Industry Knowledge

The key here is to show you’re passionate and full of information. This means reading up on trends in the industry, and keeping track of what books are being published by who! Here are some websites that help me keep track of trends:

  • LinkedIn: Publishers of all kinds uses LinkedIn nowadays, and due to the audience being more professional, they target their content towards the industry. This means it’s often about what they’re doing for their workforce, and how they are tackling different industry challenges; it’s honestly the only reason I have an account.
  • The Bookseller: This one is probably fairly obvious, but The Bookseller is a treasure trove of information about so many aspects of the industry.
  • The Society of Young Publishers: The SYP are an incredible group of volunteers, and the different committees are running a variety of exciting online events, a podcast, and blog posts all about the industry.
  • Scholarly Kitchen: This one is more for aspiring academic publishing professionals, and is an amazing resource when it comes to the challenges the industry is facing.
  • Book Machine: Like The Bookseller and the SYP they have a subscription based model, but they run a variety of training and make some seriously insightful content so I highly recommend them!
  • The Idea Logical Company: A blog discussing digital change in the publishing industry.
  • That Publishing Blog: Carl posts some really interesting publishing content, covering everything from CVs to Metadata!
  • Publishing Interns: They run an awesome twitter channel that’s geared towards paid internships, but they also have a wonderful blog full of CV tips.


I do a surprising amount of coding in my job, and I don’t think it’s a skill you’d necessarily associate with publishing; but a lot of publishers run their own blogs, and have their own online products that I’m tasked with maintaining. This can range from knowing how to make something italics, all the way to coding a new page yourself!

A basic knowledge of coding is always worthwhile not just for publishing, but here’s some resources that I wish I’d known about before I started working:

  • YouTube: There’s a plethora of coding videos out there, but here’s two that I thought were quite informative! HTML Coding is 30 minutes long and HTML Crash Course runs at just over an hour.
  • Websites: Places like Codecademy, and Free Code Camp allow you (after signing up to their website) to work through coding exercises and practice what you’ve learnt.
  • Day of Code: allows you to build a website each day, so you can really get to grips with code!
  • Tumblr: I whisper this quietly, but I picked up so much coding from working with the variety of themes you can use for your page. You can do a lot of customisation on the tumblr theme editor, and it’s a good way to practice without damaging something important!
  • Coding for Dummies: or books. You can do things the old fashioned way and pick up a book on coding! It’s something you get to keep forever, and can shove into your desk in case of an emergency.

Google Analytics Certification

Good ol’ Google always bringing us those tasty metrics so I can track my success and my failures.

Understanding analytics is an incredibly important part of the job, and Google provides a deep dive into the numbers behind a lot of the platforms that I get to work with. It can be a pretty daunting platform to work with initially, but Google provides training that’s really informative.

The training is here:
And you can even become Google certified for free! They provide a range of training on all of the Google platforms, including Google Ads, so It’s definitely worth checking out:

Design Practice

This is definitely one of my favourite parts of my job. I love experimenting with twitter cards and adverts, alongside trying to imitate what trade publishers are doing with their marketing materials. Here are my favourite platforms to mess around with:

  • Adobe Photoshop & InDesign: So I hate mentioning them because they’re so expensive, but often these two are what publishers use to create graphics. InDesign is used by both editoral and marketing though so if you have to pick one, that’s the one I’d be paying that hefty Adobe fee for.
  • Canva: this incredible design resource is mostly free and great for making slick marketing materials. It’s so easy to make really good looking twitter cards, and other social media marketing materials. This is currently my favourite place to experiment.
  • CoverVault: If you do happen to have access to Photoshop you could always experiment with making 3D book covers! They make a flyer or graphic look extra professional.

A good image on a tweet is so important when it comes to twitter reach and engagement, so here are some free to use image resources so you can make some amazing graphics:

Unsplash| Wikimedia Commons | Flickr


This Microsoft behemoth is getting its own section because once you know how to use it properly your life will change! This machine can do almost anything if you give it the right instructions, it’s like having a pivot table creating robot. I would recommend LinkedIn learning here, but I know not everyone will have access, so instead watch me attempt to pull together some useful resources.

I would start by picking some sort of project, like say tracking metrics for your twitter or instagram; this’ll give you the opportunity to work out average increase or decrease, and you can even incorporate a pivot table to help you sort the data.

Here are some YouTube videos for you to take a look at! Some are beginner level, and others tackle tougher challenges:

Super Basic Tips|Pivot Tables in 6 Minutes|50 Tips & Tricks for Excel ’20| Interactive Excel Dashboard|Emails in Excel| 4hr Long Course

There’s an incredible amount of training out there, and so many websites offer certification and free lessons, so if none of these take your fancy have a shop around! Excel is definitely where I’m putting in the most training right now, and being able to use it well has been essential in my role.

An Online Presence

Here it is, my plug for every aspiring publishing professional to start a blog, or if you’re not camera shy start a booktube or podcast.

A blog based around the industry, whether that’s reviewing, talking about the novel you’re writing, or engaging directly with industry by writing about publishing; all of it will give you vital skills. You’re instantly learning about creating and editing content, often writing a post and creating a website incorporates HTML coding. Then there’s the marketing side! you’re creating graphics, tweets, and facebook posts just to promote your blog, and really help you engage with the industry!

Vlogging in the booktube community is whole other ball game! The industry is moving towards video and audio at a rapid pace, and so editing skills will be vital. Create a podcast with your book club, interview your brother, or even sit alone in your room and talk about books; it’ll all help give you skills that stand out on your C.V. and we’ve all got a bit more time on our hands right now so why not!

Digital Marketing

Described by Wikipedia as “the component of marketing that utilizes internet and online based digital technologies” is so important right now. Understanding your market and how best to reach them in a cluttered online space is a key skill to develop. This is where terms like SEO (search engine optimisation) and SEM (search engine marketing) come in, alongside Twitter, Facebook, and Google ads. Again, this is something that I am currently working on myself, so I’ll share some of the free resources that I’ve found useful!

Digital Marketing via Google|SEO for beginners|The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing|Key Word Metadata via Scholarly Kitchen

Hopefully that’ll be a good point to start off with, and here are more great marketing websites just in case you want to do your own research:

Marketing Week|Seth’s Blog|MarketingProfs|HubSpot Blog|Ann Handley Blog|Moz Blog|Content Marketing Institute

Well this post is getting excessive, but hopefully this’ll give you a good jumping off point when trying to tackle growing your publishing skill set! I’ll try to keep adding to this bad boy when I come across something interesting and (or) useful then I’ll add it here.

Stay safe and stay isolated people ❀

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