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).

“So, You Want to Work in Publishing?”–Evan Oare

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.

If you’re a publishing professional interested in contributing to the blog series, feel free to contact me at HannahKJones10@yahoo.com.

Name:  Evan Oare
Current Title:  Gift Sales Assistant
Hometown: Valencia, PA (outside Pittsburgh)
Graduated from: University of Pittsburgh, 2009
Where you currently work and live: Penguin Group USA, New York NY

Your Path to Publishing:

Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve always been a voracious reader and have always aspired to write (not considering what I was doing writing—I’ll wait until I get paid to do it!). I first seriously considered Publishing in high school when I realized no other career path was quite occurring to me. Only when I got to college did I start thinking of other “more realistic” options, considering PR and Advertising. However, it took a unsatisfying Advertising internship and a great Publishing internship (which became a part-time job) to really confirm my choice. It truly takes experience to find out what you want; many people who go into Publishing will find it unappetizing in the end, and others will happily find their way to it.

(That internship/job, by the way, was with Autumn House Press (AHP)—a small nonprofit literary press. Check them out at www.autumnhouse.org.)

Another factor was a professor under whom I took the only official Publishing/Editing class at my school. He became somewhat of a mentor to me, and really helped guide me toward this world a little more. And, hey, in what other situation was I going to be forced to learn the Chicago Manual rules? (Very happy I know now—thanks!)

After working part-time with AHP and as a Production Assistant at a company that produces high-level science publications (way over my head, but great in its way), I made my way to the NYU Summer Publishing Institute (SPI), which my aforementioned mentor had brought to my attention. Long story short, this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as it helped me make my break into the industry, and diversified me that much more. Meet as many HR people as you possibly can. Be confident, and don’t stress too much or it will backfire!

How did you find out about your first publishing job and/or internship? 

As to my current job, I met a few HR representatives at the SPI Career Fair who set me up with some interviews. The best strategy is to choose your focus and go for it—otherwise you will come off as someone who will take anything they can get, which is not very attractive. At the same time, consider positions in fields you might not have otherwise—Production, Managing Editorial, Operations, Sales, etc. There is more to this than Editorial. I never considered Sales until SPI and meeting with salespeople really made me more comfortable. I didn’t have to be some crazy math-obsessed person, after all.

What does your typical day look like? 

A brief description of Gift Sales—we sell books to stores that don’t primarily sell books. This includes gift stores of all kinds: toy stores, hospital shops, museums, clothing retailers, garden stores…the list is as endless as the list of American retailers is. Some specific stores are Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma/Pottery Barn Kids, Bed Bath & Beyond, Spencer Gifts, Hot Topic, and many more.

Every day is completely different. The nature of our department is always in flux. I provide assistance for 80 sales representatives across the country, not to mention the head of Gift Sales. I put together presentations, provide additional support to the reps for key accounts (aka the big moneymakers), run sales numbers, and constantly keep my eye out for upcoming titles that fit specific accounts. There’s quite a bit of stuff I can’t explain without paragraphs and paragraphs about the Gift Market (which I’m happy to do, but I’m already writing a book, at this point).

Just one note about Gift Sales—our role is increasingly important as traditional bookstore sales fall (especially with the fall of Borders). We are increasingly looked at to increase company revenue, which creates more responsibility but therefore much more opportunity to develop one’s skills.

Connect with Evan:

www.linkedin.com/in/evanoare  
www.goodreads.com/user/show/3877967-evan-oare  
www.twitter.com/OhEvski

#PubTips

Transaction Publishers, circa 1969.

In lieu of an official So, You Want to Work in Publishing post this week, here’s some advice about how to score a summer internship and how to get a publishing internship in 3 easy steps.

Already in an internship/assistant/entry-level position? Worried about doing the wrong thing? Remember, white wine with fish and red wine with meat (and these other important tips).

And for those of you who think publishing is an industry full of fresh-face English majors, it’s actually pretty diverse. Check out “The Many Faces of Publishing.”

“So, You Want to Work in Publishing?”–Molly Martin

 

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. (For previous posts in the series, check out this page.) 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: Molly Martin
Current Title: Editorial Assistant at TIME/Editorial Assistant at Time Home Entertainment Inc.
Hometown: Wichita, Kansas
Graduated from: University of Kansas, 2011
Where you currently work and live: New York City

Path to Publishing:

I became interested in magazine journalism in high school as an editor for the school’s newsmagazine. When deciding on a major at the University of Kansas, I knew journalism was the right choice based on the Journalism school’s excellent reputation and my passion for writing and the news. I knew I was on the right path and that this education was valuable, thanks to some inspiring professors.

During the summer of 2010 I was an intern at NakedCity, a monthly culture and lifestyle magazine in Wichita, Kansas. I grew up in Wichita, but NakedCity’s fresh and unapologetic editorial style revealed the city’s art and music scene in a way I had never seen. In addition to uploading and organizing online content, I also learned about the inner workings of the small yet vocal publication.

After my summer at NakedCity, I became a staff writer for my university’s weekly lifestyle magazine, Jayplay. I also took all the magazine courses available, which included courses in writing, publishing and design. In the publishing course I devised an idea for a new magazine and created the business plan for it. Later, I designed its first issue.

I also sought professional experience, and over winter break of my senior year I did a features’ internship at Redbook. I polished my research skills and learned to communicate well with editors. Although I was only at Redbook for a month, I gained hands-on experience and networking opportunities. I promised myself I would give a publishing career a shot.

I was editor of Jayplay in my final college semester, supervising a staff of 14 writers, an associate editor and a designer. I grew as a leader and honed my editing skills. During this last semester I applied to the New York University Summer Publishing Institute (SPI). When at Redbook, several colleagues recommended the program, and I knew it would be a great start to a publishing career in New York City. I gladly accepted when I received the invitation to attend.

I went into SPI with a lot of confidence and a lot of drive. I knew I wanted a career in magazine publishing, and I was interested in editing, but I wanted to learn about other publishing opportunities. For six weeks I soaked in as much information as possible. I sat in the front row. I took notes. I asked questions. I made an effort to learn as much as possible and to connect with professionals who had careers that I aspired to or who worked at publications that I liked. I followed up with people I met and often asked for informal interviews for further advice.

One such informal interview—a summer evening’s chat in Bryant Park—led me to TIME.

How did you find out about your first publishing job and/or internship?

During the SPI magazine publishing alumni panel last year I was sitting front and center, hanging on every word. I had been looking forward to this day, for the chance to hear from the young people who, not too long ago, were just as eager to break into publishing as we were.

I quickly identified with one of the alumni from 2010. She was an editorial assistant, the position I wanted, at Architectural Digest. So far, I had not met any editorial assistants at SPI. Before that she was an editorial intern at TIME, which was her first job after SPI. I admired her drive and was impressed with what she had accomplished in less than a year. Right when the panel ended, I walked up to her, chatted a bit, and asked her for an informal interview. We met at Bryant Park not too long after that and I asked her for advice.

After a few weeks of job searching, I remembered how much she valued the experience of working at TIME, and I became interested in pursuing my first publishing job there as well. With her recommendation and SPI on my resume as a talking point, I got my first publishing job at TIME.

What does your typical day look like?

I don’t have a typical day at the magazine. Tasks change day to day, but my responsibilities include fact checking stories for the print magazine, transcribing interviews, and organizing and tracking all incoming books for potential review. Meaning, a typical day can include a lot of researching, communicating with editors and writers, keen listening and typing.

When working at Time Books my tasks also vary, according to what the editorial director may need me to do and depending on which book or project we’re working on at that time. For example, for the book project that we’re working on now, a typical day may include reporting, finding sources and contact information for the book writer, a project conference call with the editor, writer, photo editor and art director, giving updates to everyone involved, researching and fact checking.

#1 Thing You’d Advise People Trying to Get a Similar Position:

A foot in the door can lead to so much more!

Connect with her: via LinkedIn or Twitter: @MollyDMartin

“So, You Want to Work in Publishing?”–Aly Northridge

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. (For previous posts in the series, check out this page.) 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: Aly Northridge
Current Title: Assistant Editor
Hometown: Medford, NJ
Graduated from: University of Maryland, College Park 2011
Where you currently work and live: Laurel, MD

Path to Publishing:

I guess you could say I’m not your typical English major. I’ve known I wanted to work in publishing since my junior year of high school, and I was fortunate enough to be able to tailor my education as such. My neighbor was actually an editor for a magazine, and since she worked at home with two small children, I helped her out a few days a week one summer during high school. I didn’t do much, but I got to listen to her experiences, got a first-hand glance at publishing, and even traveled with her to NYC for a meeting. It was such a wonderful opportunity, and it opened my eyes to the world of publishing. I was hooked!

In college, I was in a living-learning program that encouraged its students to get internships early, and my sophomore year I had an internship working with a local academic publishing company as a marketing intern. It was a huge piece of luck that the person I was interning for was based in Cincinnati, so I was able to work from my dorm room instead of taking 3 buses to the office. (My car was at home in New Jersey.) My boss was such a nice guy – even though I was doing very boring data mining work (I literally spent more than an entire Harry Potter book on tape Googling email addresses) – he always took the time to explain how what I was doing helped with the bigger picture. I really felt that my boss cared about my internship experience, and I really appreciated how he tried to give me context for everything I did, even though it wasn’t very exciting.

The next spring, since I had a car, I tried to find an editorial position, as that was the area of publishing I was actually interested in. I was lucky enough to get a position at the same academic publishing company, this time in acquisitions. I helped put together packets for editorial board meetings, and helped find reviews on potential manuscripts. In academic publishing, manuscripts need to be peer reviewed for the sake of the author’s credibility, but it also helps the editorial staff. Most of us are English majors, not specialists in criminology, sociology, etc, though we might be. Reviews are incredibly important, and as an intern I helped track down reviewers and mail giant manuscripts. (Publishing is not for the paper-conscious). I also found endorsers to contribute blurbs to the back of the book once the books were close to completion. This internship was extremely valuable, and not just because I got more of a hands-on experience on the editorial side. I used this internship to pick my boss’s brain – as my parents are both engineers, they stressed the importance of continued education. She, and many other editors, had attended the Denver Publishing Institute. She said it was a valuable opportunity to network and learn about the publishing industry, especially if you didn’t have any publishing experience previously. This sounded like an amazing opportunity, so I researched it and ended up applying to Denver and the NYU Publishing Institute. But we’ll discuss that later….

I think it’s also worth mentioning that I ended my college career with an internship outside of publishing. I found my previous two internships through my university’s English department list, and on a whim, I started searching on internships.com. I wasn’t crazy about having an internship my senior year, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to network and get more job experience. I ended up with an internship at the Smithsonian Associates as a Web and eMarketing Intern. My boss’s assistant had recently left, so he was literally the only eMarketing employee. He treated me like his assistant, which was wonderful. We even brainstormed different ways to market our activities, and I tried my hand at copywriting and editing. It was a great experience, and a way to expose myself to other jobs for English majors.

If there’s a piece of advice I can give other English majors, it’s to be open minded. There are so many jobs out there that need good writers/readers/editors. While publishing is definitely my thing, you can easily get jobs in publicity, marketing, and lots of other jobs. If you can write creatively, I promise there are jobs out there for you. Just keep an open mind.

As I mentioned earlier, I applied to both the Denver Publishing Institute and the NYU Publishing Institute. I ended up going to NYU because I thought there would be better connections for me, as NYC is basically the publishing capital of America (and the world, in my opinion). There are definitely pros and cons (pros being the AMAZING amount of people we got to meet, cons being that I had absolutely no interest during the three weeks of magazine publishing), but all in all it was a great experience. If nothing else, I lived in NYC on the (relatively) cheap for six weeks. That alone was worth it. Although I didn’t take advantage of all the networking opportunities since I had a job halfway through the program, there were so many good chances to meet people in publishing.

How did you find out about your first publishing job?

During my time in NYC, it seemed like everyone was scrambling to apply for jobs. I applied to a few blind postings (heard nothing), but routinely checked the publishing company’s website for which I had interned. Once night, I saw an opening and applied for it immediately. The next day I got a call to set up a phone interview, and a week later I had a job offer. It was unbelievably exciting, and would not have been possible without my internship experience. Of the twelve people in our acquisitions department, six have been interns. As we are a small press, the like to hire internally, and reward interns for their service by giving them jobs.

I was very fortunate to get my job, but part of me wishes I had held out for some interviews in New York. It’s very much a “what could have been” dream of mine, but I’m very happy living in Maryland.

What does your typical day look like?

Publishing is very much as a client based business, especially in acquisitions. I deal with authors almost constantly – I think I send out about 300 emails a day. I’m constantly emailing and communicating with authors – whether to ask for materials, answer questions, or direct them to my editor.

I work with one editor as her assistant. My main goal is to take over much of the paperwork/workflow so my editor can read proposals and decide on which contracts to offer. I offer contracts, prepare manuscripts for production, get reviews, get endorsements, and in general answer many questions. As I am in academic publishing, this means I work with a lot of professors, and we attend many academic conferences to meet with these scholars in person to discuss potential books. I did not think traveling would be a big part of publishing, but my editor travels quite a bit going to conferences and meeting professors/authors. (Sometimes I get to go, too!) It’s definitely a lot of work, and doing different tasks, but it’s always different and I love interacting with people and making their book a reality.
#1 Thing You’d Advise People Trying to Get a Similar Position:

Get an internship! I know this might be a little late for some readers, but it was really the most valuable thing I did for my career. It helped that I was always focused on getting a job in publishing, but connections mean everything, especially in this economy. Find a way to connect with people in the industry you want, follow blogs (like this one!), and read up on the industry. I subscribe to Shelf Awareness, Publisher’s Weekly, Media Bistro/GalleyCat and a number of publishing blogs. It’s really good to keep up the publishing news, especially as the world of publishing continues to change.

One of the best parts of working with a small press is the opportunity to see the different parts of publishing. Publicity is around the corner, and production is just down the hall. Our marketing guy is based in New York, but he phones in on our meetings and is in regular contact with me through email. There are tons of jobs in publishing, so don’t restrict yourself to just “editorial.” There are lots of different jobs in publishing, and for English majors, so keep an open mind.

Connect!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me!

Email: Alison.northridge@gmail.com

Or find me on Linked In.

“So, You Want to Work In Publishing?”–Mattie Sowash

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: Mattie Sowash
Current Title: Editorial Assistant, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins (Medical Publisher)
(Since the publication of this post, Mattie has moved on to become a Marketing Assistant at Macmillan. So excited for her!) Mattie is now an International Marketing Coordinator at Scholastic!
Hometown: Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated from: Bloomsburg University, Bachelor of Liberal Arts English/Professional Writing May 2010; Rosemont College MA Publishing/Editing Bryn Mawr, PA April 2012
Where I currently work and live: Philadelphia, PA

Your Path to Publishing

My original interest in publishing started as an undergraduate when I was trying to decide what I planned on doing with an English degree. I knew my options were varied, but I wanted a specific track and I started taking classes that pertained more to professional communication, versus literature studies. I only knew from the start that while I enjoyed writing and did it well, I didn’t want to be a writer/in education, and wanted to be working with and around writers. During my sophomore year I literally fell upon an editorial/publishing internship, when I overheard a creative writing student discussing her plans to go to Charleston, South Carolina to partake in an editorial month-long internship with Tupelo Press/The Crazyhorse Journal (a poetry and fiction journal run out of the College of Charleston). I jumped into the conversation, applied, and within three weeks I was on my way. The internship had me working for about 5 hours a day on the editorial and design aspects of the journal, marketing meetings, digging through tremendous slush piles, and recommending submissions for print. Aside from falling in love with the city, I was exposed to all editorial aspects of print and met several first book authors and editors from the Tupelo Amherst, MA office. I continued to involve myself in several projects during my undergraduate year to get a better picture of what type of publishing I wanted to be a part of. I copyedited the school newspaper, worked with the school’s literary journal editing/design teams, and worked for the school’s writing center as a tutor.

After graduating, I decided that I still hadn’t found exactly where I wanted to be in terms of a career. I decided to apply to a publishing masters program close to home (Philadelphia) and within three months had moved and jumped into graduate classes that included: a book publishing overview where I wrote a full marketing proposal for a first-time author, magazine publishing where I designed and marketed a unique magazine first-issue, and several other editorial and design classes related to trade book publishing. For several months I did an internship with the editor and chief of a local magazine, House and Home which was a home design magazine. I worked with the editor to help write copy, manage proofs, get a solid facebook presence, and research new topics for the magazine to cover. It wasn’t until I took a children’s book publishing course, which was a comprehensive study of current trends, standards, and titles in children’s books, that I knew I had found my niche. I loved all aspects of children’s publishing, the way it felt to reread and study books I had read over and over as a child, and realized that I wanted to work in trade in some form of children’s publishing (education markets, trade markets, higher education textbooks). I immediately set out to design my course schedule around this new-found interest, and in the summer of 2011 I took an editorial internship with Running Press Kids/Perseus Books Group in Philadelphia. I worked with two wonderful children’s book editors who only increased my interest in this genre, editing proofs, preparing marketing materials, working on catalog copy/tip sheets/book reviews, and getting familiar with the parts of publishing that you really only get when you are crammed in a cubicle, not getting paid, for 7 hours a day. Meanwhile, I was working as a waitress, taking summer classes involving PR and marketing. During this internship and my first year of school I realized how important it was to network and build relationships with anyone and everyone related to what you wanted to do. I would attend book signings, school funded lectures from professionals in publishing, and the like just to walk up to people after and talk to them about what they did, how they got there, and introduce myself.

Halfway through the summer, an application to a paid internship with Lippincott Williams and Wilkins as an editorial intern was passed on to me and I applied. I got the internship and alternated between Running Press and Nursing/Medical books the rest of the summer. Shortly after getting the Lippincott Internship, I applied for a full time job at a satellite Philadelphia location as an editorial assistant, and got the job. I have been there for about a year now. I work on an editorial staff as the liaison between authors, editors, production, and design, and edit all original manuscripts submitted by the authors. I am also in charge of their web outreach efforts, and am an integral part of their iPad app development. I took this job, honestly, as a means to get to the next step. Instead of waitressing to stay afloat financially while I finished school, I wanted something that had to do with editing and to get real job experience—this job provides that, but I am still persistent about my goal to work in children’s publishing. And while it has been difficult to do in a city with such a limited market, like Philadelphia, I have been busy completing my thesis on the evolution of apps in children’s publishing, and took part time work with Mary Kate Doman, a marketing consultant for children’s books, to keep my head in the game. My work with Mary Kate has opened up a number of doors, including interviews, connections with several children’s book editors, and the ability to network/apply for my ideal job without the fear of searching for a job without a paycheck supporting me in the meantime. I am also able to work on projects for Mary Kate which include marketing campaigns and copy for online downloadables for publishers such as HarperCollins (she worked for both HarperCollins and Scholastic, and currently manages a database of over 300 children’s book clients that include Candlewick, Penguin, and Chronicle). One of the biggest lessons I have learned while working with her and in something like medical publishing is to never close off doors to career options—for a very long time I only applied to editorial positions, assuming that my background (all editorial) would move me forward. This is not the case. At the beginning of this year I began applying for publicity, marketing, and production jobs for the sake of a) being looked at by major presses, and b) using my experience in writing elsewhere where the job market is not as restricted.

How did you find out about your first publishing job and/or internship?

As I said before, everything I have done in terms of internships and even job opportunities came to me by word of mouth, being nosy and asking questions about what other people were doing, and networking. The girl who I had heard about Charleston from originally never took that internship. I don’t know where she ended up but I know that experience provided me with the background to move into Running Press, and so on and so forth. I have used my time at Rosemont to get a better understanding of all different kinds of publishing whether it be e-publishing, magazine, trade, medical journals, or academic/scholarly content. By not sticking to one form of writing I have given myself options in terms of where I can work successfully.

What does your typical day look like?

Right now a typical day for me involves acquisitioning new authors on timely topics, editing word documents according to our journal style, working with clinical editors and authors to add revisions to submissions, working with my editor to develop enhanced content for our soon-to-be-launched apps, managing all social networking for two titles, managing and ghostwriting blogs for two titles, and writing and distributing our monthly e-newsletter.

Connect with me on twitter (@mattiejanes), facebook: Mattie Jane, Pinterest: MattieJane, Linkedin: Martha Sowash, or via email mjsowash15@gmail.com. Thanks!

“So, You Want to Work in Publishing?”–Andrea Modica

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.

Connect: You can find me on twitter @aleemodica or on my book blog, The Book Nook.