Welcome to the guest blogging series, So, You Want to Work in Publishing! The guest bloggers and I hope that you find our stories encouraging, informative, and helpful in your own path to a publishing career. You can find a full listing of previous posts in the series here.
If you’re a publishing professional interested in contributing to the blog series, feel free to contact me at HannahKJones10@yahoo.com.
Name: Meg Roth
Current Title: Creative Assistant at Scholastic, Inc.
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Graduated from: University of Pittsburgh 2011, BA in English Literature & Film
Where you currently work and live: I live in Pennsylvania, and I work in SoHo.
Your Path to Publishing:
I’ve been an avid reader ever since I can remember. I typically carry at least one book with me wherever I go. I was lucky enough to have teachers, family, and friends that encouraged me to pursue English Literature, Film, and Children’s Literature in college. Granted, I had no idea where this would lead. I only knew that reading, critiquing, and discussing British Literature, YA novels, science fiction, and more seemed like the best possible major for me.
But, when you’re in college and happen to be an English major, you’re often plagued with this response: “Hm, interesting. What will you do when you graduate?” So, I had to come up with a plan. I was lucky enough to study abroad in London where I was given a rare and unique opportunity to intern at Reaktion Books Publishing, Ltd. While interning, I was able to work in production, design, PR, editorial, and marketing. Within the first week, I knew this was the path I was going to take – even if many considered it a risky move.
When I returned to the states, I tried my hardest to immerse myself in this field. While Pittsburgh isn’t exactly a publishing hub, I searched for internships that would help set me apart from other candidates. I was a digital editor for Bleacher Report. I helped organize a book tour for Pittsburgh-based author Dalel Khalil. I reviewed books and films at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Experience never hurts.
Heading into my senior year, I applied for NYU, Columbia, and Denver’s Publishing Institutes and ended up at NYU for the summer. In six weeks, I worked with two teams to create an original magazine and book imprint. I met an amazing group of people and friends. I was given an overview of the industry and what it takes to work with all departments to successfully create a product and a brand. Not to mention, I met contacts at different publishing houses and media brands that were instrumental in helping me land my first job.
How did you find out about your first publishing job?
While attending NYU, I scoured the web looking for job opportunities. There are a ton of great resources out there for people interested in pursuing a career in publishing. I, however, found out about my current position in a different way. A friend of mine at NYU knew I was interested in editorial (and that I’m a huge advocate for literacy). So, she ever so kindly set me up with an informational interview at Scholastic, Inc. with someone she knew since college (networking definitely helps in this industry).
The job was definitely something I was interested in. I felt it was a perfect fit for me since it combined so many departments in one position – social media, editorial, online production, marketing, etc. I eventually met with the Publisher, Editorial Director, and Project Manager before landing the job. I worked as a temporary employee for six months before being hired as a full-time employee.
What does your typical day look like?
Since I work with multiple departments within Scholastic, Inc., there is no such thing as a “typical day” – which is really the beauty of the industry. While there are some tasks that are routine, I have the opportunity to create my own daily schedule. I’d say you definitely have to know how to manage your time and decide what is a priority on any given day. I’m primarily responsible for writing single page articles for two award-winning magazines, writing book and product reviews, managing social media on multiple platforms, and managing online content production for the website. It’s definitely a lot of work and a lot of different tasks, but that’s what I love about my job. Lucky for me, I have the added bonus of working with a great group of people who I genuinely enjoy working with. I would add that I think this is a norm in the industry!