Are you that person whose nose is always deep into some new title? Do most types of printed periodicals appear oddly fascinating to you? Well, then you are probably well-suited for a career in the publishing industry.
Despite our collective obsession with digital — and the ubiquity of bite-sized blog posts — a real book still remains an in-demand product too. Last year, the US book industry generated over $26.5 billion in revenue with print book figures improving. And that means that many publishers are once again on a hiring spree.
To land a job with some cool publisher, you gotta have a polished resume. But more importantly, you need to submit a compelling cover letter too. After all, it’s your best way to show your word mastery.
But even experienced editors often struggle to come up with the right words to frame their achievements. So we’ve created this sample cover letter for publishing jobs as a writing prompt for you. Scroll to the bottom for some extra tips too!
Publishing Jobs Cover Letter Sample (Word version)
Here’s a sample cover letter for an experienced romance novels editor, looking to work with a national publisher.
Cover Letter Example for Publishing Industry (text version)
Dear Mariam Smith,
Do you know how I recognize a potential best-seller? If the first ten pages leave me thoroughly hooked, it’s a strong contender. My cover letter for an open position of Romance Novel Editor with Clarks and Spencer Publishing isn’t a real pageturner, but it hopefully will provide an interesting narrative into my professional experience and abilities that can be of use to your company.
My journey towards the publishing industry began when I was 6. That’s when I wrote a short love story about a princess and an ice cream delivery man (non-trivial theme, I know). Then I tried to persuade my parents to let me print several copies to give away to my friends. But my mom said that book publishing isn’t free, so I do need to finish several chores first if I want my novel to see the light of day. Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about the publishing industry during my 5 years as an Associate Essay Editor with Angies’ Publishing House and as Romance Features Editor at Wedding Magazine.
Additionally, I provide manuscript editing services as a freelancer to self-published romance authors, specializing in period dramas — a genre where Clarks and Spencer Publishing certainly excels. Joanne Monroe and Andy McKinzey are two of my long-term favorite authors, whose your house published.
Apart from having strong copyediting skills, I’m also experienced with the operational side of the business. I can provide creative direction and vision for book illustrations, liaise with authors and agents, and otherwise facilitate the titles acquisition process.
For previous samples of my work and references, please check my personal website kaylaeditorialservices.com. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
How To Write A Cover Letter for Publishing Industry Jobs
Since you are in the business of words, your cover letter should be coherent, well-narrated, and a bit artistically articulate. After all, you’d like to advertise your personal writing skills too and there’s no better way to do that than in a cover letter.
Still, your cover letter should respect the “unspoken” code — provide background into your work experience, core competencies, and motivation for joining this particular company. To communicate all of the above within one page, follow these actionable tips.
1. Explain Your “Why”
Why are you so interested in the publishing industry? Why do you want to work for our company? These are the questions nearly every employer in the industry asks. And they want to see answers to them in your cover letter.
As Carolyn Zimatore, Director, Talent Management at HarperCollins Publishers puts it:
“I am not sure which is worse: a generic cover letter that says “I would like the open position at your company” without any mention of what the company is or what the job is or why you want the job, or no cover letter at all.”
So before you put any words down, take a five and research the company. Look into the type of genres they are mostly publishing. Check recent authors. Bring up industry awards. There are a lot of small nuggets you can dig up to make your letter sound as if you intimately know their business.
2. Use Some Storytelling
Most people join the publishing industry because they are obsessed with great stories. Show your appreciation of a good narrative by weaving in a quick personal story into your letter like the applicant does in the letter above. Just remember to err on the side of brevity. A cover letter isn’t a novel. So keep your story short and sweet as the author does in the sample above.
3. Advertise Some Extra Skills
If you want to work in the publishing industry, you need to have exceptional writing and editorial skills. But that’s what every other job applicant will highlight too. So instead of focusing on just that, bring up some of the “extras” you have.
Are you an amazing negotiator and can get the needle moving with agents? Are you a maven when it comes to writing jacket copy and sales notes? Do you also happen to be obsessed with numbers and can do baseline sales projections, price research, and other analytical tasks? Bring all of these complementary skills in your cover letter!
Here are several other in-demand skills for editorial jobs in the publishing industry:
- Publishing process coordination
- Author relationship management
- Typography and illustration
- Market research
- Deal management
- Payment records management
- P&L management
- Backlist project coordination
Landing a job in the publishing industry is a dream for many bookworms. But don’t let this be just a dream — take proactive steps to get your foot in the door. Sure, such jobs are competitive, but with a little bit of persistence and the right attitude, you’d be able to break into it!