Welcome to the guest blogging series, So, You Want to Work in Publishing! Every Thursday you can look forward to the personal stories of how someone else broke into publishing. The guest bloggers and I hope that you find our stories encouraging, informative, and helpful in your own path to a publishing career.
If you’re a publishing professional interested in contributing to the blog series, feel free to contact me at HannahKJones10@yahoo.com.
Name: Andrea Modica
Current Title: Editorial Assistant
Hometown: Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Graduated from: Saint Joseph’s University ’11
Where I currently work and live: Currently work at John Wiley & Sons in Hoboken, New Jersey while still living at home in Pennsylvania
Your path to publishing: Look up English major in the dictionary, and chances are you’ll see my face. I was one of those college rarities where I declared my major before I graduated high school and kept that major all throughout college. I loved reading and writing—I just didn’t know how to put the two together and create my perfect career. Then a professor mentioned book publishing, and the light bulb went off. How had I not thought of that sooner? I spent eight months interning for Running Press Book Publishers in Philadelphia, and I loved every minute of it. After that, I knew publishing was the right path for me. One of the editors I worked for had gone to NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute, and encouraged me to apply. I did, and spent six weeks in the publishing hub of New York City. I’d recommend this experience to anyone who wants to work in publishing. It was easily one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my life, but it was also one of the most rewarding. I made invaluable connections, learned crazy-amounts of inside information, and formed friendships stronger than the ones it took me four years in college to create. Publishing is not an easy business to break into—even with an English degree and NYU certificate under my belt, many online applications seemed to vanish into thin air and interview results went untold. But I’ve known since the very beginning that I belonged in publishing, so I refused to settle for a job outside the business. I checked job postings daily, updated my resume weekly, and commiserated with my NYU friends who also struggled to find their footing after our six weeks in the big city ended. I pulled my hair out for six months before finally landing a job.
How did you find out about your first publishing job: I had an odd path to the job I currently hold today. Originally, I heard about an opening at Wiley from a fellow NYU grad who posted a link on Facebook. She had been recently hired by the company and passed along the information for the open position. I interviewed for the job, but found out I’d come in second. No matter, said the friendly HR rep, there was another position available, and it was mine if I wanted it. I didn’t hesitate, regardless of the fact that my insane passion for books has been put on hold indefinitely while I work at Wiley-Blackwell, which only publishes scientific journals. In the end, networking with fellow NYU students who’d landed publishing jobs proved more valuable than the stack of business cards I’d collected from publishing professionals. When HR reps don’t return emails, and job applications go by unnoticed, don’t forget about your peers.
What does your typical day look like: There is no such thing as a “typical” day in publishing. One of the things I love best about this business is that every day brings something different. There are a few constants, like answering emails and returning phone calls. On any given day, I can juggle projects from my supervisor and process anywhere from one to six manuscripts. Since I don’t edit for content, there’s not much reading involved in my position, but there’s plenty of information gathering and report generating. I’ve never used Microsoft Office so much in my life! I’m in charge of uploading videos to YouTube, making changes to the website, and ensuring that everything is turned in, edited, and sent to production on time. I’m a tedious and organized person, so this position fits me perfectly. And while I still sometimes yearn to edit YA novels, I remember that my career is young, and I’m starting off at a fantastic company with co-workers I genuinely enjoy spending time with. There’s no such thing as a bad job in publishing—only jobs, and if it’s truly your passion, then in the end, it’s all the same.