How does one break into the Publishing Industry? University of New Mexico professor, David Dunaway, offers an action plan on how to do it.
1) Build Your Collection of Published Works
Write for your college paper. Write for your local paper. Write letters to the editors. When you apply to jobs in the publisjhing industry, you need to prove your aptitude as a writer. By having your name out as much as possible, you will provide evidence for your work, attesting to your cabability.
Also, working on the actual design and layout of the publication will only increase your range of skills and understanding of clean copy.
2) Have a Bachlor of Fine Arts in Publishing/Editing or Bachlors of Arts in English
It is possible to reciece an undergraduate education in Publishing or Ediitng. Some schools that offer this path are: Emerson College, Bard College and Fordham University to name a few. Also, those pursuing an English degree at any of the seven sister schools (Mount Holyoke, Vassar, Smith, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Barnard, and Radcliffe colleges) have had luck gaining entry into the publishing industry upon graduation. After reviewing these schools, you will quickly realize that they are clustered on the East Coast. Because the Publishing Industry is centered on the East Coast, these universities profit by their proximity to this hub and their graduates will have an easier time obtaining a job within the industry.
What about graduates from other schools? While you can get an English degree everywhere, you will need to establish crediility. After graduation, those who want to break into the publishing inidustry are advised to attend an extended educational program/ publishing seminars from established instutuions. Berkely, NYU, The University of Denver, and the University of Los Angeles Extended University all offer publishing seminars for graduates and would be impressive to include on a resume. Of course, these programs will cost a few thousand to complete.
3) Do I need a Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts?
Usually, no. Most of those employed in the publishing industry have Bachlors Degrees or completed established seminars on publishing. However, MA/MFAs (and PHDs) are more predominate in Academic Publishing employment sector and can be considered the exception to the rule.