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).

“So, You Want to Work in Publishing?”–Meg Roth

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!

 Connect with her:
Feel free to connect with me on the following social media platforms:
Twitter: @megroth
LinkedIn: Meg Roth (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: