Dear Auntie Hot Key

Do you have questions? We’ve got answers! This week (and beyond?) the Hot Key aunties are answering your burning questions about publishing. Our first question is about getting your first job in publishing, answered by three people who have done just that. If you have any questions you’d like us to cover, just ask in the comments below and we’ll see what we can do.

Dear Auntie Naomi:
I hear publishing is really hard to get into. Is it worth even trying? Maybe I should try my hand at PR and advertising. I hear that’s well-paid and easy on the hours. What do you think? I haven’t got much work experience and have spent most of my time at Uni protesting at the rising price of organic hummus.
Indecisive in Islington

(With thanks to one-time-editorial-intern-now-editor Katie Flanagan for the image)

Dear Indecisive in Islington,

Ok, I think I had better start by saying if your attitude to getting a job involves you emphasising it being  ‘well-paid and easy on the hours’, there is no point you trying to enter a career in publishing, or any other competitive industry – which will certainly include advertising and PR.

Yes, as anyone with experience will tell you, publishing is really hard to get into. There can be a lot of rejection, which can be especially frustrating when publishing houses want their work experience candidates to have already had work experience! However, we at Hot Key are doing our best not to be like that, and we’re offering lots of internships to people who just have a passion for the industry, and who might not necessarily have a lot of experience.

Indeed, it might cheer you up to know that myself and Cait only had a few weeks’ experience before we got the jobs here – but I think what our superiors would tell you is that they were mainly impressed with our dedication, passion and enthusiasm, as well as an understanding that we were going to be doing a LOT of hard work!

(ed. from Auntie Becca – I had an absolute ton of work experience. I must have sent a hundred letters out, and while I was lucky enough to have a few months’ worth of it, most was unpaid. But it was actually a tip-off I got in my first job that led me to the dream-position at Hot Key, so I’d say work experience is crucial. More on publishing work experience in another question soon.)

So as I say, if you’re looking for something that’s ‘easy on the hours’ I would definitely advise you to stop looking for a job in publishing. Be prepared to be looking for a job for a while, and then once you have that job be prepared for a lot of hard work, probably some long hours and DEFINITELY be prepared to do everything with a massive smile on your face, no matter how boring the task might seem! Oh, and don’t expect there to necessarily a lot of money involved…

However, if you are prepared to do all this, I can honestly say all it all pays off – I doubt you’ll find a more interesting, diverse or fulfilling industry than publishing – and it’s usually filled with absolutely brilliant people who love their jobs! So if you’re serious about getting into publishing do keep at it, it is worth it, but if you’re not, I’m sure there’s a career out there that you will find equally enjoyable.

Just keep swimming,


3 responses to “Dear Auntie Hot Key

  1. Great tips Naomi! You’re very right – to be in publishing you should be hugely passionate. It’s unlikely to make you millions but as Naomi says – you will be surrounded be people who generally think like you and love what they do, and I’ve always thought that’s incredibly rare in the work place!

  2. Dear Auntie Hot Key,

    Are you worried about the amount of time I seem to be spending on here? No, hold on, I can do better than that.

    A fair few people become authors after working in or around publishing. Is this because it is the one true way to riches and fulfilment (and do authors really drink the blood of kittens to stay forever young?)

    Fingers crossed.


    • Dear Mark,
      The answer to your first question is clearly yes. The second question… we’ll see if we can get that answered… and the the third question is classified information.
      Keep smiling!
      Auntie Hot Key

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