How to get a job in Publishing



So, you’ve decided to do it. After countless hours of contemplation, academic pressure, and soul searching as a writer, you’ve decided to pursue a career in publishing.

The easy part is over.

Publishing is not a profession you jump right into. One can’t just decide at random to pursue a career and expect to quickly immerse themselves in the publishing world. The essential element for anyone wanting to pursue a career is to have a vision. Without a vision, you essentially rely on a semirandom assortment of events; why leave your career to chance?

A degree followed by master’s degree is a key element as well. Typically, a simple Bachelor’s degree doesn’t separate one applicant over another. A master’s degree shows your commitment to your vision of a career in publishing. Today though, that’s not quite enough to get your edge over your competition. Including previous works that have been published shows everything they need to know about you as a person.

Your published works are your reputation. A good reputation is built over time, but one false step can keep you from that dream job. A false step really depends on the circumstances around it but in general: keep your social media clear of anything offensive or inflammatory, and stay out of trouble with the law.

The degree of difficulty of the application process depends on what publisher one is applying to. An independent publisher specializing in a topic may seek someone with insight into that subject. One seeking employment with a big 5 publishers will have major competition. There is no definitive way to set yourself apart being that this is completely subjective. But if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.


  1. What sets you apart from others that would make you a good candidate?
  2. If you are planning to go into the publishing world, have you prepared adequately?







Springer Publishing


The Company’s trademark design may not have the marketability of the golden arches, but it serves the company well. 

We’ve all come into contact with them; textbooks, academic journals, and peer-reviewed articles are essential to any student or academic professional. But who is responsible for gracing our academic consumption with such quality material? Springer International has its roots in a small family operation, but quickly emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the academic market (employing now several hundred both in publishing and academic capacities), particularly in the health professions. Pushing thousands of academic pieces over several mediums, there is no shortage of material for the aspiring professional.

Springer unapologetically favors the world of medicine when it comes to marketing. Hundreds of textbooks available here and oversees (primarily England and Germany), thousands of peer-reviewed academic articles, and a multitude of online subscriptions keep the thirst of any academic quenched. Though selling and primarily online subscriptions, it is important to note that Springer maintains a powerful presence in the health care textbook market.

How does such a reputable publisher stay a float? Springer finds its origins in Berlin by Dr. Bernhard Springer and his wife in 1950. Afer some success, the company gradually acquired a substantial customer base in this niche market and by default a larger company. The passing of Dr. Bernhard in 1970 was not an end to an era, but rather the beginning. The good doctor’s wife selling the company Mannheim Holdings, LLC. The profits from the academic publications do more than keep the lights on, they keep the company in a state of gradual expansion.

Springer has seen its share of success and failure. The website explains the publications initial groundbreaking moment: “Dr. Springer’s first landmark publications included Livestock Health Encyclopedia by Dr. R. Seiden and the 1952 Handbook of Cardiology for Nurses. Nursing publications grew rapidly in number, as Dr. Modell’s Drugs in Current Use, a small annual paperback, became the gold standard text for many years, selling over 150,000 copies over several editions. (Springer, 2017).” Currently, the publisher has won 11 AJN (American Journal of Nursing) awards.

Springer does not claim any failures per se, but the challenges facing a group selling to such a limited audience coupled with the fact that the sheer size of Springer is not all that impressive in comparison to larger publishers. Another limitation may have been linked to the founder, being a family run operation takes a toll both financial and on the integrity of the company. Dr. Bernhard, by trade, was a physician as opposed to the head of a publishing empire.


Cover Controversy


Controversy is nothing new in the literary world. In fact, the controversy surrounding a publication enhances the allure of the author’s message and the protagonist’s journey. Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho may very well be the most controversial novel of the early 90’s. The brilliant and insightful consider 80’s yuppie culture follows Patrick Bateman, a stock broker by day and a serial killer by night. Obsessed with his own narcissism, Bateman slowly losses his grasp on reality. As Bateman’s world comes crashing down, the surrounding upper echelon of society is too self-absorbed to take notice.

One of the many redeeming qualities the novel offers readers is the second commercialized cover. The expensive suit, executive haircut, groomed features, and blank stare do so much more than capture the attention of a potential audience, it conveys what’s inside Bateman’s soul: nothing.


The first commercialized cover focused on a more romanticized idea of the novel. 

Why the expensive get up and the well-groomed appearance? Bateman’s narcissistic personality requires him to “out do” his colleagues and fellow patrons on his expensive outings. The novel covers his morning routine along with his workout schedule and other grooming habits in painstaking detail, even going so far as to list the cost of every item. This version of the cover conveys the beautiful outside that Bateman projects to the world yet allows the emptiness some serial killer projects in their true form.

Complementary to the detail of the protagonist’s face, is the presence projected from the camera position. Any other camera angle doesn’t quite capture how the protagonist and the novel progress between the pages, but centered up close still does wonders for the cover. I don’t how many pictures used during publication, but anyone can appreciate the spot-on characterization that tells just enough of about Bateman not to give away the plot line.

The typeface and positioning of the text is also an eye grabber. Smaller text and alignment of the previous cover was more of a traditional placement (centered, proportionate to the artist rendering), but this pattern is deliberately broken. Why? The answer lies within the juxtaposition of the illogical placement of the lettering (symbolizing Bateman’s mental decline) and the well put together male figure used in the photograph.

Nobody can deny the impact American Psycho exerted on American culture. Transitioning from the self-absorbed late 80’s yuppie culture to a new freer thinking ideology of the 90’s; the piece pulls no punches. Just like the cover however, one gloss over only gives a small piece of what the true meaning behind this work of art. One may have an idea of the work’s true message, but every read through gives a new insight into the twisted world of Patrick Bateman.

“…there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there. (Ellis, 1991) (Pressman, Hanley, Solomon, Haron, 2000).” 

-Evan Thomas