I started in publishing with a love of young adult fiction, armed with an English undergraduate degree and Marketing internship, and plans to discover the next Harry Potter. I aimed for New York City… and landed a job in academic publishing at Taylor & Francis Group in Philadelphia. From the vantage of the business mindset I’ve developed, my original viewpoint of publishing now seems rather naïve and bright-colored.
Publishing, while a childhood dream for the book-lover, is a business with all the challenges that businesses can have. It isn’t idyllic reading and nibbling on a red pen. It is about keeping an eye on revenue, brand promotion, workplace priorities, and fighting for career progression.
I use the term fighting as sometimes we get comfortable and assume that our hard work will be recognized, and we will naturally progress. That is not the way it works in business. Your choices influence your career progression. Three years working on my products got work done and established my reputation as a hard worker, but it didn’t expand my expertise or opportunities. Changing positions within the company did. Attending webinars and meet-ups did. Volunteering and moderating for my first time at a recent AAP-PSP conference did. I probably wouldn’t have been asked to write this piece if I hadn’t spent 2017 significantly increasing my networking. I am not yet at the standard I have set in my mind for myself, but I am taking concrete steps to reach that standard. Success for me will involve being known as an expert in my industry, personally knowing the other experts in my industry, and being involved in current discussions.
I first heard of the Workplace Equity survey in a webinar, and signed up to receive alerts. My only experience with discrimination in the industry has been with unconscious bias and misunderstanding of different country laws. I volunteered because I was at a point in my career where I had looked around, looked at myself, and decided I wanted more. I’ve received help and advice, and want to help others, too. The survey is a step to doing that, by providing an accurate picture of the opportunities in publishing, and not just an opinion. I may not have personally experienced much discrimination, but hopefully this initiative will lead to discussions where we can share experiences and talk frankly. Where we can network and mentor and find new opportunities.