Dealing With Rejection: Publishing Edition

Getting that first big break into the industry can feel a lot like climbing Mount Everest, it’s harsh, cold, and if I’m honest kind of isolating. It took me a year to get my Marketing Assistant role at Oxford University Press, after doggedly pursuing a role in trade unsuccessfully, and the relief and excitement I felt when I got the role was immense. Finally it was over, no more spending hours crafting the perfect cover letter with no response from publishers, the door had cracked open for me and I’d slipped through.

This post is partially influenced by this thread on twitter in which, if you don’t fancy clicking on the link, Linked In revealed the amount of “applications” for this Editorial role at Penguin Random House. People reacted really strongly to the thread, and honestly it was shocking to see that nearly 1500 applicants had applied. It’s worth mentioning that this likely reflects the amount of people who have clicked the link and not the amount of applicants, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that there would be at least 500 applications for one job. It’s horrible to see numbers when it comes to applications and it’s definitely unnecessary information that can make you feel like crap, but I still think it’s an important to acknowledge it. If you are applying for a role in publishing, especially in editorial, you’ll always be competing. This role, at Cornerstone, is a dream role for many people and so when applying for one of the big five you should expect competition to be stiff. It’s like applying to Vogue, Nintendo, or Disney, the jobs are always going to be popular and oversubscribed so it’s often perseverance that makes the difference here.

Continue reading “Dealing With Rejection: Publishing Edition”

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



Continue reading “Upskilling: Publishing Edition”

Academic Marketing Assistant: What do I actually do?

So a similar-sounding post to this one should have come out for #workinpublishing week, but I got the sudden urge to overhaul the concept. I’d planned out a week in the life post, talking about what I’d do in a normal week, and quickly realised that my workload varies so much that the whole post didn’t really work. So instead I’ve decided to lay it all out for you in the form of a big ol’ list. Everyone likes lists…right?

So the role of a marketing assistant definitely comes with a whole load of admin! It’s not the most fun or the most fascinating work, but it is the most important. This list here is my weekly reoccurring tasks that keep the department moving:

Continue reading “Academic Marketing Assistant: What do I actually do?”

My First Six Months in Publishing!

Hi, hello, wow has it really already been six months! What madness is this and how does time managed to move so quickly. Somehow it’s been half a year since I picked myself up and moved to Oxford for a job with Oxford University Press. It doesn’t feel like it’s been six months but I’ve been realising that the older I get the faster time flies so here we are.

A lot has happened since we last spoke, and oh boy have I gotten busy. I laugh at three months ago Nia who thought she was busy then, between the snow, sickness in the office, and a calendar packed with meetings I’ve been feeling the burn but I’ve loved it.

Plus I get to safely say I’ve passed my probation and am now a permanent member of this wonderful industry!


Continue reading “My First Six Months in Publishing!”

Work Experience Diaries!

Part Four: University Wales Press

Wow so it’s been a little while since I wrote my last post about my publishing work experience, but I’ve been more than a little sad when it comes to writing this one. UWP was my last placement and my longest (I was there for seven months), it’s probably what got me my current job and I’ll always be grateful to them for that.

So first things first, this placement was unpaid. I did two days a week and they were very flexible with me, but at the end of the day, seven months unpaid is seven months unpaid. I could work this placement around my part-time job, and it was only twenty minutes away from my home in Wales, so this worked well for me at the time. UWP is a small not for profit academic publisher so I understand why the couldn’t pay me, but I wouldn’t do this placement unless you’re a student at Cardiff University or local to the office!

I worked with the Marketing and Sales team, who were absolutely lovely, and I ended up doing a lot of admin while I was there. I pulled together review lists, dealt with mailouts and a franking machine, and at one point reorganised their library and stock room! It was a lot of grunt work but alongside this I got to write press releases, format marketing plans, and use different publishing applications. It was all really valuable experience and made up for my lack of an admin role when I applied for my job at OUP.

I really felt like I was taking steps forward at this placement, and they gave me more responsibility towards the end which was lovely. I got to take creative responsibility for certain things, and they treated me like I was part of the team which was wonderful! The one thing I will say is I think this role would be more valuable for a Welsh speaker, as not only do they publish a lot of Welsh language literature, they also more often than not speak Welsh in the office.

I definitely think I got some of my most valuable publishing experience from this placement, and I would do it again in a heart beat! I’d highly recommend finding a flexible placement like this if you’re currently a student, it’ll give you valuable experience leaving university and give you a leg up in the industry!

Go look at their lovely academic books: University Wales Press
Check out their fabulous tweets: University Wales Press

My Other Work Experience Posts:

Inside Story | Vintage | Seren |Work Experience Master-post

My First Three Months in Publishing!

I promised I would keep you guys updated on my journey with Oxford University Press, and I’m trying to keep to it so here’s my three-month publishing update. It honestly doesn’t feel like I’ve been living in Oxford for this long, mostly because I haven’t managed to spend much time in the city the past three months. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between cons, Wales, and Oxford so I’ve only spent one weekend here since my last update; This meant I missed most of my self-set goals, but a lot has changed since we last talked publishing.  

Continue reading “My First Three Months in Publishing!”

Publishing Work Experience Master Post

I think a lot of people feel that it is almost impossible to get publishing work experience in the UK outside of London, but I’m here to tell you that’s not true! There are definitely more publishing houses located in London, but an opportunity to get experience in the publishing industry might be closer than you think.

I’ve decided to set myself a task; I’m going to try and provide an exhaustive list of publishing houses, and their work experience programs in the hope that more people will be able to find the experience they need near them! I am reluctantly including unpaid alongside the paid experience featured here, but I do not endorse unpaid work experience, especially if it’s over two weeks.

Firstly the pub interns twitter needs to be listed here! They post entry-level roles, tips, and work experience opportunities from publishers some of which are only posted to Twitter. Social media is a fantastic resource when hunting down work experience, but Atwood Tate and Inspired Selection are also wonderful places to find more permanent roles within the industry. Creative Access also has some wonderful opportunities pop up regularly.

Secondly, remember that dropping a local publisher an email cannot hurt, but be prepared for rejection! They may not have the money or the room for an intern, but it’s always worth trying.

Thirdly I wanted to add that before taking one of the unpaid opportunities below, please consider doing something admin related instead. The skills you would develop by working at a temp agency are so similar to what you’d need to enter the industry, and they’ll actually pay you for the work you do.

Last Updated: 27th of May 2021

Quick Links: London | England | Scotland | Wales

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
Remote Interviews | SYP Podcast ft. Me | Making a Sideways Move
Imposter Syndrome | Q&A video with Me | Work in Publishing Week: Fave Posts
Prioritizing in Publishing: Part one | One Year Working from Home


Continue reading “Publishing Work Experience Master Post”

Work Experience Diaries!

Part Three: Seren Books

So we’ve now come to the hard part, my unpaid placements. I spent a lot of time thinking about whether I wanted to work for free, there’s the ethics of the whole thing and the fact that I’d have to use my paid leave to do it; but I decided if it was local and travel wasn’t too expensive then I’d take it; so I started applying to few of my local Welsh publishing houses!

Seren was the first publishing house that I got response from, and it was only a ten minute drive from where I live, so I accepted it instantly even though it was unpaid. I worked there for just two weeks, and I kept working my paid job on the weekends to keep my bank account topped up. It was hard but it meant I could continue learning about the publishing industry and it was definitely worth it.

Seren Books is a small independent publishing house that publishes some incredible literature and poetry from English-language Welsh authors, it’s run out of  a little office in my home town and gave me the opportunity to snag some much needed experience post-Vintage. It was a great opportunity and I had so much fun working with such a lovely team, and it gave me some much needed experience with proof reading and editorial.

One of the best things about working with a smaller local publishing house was how quickly they get you involved in everything! I got to dip my toe into so many different aspects of their business, and really chat with them about the publishing industry and Seren as a whole. Another perk was the fact that I really got to get involved with a project, I wasn’t just mailing things out, I was typesetting and giving my opinion on books they were thinking about taking on; it was absolutely wonderful, and I felt like I was really contributing!

I couldn’t have asked for a better placement after Vintage. I really felt like I was moving forward, and learning more and more about the inner workings of the publishing industry!

Seren’s Website: Look at their pretty books!
Seren’s Twitter: See all their lovely tweets!


Work Experience Diaries!

Part two: Vintage Books


So I was lucky enough to do two weeks of work experience with Vintage Books in Penguin Random House’s Vauxhall offices. Honestly incredible, and I was so excited to finally be able to work in a publishing house, even if it was only for ten days. I spent a lot of money on an Airbnb for the two weeks, I won’t say how much but it pretty much exhausted my savings, and I travelled up to London from Wales still in awe that I was getting to work with one of my favourite imprints.

Continue reading “Work Experience Diaries!”

Work Experience Diaries!

Part one: Inside Story

I’ve written out the opening to this so many times, so I’m going to open with this instead. Finding work experience in publishing can be tough, and often London based which is pretty dang expensive even when they’re paying minimum wage. So I’ve decided to start this little series charting out my experiences at different publishing houses, as I try to find a permanent place in the publishing industry.


I think we should start at the beginning, with Hachette’s Inside Story back in 2016. This event was the first time I’d ever gone to any kind of publishing event, and I was beyond excited. I stayed in a grim Airbnb in Shadwell and I had to beg work for the time off, but I managed to make it to the event and it made all the trouble was totally worth it. Continue reading “Work Experience Diaries!”