The changing skillset of the publishing professional

We look at the changing skills of the publishing professional, using one Maverick’s career as an example of the changes we’re all grappling with.  So what does a career in publishing look like? Anthony Finn shares some insight:

What was your first job in publishing?

I was desk editor for New English Library; editing type-written manuscripts, blurb writing and proof-reading. This was back in the days when printers typed authors’ manuscripts using hot metal typesetting (linotype) and proofs were supplied as galleys and corrected with red, green and black ballpoint pens. We didn’t have computers – and I remember the excitement of moving from a manual to an electric typewriter with a correction tape!

I spent most of my day on proofs and manuscripts – and reading the pile of unsolicited manuscripts.

What are the key skills you’ve learned in recent years?

I moved from trade book publishing to academic journals with T&F journals, which in turn led to becoming a consultant in academic books and journals. Most of my fundamental skills come from mainstream employment, but consultancy has required that some of these skills be honed and developed to suit a different way of working.

Project management, negotiation, strict adherence to deadlines and diplomacy skills are vital for any freelancer or consultant. And though the client is always right, there are times when it takes all those skills to get them there.

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