By Elisabeth N Wilkes, on 24 February 2016
As a proud introvert, I must admit that the idea of working with books, which I often turn to recharge from too much social interaction, comforted me. While I knew (and even welcomed) that socialisation would be involved with working in the publishing industry, I dreamed of the precious alone time, reading and thinking critically about the works my publishing house would be presenting to the world.
Despite introverts stereotypically holding the monopoly on being ‘bookworms,’ extroverts can love books just as much as they do. In fact, there are many bibliophiles that are energised by crowds and excitement instead of drained by over exposure.
And let me tell you, the book industry needs those extroverts. We need them in all segments to balance a workforce that typically attracts more introverts by the very nature of what they produce.
One section of publishing that you extroverts might want to check out is Rights. Below, I outline a few reasons why:
- It doesn’t involve a law degree – Despite what it might sound like, this section of the industry has far less to do with copyright law and contracts than it does with selling. Of course, you have to be aware of the copyright and trade laws to know what you can and cannot negotiate, but your main duty is to “maximize a book’s financial potential – whether it’s selling translation … rights, merchandising, serial or book club rights, or even film rights” (Working in Publishing).
- You may have the chance to travel – If you have a strong sense of wanderlust and love traveling the world and talking to people from different cultures, you should definitely look into selling foreign and translation rights. Not only are you often sent to the major book fairs (London, Frankfurt, BookExpo, etc.), but also to individual companies in many different countries all over the world.
- You get to talk – a lot – This part of the industry requires a lot of relationship building between people both outside of your company and outside of your industry. If you work in serial, your interactions will be with the media, and if you work in film rights you’re talking to film producers. While there is a place for ‘getting down to business’ when making these negotiations, a major contribution to success is mastering small talk and lively conversations. It is a socialites dream, where they not only sell and promote a product they love, but also meet different types of people and build fast connections.
This all being said, many introverts love socialising, travelling, and networking. If this is you, please consider Rights if it sounds up your alley. I only highlight Rights for extroverts because it is one of the more natural fits for extroverts wanting to be part of the book industry, but is less thought of than, say, Marketing or Sales. If any of these points interest you, please consider positions in Rights.
If, however, you have more of an artistic side that you feel needs feeding, check out next month’s post on Design to see if it may be a better fit for you.