Switching Careers: Leaving Law for the World of Words

Publishing Advice


Name: Erynn Im-Sato
Current Title: Sales Rep, Proprietary and Display Marketer Sales
Hometown:  Torrance, California
Graduated From: UC Santa Barbara, 2005
Currently work and live: HarperCollins Publishers, New York

My path to publishing:

I was an English major in college and I thought I wanted to be a journalist or editor. My first job out of college was at a local surf magazine in Santa Barbara but then decided I wanted to pursue a more lucrative career in law instead. I moved to San Francisco and worked at a law firm for a year before having an honest conversation with myself and admitting I wanted to go back to the world of words. In my state of quarter-life crisis I rationalized a move to Paris to study French language and English literature in preparation for the GRE, but came back to the US knowing I wanted to work with books. So I moved to New York, enrolled in the Columbia Publishing Program, networked with publishing professionals, got a job at HarperCollins, and have been here for almost five years now.

How I found out about my first publishing job (or internship):

I met a HarperCollins HR rep at the Columbia Publishing Program career fair. I requested an informational interview which turned into an offer for Harper’s rotational program, where I’d be given the chance to try out all the different departments. After three weeks with the Harper Perennial marketing team, I got an offer for a full-time position with the special markets sales team.

What my typical day looks like:

I now work on the proprietary sales team in the special markets department. We create custom-edition books for customers such as Costco, Barnes and Noble, and more. I create and pitch new titles and package ideas. I manage projects from conception through design, production, editorial, and author approval. And I also blog at www.booksoutsidethebox.com, talking about life, books, and cool places where books are sold.

What I love most about my job:

Getting to talk about books everyday with people who love books just as much as I do.

Advice on Breaking Into Publishing

  • Network. You can network via social media by following companies on Twitter and their blogs. And you can also network in person by going to to MeetUp events like NYC Literature Nerds, The Publishing Point, eBooks, eReaders and Digital Content Publishing. Try to meet as many people in the industry as possible.
  • Read outside your comfort level. If you’re a fiction heavy reader like me, get some non-fiction books under your belt. Check out young adult, mass market, etc. Browse bookstores, keep an eye out for trends and interesting book packages.
  • Be up to date with industry news. There are tons of resources like the free daily newsletter Shelf Awareness.

Connect with me!

Twitter: @ErynnImSato

Blog: www.booksoutsidethebox.com

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/user/show/1468815-erynn

Falling in Love with Publicity and Publishing

Marnise's Publishing Advice

Welcome to the guest blogging series, So, You Want to Work in Publishing, where publishing professionals share their personal stories of how they broke into the industry. 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.

Today, I’m so happy to welcome Marnise, someone I actually met through this very blog series! She stumbled across the series, loved it, and connected with me on LinkedIn. When reviewing her profile, I was so interested in her experiences–Publicity? Awesome. Working remotely? Even more awesome! Doing it all while juggling a full college course load? Impressive!–and I’m so happy she was willing to share her story about how she pursued and even created her opportunities. Marnise’s story is a great example of how valuable social media can be when trying to break into the industry.

Name: Marnise Tucker
Current Title: Associate Publicist, Entangled Publishing, LLC. & Editorial/Publicity Intern with Publishing Trendsetters
Hometown:  Hartford, CT
Currently enrolled in:  Post University, B.A. in Marketing
Currently work and live in: I work from home (remotely)

My path to publishing:

Originally I was interested in interning at a literary agency and studying to become a Literary Agent. As in life, sometimes things don’t always go as planned. My first internship at Euterpe YA Books, an imprint of Musa Publishing, actually ended up being heavily focused on PR and publicity work. At the end of the 6 month internship my interest in publicity was piqued. With publicity in mind, I searched again for internships. I was lucky enough to find exactly what I was looking for. I began interning with Entangled Publishing in mid-August and I love it. It was completely different from what I was expecting but at the same time, thrilling and fun.

How I found out about my first publishing job:

I actually found out about the internship with Entangled through twitter. When I first became interested in publishing, I took the initiative to finding like-minded individuals. Being that I lived away from the big publishing scene, I decided the best way was to connect with people online. I must have followed every literary agency, editor, publicist, and author that you could find on twitter. I made a habit of reaching out to industry vets, asking them about their companies, their latest projects and just making connections. You would be surprised at just how many publishing internships are posted on twitter.

I found my most recent internship by putting myself out there and simply asking if Publishing Trendsetter’s would be interested in a remote intern. As it turns out, they were interested!

What my typical day looks like…

I absolutely love working remotely. Just because you don’t live in NYC doesn’t mean you can’t work in publishing or publicity. At Entangled I spend my day’s liaison with my author’s, my publicity team, and the media. I create blog tours, garner press, and promote, promote, promote!!!! I love working with my author.

With Publishing Trendsetter’s I research industry news for a column I run, as well as other special projects as they come in. Be sure and check out “5 Top Publishing News Stories of the Week” for a summary of weekly industry news.


Connect with me!

I would love for you all to connect with me on Linkedin and Twitter! @marnisetucker

Let me know you stopped by!

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: http://nearing25.wordpress.com/.

The book project: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415522762/

How a Lifelong Love of Books Led to a Publicity Job

Publishing Advice

Name: Caroline Nitz
Current Title: Publicity Assistant at Henry Holt & Company, an imprint of Macmillan
Hometown: Northfield, MN
Graduated from: St. Olaf College, 2011
Where you currently work and live: I live and work in Manhattan.

Your Path to Publishing:

Like many in publishing, I was an English major without the slightest idea what to do with it. I knew I didn’t want to teach so I just decided to bury myself in books and figure out the rest later. It wasn’t until late in my junior year of college that it finally occurred to me that I could be a part of the industry that produced the books and magazines I’d been devouring all my life. What better way to spend my time, I thought, than surrounded by words and people who love them as much as I do?

I took to Google and discovered the summer publishing programs at NYU and Columbia. I applied to both for the summer after graduation, got into NYU, and quickly accepted. Three days after tossing my cap in the air, I hopped on a plane bound for New York.

NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute was a challenging, eye-opening, and educational six weeks. I gained a basic understanding of both magazine and book publishing, met some wonderful people, and laid a foundation on which to build my career. I wasn’t able to find a job in New York at the end of the program but I found an editorial internship at a magazine publisher in Minneapolis almost immediately after returning home. Four months later, I had some published clips, a byline in Minnesota Bride, an offer to stay on as a freelancer, and a nagging urge to get back to New York City.

A few months later, I had a serendipitous offer from a childhood friend: a one month sublet near Columbia University while she did a research trip for grad school, giving me the opportunity to job hunt in New York City for a solid thirty-some days. From there, it was a whirlwind. An alumni event led to a handful of connections in the publishing industry, which led to an interview, and then a job offer. Never underestimate the power of networking!

What does your typical day look like?

Every day is different. It’s a mixture of sending books to reviewers and producers, writing press releases, compiling mailing lists, tracking media coverage, and brainstorming for future publicity campaigns. We’re planning for books that don’t come out for months at the same time that campaigns are in full swing, so it’s important to be able to juggle!

Connect with her:

LinkedIn is easiest.

Want to Work in Publishing? Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Connections!

Amanda's publishing photograph

Welcome to the guest blogging series, So, You Want to Work in Publishing, where publishing professionals share their personal stories of how they broke into the industry. 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.

Today, I’m so happy to welcome Amanda, someone I met in the summer of 2011 during our time at the NYU Summer Publishing Program together. She offers some wonderful insight into the literary agent side of the industry–a career option most new graduates don’t think or know much about.

Name: Amanda Panitch
Current Title: Literary Agency Assistant at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin (www.lmqlit.com)
Hometown: Jackson, New Jersey
Graduated from: The George Washington University (BA in English), New York University (certificate in publishing)
Where you currently work: New York, NY

Your Path to Publishing: Growing up, I changed career ambitions about as often as I changed my socks. As a kid, I was determined to be a ballerina (I was undeterred by the fact that I had the grace of a drunken buffalo). In middle school I wanted to be a doctor. I went to college for international relations, which was interesting, but not, I realized, what I wanted to spend my life doing.My only interests that had remained consistent throughout the years were reading and writing, so I switched my major to English, and immediately went in search of internship experience that would grant me and my English degree the hope of eventual employability. After applying to every internship that seemed even slightly relevant on my school’s career site, I ended up getting a position working for Deborah Grosvenor, a literary agent then with Kneerim & Williams and now with her own eponymous agency. She was an amazing mentor and I loved everything about the work, from reading the slush to making editorial notes to the excitement of an auction, and so I decided I wanted to work in agenting.I burnished my resume with one more literary agency internship (at the now-defunct PMA Literary and Film Management) before attending the NYU Summer Publishing Institute. The exposure to all the different sides of the industry at SPI was valuable, but it only cemented my belief that agenting was the right path for me. After SPI, I did yet another internship at Writers House, which was an incredible experience and which ultimately led me to my job at LMQ.

How did you find out about your first publishing job and/or internship? Any job search methods you’d recommend? I found my job (and two of my internships) the old-fashioned way: through postings on job sites like Publisher’s Lunch and Bookjobs. The other internship (at Writers House) I heard about through the NYU SPI Career Fair. From what I’ve seen, though, I was the exception: a lot of publishing jobs aren’t even posted online, and even with those that are posted online, the application process is actually a black hole. I went on one interview for an editorial assistant at one of the Big Six and the interviewing editor told me that, while the position had been posted online, they hadn’t even had to go through those applications, as they’d had so many personal recommendations.So, stemming from that, my main advice is: use your connections! Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you worked with at internships, or your uncle’s cousin’s stepsister who works at Random House. Having someone to pass your resume along–or, even better, call up the hiring manager for you–can (and will) make the difference between getting the interview and getting stuck in the black hole of online applications.Informational interviews are another great way to get your foot in the door–they connect you with people throughout the industry, giving you more people who can pass your resume along (I went on several informational interviews during my job hunt process, and ended up getting three real interviews for positions from those informational interviews), and they also help you learn more about the company and the available positions. See if someone you know can recommend someone to get in touch with. Or, seek someone out yourself–see if you can find an alumnus from your school who works somewhere you’d like to be and ask if they can set aside a half hour for a chat (don’t go after the CEO, of course–try for assistants who were relatively recently in the trenches themselves).Most of all, stay strong–some people get a job on their first or second interview, but most don’t. It took me twenty interviews to get a job, and I couldn’t be happier with how things worked out.

What does your typical day look like? When I tell people what I do, they always ask me if I get to read all day. Alas, I do not–most of my reading and editorial work gets done on my own time, at night or on weekends. My days are filled with everything from vetting and negotiating contracts to author correspondence to chasing late contracts/unpaid advances to line-editing proposals to drawing up permission agreements to managing interns to the excitement that is navigating foreign tax forms. I also do the administrative work that is the duty of assistants everywhere, like answering phones and making schedules. If it’s a slow day, I might have a couple hours to read or type up editorial notes.

#1 Thing You’d Advise People Trying to Get a Similar Position: Use your connections. Do an internship, or several–even if you can’t financially manage a few days a week in an office or a move to New York City, there are remote reader positions at literary agencies to help you learn to navigate the slush pile and get your foot in the door (and always check to see if there are smaller publishing companies or literary agencies around you that offer internships–my first internship was in DC, which isn’t exactly a publishing mecca). Don’t forget to stress job experience outside the industry, too–though I had three internships at literary agencies, had attended a publishing program, and had graduated summa cum laude, the single thing on my resume that aroused the most interest in interviews was my stint in guest relations at a theme park, as it showed I could handle conflict. Also, don’t forget to send thank-you notes after an interview.
Connect with her:
Twitter and LinkedIn (please mention this post).

Feeling Like the Official Author of a Real Book

Images of America, Hannah Karena Jones

This week has been terrible. It’s been one thing after another ever since Monday. Each day I would wake up and think that it couldn’t possibly get worse, and then it would: the latest fiasco was that my washing machine–which I got repaired less than three months ago for a pretty penny–broke again. Curses.

So that’s why it was an extra special treat this morning when I noticed that my book is up for display on the publisher’s website. [eeeeee!] And that it’s available for preorder on Amazon and B&N.com [OMG!] And that, even though the beautiful cover you’ve all seen and admired isn’t displayed there yet, the book is on Goodreads and you can mark it to read. Guys, it has an ISBN number and everything!!

Feel free to do all of the above. Go on. I’ll wait.

[taps toes]


Before this, it didn’t really feel real yet. But now I can tweet, Facebook, pin–EVERYTHING–the real life link to share it’s existence. (Feel free to do this too, if you’re so inclined.) But now there is so much PROOF all over the INTERNET in all these places where I learn about, drool over, and admire beautiful, lovely books that I love desperately or am desperate to read. It’s REAL. May 20, 2013, I will officially be the author of a published book.

Before today, I’ve been a little lackluster in real life about the release of this book. I think this is because my real, not-so-secret, heartfelt dream has always been to be a fiction writer. Specifically, a children’s book/YA fiction writer. And for some reason, this book has been feeling like a deviation from that path; like it’s not as worthy of celebration as a novel would be because it’s only 10,000 words long and relies a lot on photographs telling the story rather than my own words. Maybe I’m not as proud of it as I would be a novel because it isn’t a complete creation of my own imagination: I didn’t build a detailed world, construct amazing characters, or pen tear-jerking plot lines. This is just…history. It exists. It’s always existed. I just organized it and wrote some clear interesting sentences to present that information. For some reason all these feelings and hang-ups had me thinking that this accomplishment wasn’t really an accomplishment at all. It wasn’t all that impressive and it wasn’t something to be proud of, because its mere existence means I’ve failed to write and publish a fiction book yet.

I know, how completely ridiculous do I sound?

But now, seeing it in all these official places, all these online bookstores, I’m finally starting to be rational about it all, and proud. I remember how much work and research I put into it. I mean, I sifted through archives and dug up old photographs and hand-written diaries and read dry annual reports to create this thing, this 128-page volume compilation of history that’s never been compiled and published before. It’s a book people are going to read because they want to know things. How cool is that?

Definitely something worthy of celebration, I think. So in that theme, I’m inviting all of you to celebrate with me and tweet, Facebook, pin, preorder, and put my book on your to-read list. I know Amazon and B&N.com have the book listed at $14.95 and $14.65 respectively, but I’d ask you to hold your horses and consider ordering a copy from me. (I’ll be adding a buy button to this blog, and I intend to link it through PayPal, as soon as I find someone tech-savvy enough to help me design it and put it up.) It has something to do with royalties and something to do with the fact that there will be some swag and other personalization involved, if you’re interested–stuff I’ll talk about at a later date–but I wanted to warn you that, contractually, I’m required to sell the book at the list price of $21.99. I can’t offer discounts and compete with the publisher, the way bookstores can. So if that six dollar difference is really important, I completely understand. Really, no matter whether or where you preorder it, borrow it from the library, or simply mark it to-read for some far off date in the future, I’m going to love you and appreciate it a million.

I’m really excited how this is starting to feel real. But I’m even more excited for when you all read it. That’s going to make it even more real, and I can’t wait!

Cover Reveal!

I’m still, technically, burrowing to finish up this book. But my editor sent me the cover last week and I just couldn’t resist sharing it.

Images of America, Hannah Karena Jones

I was able to recommend which photograph would be used for the cover and as I was sifting through the hundreds of Byberry photographs I’ve collected, trying to decide, I knew this was the one. I wanted to avoid an exterior building photograph, because even though most locals would recognize the distinctive hospital brick design, it wouldn’t be all that attractive or intriguing. And I wanted to avoid graphic photographs that depicted how terrible conditions were there, on occasion, because it wouldn’t have fairly represented the book (of course these photographs are inside, to provide a complete history, but I didn’t want them being the iconic cover). I didn’t want to misrepresent the history. Even though Byberry’s remembered for the exposes of poor conditions, there were huge expanses of time where the patients were clean and well cared for, where the buildings were new and the budget was sufficient; also, fun fact, Byberry used to be a working farm!

This photo was exactly the feel I was going for. It’s a little mysterious in that it draws your attention. You look at it, and you want to know more. Also, it gives a tantalizing glimpse inside, giving a look at what night shift on a women’s ward looked like. Calm, isn’t it? And I really liked how the angle of it makes you want to walk down that row; it’s almost like a “Welcome, come in! Open the book!”

Currently, the cover is my laptop’s background. Every time I glimpse at it, it motivates me to keep writing. And now, that’s what I’m off to do. The book’s almost done and the deadline is even closer, less than three weeks away!

Hope you all like the cover as much as I do :]

(Cover Image Courtesy of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.)