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A Peek into Publishing

Top 10 Tips: First Week in Publishing

So it’s your first week in your new publishing job.

Maybe it’s your first ever publishing job, or maybe you’ve just moved companies. Either way, congratulations! You’ve passed the first hurdle, and now it’s time to look forward.

We asked all our recent starters what ten things they would recommend you do in your first week, and even what they wished they’d done. This list is in no particular order, but follow these tips and set yourself up for success!

1. Find a good note-taking system

Whether it’s a nice notebook, or your favourite list-making app, make sure you have a place to write everything down. As you go you’ll start to remember more things off the top of your head, but the amount of information at the start can be a lot, so get it written down.

Whether it’s names of people in departments, any questions you think of, new terms, processes or details about upcoming books, make sure you’ve got it to hand. You never know what you’ll need to look back on next week!

2. Familiarise yourself with their list

While it’s impossible to memorise an imprint’s whole list, it’s helpful to get a good idea of their recent releases and upcoming titles as a starting point.

If you’re working from home it might be easiest to look through the production schedule, or if you’re in the office take a look around at the books on the shelves.

It’s also worth looking into getting your own copies of a few! Most companies offer a staff discount, if not gratis copies, so ask around and see what’s available.

3. Get comfortable with your computer setup

There can be a lot of platforms to get set up on when you first start, from emails to server access, working out how to book time off, using Zoom or Teams etc. – make sure you have time to look through all of them and get to grips with them. And keep a note of all of your passwords!

4. Take a deep dive into the company systems

Similarly to the new platforms, make sure you make the most of any free time by looking around the server – the various spreadsheets and drives that are frequently used.

5. Keep a list of questions

You’re guaranteed to have them! Don’t lie to yourself and think you’ll remember them. Note them down so you have a list for your first meeting with your manager, and remember that no question is silly or off limits.

For example, when we started, here are just a few things we asked: terms we heard in meetings we didn’t know about, what a certain figure meant in the P&L (profit and loss) document, how long we have to do a certain task, etc.

6. Say yes!

It’s likely at the start you’ll have a bit more free time, so take advantage of this and all the training opportunities you get offered – and say yes whenever you can. 

7. Introduce yourself

To your department and the wider team! You never know who you’ll end up working with later down the line, so reach out to a few people seeing if they’re interested in having a ‘get to know eachother’ chat over video call or a coffee.

8. Start organising early

Chances are, your first week is likely to be the week you get the fewest emails you ever will in your role. So get organised while you can!

We recommend setting up an organised filing system in your inbox, as well as on your desktop, so that as things come in they have a place to go.

9. Attend all the meetings

Go to whatever you’re invited to and ask if you can sit in on the ones you might not be. You may not need to go back to them in future but it’ll give you great insight into how different departments interact.

10. Take a breather

As much as it’s important to absorb as much information as you can, make sure you don’t put too much pressure on yourself in the first week. There’ll be a lot of new things thrown at you, so make sure you are taking your full lunch breaks and finishing on time to get that work-life balance.


That’s all for this week! We wish you the best of luck on your publishing journey.

If you want to learn more about upcoming Peek Into Publishing projects, follow Watkins on Twitter, and take a look at some of our previous blog posts here.

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