This article was contributed by YPG member Mackenzie Brady.
If you are a YPG member and would like to contribute articles on publishing-related topics for our site, please contact Stephanie Bowen at sbowen@
Publishing is a relatively small, and therefore, very intimate industry.
As anyone who transitions to publishing from an unrelated field certainly knows, it is a tough nut to crack.
So here’s Nutcracker 101: it’s all about who you know.
Authors need to know the right agent to represent their work; agents need to know which editors will like their projects; and editors need to know which publisher will support their literary visions.
Getting to know the individuals that make up the tight-knit community is a vital part of becoming a successful publishing professional—and the earlier you start, the better. Not only do these events offer critical insight into the current publishing landscape in the form of agent/editor panels, but they also give you an excuse to travel and talk books with a variety of interesting people in the industry.
Here is a list of some effective (and sometimes unconventional) ways to establish and nurture professional publishing relationships. Some conferences are genre-specific, like Crime Bake held in New England ( while others, like Writer’s Digest Conference held in NYC ( cater to individuals interested in all forms of writing. Not to toot YPG’s own horn too much, but joining this group is a smart first step in meeting a huge range of publishing professionals at AAP member publishing houses who already share your interest in networking, exchanging professional insights and improving lives through literary-oriented service projects.
Some other workshops and conferences to look into include Sewanee Writers Conference in Tennessee ( Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont ( Art and Craft: Northwestern Summer Writers’ Conference in Chicago ( One Story’s Workshop for Writers in Brooklyn ( and many more (view or additional conferences and writers’ workshops). Attend Brown Bag Lunch (BBL) events to hear publishing experts’ thoughts and wisdom on specific industry issues, come to a happy hour or social event to mingle with your colleagues, join a book club, or volunteer for one of the many worthy causes YPG Cares supports, and remember as you make friends: YPG members can be each other’s best resource. Get to know your bosses (and other people within your own company).
Top publishing professionals weren’t always that way.
They worked their way up from the slush pile to their current position, just like you’re trying to do now.
The benefit of your bosses having been around the block is that they have met a lot of people and often are willing to help you meet them too. Join Twitter and Facebook so you can like, follow and tweet about and with agents, authors, editors, publishing houses, literary magazines, newspapers…any and all sources of industry news.