Jobs: Sales representative, acquisitions editor
If your goal is to be a big editor at a publisher, you might want to crack the college textbook industry. But taking a red pen to copy isn't the fastest or best paid route.
"The path in educational and technical publishing is most expeditious if you go through sales," said William Dintman, manager of national recruiter Barringer Consulting, a member firm of the MRINetwork.
By contrast if you start as a copyeditor, it can take several years before you advance and "the pay is low," Dintman said.
Sales can be a career unto itself - and it's one where you sell directly to professors. But if you want to move up the food chain, the next stop is acquisitions editor, then executive editor, where you commission new work and bring authors on board.
The most attractive candidates come to the field with a college degree, some teaching experience, some sales experience and a lot of intellectual curiosity, Dintman said. You don't need to specialize in any one academic field, since chances are you'll be selling books across disciplines.
Despite fears that computers would usurp the textbook industry, Dintman said, "People do not like to read books online." But they do like to do related course work online, so those in textbook publishing can't be computer shy since a lot of textbooks are sold as packages with software.
Sales pay: $40,000-$50,000 base plus $15,000-$25,000 bonus if you meet your sales quota, up to $50,000 if you exceed it and are a top rep.
Acquisition editor pay: $65,000-$80,000 base plus bonus tied to department performance.