Next Stop: Your Magazine Dream Job

These Books Will Help Launch Your Career in Magazine Media  

By Emily Weaver 

I’ve always loved to write. I was that kid in school who rejoiced when the class final was a 10-page paper instead of an exam. I also love to read (these two hobbies tend to go hand in hand!). I cherish the time I can put aside to get absorbed in a good book. (And now we have seemingly unlimited time as the world is stuck inside!)

Ann Shoket’s The Big Life really made me put everything aside until I had read every word, twice. Her book became my Bible to the magazine world, an industry I so badly wanted a career in (and in which I am working now!). I first opened The Big Life on a flight back from Fort Lauderdale where I was visiting family for Thanksgiving. I read the first few pages, then closed the book, put my tray table in its upright and locked position and grabbed my notepad (every journalist has one on them at all times, right?), a pen, and highlighter. I put my tray table back down and highlighted every sentence, interview, and quote of advice I thought was important. By the end of the flight almost every line in the book was yellow. 

My fellow media colleagues, friends, and former professors have shared stories about the “ah-ha!” moment they experienced with similar books, so I put together my own short list. I hope that one of these books inspires you — and gives you that extra push you need to dive into your own career. 

The Big Life by Ann Shoket

This was my holy introduction into the magazine world, and here’s why it should be yours too: Ann Shoket is your biggest cheerleader.  As a former Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen Magazine, Ann has spent her career helping young women build self-confidence and tackle the struggles that come with being a teenager. She helped promote the idea that a woman can fall in love and have successful careers, that she can be given a raise and continue to demand fair compensation for her work. This is what living the big life looks like. 

Ann’s book covers everything from finding a career you are actually passionate about to offering tips on how to juggle your work-life balance. She coaches readers on how to gain respect from a tougher-than-nails boss and advocates  for everyone to pursue a side hustle. Filled with personal stories, intimate interviews with successful businesswomen, and words of encouragement, Ann’s book will ignite a spark inside you to create your own big life. 

The Teen Vogue Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion by Teen Vogue 

If you’re looking to launch your career at a fashion magazine or digital outlet, this book should be at the top of your reading list. Every element of the fashion industry is outlined in great detail. Whether you want to be a stylist, a photographer or an editor,  The Teen Vogue Handbook is full of great career advice from high profiled fashion experts like Marc Jacobs and Bruce Weber.




The Art of Making Magazines: On Being an Editor and Other Views from the Industry by Evan Cornog and Victor Navasky

If you’re a magazine junkie, this one’s for you. This book is perhaps the closest you’ll get to learning about the inner makings of a magazineunless you work at one, of course. Published in 2012, it’s an opus of essays and reflections from some of the industry’s biggest publications. I’m talking about Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Elle, The New Republic, and Harper’s. Every position in the magazine food chain is represented in this book –  writers, editors, art directors and even publishers. 

Amid concern surrounding the future of print magazines, seasoned journalists address important topics such as the digital revolution and the sometimes toxic relationship between advertising dollars and content. This book is more than a just guide on how to survive the magazine industry; it’s a must-have manual for anyone looking to break into the world of print journalism. 

Starting Your Career as a Freelance Editor: A Guide to Working with Authors, Books, Newsletters, Magazines, Websites, and More by Mary Embree 

Many magazines and digital media companies rely heavily on freelance contributors for their content. Starting Your Career as a Freelance Editor is a step-by-step introduction on how to throw your hat into the ring. In this guide, you’ll learn how to build relationships with writers and publishers, brand yourself (a topic Ed is a big fan of!), and negotiate your rate.

Author Mary Embree has been an author, editor, and literary consultant herself. As a writers’ workshop leader and the founder of Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network, she’s seen her advice work right before her eyes.


Wait! There’s more! Fill out your magazine library with these books by magazine editors about the editor life.

Emily Weaver is a freelance writer and POPSUGAR contributor where she writes about all the things ranging from entertainment and relationships to home and living and mental health. She recently graduated from the University of Iowa where she studied Journalism & Mass Communication and Sport Studies. Her writing has been featured on Grandstand Central, Spoon University, Iowa Journalist and more. Follow her: Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn 

Photos via Amazon.


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