Here’s the standard way to rise as an editor in publishing:
- Finish an undergrad degree (or graduate degree).
- Pursue continuing studies in publishing, often as night school or as a graduate degree.
- Land an unpaid or underpaid internship. Before the pandemic, this internship usually took place in house—an amazing learning experience, but an expensive undertaking when the houses are often in cities like Toronto, New York, and London.
- Land another internship. The standard is doing three internships.
- Secure an entry-level position and work your way up over many years, often from contract to contract.
Editors, it’s time to chart your own career path! I love the example that Yahdon Israel sets.
“By crafting and working within his own interests in the literary world, Yahdon gained all of the skills required of a Senior Editor at a top-tier publishing house like Simon & Schuster. In an industry with a reputation for exclusivity that is making strides in changing how it works, Yahdon, his work, and his hiring set an example of what’s possible as a new era of publishing begins.”
A few days after starting at S&S, Yahdon released a video about the types of books he wants to acquire. He pulls back the curtain on publishing to explain how the business works, and he promotes all his acquisitions on social media.