Hello friends, and welcome back to the return of our blog!
As promised, this blog post will have real stories and real viewpoints from you, our PubInterns community, about how Covid-19 and lockdown are affecting you and your potential entry into the world of publishing. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to get in touch, whether via DM or our Google Form. We were overwhelmed by the responses, which demonstrates that this is clearly a blogpost we should be writing.
We have collated the responses to our survey, and without further ado, here’s how you feel about lockdown. Comment below, share on Twitter, and have conversations with each other – it’s never been more important to talk.
1. How do you feel about your current situation?
I feel pretty lethargic and disheartened. I would have been using this time to send out numerous applications or prospective letters to agencies/publishers inquiring about gaining experience, but now these opportunities are not available. There is no way of knowing when, or even if, the roles I had already applied for will be advertised again when the current situation ends, and it is worrying as to how smaller agencies will be able to cope with the pandemic. – @DarrenHodge1
I am disappointed that coronavirus has caused me to miss out on events at the end of my degree which would have helped me make vital industry contacts and get important feedback on my work. – @jstillustrates
In all honesty, a bit helpless. I always knew getting in to publishing was going to be difficult but I was always optimistic that I would get there in the end, with the whole world on standstill its incredibly hard to keep that optimism. – @SpratleyGrace
This is a very scary situation to be in as everything is changing and updating weekly, and no-one can predict the outcome. The hard thing is not knowing; not knowing when this will be over, and how much things will have to be changed. – @literarylucie
I am determined to gain experience and use this time productively to obtain new skills and network with industry professionals. These are uncertain times, but we are all adapting and trying to stay positive. – Anonymous
2. How do you feel about the publishing industry in the face of this crisis and the possibility of gaining entry into the industry?
I think publishing is finding a new purpose in these times. It is important that quality books, opinions and facts are being published in the mainstream sect; it’s important that people can continue to seek release and escapism in offline methods like books; and it’s important that books continue to educate. However, with fewer people being able to support their indie bookshops and relying upon Amazon, I fear it will lose a bit of its heart. – Anonymous
I’m worried its going to be harder, in an industry that is already very hard to get into. Having already tried (a lot) and been rejected (a lot) it’s hard enough to keep going without the added uncertainty of the pandemic. – @_alexhaywood
In many ways its exciting to see how the industry will evolve, particularly in terms of to what extent things will go back to ‘normal’ afterwards in terms of working from home or how book launches are done, etc. From a more personal perspective, I am worried about the viability of working and working to get into something, when that ‘get in’ might not be for months or years. – @jessicaacurry
I feel that the industry is struggling and when this is over needs to ensure that any opportunities it has cancelled for BAME applicants are swiftly restored if it wants to keep up the appearance that it’s actually a changing industry that is welcoming diversity. – @DarrenHodge1
I feel that books are more important than ever, since they provide much-needed escapism. I have heard that young people are reading 45% more books during this crisis! This makes me feel hopeful that publishing is an industry which can survive any economic struggles that might be in our future. – @jstillustrates
3. Do you feel that the crisis will inhibit your publishing journey?
Absolutely. I already feared that the odds were stacked against me with regards to a career in publishing, because of where I live and my socioeconomic position, but now, I just don’t see this as a feasible career for me. It seems like there are too many obstacles in the way. – @carla_fulton02
Yes, I am now actively looking at other jobs in other industries that are still hiring for work remotely. I am hoping to do something in the social-media/ marketing industry and hopefully work gained elsewhere will only strengthen my applications in publishing if and when I decide to apply there in the future. I firmly see my future career being in publishing but this crisis has definitely changed the route in which I am going to have to take to get there. – @SpratleyGrace
Yes and no. Everything’s been put everything on hold but I actually think I’ll be in a stronger position to apply to jobs due to online courses I’m taking (InDesign and Photoshop). With everyone in the same position I’m not sure anyone will be worse off other than if lots of publishing houses decided to go on a hiring freeze. – @_alexhaywood
There will certainly be an economic impact on the publishing industry due to the crisis but it’s currently very difficult to predict how severe it will be. It might take longer for my career to get going, but perseverance is key to making it in the industry anyway so I’m ready for it. – @NickBenton97
No, not really. I know the entrance in it is going to be delayed but I have to hold out hope that my journey will start. Who knows when, and who knows what I’ll be doing but I will make it into the industry one day. – @cstoreyy
4. Have you taken anything positive from this crisis?
I recognise I am incredibly lucky to have full-time employment, and in an industry where I can learn and apply transferable skills. I have enjoyed seeing a more grassroots approach to book publicity emerging, with virtual book tours and furthermore, the greater accessibility of these events, limiting the physical, geographical and monetary barriers to joining in. – Anonymous
I have taken this as a learning opportunity and think that applicants now need to be more creative when it comes to opportunities to get experience, as internships, work experience placements and jobs are on hold. I have done this by taking on courses, networking on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, starting a blog for book reviewing and emailing literary agencies, magazines and newspapers to see if there is any work I can do for them. – Anonymous
Over the years, I have applied for countless opportunities within the publishing industry, all which have sadly fell through. However, I have chosen this time in lockdown to work on improving my skills. I know when all this has settled down and the recruitment process has reopened; I will be in with a better chance of obtaining any opportunities that will open up in the industry. – @chloes1496
One of the positive things to take away from this, is the sense of community that has come out of it. Every Sunday at 11am, and Thursday before we clap for our carers, the surrounding neighbours and I all go into our front gardens and have a boogie or do some exercise. It is something I look forward to each week and it really makes us feel like we are all in this together. – @literarylucie
The time I now have to email, network (virtually) and ask for help. I have taken stock of my skills after a fairly crushing blow, and feel more confident and less precious going forward. – @oh_paigey
More time to read! – Anonymous
5. Are you doing anything to prepare for life post-Covid?
Yes! Once I realised that a job was off the cards for a few months I instantly started looking at some online courses and have been loving them. I’ve completed the ‘How to create great online content’ on Future Learn, and am 70% of the way through ‘The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing’ on Google Digital Garage. I’m also trying to watch as many live events as possible so that I can join in the conversation of how coronavirus will change literary events in the future. – @cstoreyy
I’ve started an Instagram where I read a book a week and write a review/give recommendations – I find that this keeps me quite focused on reading and helps me in promoting skills. I’ve also been following publishing Twitter and trying to keep abreast of all news related to it, so that when the time comes I’ll know what I’m talking about! – @emily_egg
I’m going to learn more on Adobe (maybe even get adobe certified) and utilise learning resources like skillshare and The Open University courses to learn more about marketing. I feel like any kind of qualification is very useful to succinctly put on your CV so am trying to find courses through universities which I can do remotely that will give me some kind of certificate or accreditation. – Anonymous
I have been doing a lot of goals mapping to figure out what I need to do to get to where I want to be, which includes the skills I need to refine and the outlets I can use to convey my passion for the industry. I also think it’s a great time to refine CVs and continue to research the field. – Anonymous
I have just been using this time to plan on updating my LinkedIn so that is at least as professional as can be, as well as researching the agencies/publishing houses I would like to work for so that I can keep updated as to when they will start hiring again. – @DarrenHodge1
6. What would you like to see from the publishing industry when we come out of lockdown?
I’d like to see a continuation of the journey the industry has been taking away from London. London is a brilliant place, full of incredible creatives, but we know all of that already. There are literary scenes in cities like Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow which, although do share some of the limelight, don’t get anywhere near the coverage they deserve. – @KeeveMusic
Openness in how hiring is going to proceed in terms of predicted availability and whether the pandemic has affected business would be great. Something to restore confidence in the industry, and if that isn’t possible, then some kind of dialogue about the future and how companies are going to work going forwards. I want to know as much as I can about what’s changed and what position this puts me in. – @_alexhaywood
I’d like to see a scheme to provide paid work experience for 2020 graduates. Hopefully that would provide a good entry point to the industry for people whose career plans might have been delayed because of the virus. – @jstillustrates
A more diverse and inclusive team. This includes job opportunities for people who live outside London, and those of low socio-economic status and BAME. And of course, what we all want, #bookjobtransparency – @literarylucie
More work experience and internship opportunities. There are going to be hundreds of graduates from Publishing and English courses wanting these opportunities, even if they’re remote and the tasks are sent by email and communication is through zoom. Secondly, remote interviews. – @tesniroberts
7. Please share anything else you feel might be of value to PubInterns readers.
It is so disheartening when you apply for jobs and internships and you don’t get anywhere. It is so easy to lose hope , doubt your capabilities and just give up. Remain positive and keep going. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason and what will always be meant for you, won’t pass you by. – @chloes1496
Twitter can be such a good tool in times like these, let’s all communicate and share the positives of this situation, and what we are doing to look after ourselves. – @cstoreyy
Stay inside, stay safe, stay positive. – @literarylucie
And make sure to look at Josie’s design portfolio! www.josiest.co.uk – Thanks Josie!
Thank you everyone for taking part and do connect with each other on social media and keep the conversation going.
Apologies that we couldn’t include everyone’s answers but we so appreciate you sharing your thoughts.