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Words work

education Updated: Jun 14, 2012 16:48 IST

The lowdown
Book publishing is the process of creating printed or digital books for public dissemination. This involves a range of functions from creation of or commissioning content, to editorial, design and production. Transforming a raw author manuscript to a marketable product requires intervention from editors, to polish the text; designers, to conceptualise its presentation in the most reader-friendly and visually exciting manner; pre-press to build the pages and make them ready to print; and production to plan and supervise the making of the final product. For people working in core editorial, design, or prepress, work usually continues on an even keel with a scheduled workflow. The prospects look good; publishing is still a growing industry in India. Multinational publishing companies are entering the market every day, and quite a few are shifting operations to India

An average day for a book publisher
9am: Reach office; day begins
10am: Start a series of meeting with agents who have a number of proposals from new writers
Noon: Break for luncheon meeting at an Italian restaurant with an author being promoted by an agent. Skim through the manuscript and find it very interesting. Sit with agent after writer has left to discuss payment for book and possible deadline
5pm: Back in office to check on artwork for the cover of a science fiction book to be released next week. Call in editor and head designer for a meeting to discuss changes
8pm: Leave for home

The payoff
The publishing industry offers a very competitive remuneration, which is a function of one’s capability and experience at work. With multinational publishing companies setting up offices in India, there has been a marked improvement in payscales across levels. On an average, a fresher can earn Rs. 18,000 to Rs. 22,000 per month as the starting salary in the publishing industry

* Keen selling instincts: You have to know what sells and what has a market
* Organisational skills, and an eye for detail
* Good communication skills: You would be required to interact with authors and agents. Hearing their point of view and getting yours across is vital
* Should be an avid reader and have knowledge of all kinds of books getting published
* Sound knowledge of the printing and publishing market

Getting there
Management and marketing courses help. Courses in media, mass communication and journalism can help you get an edge over others. Doing a course in the language you wish to work with, for example, English, is also helpful. Apart from the IIMs and other management institutes such as Jamnalal Bajaj in Mumbai or Indian School of Business, Hyderabad you can also look at pursuing a course in journalism. Delhi University has a Common Journalism Entrance Test (CJET) to the five colleges that offer the course.

Institutes and URLs
* Some highly acclaimed foreign universities like Oxford (UK), Yale, and NYU and GWU (US) offer courses in publishing. However, most companies have on-the-job training for freshers

Pros and cons
* Since it is not a very highly competitive industry, the pace is usually relaxed and employees have a good work-life balance
* The hierarchy in the publishing business is quite flat

There are excellent growth prospects for people who are “managing content”, and these also spill over to other industries such as education and media Aparna Sharma, managing director - Dorling Kindersley India