Publishing students visit Bloomsbury
Students from the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies recently visited Bloomsbury plc at the invitation of Industry Advisory Board member and Deputy Managing Director of A & C Black, Jonathan Glasspool.
Becky Cook, a student on the MA in Publishing, reports on the day:
'To say that Bloomsbury is a well know publishing house is an understatement. For years they have been successful in trade fiction and non-fiction and have produced some of the best selling books in recent years. With the success of the Harry Potter series, Bloomsbury has become almost legendary, so when the trip to their offices in Soho Square was announced I jumped at the chance to visit.
'We had a full day ahead of us, with talks from several key members of staff from different departments, a tour of the building and even a proofreading test and a chance to write our own press release.
'Our day started in one of the meeting rooms where nine Bloomsbury employees took it in turn to speak to use. Everyone spoke at length about how they'd ended up in their jobs, what working for their departments entailed and how they would advise going about getting a job in publishing. The highlights of these talks for me included Jayne Parsons' enthusiastic spiel about the children's and music department, in which she proudly showed us nearly three bags full of books, which she passed around for us to peruse; Joanna Everard's encouragement to consider choosing a career in rights or e-publishing; and the introduction from A & C Black Deputy Managing Director Jonathan Glasspool, who urged us to remain proactive when looking for jobs in the industry.
In the afternoon we were given an example of the proofreading test that Bloomsbury uses in their interview process to assess prospective employees. It was satisfying to learn that we have been so well prepared for this type of assessment in Editorial Management, and a relief to find out that at the interview stage knowledge of industry marks is not essential, more an eye for detail and the use of clear and concise marking.
'Overall, throughout the day, the main advice to publishing students was to gain as much work experience as possible. Glasspool advised that publishers were most likely to consider those who had had experience in four or more publishing roles. Experience is especially useful when applying for highly sought after positions, for example in editorial, for which every job can have up to fifty applicants. Other good advice was be persistent when applying for jobs, especially in the current economic crisis, and cast your net widely when looking for positions as the ideal job can sometimes turn up in the most surprising places or be something entirely unexpected.'