Advertising is quite a broad sector of the commercial side of writing which employs people in various roles. What they all have in common is they are there to promote writing, adhere to legal responsibilities and liaise with the media and other interested parties.
What you need to learn
• Media studies – writing, editing, photography, video production
• Sales skills – how to interact with customers, selling books, liaising with clients, publishers, etc., networking, keeping inventories
• Marketing – marketing theory, market segregation, brand awareness, advertising methods
• General writing skills - grammar, punctuation, sentence structure
• Organisation skills - arranging meetings, when & how to work, time management, goal setting, working to deadlines
• Communication - liaising with agents, publishers, editors, clients, media, interviewing
• Technical skills - understanding IT, computers and software, publishing platforms, printing, websites
• Legal knowledge – awareness of copyright law, legal responsibilities, ethical issues
Starting a Career
You could start out by having an interest in writing which leads you to join a local writing club. After a couple of years you take on the role of press officer for that club, promoting its work to the local media. You then get a job working as a general assistant in a publishing house. Later you move over to a PR role and start promoting books.
There are also many other ways to get involved in advertising written work. For example, some may make promotional videos and post them online to raise their own profile. You could create a show-reel of your work and distribute it to employers. A lot of would-be authors are willing to have their work promoted this way.
Some who get involved in advertising books and written work come from other industries where they may have held a position in advertising or PR types roles. Even small businesses which produce their own writing have a need for marketers.
Progressing a Career
To go far in advertising you need to develop your public relations skills as well as technical skills like IT. You also need a solid foundation in marketing theory and techniques. Do this many different ways, eg. PD courses, attending conferences/workshops, reading industry media.
Other ways to advance a career in this sector include:
• Attending workshops
• Going to writing festivals
• Becoming a member of a trade or professional body
• Networking – including social media