So, You Want to Work in Publishing…in Singapore

Jennifer's Publishing Advice

Name: Jennifer Lien
Current Title: Publishing Editor at Taylor & Francis Group
Hometown: Waterloo, Canada
Graduated from: University of Waterloo, Class of 2011; Joint BA in Political Science and Social Development Studies, Diploma of General Studies in Social Work
Currently enrolled in: University of Toronto, Joint MEd with the Sociology of Education department and the Comparative, International & Development Education Centre (part-time).
Currently work and live in: Singapore

My Path to Publishing:

Growing up, I was a happy bookworm. My favourite way to spend time was to curl up in my room for hours on end with a pile of library books for company. Choosing English Literature as my college major and publishing as a career might have seemed natural next steps but I had developed a keen interest in political science after taking a particularly thought-provoking class during my senior year of high school (never underestimate the power of a good teacher!) At the time, double majoring in political science and social work seemed a practical choice. After all, I didn’t know anyone in publishing and had no idea how to break into the industry. So, my path diverged for a while.

I was also enrolled in a departmental co-op program at university, which means I completed four for-credit internships during the course of my studies. Three of these I were at an independent boarding school which peaked my interest in international and comparative education, especially in the cultural contexts of OECD stars Finland, South Korea, and Singapore. I applied for and was accepted for a Master of Education at my dream school but was still unsure of how to turn my interests into a career. When I heard from a friend of a friend that a research centre out of the National University of Singapore was looking for interns, I emailed the Director of Research an application, and was accepted for a six-month paid placement.

Deferring my grad school acceptance, I flew to Singapore one month after graduation. The Research Assistant position was multifaceted and I assisted with everything from courseware development to funding proposals. During the year, the Director saw potential in my case study write-ups and presented me with a dream opportunity. She had a book project and asked if I was interested in working with her on the research and writing. My job description gradually segued into working on the book full-time which reignited my desire to work in publishing.

How I found out about my first publishing job:

While I had no experience in publishing, I decided it couldn’t hurt to ask the editor of our book if there were any entry-level openings with the publisher Taylor & Francis/Routledge. There happened to be one with the Journal’s team who were looking for a Publishing Editor. After two rounds of interviews, for which I had done hours of research, I was thrilled to be offered the job! In retrospect, I think they found my experience in research and in higher education environments very relevant but what convinced them to offer me the job was the intensity with which I had prepared for the interview!

What my typical day look like…

Our Singapore office is our main editorial hub in APAC. This means I work across Science and Technology, and Humanities and Social Science subject areas. My day-to-day tasks primarily depend upon my inbox but in general my role involves preparing reports for meetings with editors, managing our social media accounts and several databases, assisting with the organization and execution of roundtables and social events for editors/authors, researching potential journal starts and acquisitions, analyzing citation and sales data, and so on. Working in Asia is very exciting and my role has so far proven to be an ideal marriage for my passions in research and education.

Connect with me!

LinkedIn; twitter; wordpress:

The book project:


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