Thinking outside the books – how to get ahead in publishing

In a drive for diversity, publishers are changing the way they recruit their workforce. At the start of 2016 Penguin Random House removed its degree requirements from all new jobs, and the goal of Hachette’s diversity programme, Changing the Story, is to make it the publisher of choice, whatever an applicant’s background.

It looks as though the old school tie network is gradually loosening its grip, as more routes into the industry are opening up for young people, and traditional networking events become a thing of the past. Yet, in this period of flux, it’s vital that young publishers harness the many talents they already have from just being millennials. It’s all well and good bagging that internship that now pays the London Living Wage, but how much can someone new to the industry pick up in the average nine to five and really stand out from the crowd? Publishing is still an extremely competitive industry, and in an increasingly digital world employers want more than some office experience and "good attention to detail".

In response to this need, and due to the success of a number of workshops run by SYP Scotland last year, SYP London is launching a series of monthly workshops for members. With a programme of creative workshops SYP London hopes to not only equip participants with practical skills, but to also give them the opportunity to "learn the intricacies of the industry as a whole".

It’s no longer enough to only love books, future publishers must draw on the skills they already have from being digital natives. As publishers commission the current YouTube sensation, they also need people in their teams who know how to reach audiences, who can manipulate data or can exploit social media to build a profile. The traditional landscape of publishing is changing as companies try to broaden their reach - see Hachette’s acquisition of Neon Play for example. The skillset required to get into the industry is beginning to shift too, and it is becoming increasingly important for young publishers to future proof themselves and adjust to a digitally focused market.

The first SYP London workshop will be with Leena Normington, whose YouTube channel is Just Kiss My Frog.

Kicking off the new program offered by SYP London is "Becoming a Booktuber" with Leena Normington. The two-hour how-to will cover filming, content creation, editing techniques and how video can evolve the perception of a book brand. All of the workshops are pitched at young publishers who are keen to diversify their skills. As publishers become more outward looking, SYP London hopes to facilitate this by providing members with the arsenal to tackle the old boys’ network head on, and change the future of the industry for the better.

Applications for "Becoming a Booktuber" open on Wednesday 12th April and close on Wednesday 19th April. Ten places are available per workshop and applicants must be members of the SYP and able to travel to London. To apply email the SYP London chair at syp.london@gmail.com. Full details can be found on the SYP website.

Sarah Minty is vice chair of SYP London.