Jobs of the Week

Traditional business roles are changing and evolving into new forms. Jobs like sales and marketing have been uprooted and renamed, and young professionals are learning different skill sets than their predecessors in order to fit into new business models. Jasper Jackson, blogger at The Media Briefing, writes about the changes in these roles in his article, “9 Job Titles Changing the Face of Modern Media Business.” In this week’s edition of Jobs of the Week, we bring you job postings that reflect the direction of Jackson’s article, including social media and analytics.

CA Creative Social Media Assistant

Job/Internship type: Full-time

Company/Publication Name: CA Creative

Location: New York, NY

CA Creative, an NYC-based editorial and digital media agency, is currently seeking a Social Media Assistant. CA Creative is a forward-thinking, hands-on, creative agency focused on growing brand identity and business by getting, and holding, attention in digital places.

Responsibilities:

  • Conceptualizing, writing, editing, and publishing daily online content
    including blog posts, Tweets, editorial features, videos, and more
  • Organizing structured monthly editorial calendars
  • Coming up with story ideas for editorial calendars and special editorial packages
    Reaching out and networking with influencers (bloggers, editors, tastemakers) for features and events
  • Brainstorming proposals and concepts for current and potential clients
    Providing support to senior-level staff members, including research, fact-checking, coordinating products, and writing copy
  • Assisting with community management/engagement across a variety of social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
  • Working directly with clients to maintain sites, implement improvements, and ensure client satisfaction
  • Photo research: must have an excellent eye for photography, including keen instinct for what’s on-brand/what’s not

Desired Experience and Skills:

  • A 4-year accredited Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as Journalism, Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, or Communications
  • 1-2 years of experience in an editorial or social media position.
  • Knowledge of social/digital media, including traditional social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest) as well as how to use them (Hootsuite, Pinerly, Statigram, and more).
  • Must be Mac savvy,  iWork & Office Suite, Keynote, PPT, etc.
    HTML/CSS a plus
  • Proactive, detail-oriented, and extremely organized
  • Adherent to deadlines and follow-through
  • Creative thinker who can brainstorm innovative ideas/strategies
  • Experience in: luxury, fashion, beauty, technology and/or lifestyle brands
  • Social media savvy, extremely hard-working, problem-solving and culturally aware
  • Candidates must be NY-based and willing to commute to NoHo offices

This job was originally posted on Ed2010

Junior Business Analyst at Arkadin

Job/Internship type: Full-time

Company/Publication Name: Arkadin Collaboration Services

Location: New York, NY

Department:    Service Operations

The Junior Business Analyst will work in the Service Operations (IT) department and assist the Senior Business Analyst in the day-to-day operational requirements for maintaining inventory, routing, and optimization of infrastructure (including ddi’s, circuits, colocation, technical platforms) related to the operation of Arkadin collaboration services for external as well as internal clients. This is a full time permanent opportunity based in our New York City office. We are also open to initial part-time schedules for candidates currently attending university.

Duties:

  • Support the Analyst team’s efforts to create monthly and annual budget and performance data, launching and managing projects related to ensuring the cost and capacity objectives of the department are met.
  • Responsible for validating invoices, reporting on performance against budget, researching opportunities for cost optimization and maintaining ddi inventory and configuration.
  • Work with multiple department functions including Service Operations, Customer Operations, Sales, Finance, Marketing as well as international counterparts.
  • Ensuring sufficient capacity exists to support all of Arkadin’s business lines and providing consistent reporting on capacity utilization.
  • Ensure the Service Operations department is carefully tracking and managing performance against Service Operations budget categories.
  • Ensure tickets/incidents assigned to the Analyst team are handled professionally and in a timely manner.
  • Support custom reporting requirements including inputs for Monthly Operations Report.
  • Work with other departments to document cross-functional processes.
  • Monitor support queue, handling and resolving issues assigned to the Analyst team.

 

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree completed or pursuing a Bachelors Degree in analytics, business information systems, or other relevant field
  • Must have strong written and oral communication skills
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office, particularly Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Experience with Access, Visio or MS Project a plus
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment
  • Strong analytical skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to multitask in a fast paced environment
  • Some relevant work experience (previous internship) a plus
  • Ability to prioritize and meet deadlines based on business needs

Click here to apply. This job was originally posted on indeed.com

Alumni in the Spotlight: January 2013

Ivy Jacobson is a May 2010 graduate of the MS in Publishing program.  Ivy began her career as an assistant at The Literary Group, one of the premier literary agencies in the industry. In these capacities, she helped scout talent, read manuscripts and wrote pitches.  She then moved on to the Macmillan publishing house, where she worked in the Henry Holt editorial department as an assistant and researched prospective authors and illustrators and read and evaluated agented submission. After, she moved to the magazine side of publishing as an executive assistant to the Editor-in-Chief of Plum Hamptons magazine, a luxury living publication owned by the Plum TV, a lifestyle television network. Ivy then made the jump to digital publishing and is currently an Editorial Assistant/Assistant to the Chief Content Officer for Patch.com. Patch is a local news and information platform owned by the AOL Corporation, operating in some 900+ local and hyper local news websites in 23 states in the US.  She earned her BA from Florida State University and her Masters in Publishing from Pace University. 

 

Prof. Denning:  Hi Ivy and thank you for agreeing to do this interview.  It has been 1 year since you graduated from the MS in Publishing program.  Can you tell us a bit about what you have been doing and how your career has developed since then?

Ivy: Thank you for having me, Professor Denning! It’s been a busy year since I graduated. I feel like I’ve been working in the publishing industry for a while—I started the program in 2010 and worked in various aspects of the field since then. Prior to the job I hold now at Patch.com, I’ve worked within a publishing house, literary agencies, a magazine, and an advertising agency. My main goal when I started the program was to gain experience from every facet of publishing that I could to make myself well rounded, and see what the best fit was for me. Ultimately, I realized I loved working within the editorial side of publishing, and with the industry rapidly turning digital, I realized that that was where I needed to be. With editorial experience from print publications, I wanted to take that knowledge and combine it with working within the digital space. Working for the editorial side of Patch.com is a great fit, and I started here in August of 2012.

Prof. Denning:  What does your job as Editorial Assistant/Assistant to the Chief Content Officer entail?

Ivy: A good chunk of what I do is assist with social media and audience engagement for Patch’s metrics and social media outlets, plan editorial content for the year, write and copyedit articles, monitor content, interact with bloggers, and plan special events for Patch.  I also support the Chief Content Officer, who oversees all editorial, branding, technology and product for the website. I work closely with each facet of the content team, such as Audience Development, Custom Content, Social Media, Product, News, and Editorial Operations, and am involved with various projects for each.

Prof Denning:  What are some of your favorite parts of your job? What What are the perks and highlights of working on the digital side of the publishing industry?

Ivy: From working for a website, it was great to see that publishing comes in many forms. It was a bit challenging at first realizing that the term “editorial” doesn’t translate across different platforms. I had to learn to think in broader terms, because writing for the web is different than writing for a print publication. Your article doesn’t just stop at 250 words on a page. You provide hyperlinks in your articles to emphasize points, you have to dive into learning about SEO and realizing that SEO rules in article writing, and not the witty little ledes, heds, and deks I was used to writing, because that’s not how people think when they are looking up articles online. It’s writing and editing content that is measured in UVs and not subscribers and newsstand circulation. For a little background of Patch.com, it is a hyper local information and engagement platform, so it is strictly for local community news. I write lots of national custom content, where I create the shell of a story, and it is up to the local editors to tailor them to their town. I think that being able to be up to the minute on in news reporting is fabulous (such as our reporting during the Newtown massacre, which is a Patch town), as opposed to having to wait month to month to report at a print publication, which is why so many magazines have more engaging digital platforms. I love working for a website that is there to tie together small communities, because I was born in a Patch town and raised in another, so I really relate to the tiniest things going on really resounding for people who live in the community.

Prof. Denning:  How does technology/social media fit into/impact your current job?

Ivy: Technology and social media are a huge part of my job. Patch is a website with no print counterparts, so the readership is derived solely from how we market ourselves, how we partner with advertisers, how local our content is, and how easy we make our platform to use in the community. Every Patch town has a Facebook and Twitter, so that helps with getting breaking news out, engaging the community to a higher degree, and seeing what stories are being shared the most. We also email daily newsletters to subscribers, have a Patch mobile app, and have community bloggers. Besides, since Patch is a digital content medium, our platform is constantly evolving. We have a redesign of our site plan being rolled out with more components to it to better involve communities.

Prof Denning:  Patch.com is part of AOL.  Can you tell us what it is like working for such a large company?   What makes AOL unique?

Ivy: AOL owns other websites besides Patch that often partner together to create more content for their audience, such as the Huffington Post, Mapquest, Moviefone, TechCrunch, and many others. AOL is getting to be known as a big, branded lifestyle platform with lots of topical verticals. Patch has various opportunities to work with AOL, such as pitching Patch’s stories to the AOL homepage, partnering with other AOL entities, or when we team up with Huffington Post Live to expand on various topics trending in Patch towns. The CEO of AOL, Tim Armstrong, actually came up with the idea of Patch and digging back into hyper local news, because of his love and interest for his own small hometown.

Prof. Denning:  Please tell me a bit about how your educational experience at Pace prepared you for your publishing career.

Ivy: What was most important to me in my class choices were getting lots of information about all facets of publishing and being well rounded in both print publications and the web. I took classes in book, magazine, and digital publishing, marketing, financial aspects of publishing, creating publications, how publications are physically made, etc. I loved that all professors in the program are industry professionals as well, and spoke from personal experience in class about their careers and what its like to work at certain places, and also brought in former and current colleagues to speak to the class. I got to attend class at the Reuters building once, which was hugely informative.

Prof. Denning:  Have you always been interested publishing?  Where did that passion come from?

Ivy: In college, I was an English Literature major. As an avid reader and writer, I realized my senior year that reading and writing the words wasn’t enough to satisfy me—I wanted to delve into the business behind them. Why do certain comedic children’s books sell and others don’t? Will an e-book of Dante’s Inferno sell more copies than the classic printed edition? What will become more valuable: digitally enhanced e-book art or illustrations on a page printed from the 19th century? Will children learn to read better on a Kindle or a piece of paper? Will this amazing writer’s books sell, even though they only have 100 followers on Twitter and don’t have a blog to use as a marketing platform? If a magazine doesn’t hit their advertising goals, will it fold even if the editorial content is great? If you ask yourself those types of questions as you are reading a book, magazine, or website, publishing might be the right path for you if you don’t want to be an English Literature professor, go to law school, or work in Public Relations.

Prof. Denning:  What do you think the biggest trends in book publishing are today?

Ivy: I’d say that the biggest trend right now is a toss-up between enhanced e-books for children, and reading monthly and daily print publications on e-readers. There are great studies coming out about sales skyrocketing for children’s e-books because they are so interactive. They have moving illustrations, audio that helps sound words out, and often include games to further literacy education for the child. Many publishers are doing this with books for adults, available for immediate download on iTunes and other outlets. Romance novels are also huge sellers for e-books, because women can read them on the go and at the beach without other people judging the 50 Shades of Grey cover. I definitely think e-books and e-magazines are here to stay, but I also think that print publications won’t entirely diminish. Sentimentally, there are people (like me) who will always love holding an actual book. Financially, sometimes creating e-publications cost just as much as printing a book, although the boom in e-book trending is great for self-published authors who can control how much they sell it for and in what capacity. The print magazine world was also shocked when Newsweek recently transitioned to a digital publication only. They found it was more efficient and effective to reach their readers in an entirely digital format. That jump to solely digital is a huge leap for the publication, and raises questions of steady advertising revenue and being able to perpetually reach their targeted audience in the coming years.

Prof. Denning:  Any other advice you would like to offer up to our students? To those looking to survive and thrive in this industry?

Ivy:  Be resilient. The world of publishing might seem large with books, magazines, e-books, and websites, but it’s actually quite small. Keep a positive, can-do attitude through every position you have, and you will develop a good work repertoire. Own every task given to you, and soon those small tasks will become larger ones. Also, don’t get discouraged easily. Working in publishing today is so seamless when you aren’t employed full time. Interning, temping, part-timing, and freelancing are all the same to me—so whatever your job is, do it well, and you will be remembered for the full time jobs that open up down the road when your old editor is pressed for time and thinks, “Who can I bring in in a pinch who is smart and trustworthy?” I also think that being successful in publishing also comes from knowing how to relate to other departments at your publication. Working at literary agencies and a publishing house made me realize the important relationship between editors and agents. Working in the editorial department at a magazine and at an advertising agency made me realize how editors want certain ads to speak for the image they are trying to convey to their targeted audience, who also need a certain type of content. Knowing how other components of your job field operate usually makes it easier to anticipate requests, deadlines, and needs from others.

Prof. Denning:  What were some of the highlights of your graduate experience?

Ivy: I loved the courses I took, especially the ones I had with Professor Rosati. Her classes dove into what it’s really like to work in publishing and prompted lots of discussion. I also loved my internships, especially at the Macmillan publishing house where I ended up getting to be an assistant to one of the editorial directors for a children’s book imprint. Also, a huge highlight of the program were the friends I made. We all ate, breathed, and slept publishing for two years together, and we all work in publishing now—it’s been really helpful to be able to bounce ideas about our jobs and careers off of each other. I’m so proud of all of them—walking across the stage at Rockefeller Center together to get our diplomas was the perfect final highlight.

Prof. Denning:  What advice would you give to students who still have to write their graduate thesis papers?

Ivy: Since your thesis is based on your internship experience, try to apply what you are doing at your internship to what you are learning about in class—for me, they really bounced off of each other. Start making notes of certain topics you want covered in your paper, and how you dealt with them at your internship. Once you do that, you will find that writing your thesis will be easier once you have facets of your thesis statement to string along. Also, choose a topic that really interests you and you want to dig deeper into. It is hard work to write, but if you choose a topic that you’re passionate about, the words will flow much faster.

Prof. Denning:  What advice would you give students entering the field do to set themselves apart from other applicants?  Do you look for anything specific on a resume or in an interview?

Ivy: I would definitely make it a point to really specify what you have done in your resume, and not just put “wrote articles, researched sources, and manned social media platforms.” How many new Twitter followers did you gain solely because of a great article you wrote that you posted in a tweet? What kind of professionals are you used to working with for tapping for sources? If it’s a fashion assistant job at a magazine, how quickly can you steam a dress, pack it in the garment bag, and run it back to the Valentino showroom? If it’s a publicity job at a publishing house, what type of clients have you worked with before, and how will that experience lend to the publishing house in your cover letter? With so many applicants applying to every position advertised, you really have to make yourself stand out with your capabilities and not your run of the mill tasks. I’ve interviewed interns before, and the ones that stood out were ones who told me exactly what they liked to do involving certain tasks, how they succeeded in them, and how they could apply that directly to the position they were interviewing for.

Prof. Denning: What are your hopes and dreams for your own career? Goals?

Ivy: Ultimately, I’d like to pursue being an executive editor, and then an editorial director and oversee editorial content and operations for an online edition of a magazine or a lifestyles website.

Prof.Denning:  Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Ivy:  A firm handshake while giving eye contact counts for more than you think in an interview (and in life!).

 

Thank you Ivy, for this thoughtful and informative interview!

Job of the Week

We are starting a new feature here on the MS Publishing Blog designed to help connect Pace alumni and current students with employers. Check back every Thursday for a new job posting, and let Professor Denning know if you need help with your resume, interview skills, or general direction when applying to jobs.

 

  • Fast Company is seeking a fulltime associate editor! A business start-up related company, this job requires previous editorial experience and proven copy editing skills.  The job would require you to write and report on different business strategies and applications. Fast Company is looking for individuals who are social media savvy with a general interest in business strategy and personal development. Candidates should have some HTML knowledge. For more information, click the link.

 

  • Mary Beth Liebert is seeking a Peer Review Associate! Based in Westchester, this publisher is home to premier medical and scientific journals. This position is mainly administrative and customer service based, and the candidate will be responsible for coordinating manuscript submissions. The ideal candidate will be responsible, have great communication skills, and be able to work independently. For more information, click the link. Interested candidates should get in contact with Professor Denning.

Alumni in the Spotlight: December 2012

Erin Galloway is a May 2007 graduate of the MS in Publishing program.  Erin began her career as an editorial assistant at Dorchester Publishing and was promoted to Marketing & Publicity Coordinator and then Manager of Marketing.  In these capacities, Erin coordinated marketing and publicity campaigns for all of Dorchester’s titles, as well as managed Dorchester’s consumer advertising.  Erin is currently a Senior Publicist for Berkley/NAL, a division of Penguin Group (USA), managing publicity campaigns for New York Times Bestselling authors, such as Nora Roberts, Sylvia Day, Maya Banks, and Nalini Singh.

 

Prof. Denning: Hi Erin and thank you for agreeing to do this interview.  It has been 5 years since you graduated from the MS in Publishing program in 2007.  Can you tell us a bit about what you have been doing and how your career has developed since then?

Erin:  Thank you for having me, Professor Denning!  It’s been an exciting five years since I graduated from Pace.  Like many people interested in making a career in publishing, I initially thought I wanted to work in editorial and began my career as an editorial assistant.  It was a wise supervisor who told me I was better suited for marketing and publicity and then promoted me into an available position.  It has absolutely been the right fit for me.  I am able to share my passion for books with others and parlay that into great media coverage and events for the authors I work with.

 

Prof. Denning:  What does your job as a Senior Publicist at Berkley/NAL Penguin Group entail?  How do you interact with the other members of the publishing team?  How has the position changed since you first began working at Berkley/NAL Penguin Group? 

Erin: The wonderful thing about publicity is that no day is the same, but some of the things I do on a regular basis are write press materials (galley letters, press releases, author Q&As, etc.), do mailings, plan author tours and events, and pitch media contacts.

Personally, I have found that one of the advantages of coming from a small publishing house to a larger one is that I have a good understanding of how interdependent the various departments in a publishing house are.  That has been immeasurably helpful in my time at Penguin because even when I didn’t know exactly who to contact about a particular question or problem I had, I usually knew where to bErinin looking.  I work most closely with our editorial and marketing departments on planning author publicity and promotion.  I’m also regularly in touch with managing editorial physical and electronic galleys and in touch with sales to update them on event and tour plans and to get their feedback on book sales and promotion.

My position has evolved most over the last year as I’ve taken on more responsibility and been promoted to Senior Publicist.  I attend more interdepartmental strategy meetings, which are not only interesting but have also helped me to better understand the entire publishing process and the logic behind various decisions and strategies.  I also work closely with and mentor our publicity assistant that works on our romance titles.

 

Prof Denning:  What are some of your favorite parts of your job?  What do you love about it? What are the perks and highlights of being part of the publishing industry?

Erin:  The top perk of being in the publishing industry is a bottomless well of reading material!  I will never grow tired of being able to read a manuscript months before a book is on the shelf or being a part of the buzz building for a special book.  I love books so being able to read and promote them for a living is really the best of all worlds.  I’m a people person, so I also really enjoy working with authors and developing relationships with key media contacts and booksellers.  Developing those relationships is key for a publicist because when you tell them you have a really special book they just have to pay attention to, they listen.

 

Prof. Denning:  How does technology/social media fit into/impact a publicists’ role in the industry?

Erin:  The internet and social media have affected huge change in book publicity.  The important thing is for a publicist is to be able to connect with readers in the manner the reader desires.  Today that’s truly via the internet.  So we work with blogs, maintain various company Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, and assist authors in developing and improving their online presence and social media channels.

 

Prof. Denning:  Tell us a bit about Berkley/NAL Penguin Group and some of the initiatives they have taken in response to new technological developments.  What makes differentiates it as a publishing house?

Erin: Berkley/NAL is an exciting place to work and we’ve worked hard to keep apace or ahead of trends and satisfy readers’ desire for books in multiple formats.  Berkley/NAL launched InterMix, our e-initial imprint, in January 2011.  InterMix published Beth Kery’s wildly successful eight-part serialized erotic romance novel this summer.  Six of the eight parts in the series hit the New York Times e-book fiction bestseller list and we sold over 400,000 total e-book units.

I believe that what truly sets Berkley/NAL and Penguin as a whole apart from other publishing houses is the culture and character of the company.  People truly love working here; it’s a very supportive environment, and innovation is appreciated and encouraged. 

 

Prof Denning:  During your time at Dorchester Publishing, you held different positions ranging from Marketing Coordinator to Editorial AssistantWas this an easy transition between different aspects of publishing and what prompted you to make the switch? What advice would you give to a young publishing professional hoping to transition between different industry concentrations?

Erin:  I found the switch to be quite natural, but I believe a great deal of that was due to my personality and a natural aptitude for promotion and an honest passion for books, particularly romance fiction.  My enthusiasm is genuine and the people I work with know that.  Of course, there was a learning curve and there were a lot of nuts and bolts I had to figure out but my determination to improve and excitement for my work were huge assets.

If you are looking to transition, I would first recommend meeting with someone who works in the area of the industry you hope to move into.  It’s important for you to understand what a position in that field will entail and if it may be a good fit for you.  Many of the larger publishing houses also offer mentoring programs where you can be placed with a mentor in another of the business.  I think it’s easiest to switch “tracks” in the first few years of your career.  It becomes much more challenging after that.

 

Prof. Denning:  Please tell me a bit about how your educational experience at Pace prepared you for your publishing career.

Erin:  Pace gave me a fantastic foundation for a career in the publishing industry.  I saw the “big picture” much more clearly because I had a better understanding of all of the different departments in a publishing house and the roles they play.  Many of the insights various professors shared have also been helpful.  Even if something didn’t seem relevant at the time, I often find myself remembering a particular point a professor made and how relevant it is to what I’m doing today.  Pace also made me feel much more confident about putting my skills to practical use in the work environment.  I also formed a nice network of contacts through the Pace program.

 

Prof. Denning:  What were some of the highlights of your graduate experience? (Please mention your internships here)

Erin:  Two of the big highlights of my time at Pace were my internship and my classes with Professor Soares.  My internship in editorial and publicity for Dorchester was a very rewarding hands-on experience.  I learned so much about the business of publishing and it proved to me that this was the right career path for me.  By proving myself during my internship, I made a positive impression upon the staff at Dorchester and they hired me several months later when a full time position when one became available.

Professor Soares is a very knowledgeable industry veteran and I really appreciated her classes because the information she conveyed was practical and easy to apply.  She also took the time to help me prepare for my job interview at Dorchester and to give me “real world” advice about accepting a job in publishing and what my expectations should be.

Of course, the friendships I formed with other classmates were also an important part of my experience and have been very helpful in my career.

 

Prof. Denning:  What advice would you give to students who still have to write their graduate thesis papers?  What were the most important points you learned from your own thesis, titled “Maintaining and Increasing Romance Readership Through Reinvention and Innovation?”

Erin:  Choose a topic that really interests you and is relevant to your career path.  Writing a thesis is hard work, but it means so much more when the subject matter truly affects your career path.  I also recommend interviewing a number of people from different companies in the industry.  I met a number of interesting people during the course of my thesis and their insights helped me gain a better perspective on the publishing industry.

 

Prof. Denning: What advice would you give students entering the field do to set themselves apart from other applicants?  Do you look for anything specific on a resume or in an interview?

Erin:  First, be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and what your real skills are.  Like many people, I wanted to work in editorial because I knew I wanted to work with authors and editorial is the most well-known area of the publishing industry.  Once I bErinan working in publishing and was offered the opportunity to move into marketing and publicity, I discovered that is where I could make the greatest contribution and really put my skill set to use.

Also, think really hard about what you are passionate about and how that may serve you in publishing.  As an exercise Professor Soares once asked each person in my class to share what they read in their spare time and what area of publishing they hoped to work in.  It didn’t take us long to realize that the books we’re passionate were often a direct indicator of where we wanted to end up.   While I’m sure you’ve heard it before, it’s also vital that your resume contain no errors and that you make a concerted effort to personalize your cover letter to the job you are applying for.      
Prof. Denning:  How have you been involved in the program since graduating? 

Erin: While I can’t say I’ve specifically been involved in the program since graduating, the connections I formed while in the program have proven long-lasting.  I’ve maintained close friendships with a number of my fellow graduates, hired a number of Pace students as interns and have helped several grads find their first job in the industry.

 

Prof. Denning:  How has the industry changed since you began your career?  (What was the work environment like then (in terms of job opportunities) then as opposed to now?)

Erin: It’s incredible how much the industry has changed in the last five years.  Electronic only publishers have grown in size and profit and most of the major traditional publishers have launched e-initial imprints.  I came into the industry not long before the economy took a huge hit and job opportunities were scare.  Thankfully, since then the industry has evened out to a great dErinree and changing technology has provided many new job opportunities across a number of fields—production, digital workflow, publicity, marketing, etc.

 

Prof. Denning:  Have you always been interested publishing?  Where did that passion come from?

Erin: I have always been passionate about books and the written word.  I knew I would have a job that involved writing, but I wasn’t sure exactly what shape it would take.  I ran my college newspaper and for a time I believed I would write for a newspaper or a magazine.  My mother was the first person to say that I should look into the publishing industry because I’m most passionate about books.  Not long after that an undergraduate professor of mine suggested the Pace program and that’s when I really began to believe I could have a career in the book industry.  My experience at Pace only cemented that belief. 

 

Prof Denning:  What do you think the future holds for book publishers, specifically for publicists and graduates hoping to become publicists?

Erin:  If only I had a crystal ball!  I think we’re in for many more changes in the upcoming years with ever-evolving technology.  Publicity is going to continue changing and I think it will be important for all of us to have wide ranging skills.  At the end of the day one thing remains the same.  No matter how books are published, there will always need to be people whose job it is to promote those books.

 

Prof: Denning:  What do you think the biggest trends in book publishing are today?  The biggest challenges that Publishers face?

Erin: Publishing is not known for being the most nimble and easy going when it comes to accepting change.  Our business model is an old one and I think one of the major challenges we face is putting ourselves in a position where we can react to trends and opportunities as quickly as possible.  We’re certainly working hard toward that goal as the recent crop of books that were originally self-published and then acquired by major houses and published with extraordinarily rapid schedules has shown.

 

Prof. Denning:  What initiatives has Berkley/NAL Penguin Group taken in terms of eBooks? Would you like to speculate on the future of e-books and books in general?  What areas to you think will be the most impacted (textbooks, children’s, trade, graphic novels, romance etc.)?

Erin: Among other things, Berkley/NAL is very well known for its genre fiction.  Genre fiction and genre fiction readers have always been at the forefront of technological advances because genre readers are the most voracious.  So genre publishers must meet the challenge by being at the forefront as well.  We’ve had incredible success with our InterMix e-book imprint and I believe we will continue to.  The print book certainly isn’t going away any time soon but the entire industry, particularly on the fiction side has seen a dramatic rise in e-book sales.  I think based on its very nature, romance, and other genre fiction, will continue to be the trendsetters in terms of taking advantage of new technology and leading the way when it comes to digital sales.     

 

Prof. Denning:  What do you think are the essential skills our students need to leave the program with in order to succeed in the industry?

Erin: With today’s technology it seems that various aspects of publishing are changing every day.  It’s more important than ever to understand the broad picture of the industry and how all of the puzzle pieces fit together.  It’s also vital to have skills that can be used across multiple areas of the business.  Five years ago it certainly wasn’t necessary for a publicist and marketer to be a Facebook whiz, whereas today it’s vital.  Be mindful of emerging technology and improve your skills across all areas.  I promise this will help you throughout your career.

 

Prof. Denning:  Any other advice you would like to offer up to our students and to those looking to survive and thrive in this industry?

Erin: I heard over and over again while I was at Pace that the book publishing industry was meant for people who are passionate about books and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  After working in it for five years I have to say that is true.  You won’t become rich or famous by working in book publishing, but if books are your passion you can find an incredibly exciting and fulfilling career in publishing. I joke that if I could get a job as a professional chocolate taster, I’d take it in a heartbeat, but I genuinely love what I do.  Meeting authors who write the books that capture my imagination and keep me turning the page until 2 a.m. is amazing.  The excitement I feel about getting my hands on a manuscript or the knowledge that my publicity campaign played a role in putting a book on the New York Times list is a feeling I can’t quite describe.  So my final advice is to determine if this is truly the field for you and if it is follow your passion and don’t look back.

Thank you very much for your time!

Interviews from the Field: Joelle Seligson

Joelle Seligson is an associate editor at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art, America’s Asian and Middle Eastern Museums in Washington, DC. She writes for Museums magazine and plays a big part in the museum’s digital transition. She has worked in Washington and New York, and has much to share with Pace’s aspiring publishers.  Read on to learn about art-world publishing, working within the government, and how she achieved her goals.

 

Jenna: What are the responsibilities of your job?

Joelle: I am associate editor for the Freer and Sackler Galleries. I edit anything that goes up on the museums’ walls, on our website, and in our catalogues and ephemera.

Jenna: Please describe your path to becoming an editor at the Freer and Sackler. Where did you study and your jobs or internships along the way?

Joelle: I studied journalism and art history at the University of Florida. That led me to a position as publicist at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. From there I moved to associate editor at the American Association (now Alliance) of Museums. Then I had a brief stint as news editor at ARTnews magazine in New York. Shortly after I lost my job in ARTnews’ second round of layoffs in 2009, I ran into a former colleague-of-a-colleague at AAM who had moved to head the Publications Department at Freer|Sackler. She needed an editor; I needed a job. Within a few months—miraculously fast for a federal government job—she created my position and brought me on board. I’ve been with F|S since January 2010.

Jenna: Can you describe the workflow of the way your office works?

Joelle: I am in the Publications Department, which is part of the greater Design, Publications, and Web Department. As with any museum, curators are responsible for generating the majority of content. A good deal of text comes from our Education, Public Affairs, and Development departments as well. In general, staff of these departments come to us with a project—exhibition labels, a brochure for an upcoming film series, an activity guide for a children’s program, etc. They submit an editing and design request. I then work with the content provider to edit the text and with a designer (web or print) to lay it out.

Joelle Seligson
Photo thanks to Joelle Seligson

Jenna: How did you know you wanted to work in publishing?

I didn’t, actually! I knew I wanted to write, and I knew I was interested in art history. My first love was journalism; I still do quite a bit of reporting as freelance work. I enjoy editing, though, and seeing a book in print after months of work gives me a different level of satisfaction than seeing a blog post go up a few hours after sketching it out.

Jenna: As you know, Pace students are mainly studying in New York. Can you tell us how you made it work in the city and about your time here?

Joelle: Whenever I tell people I was unemployed in New York they look at me like I’ve survived a drone attack. In fact, I had the best year of my life. My family is from Brooklyn and now lives in Brooklyn and Queens; I also have good friends in the city. So, when I got laid off, I had a solid support system in place. I soon found a job nannying two fabulous girls for a fabulous family on the Upper West. I had a studio on 89th and 3rd, cash in hand, and a fairly free schedule, so another somewhat-unemployed friend and I maxed out on all the city had to offer. We called ourselves Ladies of Leisure and took off on a new NYC adventure at least once a week. We enrolled in trapeze class, ate at Shopsin’s, bowled at Chelsea Piers, fished (unsuccessfully) in the Hudson, hung out on the “beach” in Long Island City, and visited the then-new Highline, to name just a few of our outings. I was also training for a marathon, so I spent hours running through Central Park and did a 20-mile loop around the perimeter of Manhattan. It was a blast.

Jenna: What project are you most proud of and why?

Joelle: Besides completing said marathon… I’ve really enjoyed some of the long-form pieces I’ve written for Museum magazine. Writing stresses me out much more than editing does, but there’s a huge sense of accomplishment once I’m done with a piece I’ve created from scratch.

Jenna: How does your current job compare to other publishing jobs you’ve had? Can you ruminate on how differences in size of an organization, genre of publishing, and government vs. private can affect goals, expectations, and workflow?

Joelle: I haven’t done much else in publishing, per se. I can tell you that working at the Smithsonian is a much different experience than working at a private museum. Bureaucracy gives structure, which I like, and lots of hindrances and hold-ups, which I don’t. Still, I prefer the systematic approach that a bigger organization provides to the more chaotic and freewheeling system that some smaller institutions have in place. And, though our budget is still very limited as of late, there is more of an opportunity to take on Big Things at the Smithsonian than there is at small nonprofits.

Jenna: What do you consider some of the major differences between being an editor in the art world vs. working in a more commercial industry?

Joelle: What I most appreciate about my job is that I’m constantly learning. Having to translate academic content on art to text the layman can understand and enjoy means that I have to deeply understand what I’m reading. It’s like taking a college course. Of course, you could find this in a commercial industry, but it’s virtually guaranteed when you work in the museum field.

Jenna: How is your museum integrating new technologies into your scope of work?

Joelle: We launched our first blog in February. We’re also now in the process of creating our first app, tracing the development of our Korean art collection. At the same time, we’re putting together a guidebook on the Korean collection. It’s been interesting to experiment with how we modify the same text for use in an app versus an instructive printed book.

Jenna: Do you have any words of wisdom for our aspiring publishers?

Joelle: Make sure you’re interested in the subject matter. You’re going to have to immerse yourself in the content, so don’t take a job just because it’s in your field. If you have no interest in cars, don’t accept a position publishing the Blue Book. Hold out until you find something you’ll want to read and learn about every day.

 

Smithsonian Castle
Photo by Jenna Vaccaro

Interview by Jenna Vaccaro

Jenna Vaccaro is the Graduate Assistant in Pace’s Publishing Department and a former publications’ assistant at the Freer and Sackler Galleries. She graduated from American University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society. She loves news media and pop-culture, and would love to find herself working with those topics in any form.

Alumni in the Spotlight- September 2012

Ebony LaDelle is a December 2010 graduate of the MS in Publishing program.  Ebony began her career working at the Howard University bookstore as an undergraduate, before moving to New York to pursue her publishing career.  Ebony, initially interested in magazine publishing, interned at Rodale and  then  as a Marketing Assistant at American Express Publishing before deciding to pursue her passion for working with books.  In January of 2012, Ebony began working as a Marketing Associate in the Corporate Marketing department at Simon&Schuster and recently switched roles there to work as a  Digital Marketing Associate.   Ebony received a full scholarship to the MS in Publishing program at Pace and served as the Graduate Assistant in the multimedia lab while she completed her graduate studies.  In this interview, Ebony will tell us a bit about the path she has taken in terms of her publishing career, and share her thoughts about working in this dynamic and ever-changing industry.

 Prof. Denning:  Hi Ebony, and thank you for agreeing to do this interview.  You are a recent graduate of the program but you successfully landed a position upon graduating.  Can you tell us about how you got to where you are?

Ebony:  Thanks for spotlighting me!  Well, upon graduation I actually landed a position in digital advertising.  Looking back on it, even though the job wasn’t in publishing, it prepared me a lot for my current position.  I worked in that role for about 9 months, while still diligently seeking a position in book publishing.  Finally I was able to secure an interview with Simon &Schuster and get a job!

Prof. Denning:  What does your job as a Digital Marketing Associate entail?

Ebony:  Right now I’m still learning the ropes but my duties consist of updating our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), as well as researching new social media platforms for our top books.  Simon & Schuster also submits articles for Yahoo Shine through our verticals (tipsonhealthyliving.com, tipsonlifeandlove.com, tipsonhomeandstyle.com, and tipsoncareerandmoney.com), so I also post articles through Shine.  I assist in coding Simon&Schuster’s newsletters, help with researching the success of our social media campaigns, and much more.  

Prof. Denning:  Can you tell us about the department you work in? Is “digital marketing” a relatively new career in publishing houses?

Ebony:  I’d say the term “new” is relative.  Digital marketing is by far a much newer department in the industry, but I feel like at this point the shock of digital has died down.  Every publishing house recognizes a need for a digital staff and now it’s about learning how to structure departments to incorporate more digital in it.  For instance, at Simon&Schuster, there is a realization that not only is a digital group important, but that each imprint should have their own designated online marketing managers to cater to the specific needs of each title.

Prof. Denning:  How did you prepare for a career in this area?  What skills did you need in order to qualify for this position? 

Ebony:  For me, my career in digital advertising helped me to transition into this field, and for most of the people in this department they made their start in the digital department in another industry.  However, for students interested in working for digital, my advice would be to apply for digital internships and really learn the field.  Read websites such as Mashable.com (http://mashable.com/) to find out what’s new in the industry, and learn about as many social media platforms as you can.  Many times being a digital intern allows you to be more creative than any other internship because it’s a new field for everyone, so new ideas are always welcome.   Getting these types of internships will definitely help you land an entry-level position in that line of work.

Prof. Denning:  How do you work with the other members of the publishing team (Editorial, Marketing, Production, Sales)?

Ebony:  It’s a collaborative effort.  If a book is coming out that is top priority, we sit down with editorial and marketing mostly to discuss opportunities within the digital world and potential partnerships, special promotions, etc.  Sometimes the marketing team has something in mind that they want us to implement, and other times we pitch an idea to them and take ownership over the project. 

Prof. Denning: What is your favorite social media tool?  Do you have an example of a particularly creative or successful campaign using that tool?

Ebony: My favorite tool right now is Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/).  I am a very hands on, DIY kind of girl so this is the perfect platform for me.  I’m able to get great ideas and organize them.  One example of a particularly creative Pinterest board would be West Elm (www.westelm.com/ ).  They do a great job of telling a story with their furniture by pinning pictures of their pieces in different settings (small size apartments, experimenting with different color palettes, etc).  

Prof. Denning:  Can you tell us a bit about Simon&Schuster?  What is it like to work there? Where are they in terms of digital publishing?  What are some of their most successful initiatives?

Ebony:  Simon&Schuster is a phenomenal company to work for.  You can tell the people in this company are here because they genuinely love what they do.  I’ve met great people who have taken me under their wing and shown me the ropes.  In terms of where they are in digital publishing, they are definitely at the forefront.  Simon&Schuster is not afraid to try new things when it comes to marketing their books.  Currently there is a campaign going on for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book Total Recall where you can find out the front and back cover by tweeting about it using the #totalrecallbook hashtag.  Make sure to check it out! http://www.schwarzenegger.com/totalrecallbook/

Prof. Denning:  Has social media played a role in the success and growth of eBooks?

Ebony: I think for self-published writers it definitely has played a role.  We recently acquired the title Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (http://www.jamiemcguire.com/) who self-published it first as an ebook and used social media to promote it.

Prof Denning:  Do you think the launch of designated ebook readers and the iPad (and subsequent tablets) forever changed publishing as we know it?

Ebony:  Yes and no.  What I have found at Simon&Schuster is that printed titles are still very popular still among children, which makes sense to me because children are very hands on.  I think it is a shared market; books are still popular, and studies show that most readers of physical books are also readers of ebook readers/iPads.  Now instead of going on vacation and lugging 5 books, you’re able to store 500 on your device.  These tablets now just give readers more options.

Prof: Denning:  What do you think the biggest trends in publishing are today? 

Ebony: I think one trend that everyone should be on the lookout for is enhanced e-books. Now, more than ever, tablets are being incorporated in the classrooms to create an experience where teachers can share information such as notes, videos, article links and much more.  Publishers are definitely looking for ways now to enhance a reader’s experience using e-books, which I think it’s a great idea.  It gives the reader options.

Prof. Denning:  Would you like to speculate on the future of book publishing?  What do you think the industry will look like it 20 years? 30? 50?

Ebony:  This is never an easy thing to do, but I think the scariest times are over.  With the emergence of digital media I believe it shook up a lot of people in the industry because it was unknown.  But it’s all about adapting, and I think the industry is doing that.  People love publishers because they know when they pick up a book, they will read a well-edited, overall great book.  Book publishing will be around for many years to come I suspect.

Prof. Denning:  Please tell me a bit about how your educational experience at Pace prepared you for your publishing career. 

Ebony: The publishing program at Pace has prepared me by giving me a broad overview of the book and magazine publishing industries.  I was able to be in a classroom with industry professionals and got advice and guidance from them on how to enter into the field of publishing.  This was was nice because I felt like they didn’t sugarcoat the reality of what is going on in the industry today for me.  I was able to ask questions that I might not have been  able to ask in a professional setting.  Moreover, I was able to network with my peers who are looking to go into the same industry-it becomes easier to find jobs when you have great contacts.

Prof. Denning:  Have you always been interested in marketing and publishing?  Where did that passion come from?

Ebony:  I have always had an interest in publishing, but my interest in marketing didn’t start until I started working at the Howard University bookstore (HUB).  At the time I chose to work there because I needed a job, it was on campus, and the position allowed me to work closely in the field I loved.  However, I found that even though I enjoy writing, I don’t enjoy editing as much.  With marketing, I’m able to be creative, and that was what I found I was able to do working at the HUB.  My boss was very supportive of my aspirations and allowed me to come up with ideas for the bookstore.  One, which is my proudest accomplishment there, was creating our Howard University Bookstore circular, which has been featured in College Store magazine as being an innovative and cost effective campaign.  I love the idea of watching an idea grow and take off.

Prof Denning:  Where did you intern when you were in Graduate school?  Was it a valuable experience?

Ebony:  I secured an internship/temp position at American Express Publishing.  Originally, I thought I wanted a career in magazine publishing, so I enjoyed taking this internship because it solidified for me that magazine publishing wasn’t the route I wanted to go.  I was a 6-month position, and my responsibilities included doing research for potential advertisers and helping with RFPs.  It was an amazing opportunity and an amazing company, but it was then I began to realize I wanted to work in book publishing.  

Prof. Denning:  What was the topic of your thesis paper?  What advice would you give to students who still have to write their papers?

Ebony: My thesis topic was The Relevancy of African-American Publications. For me, I’ve always wanted to work in magazines, and with the shift in having an African-American president, and having one of the top media moguls being a black woman, I wanted to research if working for a black magazine has as much importance as it did in the 60s.  

My advice on choosing your research topic is one, make sure it’s something you’re extremely interested in.  Although I changed fields, this topic has always been interesting to and made doing that research that much easier.  Also, I’d say to choose a topic that will help you in your job area of interest.  If you’re able to research something cutting-edge, it’s a great conversation starter for an interview.  It gives you one up on the competition, with all the changes in this industry everyone is curious to see what someone else can bring to the table.  It makes you all the more desirable.

Prof. Denning:  What do you think are the essential skills our students need to leave the program with in order to succeed in the industry?

Ebony:  I think it is important to have an overall sense of the industry, which is what attracted me to the program.  It really allows you to decide what area interests you best, and in the professional setting it allows you to understand other departments.  It comes in handy when you have a deadline, for example, and someone gives you an excuse.  If you have a general idea of how everything works, it will allow you to ask more questions and recognize if you’re being fed the truth or a lie.  I also think it’s important to take advantage of any and all digital classes Pace has to offer.  This will at least give you a general idea of how the department runs and even if that’s not where you want your career to go, it will definitely help you stand out that you have SOME training.  For those of you interested in book publishing, Professor Soares teaches a great General Interest Book class.

Prof. Denning:  Any other advice you would like to offer up to our students?

Ebony:  Be persistent.  Publishing is a hard field to get into, but once you’re in the possibilities are endless.  Use this time to really intern and figure out what area you want to be in.  Once you’ve figured that out, hit the ground running.  Make sure to attend events given by the publishing program, and look for events outside of school too.  I’ve heard a hiring manager say before they had over 500 applicants for a position, so it’s important to find a way to distinguish yourself from everyone else vying for the same position.
Prof. Denning:  Thank you for taking the time to do this interview Ebony!

Alumni in the Spotlight – July 2012

Noah Efroym is a May, 2012 graduate of the MS in Publishing program.  Noah began working as an Assistant Manager for eBook Development in the Digital Content Development department at Simon & Schuster in October of 2011.   Noah received a full scholarship to the MS in Publishing program at Pace and served as the Graduate Assistant in the multimedia lab while he completed his graduate studies.  In addition, Noah interned at Open Road Media, a digital publisher and multimedia content company, where he was able to apply his excellent technological skills and publishing knowledge, thus exposing him to numerous career and job opportunities.  In this interview, Noah will talk to us about his work, how to prepare for a career in today’s competitive job market, and about the world of publishing in general.

Prof. Denning:  Hi Noah, and thank you for agreeing to do this interview.  You are a recent graduate of the program and you successfully landed a position in your last semester of your graduate studies.  Can you tell us a bit about how you got to where you are? How did your educational experience at Pace prepare you for your publishing career?

NE:  Sure! During my time at Pace I tried to take as many courses as possible that focused on technology and its application to modern publishing. I found I really enjoyed working with the Adobe creative suite of products, like InDesign, in the Desktop Publishing course, and later applied that knowledge to the Information Systems in Publishing course, where I was able to get some hands-on experience with eBooks. From there I found that I was well positioned for my internships working in digital production at Open Road Media and Hachette, which were themselves the springboards for my current full-time position at Simon & Schuster.

Prof. Denning:  What does your job as Assistant Manager for eBook Development entail?

NE:  As a Big Six publisher, S&S has over a dozen imprints. I’m responsible for creating eBooks for three large imprints—Gallery Books, Pocket Books (which includes Threshold editions), and Touchstone. Our production cycle is typically six weeks long (though rush jobs where I may have to convert assets into an eBook and archive the finalized assets that same day are not unheard of). This means that when the designers are finished with the final layout of the print book in InDesign, I have that much time to collect those assets and create a final eBook. Two weeks are spent on the initial conversion, two on quality assurance, and the final two is taken up by the ingestion period of online retailers. My secondary responsibilities include working with editors and the managing editorial staff to update older titles with teasers, back ads, and reading group guides.

Prof. Denning:  Can you tell us about the Digital Content Development Department? Is this a relatively new department in publishing houses (do other houses have them)? How is the department structured?

NE:  Although our department is relatively new to the world of publishing, every major publishing house has some sort of digital departmental equivalent, absolutely. As eBooks continue to gain traction and eat more of the market share traditionally occupied by print books, these departments are constantly growing and commanding more authority within modern publishing houses. For example, our department at S&S recently filled a new full-time position, and we’re taking advantage of a great many temps and interns.

Prof. Denning:  How do you work with other member of the publishing team?  Editorial, Marketing, Production, Sales?

NE:  Every department interacts with us in different ways. From editorial I’ll often receive correction memos for older or recently published titles. These are sent both to production and to myself. But while the print book needs to be carefully reset to accommodate the addition of a sentence or the correction of a typo, I can typically correct the eBook in seconds and immediately upload the finished product for re-ingestion by online distributors. This means that the corrected eBook will be available for sale on Amazon.com the next day. A print book would have to wait for the next print run, and there’s no guarantee that would happen if the sales figures didn’t warrant it.

I’ll work with managing editorial to schedule pub dates for older titles for which we’ve recently acquired rights. Funny enough, we’ll actually have to buy these older books used from Amazon because we simply don’t have any copies sitting around anymore. Marketing will send us back ads or request linked buy button pages to be inserted into the backs of eBooks. These are great revenue-increasing tools that make purchasing the next title in a series just a click away.

Prof. Denning:  What skills did you need to qualify you for this position?  How did you prepare yourself for a position like this?

NE:  HTML, CSS, and InDesign knowledge are absolutely essential tools for this position. General tech savvy and familiarity with major e-Reading platforms like the Nook, iPad, and Kindle are also useful assets to bring up during an interview. Knowledge of common programming skills/tools like GREP or Oxygen will only help, and for extra points you can learn Javascript. Learning the internal mechanics of eBooks themselves and current IDPF specifications is a constantly evolving process, but establishing a workable knowledge of how eBooks work is relatively simple. Several great books, like Liz Castro’s EPUB Straight to the Point, are easy to find online.

I deconstructed several eBooks in my free time before I secured my internships—nothing trumps hands-on experience.

Prof. Denning:  Can you tell us a bit about Simon & Schuster?  What is it like to work there? Where are they in terms of digital publishing?  What are some of their most successful initiatives?

NE:  Working in digital is fantastic because we’re often the nexus of not only new technological initiatives, but of every other department in the company since we interact with most everyone at some point. S&S is doing some great work and is really taking advantage of modern publishing technology. The design department incorporates some great XML-first workflow practices, spearheaded by Steve Kotrch, into their cover design workflow. We’re also discussing experimenting with DRM-free eBooks, similar to what Tor is doing at Macmillan, and have recently launched our first digital-only imprint, Pocket Star Books, for which I’m designing all the eBooks.

I may be biased, but I think we’re doing some amazing work in eBook design, layout, and optimization. S&S only creates one eBook file, so it has to work consistently across all devices, and we’re constantly thinking about how to give readers the best experience possible. We can do a lot of things with eBooks that may not be possible with our analog counterparts. For example, we may try to get color photo insert assets that the print version couldn’t budget printing in color, or we’ll remove/reorganize front matter assets so that readers don’t have to flip through extraneous content before they can start reading.

Prof. Denning:  Has social media played a role in the success and growth of eBooks?

NE:  Well it certainly hasn’t hurt, but quantifying the impact of social media in eBook sales is notoriously difficult. I think most every imprint at S&S has Twitter/FB pages, and we work with our authors to set up pages on these websites and interact with readers to promote their titles. What’s really important is fostering an online community, ala Seth Godin, to encourage the growth of digital sales. S&S is tackling this head-on with websites like pocketafterdark.com.

Prof Denning:  What do you think the future holds for book publishers?  Do you think the launch of designated ebook readers and the iPad (and subsequent tablets) forever changed publishing as we know it?

NE:  Electronic reading devices will always be able to do so much more than print books, and as time goes on, the technology with which they do what they do will only become more advanced, refined, and inexpensive. Color eInk devices aren’t far off on the horizon, and working prototypes of flexible paper-like electronic display devices are already in circulation. Publishers who embrace these changes and actively work to take advantage of them will find themselves with a continued role to play, and those who don’t will wind up like Houghton Mifflin.

Who knows, maybe Google’s Project Glass could prove to be the next great leap in the way books are read. I mean, at least until we can plug ourselves into the Matrix and consume them instantaneously.

Prof: Denning:  What do you think the biggest trends in publishing are today?

NE:  Right now it looks like romance/erotica is sweeping the country. Hey, I’m not one to judge, but when I see someone reading 50 Shades next to me on the subway it still grosses me out a little.

Prof. Denning:  What was the topic of your thesis paper?  What advice would you give to students who still have to write their papers?

NE:  I wrote about the relationship between publishers and authors through the lens of the eBook and how the availability of inexpensive digital publishing/distribution servicers has forever altered that relationship. Writing that paper had a large influence on my philosophical perspective of DRM and royalty rates—often favoring the author. It’s something I was really interested in exploring so the paper flowed from me as a natural extension of that enthusiasm, making it really easy and enjoyable to write. I think a thesis should be a relatively painless process for these reasons, so my advice to students it to focus on writing something they’re passionate about, too. It also doesn’t hurt to explore institutions or departments you’d like to work at in the future. For example, I wrote about the XML-first workflow at S&S that I mentioned earlier, and was able to impress people there with my ostensibly superhuman knowledge of some of the minutia of their design and layout processes.

Prof. Denning:  What do you think are the essential skills our students need to leave the program with in order to succeed in the industry?

NE:  Well, that all depends on what part of the industry students would like to work in, but for Marketing and Digital, and even to some extent Editorial and Sales, then a solid knowledge of HTML is invaluable. And I don’t just mean the ability to distinguish a <div> tag from a <span> tag, but real workable knowledge of web design and CSS. Books are words, and manipulating them used to mean working with arcane typesetting devices, but now it means working in a digital environment, and for that HTML is the main tool of the trade.

Prof. Denning:  Any other advice you would like to offer up to our students?

NE:  Take as many internships as you can! It’s impossible to know what you’ll enjoy until you’re actually in the thick of things. Also remember that internships are the currency in which full-time positions are paid.

Prof. Denning:  How have you been involved in the program since graduating?  Would you like to guest lecture? Teach in the program?

NE:  I’d love to guest lecture at some point, and I’ve been invited to do so, but I feel woefully underqualified to occupy the time of so many students. Give me a few years, and maybe I’ll glean enough wisdom that’s worth sharing with others!

Faculty in the Spotlight – May 2012

Professor Jane Kinney-Denning, the Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach for the Pace Publishing program, was recently appointed the President of the New York Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association!  Professor Kinney-Denning previously worked as the Young Publishing Professional Outreach Coordinator for the WNBA-NYC, and in this role she reached out to many Pace students and alumni, helping to involve them in the organization and establish beneficial ties between Pace and the WNBA-NYC chapter.  Below is an interview with Professor Kinney-Denning that was conducted for the WNBA-NYC blog.

Member Monday:  Meet Jane Kinney-Denning!
Interview conducted by Hannah Bennett and Erica Misoshnik

Erica and Hannah: Congratulations on your appointment as the new President of the WNBA-NYC chapter! Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with the organization so far and what you are most excited about in taking on this new role?

Jane: Thank you! I am honored to have been asked and was thrilled to accept the Presidency.

The WNBA is a wonderful organization that has enriched my life in so many ways. Since becoming a member and starting to serve on the Board of Directors a few years ago, I have met some truly remarkable people and have attended and participated in a number of outstanding events that the organization has hosted.

One of the first events I attended was a National Reading Group Month panel, a WNBA annual event (in October) which was organized by Roz Reisner and Lori O’Dea, and I was hooked. The authors there were engaging, interesting, and inspiring. It was incredible to listen to authors like Julie Metz, who wrote Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal, and to hear her and the other writers there tell their stories of how their books came to be. This year’s panel was just as fascinating and included the 2012 PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author Julia Otsuka, who wrote the beautiful, poetic novel, The Buddha in the Attic.

It is just so wonderful to have the opportunity to meet and listen to writers who have achieved a certain level of success and who write such amazing books. If you are a writer, or a reader, for that matter, you gain a tremendous sense of community by attending these events, and if you are working in the publishing industry, you have the opportunity to share ideas, network, and be reminded why a career in publishing is so rewarding. One can’t help but to be inspired!

I also had the privilege of interviewing Deirdre Bair, an author (and WNBA member) who has written a number of important biographies, including the National Book Award-winning biography of Samuel Beckett. I was also fortunate to have been asked to co-moderate a panel on “The Making of a Bestseller,” in November 2011, which featured Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, and her outstanding team of publishing professionals from Random House.

So, to answer your question about what I am most excited about, I would have to say, everything! I am especially looking forward to continuing to work with the amazing group of people in the NYC chapter who are so dedicated and work so hard to organize events, write and publish the monthly newsletter, update and edit the blog, handle our social networking and media presence, manage the chapter’s finances, and take care of all of the other tasks that keep the chapter vital and in good standing. In addition, I am looking forward to another year of outstanding events that promote the book, to possible collaborations with other organizations that have similar goals, and to expanding our membership. It is very exciting for me to think about what the next two years hold.

Erica and Hannah: Can you tell us a little about yourself? How did you end up in New York?

Jane: Well, I am a native (and proud) Wisconsinite. I grew up in the northern part of the state (very close to Lake Superior) in a small town called Hayward, WI, which is famous for its very large fiberglass museum in the shape of a giant muskie and a really great old-fashioned candy store. My parents still live in the house on the lake that I grew up in and I travel back every summer with my family. It is a beautiful part of the country and, for me, there is nothing like lakeside living! I went to the University of Wisconsin, Madison for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees and also spent a year studying abroad at the University of Bologna in Italy. My master’s degree in Italian Literature—a very luxurious degree, to say the least—really allowed me to pursue my love of reading, writing, and travel. I was not exactly sure what direction my career would go in with a degree like that but I knew it had to have something to do with books. I moved to Chicago once I graduated and, like many publishing careers, mine was a bit accidental: I met somebody who knew somebody, etc., and before long I was working in sales with Little, Brown and had moved to St. Louis, Missouri. I traveled all over Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee, selling college textbooks. It was a hard job, but I had the opportunity to scout for manuscripts and my success in doing that was what ultimately brought me to New York in 1989. One of the editors I had worked with called me up out of the blue and asked me to interview at Harper & Row (later merged into HarperCollins). I got the job, packed my suitcases, and moved to New York.

I spent the next several years acquiring textbooks for the English curriculum, from basic skills books to rhetorics, readers, and handbooks. It was a challenging job but a lot of fun; I traveled all over the country and met some remarkable people in the process. My next few jobs were still on the acquisitions side of things but I managed to merge my talents with my interests and worked primarily acquiring books for the environmental sciences. I was also doing some writing then, mainly interviews with environmentalists and activists like Leonard Peltier, Bianca Jagger, and Michael Moore, for a magazine called PLAZM that was published in Portland, Oregon. My own writing got sidelined a bit when I had my children but I am still writing and plan to continue doing those kinds of interviews as well as other kinds of writing. I also started teaching as an adjunct professor at Pace when I was an editor at HarperCollins, and 12 years ago I left my publishing job to become Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach for the Master’s in Publishing program at Pace University. I love my job because it is the perfect blend of teaching, learning, mentoring, advising, and the constant study of this dynamic, rapidly changing industry. It is simply fascinating to witness (and teach about) the impact of new technologies like the iPad, the Nook, and the Kindle on the industry. I am the thesis advisor for all of my internship students and reading their thesis papers on current topics in the industry is a revelation; I learn a great deal from my students.

I also manage the blog for the program and started writing a series of alumni interviews and faculty profiles. It has been really interesting to do this and I love having the opportunity to hone my interview skills!

Erica and Hannah: What has been your favorite part of working in publishing?

Jane: Well, as I mentioned in response to the previous question, I have worked in publishing as an editor, writer and most recently as a professor at Pace. What all three professions have in common is the written word, whether it be found in books or magazines. As an editor, I love the process of getting to know authors, understanding their passions and goals for writing their book(s) and working with them to help make their ideas into a published book. The writing process is so interesting and such a unique journey for whoever is embarking upon it. It was always so rewarding to hold the published book in my hands at the end of the process and to share in the author’s sense of accomplishment and joy. As a writer, I love being able to communicate ideas, passion, and information and to tell a good story. I have primarily done interviews and plan to continue in that vein. I love doing interviews with people who are making a difference in the world—I get to know them and get to help them share their stories and experiences. And, there is the personal journey that I go through during the writing process, just like any writer. There is a remarkable sense of accomplishment when one finishes a piece. As a professor, I love working with students and other publishing professionals. Since the industry is constantly changing, I am always learning. I accomplish this in many ways: by reading, interacting with other professors in the program and other industry professionals, and by attending interesting panels, seminars, and conferences. I really can’t imagine working in any other industry. Publishing is such a rich profession and one can go in so many different directions with his or her career. In this time of great change, I see only opportunity in terms of a publishing career.

Erica and Hannah: You have been involved with the WNBA as the Young Publishing Professional Outreach Coordinator. What were some of the highlights of this experience? What was the most rewarding aspect of this position?

Jane: Yes, I took on this responsibility a couple of years ago. It dovetailed nicely with my position at Pace and was a wonderful opportunity for me to involve our students and make them aware of the wonderful things the WNBA does and has to offer. The WNBA also benefited in terms of membership because our students are interested in networking and in being more involved in the industry they have chosen for their careers. These students became aware of the organization at Pace, but many are now working in the industry and in a position to spread the word about the WNBA to their colleagues. I also talked to everyone I could about the organization—be it an alum of the program or someone I met commuting or at other publishing-related events. My successor (to be named shortly) will be working to expand our reach even further—to other publishing programs in the city as well as to young professionals working at the many publishing companies in New York. I believe that this position on the Board of Directors is a critical one to the health of our chapter (or any chapter for that matter). Already some of the young professionals who have joined the organization are making significant contributions.

Erica and Hannah: Do you have any advice for young publishing professionals who are just starting in the business?

Jane: Well, as I mentioned earlier, I think this is a time of great opportunity—for a lot of reasons. The first being how quickly technology is changing and impacting all aspects of the business. What this means is that the industry needs people with good skill sets: computer and social networking skills coupled with good writing and communication skills. You need to be open to change, willing to learn new things, and flexible in the workplace. If a new social media site like Pinterest becomes wildly popular and you are working to promote an author, you need to see if a site like this might be of use to you and then figure out how to maximize its potential for your author. I am also a big believer in education, both formal and informal. Keep yourself current. Take classes if you need to learn new skills, attend seminars, panels, and conferences and join organizations like the WNBA where you will have the opportunity to meet like-minded people. Also check job boards regularly, even if you are not looking at the moment; there are so many new positions out there now that did not exist a few years ago. This will help you keep abreast of what kind of people publishers are looking to hire and give you a sense of where you stand in terms of your own skills. Lastly, enjoy what you do and read a lot of books!

Erica and Hannah: What are some of the initiatives that you hope to launch in your upcoming term?

Jane: At the moment, my main goal is to keep the wonderful momentum that the organization currently has going. Valerie Tomaselli, the current Acting President of the NY Chapter and soon to be National President, is a hard act to follow! She is so dedicated, organized, smart, and focused. She has guided the organization through some rough waters with a sense of calm and clarity that is truly admirable. I am very happy that she is my friend and that I will be able to turn to her for advice when I need it!

This past year was particularly exciting and the events were outstanding. I recently had lunch with a good friend of mine who is involved with another organization and he commented on how interesting and unique our programing is, from author panels, to bookstore crawls, to open mics, to panels on current trends in publishing, to neighborhood lunches. I could not agree more and hope that the coming year will bring more of the same. I am really looking forward to working with all of the talented people in the NY chapter—they have so many great ideas and are so skillful at organizing and promoting our events. I also hope to be able to bring more of my professional and personal contacts into the organization as members, panelists, and moderators, or as committee chairs and board members. In addition, I would like to see our social media presence and publicity efforts continue to grow as the chapter grows. The women doing this now are doing a phenomenal job and I am looking forward to seeing what they do as we continue to move forward.

Erica and Hannah: What are you currently reading?

Jane: Well, in my opinion I never get to read enough! That said, I do have a really, really long commute to New York (two hours each way), so I try to take advantage of it by filling that time with books. I also have three children (10, 12 and 13) who are avid readers and keep me current with what their current favorites are and I love that. My daughter will spend a whole Saturday curled up with a book and I often find my son under his covers with his Nook—he was the first in our family to read The Hunger Games series and was so passionate about it that we all read it. My youngest is an independent reader but we still like reading together at night. I will miss doing that someday!

One of my favorite genres is biography, and right now I am reading Walter Issacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. I bought it as soon as it came out because, as Isaacson puts it, Jobs is viewed by so many as “The ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination,” and because Apple completely changed the landscape of publishing forever. Jobs, like all of us, was an incredibly flawed human being, but I can’t help but admire his candidness and believe that his story is, as Issacson states, “. . .both instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership and values.”

I have also been reading a lot of contemporary fiction lately. One of my favorite books is a novel by the South Korean writer Kyung-Sook Shin, Please Look After Mom. Oh, what can I say about this book? That every woman should read it? That every man should read it? Maybe it moved me so because of where I am in my own life or because the theme of motherhood is universal no matter what the culture is. Or perhaps because it is so relevant to think about how modern society is impacting our familial relationships. It is a tragic story about an elderly woman who gets separated from her husband as they are getting on a subway in Seoul to go and visit their children, and the feelings of the woman’s family as they unsuccessfully search for her. As the author stated in a recent interview, “It’s the mother who goes missing, but that’s a metaphor. It doesn’t have to be the mom who disappears; it could be anything precious to us that has been lost, as we’ve moved from a traditional society to a modern society.” I could not put this book down and cried when I read the last sentence of the last chapter. I have not been so moved by a book in a long time. A beautiful, sad, moving story.

I also just finished a wonderful book about Hurricane Katrina and a small town in Mississippi called Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward. It won the 2011 National Book Award, and reading it, I can see why. It, as many reviewers state, has the aura of a classic about it. The story is so removed from my own life but really transported me to the lives the characters are living. It is a remarkable book that reminds us of how tragic Katrina was and about how prevalent poverty is in our country. In spite of all of that, one of the things you walk away with from this book is the power of family loyalty and the strength of the human spirit.

Recently I found a book of short stories by Margaret Drabble called A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman. I had not read any of her writing before and have to admit I bought it because of the title. I have not been disappointed and am so pleased to have discovered her. She is a magnificent storyteller and I can’t wait to read more of her work. Other books sitting on my desk are Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, which I bought after reading an interview with Susan Larson, the WNBA New Orleans Chapter President and chairperson of the jury that nominates the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. She spoke so eloquently about the book that I could not resist getting it! I also have The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman, and Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout, waiting for my summer vacation!

Erica and Hannah: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Let’s do a follow-up interview next year, not only to get your feedback on your first year as Chapter President, but to reassess the advances in technology within the publishing industry.