On the evening of November 17th, a few students in Pace University’s M.S. in Publishing program got all dolled up and made their way to 1745 Broadway, the home of Random House, Inc. The Association of American Publishers’ Young to Publishing Group was hosting its inaugural House Party: A Celebration of the National Book Awards.
After walking through the large glass doors and making our way through the impressive lobby, we got our tickets and headed up to the even more impressive party rooms. We were handed red envelopes that contained book passages and were instructed to spend the evening searching for the guest that had the matching passage in order to receive a prize. This created a wonderful opportunity (especially as students and industry-hopefuls) for us to network with the other guests.
The Young to Publishing Group was created by the AAP to allow young people in the industry to build a community that extends beyond their own publishing houses. For us, this led to a room of hundreds of people who were in our shoes not too long ago and have stepped into the industry successfully. That’s hundreds of brains to pick for advice and tips on our current concerns, such as how to be successful in an internship and how to find a job.
We had the chance to talk with publishing professionals from St. Martin’s Press, Simon & Schuster, and even the AAP, all while enjoying the music, hors d’oeuvres (which consisted of mini burgers, fries and dumplings), and open bar. And although we didn’t buy any of the charity raffle tickets, we enjoyed walking around the tables and seeing what prizes were available. About halfway through the evening we were ushered into the largest room to watch allof the young professionals cheer for their books during the National Book Awards, which were projected on to two huge screens at the front of the room.
The party was a huge success, and was a fantastic experience for us as students. The tickets were $40 apiece, which any graduate student will agree is a painful amount to spend on a party. But the opportunity to attend a real publishing cocktail party, complete with “swag bags” (free books, a pretty awesome perk), was well worth the price. It allowed us to refine our networking skills and make industry connections that will undoubtedly be extremely valuable in our future careers. It was a great experience, and I would strongly encourage any student to take advantage of any similar opportunity that pops up in the future.