By Tanna Waters
Many of the students who work on Silk Road, and many of our readers and contributors, love writing enough to want to stay within the writing world, but may not want to be full time creative writers. I myself got a masters in publishing from Portland State University and do freelance work, but I have also been looking for publishing-related jobs since graduation not too long ago. I’ll share with you the resources I’ve discovered along the way along with a brief description of what you’ll get out of it.
The Editorial Freelancers Association
EFA members are people with a broad range of freelancer skills ranging from editing to translating and more. The association offers clients a list of freelancers (the members) from which to choose in hopes of matching the right freelancer to the right gig. Membership is subscription based as the organization is a member-run nonprofit where the board does not dictate, but involved members do. The association offers classes (reduced tuition for members) along with connecting members to jobs, and offers resources for freelance professionals to improve their skills. Even if you aren’t a member, many of the resources are still available, and most import to any freelancer are the common, and updated, industry rates, which can be found on their website.
For freelancers starting out, Elance is a good place to look for clients. For a small membership price (there are different levels depending on your need), members create a profile and bid for jobs ranging from editing gigs, to ghost writing, to design, and even freelance telemarketing. Services are rated like an Amazon Marketplace seller, and payment is secure (Paypal is common).
You create a profile that acts as a resume and shows past jobs and the ratings you got from them. You can also prove your skills with a skill-testing feature that rates your proficiency with a given platform as a percentile of individuals in the industry. Elance also lets you upload your portfolio so that clients can see samples of our work.
New users can try it out free for ten project bids a month before they need to upgrade.
Media Bistro is an online forum that keeps media-minded people up-to-date on industry news and research. It also has a large database of jobs that a member (membership is free) can search, either by location or industry. Their mission “is to provide opportunities to meet, share resources, become informed of job opportunities and interesting projects and news, improve career skills, and showcase your work.” The website and job database are updated daily, if not hourly, and is one of the most respected job search forums in my personal circle.
BookJobs is a job an internship database, as well as a publishing industry resource. Their search lets you focus on certain areas within the publishing industry that are of interest. They also have a guide for matching college majors to specific focus areas within the publishing industry, noting that you don’t have the be an English or communications major to have a job in the publishing field. In fact, sometimes it’s better to be a business major than a book major. The unfortunate thing about BookJobs, however, is that it tends to be New York centric, but if you don’t mind relocating then this shouldn’t be an issue.
Sometimes the best place to scoop a job or internship is right on the publisher’s website. They often post there first before sending the memo out to feeder sites like Craigslist, Monster, Jobdango, and even Media Bistro. Check out the websites of these local publishers:
Beyond Words http://www.beyondword.com/
Glimmer Train http://www.glimmertrain.com/
Hawthorne Books http://www.hawthornebooks.com/
Inkwater Press http://www.inkwaterpress.com/
Raintown Press http://raintownpress.com/
The Oregonian Newspaper http://biz.oregonian.com/
Timber Press http://www.timberpress.com/
Tin House http://www.tinhouse.com/home
Underland Press http://www.underlandpress.com/
Publishing related jobs don’t just live at the publishing house, but also in the corporate world. They are called communications managers, marketing copywriters, desktop publishers, among other things. Many different businesses from an owner-operated small businesses all the way to huge corporations need skilled editors and designers to handle their publications. Don’t count out how valuable your skills with language are to the world. It may come naturally to you, but it doesn’t to everyone. Keep your options open.