Overview of the Profession

One of the best resources for those interested in learning about a career in scholarly publishing is provided by the Professional/Scholarly Publishing (PSP) Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

Professional Organizations

There are a number of professional organizations for the scholarly publishing community. These sites are great resources and provide a wealth of information on current issues in publishing, listings of professional development workshops, and most importantly, each has a Job Bank where publishers can post job advertisements.

Check the Job Bank often, jobs and internships are posted regularly. Publishers and University Presses will also post job listings on their individual company websites, but the Job Banks of the professional organizations compile jobs from all over the country. Even if you are not actively looking for a job but are thinking of a career in publishing, check these listings often­—the job descriptions will provide you with an idea of what specifics publishers are looking for in a job candidate.

  • AAP (Association of American Publishers)
  • AAUP (Association of American University Presses)
  • PSP (Professional/Scholarly Publishing)
  • SSP (Society for Scholarly Publishing)
  • Another useful resource is MediaBistro.com

The Importance of Networking

If you know that you are interested in working at a scholarly press or organization, one of the best steps you can take is to create a network of contacts. More than the job listings, this is one of the most sure-fire means to finding and being recommended for a position.

With a background in Classics, you are well suited to “cold call” the Acquisitions editor or Managing editors in charge of Classical content publications. A simple email explaining your background in Classics and interest in publishing can work wonders. You do not, however, want to ask for a job in this initial letter, but you do want to ask what it is that they look for in potential job candidates (skills, background, experience, etc.). This will allow you to tailor your own resume, but it will also place you on their radar. Networking takes persistence and can feel awkward at times, but it can lead to great gains. If it is within your means, consider attending the annual AIA/APA conference held each January in a different city across the US. One of the features of the AIA/APA conference is the exhibition hall where dozens of publishers and university presses set up booths to display and sell their latest titles. Often, the individual in charge of the booth is the head of the Classical Studies division at his/her press. They are usually more than happy to talk, and often even happier to give advice on looking for starting a career in academic publishing. Collect business cards and follow up with anyone you speak to. You never know when a job might open up with their company and they recall that ambitious young individual they spoke to who was interested in such an opening.

Professional development seminars are also a great means for meeting publishing professionals and soliciting advice. Both PSP and the SSP offer workshops on a regular basics. The Professional, Scholarly, and Academic Basic Books Boot Camp offered by AAP/PSP is a great one-day crash course on all aspects of publishing. Sessions are held periodically in Chicago and New York City. For more information, see: publishers.org/our-markets/professional-scholarly-publishing/psp-professional-scholarly-academic-books-basic-boot