Careers in Publishing: Advice from Carin Siegfried ’95

On Thursday, October 27, Davidson alum Carin Siegfried ’95 spoke to a group of Davidson students about careers in publishing.  Here are just a few of the useful tips she provided during the 90-minute session!

Think past jobs in Editorial.  These are the jobs that everyone wants, and therefore are the most competitive and the lowest paid.  Look into other areas of publishing, like Subsidiary Rights, Production & Managing Editorial, Art & Design, Publicity, Marketing, and Sales.

Consider Agenting if the idea of discovering new writers and nurturing relationships with writers over time excites you.

Consider Publicity if you were the social chair of your eating house or fraternity.  This role involves someone outgoing and enthusiastic.

Consider Sales even if you have never seen yourself in a Sales role.  It’s not like selling used cars:  you are selling books to book people!  And starting salaries can be $10 – $20k more than Editorial starting salaries.

Yeah, you’re probably going to have to move to New York.  You don’t *have* to start in New York, but it is where most of the jobs are and where you can best network and will make lifelong industry connections.  Also, being close to broke in New York is much less painful when you are young.

If you’re looking at publishing internships, look at rotational programs that expose you to various aspects of the publishing business.  Seniors should look for paid fall internships (significantly less competition than for summer internships) in addition to entry-level assistant positions.

Don’t think you need a graduate degree or publishing certificate.  Maybe 25% of people who work in publishing have graduate degrees, but an undergraduate degree in the humanities the best preparation for most of the jobs.  Your employer will likely pay for you to take some relevant graduate courses once you get your foot in the door and prove your value.

Remember that Davidson has prepared you well to start this career!  When applying and interviewing, focus on the workload balance, time management, and organization skills that Davidson has taught you.

You may not get in to publishing right away, and that’s okay.  Focus on developing soft, transferable skills in whatever other job you land — like how to deal with difficult personalities.

Network, network, network.  Get on LinkedIn today, if you aren’t already (and link to Carin!) Remember that informational interviews are the next best thing to actual interviews.

Did you miss the session but are seriously interested in pursuing publishing as a career?  Contact Carin Siegfried at  Also keep an eye out for opportunities for resume reviews that we’re looking to set up with Carin during the spring semester!

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