Contracts are responsible for drafting and negotiating the contracts for each book published, to ensure the company achieves the best possible terms. The team works closely with Editorial. There are various training courses available for learning about copyright and publishing contracts and these are a useful starting point, but most people gain their experience by starting at the bottom as an assistant and working their way up. On a day-to-day basis you’d be drafting contracts under supervision, checking rights, processing contractual documentation, and answering queries from editorial, rights and royalties departments. Good organizational skills, a meticulous eye for detail and an interest in the legal side of publishing are the main qualities needed in this field, as well as sound negotiating skills.
Design is responsible for the physical look and feel of a book. Everything from a book’s size and cover design to its type size and typeface needs to be thought about and then discussed with both the editor and the author involved. It is also the Design team’s job to commission freelance illustrators and arrange photo shoots for covers and the internal pages. Picture research is a specialist area within the Design department, and it is the researcher’s job to find existing images from galleries, museums and other sources, and to clear rights for their usage. A degree in graphic or typographic design is the first step towards working in Design.
Production is the responsible for the physical process of transforming a manuscript into a finished book. This includes everything from producing the initial costing, arranging the typesetting, and selecting and buying paper, to organizing the printing and binding of the book and its delivery into the warehouse. Production must ensure that all these processes happen in time to meet the publication date of the book. Entry into production is usually as a production assistant. As a production assistant you’ll handle general office administration as well as supporting the production controllers and managers in their work.
Publicity is responsible for getting as much media exposure for new books and authors as possible. The department works closely with national and local newspapers and magazines as well as broadcast and online media to generate free coverage. Entry is usually as a publicity assistant.
Marketing is responsible for creating imaginative marketing strategies and new ways to engage the consumers with the books. They will work with all media channels. They also work with editorial on the positioning and packaging of a book. Entry into marketing is usually as a marketing assistant. A high level of creativity, strong copywriting skills, a good understanding of retail and a keen awareness of consumer habits and trends.
Sales are responsible for front line retailers like WH Smith and Waterstone, major supermarkets, online retailers such as Amazon and other retailers such as M&S, gift shops, offices, schools, catalogues etc. Entry into sales is often via sales support. Strong interpersonal skills, with good numeracy and presentation skills are required; you should also be target-driven, naturally gregarious, enthusiastic and energetic.
Rights is responsible for working closely with the publishing team to maximize a book’s financial potential – whether it’s selling translation or US rights, merchandising, serial or book club rights, or even film rights. The income from the sale of rights can make a huge difference to the profitability of a book, so the rights teams attends international book fairs and meets with journalists. Entry into rights is typically as a rights assistant. strong negotiation, numeracy and communication skills, strong interpersonal skills, a flair for selling, an eye for detail and a good ability to multi-task.