Student Spotlight: Drucilla Shultz & Ann Sanchez

Drucilla Shultz and Ann Sanchez Haunt PW’s Halls

Photo courtesy of Calvin Reid. From left to right: Michael Morris, digital media coordinator and giraffe; Drucilla Shultz, bookroom editor and ghost; Ann Sanchez, intern and werewolf victim Little Red Riding Hood; and Patrick Turner, V.P. of operations.

Publishers Weekly (PW) posts a Picture of the Day in its PW Daily Newsletter. This week, it showcased the winners of the annual PW Halloween costume contest. Featured in the center are two members of the M.S. in Publishing family: Pace alumna Drucilla Shultz and current Pace student Ann Sanchez. Shultz graduated from Pace University in 2013 and currently works as PW’s bookroom editor. Sanchez is interning with PW this semester.

Alumni News

The M.S. in Publishing Program at Pace University has been around for 30 years now, so we have a lot of successful alumni out in the field. As current students gear up to head out into the real world, here are some encouraging and successful stories from our alumni:

Joya Anthony

Now Subsidiary Rights Manager at Chronicle Books and just celebrated 6th anniversary at the company.

Hannah Bennett

Just got a new job as the Acquisitions Editor at Start Publishing.

 

Michael Duffy

At the end of 2016, promoted to Director of Library Sales for SAGE Publishing (North America).

Lance Tung

Mizuho Americas’ Vice President US Regulatory Reporting.

 

Sydney Jarrard

Promoted to Content Development Director at the American Booksellers Association on June 1, joining the senior staff.

Awarded the Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship from the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College in March, which grants a year of one-on-one mentoring with a professor while writing first young adult novel.

Ivy Jacobson  

Recently promoted to Senior Digital Editor at The Knot.

 

Ebony LaDelle

Senior Marketing Manager at HarperCollins Children’s Books.

 

Anne Marie Russo

Recently promoted to Manager of Digital Asset Management at Bain & Company, one of the world’s leading management consulting firms.

Samantha Rosenberg

Currently work as a Senior Content Strategist for Aspen University.

Publishing expertise have made her the go-to for production and delivery of all marketing, communications, and sales content for the entire university.

Stephania Sainato

Recently accepted a position as Audience Development Manager at Motherly, the fastest growing parenting site for millennial moms. She will be leading their social media and growth strategy.

Lauren Smulski

Recently promoted to Associate Editor at Harlequin TEEN in mid-July.

Tarah Theoret

Promoted to Director of Community Engagement, managing the reader communities for both NetGalley.com and Bookish.com.

Erica Weiman

Recently promoted to Managing Editor at FindaTopDoc, a website dedicated to helping consumers find the right doctors in their area.

Alumni in the Spotlight: Asdrúbal Hernández

Asdrúbal Hernández is a publisher, writer, and photographer living in New York City. He has worked for several newspapers, magazines, and many other media platforms in Venezuela and the USA. In 2011 he founded Sudaquia Group, a venture that aims to promote and offer products and services in Spanish for the US market through its divisions Sudaquia Editores, a publishing house of books in Spanish in the US, and Sudaquia Publishing Services, a consultant agency for any type of publishing and in-Spanish projects.

BREANA SWINEHART: Hello Asdrúbal! It is a pleasure to be interviewing you for the Pace MS in Publishing blog. To get started, could you please tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to New York and the Pace Publishing program in particular?

ASDRÚBAL HERNÁNDEZ: I went back to Venezuela after finishing my Bachelors in Communications at Loyola University in New Orleans and working for a year in Philly as a photographer and reporter. In Venezuela, I was invited to participate as a photographer and Production Project Manager on the production of an illustrated book about a region of my country called “Los llanos” (the plains), which is famous for cattle production. We began the project in the last trimester of 2005 and completed it by September 2007. This experience opened many opportunities, and I got involved with many different print and digital medias as a photographer, writer, and —in some of them—also on the managerial side.

I had all this experience and wanted to get some type of formal education about publishing. After searching on the web, I found a couple of Masters in Publishing programs in Spain and London, and when I checked the bios of the professors, all of them had some type of experience or connection with New York City, so I thought: “Why do I want to go to Spain or the UK when they want to go to NYC? I have to go to NYC, too.”

In spring of 2009, I came to NYC to visit the two programs that I was interested in: New York University and Pace. However, after meeting Professor Raskin, I had no doubts that the program that I wanted to join was at Pace.

BRE: You have many talents that would lend themselves well to multiple job positions in publishing, yet you choose to start your own company. What motivated you to establish Sudaquia instead of getting a job with a pre-established publishing house? What are your goals?          

ASDRÚBAL: Since I came to New Orleans to get my Bachelors in Communications, I have followed the growth of US Hispanics and found that there was a great opportunity there. When I came to Pace, I enjoyed spending time checking the shelves of many bookstores and felt frustrated finding Spanish sections filled up with no contemporary Hispano-American literature.

That led me to write my final thesis about the marketing of books in Spanish in the USA, which showed me a CAT scan of the books in Spanish publishing industries in the USA. It had found a great opportunity, in the right time, and in the right place, so why not venture into it?

Our goal is to become a bridge between Latin-American literature and Spanish readers in the US and around the world.

BRE: Can you tell us what the name of the company means and how you chose it?

ASDRÚBAL: Spanish people use the term “sudacas” to refer, in a very derogatory way, to all Latin-American people. Sudaquia is the place from where sudacas come from, or in other words, a derogatory way to refer to Latin-America. Sudaquia Editores was the name of the fictitious publishing house that I used in Professor Delano’s Book Production and Design’s class term project. When my wife, Maria Angelica, and I decided to move forward with the idea of starting our publishing business of books in Spanish, we thought that using Sudaquia Editores was a great idea because it was powerful, irreverent, and a great way to re-vindicate both the term and the Latin-American people by showing the richness and diversity of the Latin-American literature.

BRE: Can you tell us about some of the books that Sudaquia publishes? What book are you most proud of? 

ASDRÚBAL: Sudaquia begun with two collections originally, one of fiction (Sudaquia), and the other of non-fiction (Enfasis). In 2014 we added a poetry collection (El gato cimarron), and this Fall 2016 we just added a fourth collection (Cangejo) for thrillers, crime, and noir works.

It is very hard for me to choose [a book to be most proud of] because each title represents a journey. Some of the titles from which I feel great satisfaction are Siempre nos quedará Madrid (We Will Always Have Madrid)—a memoir by the Cuban author Enrique Del Risco, Métodos de la lluvia (Rain’s Method)—a poetry book by Leonardo Padrón, La filial (The Subsidiary) by Matias Celedón, Para comerte mejor (All the Better to Eat You) by Giovanna Rivero, and Caléndula (Marigold) by Kianny Antigua.

BRE: What are some major differences and/or similarities you’ve noticed between the publishing industries and their trends for books written in Spanish versus those written in English?

ASDRÚBAL: The main difference between publishers of books in English and publishers of books in Spanish is that, in the English publishing world, books are part of the entertainment industry, while in Spanish books are directly related to culture.

This simple difference defines almost everything, because while entertainment is “cool” and “easy to sell,” culture could become “boring” in some cases, and perceived as something meant to be for an intellectual elite instead of the average person. That defines the catalogues offered and the way marketing campaigns are crafted. For publishers of books in English, each successful author becomes a brand; on the other hand, each publisher of books in Spanish makes a brand of itself that influences authors through the catalogue of authors previously published and readers, due to the quality of the content and design of the books they publish.

BRE: Sudaquia is addressing the untapped market for Spanish-written books in America—how do you hope for Sudaquia to continue to impact the future of Spanish literature outside of Latin American countries? 

ASDRÚBAL: There is still a lot to do for literature in Spanish in the United States. Besides continuing to publish new titles by Latin-American authors, we want to publish more authors that write in Spanish and live in the US. It makes no sense that they have to either write in English or look for a publisher abroad because there is no option in the US. We want to keep expanding our reach in the US and find a way to reach some big cities in Canada where Hispanic immigrants have a notable presence. Sudaquia is part of a group of game changers for books in Spanish in the US, in that, little by little, as result of our hard work, literature in Spanish is gaining some space. We need and want to continue working for it.

BRE: What were some of the highlights from your time at Pace? Can you tell us about some of your internship experiences while there?

ASDRÚBAL: At Toppan Printing, I learned about customer relationships. Almost everyday we received proofs either from the printer in China or from the clients that needed to be processed and sent forward.

At Atria Books, I was submerged in everyday tasks of an editorial department and had the opportunity to experience firsthand the dynamics and philosophy of such a huge publisher as Simon & Schuster.  Some of my responsibilities were proofreading, English-to-Spanish translations, and finding and fixing errors in manuscripts.

BRE: What was the topic of your thesis as a graduate student in the Pace Publishing Program? Did it help you shape your career post-graduation?

ASDRÚBAL: My thesis topic was on marketing of books in Spanish in the United States. It was titled: Is there a market for books in Spanish in the United States?, and was an approach to a topic so niche as books in Spanish in the United States, going from a general understanding of the US Hispanic market to the specifics of books.

I think that it is pretty obvious the influence of this paper over my career after graduating is unquestionable. This experience helped me to learn many things about the books in the Spanish market in the USA, allowing me to achieve a better understanding of the market, the errors and achievements from previous ventures, and it planted the seed that pushed me to pursue this opportunity.

BRE: We just posted an internship at your company. Can you tell us a bit about what the student would learn as an intern working with you?

ASDRÚBAL:  During this internship, the student would have the chance to learn about marketing and publicity of a very niche product for a quickly growing market in the United States. This person will be working directly with me, allowing him/her to experience the everyday of a small publishing business.

BRE: What advice would you give to students who are interested in starting their own publishing company, or who are looking to stand out from other applicants as they apply for jobs?

ASDRÚBAL: For those that have an entrepreneurial interest, my best advice is to learn all you can about bookselling and marketing. Also, read Never Get a Real Job by Scott Gerber. Obviously you already have read and understood Publishing for Profit by Thomas Woll.

For those looking for a job, the best advice is to intern over and over and over, and go beyond what you’re asked or expected to do. If you are sure which specific area of publishing you want to work at, develop skills that you can use to differentiate yourself from the rest.

For both, I will also recommend on networking and follow-up, over and over. You never know who would be the one willing to help you open the door to the opportunity you’re looking for. I recommend you to read Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, a great book about how to build successful relationships. And if you haven’t ever seen the Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, please do it. If you have, listen it again. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc.

BRE: And just for the fun of it, what book are you reading now? Or, do you have a favorite children’s book that you read to your young son?

ASDRÚBAL: Besides reading manuscripts, at the moment I’m constantly reading books about business, entrepreneurship, and social marketing. At the moment, for example, I’m reading Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson and Think Like a Rock Star by Mark Collier. I’m also constantly in search of information about news related to the publishing industry, including which are the bestsellers and why they became a bestseller, and trying to keep track of what the trends of books in English and Spanish are.

About my son, it is not if I have a favorite, but what he wants me to read to him. At the moment, he is enjoying Thomas the Tank Engine a lot from the collection of books he got on his birthday.

BRE: Are there any other thoughts you’d like to share with current students or alumni?

ASDRÚBAL: Learn how to market and sell books, that is the core of the whole business. You could have the new Harry Potter, but if you don’t know how to market and sell it, it will never become the new Harry Potter. Knowing how to sell books will make you a better professional, regardless the path you want to follow.

BRE: You have recently been asked to join the MS in Publishing Advisory Board.  Congratulations! What do you hope to gain/give in this position? Is there anyone at Pace you would like to thank?

ASDRÚBAL: It is a great honor for me to join the Publishing Advisory Board. I’m sure that listening and sharing with all the board members will help me to keep developing as a better professional and person. My desire is to help in anyway I can, to make the Pace’s publishing program better every day. The publishing industry is changing in many ways, and it is our responsibility to keep the program current with the industry while strengthening the basics of the trade. I would like to thank Prof. Raskin, who believed in me since the moment we met. I’d also like to thank the faculty and staff that, in one way or another, helped through my years at Pace, with special thanks to Prof. Soares, Prof. Delano, and Prof. Denning, who have opened many doors and shared their experience and advice all these years.

Bre: Thank you, Asdrúbal, for sharing your experiences and thoughts with us!

Alumni in the Spotlight: Andrea St. Aubin

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Andrea St. Aubin graduated from the MS in Publishing Program in December 2014. Originally from South Carolina, Andrea received a BA iscreen-shot-2016-11-14-at-12-31-25-pmn English from the University of South Carolina in June 2013. It was always her dream to move to New York City and pursue a career in book publishing, so she wasted no time when applying to grad school. She was very fortunate to be accepted into the Pace Publishing Program and to be chosen as a graduate assistant. Andrea’s favorite fiction author is Haruki Murakami, and she dreams of visiting Japan one day. She is a big kid at heart and will always watch cartoons and Disney movies. More than anything, Andrea loves the magic of words and storytelling.

Breana Swinehart: Hi Andrea! Could please share what your current official job title is and what your work involves?

Andrea St. Aubin: I am an Assistant Production Editor at Penguin Random House, working specifically with the imprints Putnam, Riverhead, Avery, and Blue Rider Press as part of the copyediting team.

Bre: How did you find your current position?

Andrea: I found this position by looking at the Penguin Random House career website. I was very lucky because I actually had no connections in this department. I landed this job with the help of my experience and never giving up.

Bre: Could you explain some of the work you do, such as how your department interacts with others in the company?

Andrea: The production editorial department is essentially the copyediting and proofreading group. We work closely with managing editorial and the production teams to ensure that t’s are crossed, i’s are dotted, and that en- and em-dashes are used correctly… among other things, of course. We’re the team you come to ensure correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style. I also get to check book jacket proofs and am in charge of checking reprint corrections as well as overseeing paperback conversions. I have always valued paperbacks, so this is a very important job to me.

Bre: What was it about this particular field of publishing that made you interested in pursuing it?

Andrea: I knew I wanted to work in a department that would deal more directly with the words themselves. Copyediting and proofreading is a form of protecting the dignity and truth of the content, making sure that the finished product is of expected quality. I know how troubling it can be as a book lover to see a mistake, so I love that I can be a part of catching them.

Bre: Tell us some aspects of your job that you love—what are some things that make your excited about what you’re doing now?

Andrea: I love when I catch a mistake that may have been overlooked the first time around. Normally there are very few mistakes, so it is always a fun surprise to find one and fix it. Looking at book jacket proofs and seeing how their text copy changes is interesting as well. It has to be seen by every department, so you never know who might suggest what. Working with all the different departments and coordinating with them is very fulfilling. I love feeling like I’m part of a larger team. At the end of the day, my favorite thing about my position is, of course, being surrounded by books! Seeing the books you have worked on being sold in book stores? Now that is the ultimate reward.

Bre: You’ve worked in the past with the Women’s National Book Associationcan you explain how that helped you with your professional career?

Andrea: Being a part of the WNBA is great because you get to interact with other strong and intelligent women who have worked in the industry. There are many great connections, but it is also a wonderful inspiration to be surrounded by likeminded people.

Bre: Could you share more details about the path you took to get where you are in publishing?

Firstly, remember that everyone’s path is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. I knew I wanted to work in publishing when I was in middle school. At first I wanted to work for a fashion magazine, but after having an encouraging high school English teacher, I decided I wanted to work in book publishing.

In undergrad I majored in English, and I worked for the university press for several months for some experience. I knew I wanted to move to New York right after undergrad, but I wanted a secure way to get my foot in the door. In my junior year of undergrad I applied to several graduate publishing programs. In the end I chose Pace because of its tight-knit program and the opportunity I received to be a graduate assistant.

During my second semester in the program I began interning at a book packager called MTM Publishing. I highly recommend MTM for anyone who would like to start out with an independent company. I continued with MTM even after I graduated in December 2014 and worked there up until I started at Penguin in May of this year. Throughout that time, I continued to lologook for positions with larger companies, but I was not successful. It took a year and a half from the time I graduated from Pace to land the job I have now. I am very glad I had the dedication and patience to continue searching and interviewing, and that I had a group of people who believed in me never to give up.

Bre: Looking back on your time at Pace, how do you think your educational experiences from the MS Publishing Programs helped you prepare for your current job?

Andrea: The program definitely taught me valuable knowledge about the industry that I may never have been able to learn elsewhere. It is a great feeling to know about how different departments work before jumping into a big company. Knowing the terminology and understanding the hierarchies made me feel more confident when I first began.

Bre: What were some of the highlights of your graduate experience?

Andrea: My favorite part of the program was being able to learn all of this wonderful information from these amazing professors who have worked or are working in the industry. I am so thankful I could learn from Professor Soares, Professor Levitz, and Professor Lian. All of the professors were great, but these three in particular were important in my publishing journey. Professor Raskin was a great support as well and always encouraged me to keep going. I also loved working on the blog as a graduate assistant in the computer lab and being able to interact with my classmates as they came in to work on homework and papers. We were a community who all supported one another and strived for similar goals.

Bre: What advice would you give students entering the field to set themselves apart from other applicants?

Andrea: Try to make as many connections as you can. This can be difficult at first, especially for more quiet and shy individuals like myself. However, if you never try to talk to someone, you will never know what could arise from that connection. The program was great for meeting different people in the industry because of the various speakers we had. If you don’t feel like you can introduce yourself to someone personally, grab their business card, and shoot them an email, thanking them for the lecture. That could be the start of a relationship.

I was lucky to have a handful of connections, and a few helped me land interviews. However, I had no connections when I landed my job at Penguin. I truly believe that my experience and my knowledge helped to set me apart from the other applicants—always keep learning and gaining experience. Stick it out as long as you can. Your drive and determination will allow you to prevail.

Lastly, be yourself! You will be working with the person who interviews you, so you want to be honest with both yourself and the interviewer.

Bre: Where do you see yourself professionally in the future, possibly 5 to 10 years into your career?

Andrea: In five to ten years I hope to be in a senior role, whether it be in production editorial, managing editorial, or editorial. I also hope that I will be working with children’s picture books. I love working with adult fiction and nonfiction now, but picture books are my ultimate goal. Even though I did not immediately enter the children’s book field, I know that what I am doing now will be incredibly valuable.

Bre: Thank you so much for your insights! Is there anything else you would like to mention to students reading this?

Andrea: If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If this is truly your dream, don’t give up. I know how hard it can be when you don’t achieve what you want at first. But everything you do has meaning, as long as you believe in it. Surround yourself with people who believe in you when you have days when you can’t seem to believe in yourself. However, if you find that what you thought you wanted is no longer what you want, then that is okay. The most important thing you can do is to try. This life is yours, so follow your heart, whenever you can.

Bre: Thank you, Andrea, for your thoughtful and encouraging responses! 

Alumni in the Spotlight: Alex Grover

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Alex Grover is an E-book Production Associate at Penguin Random House. He is also web editor for the New York Chapter of the WNBA. He is a 2016 graduate of the Pace MS in Publishing Program and currently lives in Harlem, NY.

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-12-00-19-pmBreana Swinehart: Hello Alex! Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. What’s your official job title, and what does your job entail?

Alex Grover: I am an E-book Production Associate at Penguin Random House. I take print files for Berkley/NAL, Roc, Ace, and other Penguin Group imprints and convert them into e-books for vendors like Apple, Google, and Amazon.

Bre: Can you describe some of the work you do and how your department interacts with the other members of the company?

Alex: I consistently work on mass-market titles, which range from cozy cat mysteries to erotica (an interesting spectrum for sure!), but since our department is very collaborative, I’ve had the opportunity to work on children’s books, business books, cookbooks, and the classics as well. Since I started as an assistant in July of 2015, I’ve converted or updated frontlist and backlist books by authors like Jojo Moyes, Nora Roberts, Christine Feehan, Arthur Miller, and Stephen King.

Because e-books require many of the same resources as the print edition, we receive specific instructions from production and design, editorial, and managing editorial on how exactly to create an e-book for a given title. We also create promotional e-books for marketing and work with subsidiary rights when acquiring the rights to new backlist titles that need e-books.

Bre: What are “promotional e-books?”

Alex: I guess the “promotional” nomenclature is a bit wonky! What I generally mean is a free e-book that marketing will promote to get the word out about an author, develop a readership, and simply just create content that brings more readers to PRH. There are also e-galleys that we create (which are different than what I call promotional e-books) that serve as first-pass press copies.

Bre: What made you want to work in this particular field of publishing?

Alex: In 2014, it didn’t even occur to me that there were people dedicated to making e-books full-time. Here we are in 2016, and I’m neck-deep in it.

I actually stumbled onto the Pace University publishing courses when I was looking for creative writing programs. I was lucky enough to receive a graduate assistantship at Pace University Press, where I developed some of my initial production chops. But, of course, I didn’t think anything of production at first. I’d caught the editorial bug, which I think is the bug most everyone who initially enters publishing has. Editorial is great for a lot of people, but something really important I learned through Pace—and came to find out firsthand at PRH—is the range of different jobs you can find in publishing. There’s quite a lot other than editorial: sales, marketing, legal, design, human resources, online services, IT, and, of course, digital production.

Bre: How did you find your current position?

Alex: The e-book career path came by chance. Professor Jane Denning recommended I apply for an internship with RosettaBooks, whose production manager (Hannah Bennett) was also a Pace publishing alum. Once there, I truly started delving into the world of e-books.

After roughly four months, Professor Denning forwarded an opportunity my way for an assistant position in PRH’s e-book production department. A year and a few months after accepting the position, I’m entirely immersed.

I do have to say, and as you can see, Professor Denning and Pace were really influential in helping me find my way towards e-books. It took a bit of luck and timing, but their connections were absolutely huge for me. I sincerely couldn’t have made it to PRH without them.

Bre: Tell us some aspects of your job that you love—what are some things that make you excited about what you’re doing now?

Alex: I love to read books, but I think there’s a part of me that loves making books more. The actual craft of building an e-book gives me joy to no end. While the technical details may be mundane to others, what makes me happy about the job is translating a quirky design format to HTML and CSS, or finishing an image-heavy book, reading it over, and thinking, “Wow—this actually looks really good.” And the coding component, which includes both e-book design and workflow automation, helps ensure I have a new puzzle to solve every day.

Bre: Looking back on your time at Pace, how do you think your educational experiences from the MS Publishing Programs helped you prepare for your current job?

Alex: The program gave me a stellar survey of the general publishing process. I was able to jump right into the production schedule at PRH because I’d already prepped for these schedules in my Pace classes. Hearing anecdotes from my professors—each currently or previously having been immersed in publishing—also made me feel very comfortable from the start when meeting production and editorial staff. I even had a situation where a new colleague at work knew one of my professors, which helped ensure an instant connection.

Bre: The thesis you wrote as a graduate student here—“E-Books as Non-interactive Textual Compositions: An Argument for Simplicity over Complexity in Future E-Book Formats”—was published in an edition of the Publishing Research Quarterly. (Congratulations!) Would you mind sharing some background on the article and what you hope readers come away with understanding?

Alex: Thank you! When I began work on my thesis, I was obsessed with the idea of virtual reality, or VR, as the new way that readers could consume their favorite books or the news. Funny enough, the more I looked into the idea, the more I realized that e-books are not fit for VR devices (at least for the next decade). It’s not that VR e-books (or v-books, as I called them, which is me trying to be clever and failing), aren’t possible, it’s really that there’s no demand for something like a VR e-book that would warrant a budget more suited for a video game or mobile app. Instead, I think the converse will come true: that e-books will emerge in even more accessible formats than they are now. That said, having now worked almost a full year in e-book production after finishing the paper, I don’t really see this happening until a new trailblazing product or service comes to supplant current e-readers.

Bre: What were some of the highlights of your graduate experience?

Alex: Having mentioned the editorial bug to you, I can tell you how I was freed from it. I took Editorial Practices and Principles with one of my favorite professors at Pace, Meghan Stevenson, and I was bent on being the best student in that class. I wasn’t, though, because frankly editorial wasn’t the right fit for me. The professor gave out many true-to-life and sobering assignments that reflected the editorial world. While I didn’t quite bomb them, they helped me rethink my trajectory in publishing and focus on what I was good at, which was production. That professor is now a good friend that I very much count as a mentor.

The friends I made at Pace are still some of the best I have in New York. The same close-knit group I used to study with and sit with at the infamous David Pecker Lectures are now contacts at Macmillan, Workman, Hachette, and elsewhere. A MS in Publishing graduate from Pace can expect to make friends across the industry.

Bre: You recently became a member of Pace’s MS in Publishing Advisory Board—again, congratulations! What do you hope to accomplish with this new position?

Alex: Thank you again! I’m very grateful to Prof. Sherman Raskin for inclusion on the board. For one, I want to give a perspective on the program from a recent graduate. A way for the board to get the most accurate insights on the program is to ask its own students what they think of the program. But I think I can really help when informing what’s needed for digital production, which has become a much more prevalent part of the publishing process. I had a recent discussion with a supervisor who said that a lot of otherwise qualified candidates don’t have the necessary skill set to work in digital. I want Pace students to have the advantage in that regard.

Bre: What advice would you give students entering the field do to set themselves apart from other applicants?

Alex: Here is where that skill set I mentioned comes into play. For any position in digital production, desktop publishing software like Adobe InDesign and languages like HTML and CSS experience are a must. Applicants who don’t have these knowledge bases aren’t even considered. I’d also recommend learning Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, which are other industry-grade programs used across production and design.

penguin_random_house_2014_logo_detail_whiteWhile I don’t hire anyone myself, I do have an interview story. When I applied for my first position at PRH, I was coming in with a decent bit of experience in production, but not more than any other committed applicant. Months later, I learned that I was neck-and-neck with another candidate who had the same level of experience and skills that I had.

The reason they chose me? They asked me where I saw myself in five years. I said I was interested in a career in e-books. When they asked the same question to the other candidate, they said they weren’t sure. That was the tipping point.

My advice: If you’re sincerely interested in a position, be sure to express that certitude in the interview, even if you don’t see yourself there in five years. If you find you don’t even have that conviction, be mindful of whether or not you actually want that position.

Bre: What do you see yourself working on in the future, say 5 to 10 years into your career?

Alex: That’s an interesting question, since I’ve really only just begun at PRH. Wherever I end up in the next five years, whether I’m managing a department or more heavily involved in programming, I hope my work is e-book related.

Bre: Thank you so much for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Alex: I appreciate you taking the time to interview me! I also want to thank Professor Denning and Prof. Raskin for all of the opportunities they afforded me over the past two years. I intend to remain part of the Pace community for a long time.

Publishing is not for everyone. It’s a mix of corporate office work, number-crunching, and literary craftsmanship. Yet, there’s an immense joy across colleagues when a book becomes a rousing success. When publishing is good, it’s really good.

Bre: Thank you, Alex, for your informative interview!