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!