2015 BEA Experiences

BEAThanks to the generous support of Dean Nira Herrmann and a number of Pace Publishing Professors, the Pace MS in Publishing students were able to attend the 2015 Book Expo America that took place at the Javitz Center in New York in May.  This was a great opportunity for networking, meeting authors, viewing publishers’ booths and seeing what books are slated to be published in the upcoming seasons. It is always a spectacular site to see so many publishers gathered and to attend some of the cutting edge panels and events.

This year we thought we would share a few of our thoughts about the experience, and if you would like to share some of your own experiences, feel free to email us at puboffice@pace.edu

Professor Sherman Raskin
Director, Pace MS in Publishing
Director, Pace University Press

“It is always nice to attend BEA in May. I was able to connect with old friends and spent two busy days consulting with our colleagues from China Publishing Group and Phoenix Publishing Media Group at the shermanraskincropped(1)show. PPMG ran a big screen ad in Times Square from May 26th through June 4th celebrating their company and the BEA Expo. Just before the show, executives from China Publishing Group participated in two weeks of training at Pace. They graced the Midtown site from May 11th through May 22nd before participating in the Book Expo. They only had good things to say about the training and the show. Most important, they loved NYC. The sessions at Pace stressed digital publishing and copyright law.

The last day of the show, Professor Lian and I had the opportunity to speak at a seminar held by Longzhiji Book Publishing located in Beijing.  Because of the influence of a Pace training seminar five years ago, they moved from being a traditional company to a digital company. The time spent at Pace changed their entire way of thinking about publishing. Mr. Su, the President of the company realized that he had to restructure if he were to succeed in the industry today. His training with the Pace professionals made all the difference and ensured his success as a major publisher in China. Pace and Logzhiji are very proud of this success story.

The BEA is always an exciting experience, but the Expo was even more meaningful with China as the focus of BEA this year.

Corinne Tousey, second year Publishing student:

My first time going to BEA was great.  It’s a great opportunity to meet new authors and find your favorite publishers and learn what new projects are being released.  I walked away with tons of free books, I even won a Kindle Fire and ten books from author, Julie Gilbert.”

Loot

Ana Ban, May 2015 Publishing graduate:

“I have been working as a translator in my country, Brazil, since 2001, and so far I have done more than 150 titles. It is so rare that I get in contact with the authors I translate, much less have the opportunity to meet them. But Ana Ban (1)thanks to Pace, last year I met two of them at BEA: Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), and Carolyn Mackler (The Future of Us), who was taking part in a panel sponsored by the Women’s National Book Association and mediated by Professor Manuela Soares about digital marketing for children’s authors.

This year I had the immense pleasure of meeting Wendy Mass, who wrote one of my favorite books that I have worked with, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. I picked my slot on Wednesday because I wanted to meet her, and I got in line for the autographing of Space Taxi – Archie Takes Flight, a cute chapter book about a boy who helps his father drive an interstellar cab.

When my turn came and I told her that I had translated Jeremy Fink in Brazil, she jumped from behind the table to talk to me and asked her husband Michael Brawer (co-author of the book they Ana Ban (2)were signing) to take pictures of us. She wrote on my copy: “It was SO wonderful to meet you – it’s like we wrote Jeremy Fink together!” And she said: “I wish I had more books to give you.”

It was one of the best experiences I have had in my career as a translator, to have my work recognized and appreciated by the author. I really appreciate the fact that Pace makes an effort so the students can attend BEA, it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Luverta Reames, second year Publishing student:

My first time at BEA I was excited.  I was disappointed when I realized I chose a time slot where nothing was going on. I was only able to view the exhibition for less than 20 minutes before I Otraded my badge and headed back to work. I knew that Charisma Media from Florida would be present, and they are the publisher that handles my pastor’s and aunt’s books. I HAD to meet the editor. I met Jevon on Friday night and we grabbed dinner and a live jazz show. Before the night ended she had already figured out how I could gain an internship and a freelance position with the company.

 Charisma was searching for a marketing intern for the summer. I will have a chance to work with Christian ministries and do custom book projects for them. What’s more exciting about moving to Florida for the summer—everything is falling into place. I have my living situation squared away. I’m using someone’s buddy pass for my travels and it’s a paid internship.  Although, I was sad I chose the wrong time. There was definitely a reason I needed to be at BEA and things are working out wonderfully for me.

I was so grateful for the opportunity to attend. I am looking forward to BEA in my hometown of Chicago next year.”

Sarah Poppe, May 2015 Publishing graduate:

“I just graduated from the Pace Publishing Program in May and started what I imagined would be a long and arduous application process for a full-time, entry-level editorial position. In all honesty, this wasn’t my first foray into the full-time job search; I had been sending applications “into the void” for about a year by this point. I say “into the void” because sending resumes and cover letters through online portals always felt like sending them off into the depths of outer space, desperately hoping to make contact with another life form. I competed with Sarah Poppehundreds of other applicants for one open position after another, and I never got the call for an interview. When a close friend of mine put me directly in contact with a hiring manager at Penguin and wrote a lengthy letter of recommendation on my behalf…and I still didn’t get the interview…I had all but given up hope on finding a job in book publishing and was about to turn my attention towards online content writing (something in which I had a bit of experience but didn’t really want to turn into a career).

 I decided that BEA would be my Hail Mary; I would network with as many people as possible, and if I still couldn’t find a job, I would set my sights elsewhere. I went to BEA on Friday, the last day of the Expo, by myself with nothing but a big swag bag and a stack of custom-made business cards. I nervously meandered around the exhibition hall, trying to strike up a conversation with everyone I encountered. I started with the Big 5 booths, but they were swarmed with attendees congregating around the author signings and free ARCs. Eventually, I succeeded in engaging with workers at some of the smaller booths, like Open Road—only to discover that I had been talking to interns who were after the same full-time jobs. At this point, my feet ached and my bag was almost too heavy to drag around.

 By chance, I stumbled across the Crooked Lane booth and was ushered into an author signing line by the words “free” and “New York Times bestselling author.” While in line, the person manning the booth greeted me and made a puzzling look at my badge, which listed my school name instead of my job title. “So what is it that you do?” he asked. This led to a conversation about the PPP and my quest for employment. He asked about my career interests, offered his business card, and told me to email him my resume when I got home. I sent him my resume with a short cover letter, and he set me up with an interview for the following Tuesday. I couldn’t believe it had worked that immediately.

Crooked Lane Books

After two rounds of interviews (and a wonderful recommendation from a Pace professor, to whom I am tremendously grateful), I just got the call that I got the job as an editorial assistant at Crooked Lane, a relatively new crime and mystery fiction imprint. Since they have an incredibly small staff (just four people!), I will get to experience not only the editorial side of publishing, but also production, marketing, and sales. One of the big conversation points in my interview was how the PPP gave me a more rounded understanding of the industry outside of editorial—a fact that I never knew would be so invaluable in giving me an edge over the other applicants.

 My biggest takeaway from BEA is this: networking really is everything! Any opportunity you get to shake someone’s hand, ask for advice, or offer your services is time well spent. I’m an introvert, I tend to have terrible social anxiety, and nothing terrifies me more than walking up to someone I don’t know with a confident smile and a business card. I circled that show floor three times before I worked up enough nerve, and even then, my most successful conversation only happened by chance. The best advice I have is to put yourself in professional situations where you have the opportunity to network (like BEA), be prepared when opportunity presents itself (with either a resume or business card), and know your pitch (Why are you there, and what is it that you are looking for?). It only took one conversation—the right conversation—to land the interview, something I never got from the hundreds of online applications I must have sent in the past year. As Pace Publishing students, we are given free access into the exclusive professional arena of BEA, something that most graduates from other schools competing for the same jobs won’t have access to (with the exception of BookCon, which I still find chaotic and somewhat limited). Take that opportunity and run with it!”

 Professor Jane Kinney-Denning, Executive Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach

jane kinney denningThe BEA is always an exciting, interesting, and exhausting experience!  This year I saw so many friends, former students, and former colleagues and professional acquaintances that I hardly had time to stop and get an ARC or two (but of course I did!).  I love the BEA and the energy that comes with so many book people gathered to showcase their work and upcoming titles.  Seeing so many publishers from the US and around the world gathered in one place is awe inspiring and a reminder why we all love our chosen professions.

Gloria SteinhamI must say that one of my highlights this year was getting to meet Gloria Steinem and have her sign her soon-to-be-published memoir, My Life on the Road. I have always admired her for her activism, commitment to women’s rights and human rights and of course for starting MS Magazine. Although the publicists were expertly moving the very long line of people along quickly, I did get a chance to thank her for her remarkable work.  

Thinking back on this and many previous BEA Conferences, the one thing that always stands out for me is the people; all of the good, passionate book people who make this industry so great. It is wonderful to be a part of it.

The Value of the Internship Experience for Both Students and Employers

Professor Jane Denning, the Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach for the MS in Publishing program, recently wrote a piece for BIGMPG Marketing & Design, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin based company (http://www.bigmpg.com/), entitled The Value of the Internship Experience for Both Students and Employers. This piece was written for the BIGMPG Index: A monthly examination of the human experience.

TODAY’S INTERNS

Professor Jane Kinney-Denning has been the Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach for the MS in Publishing program at Pace University in New York for the past 12 years. Each year she places over 50 students in prestigious internships throughout the book, magazine and digital publishing industries.

Her students are required to take her internship course and complete one “for credit” internship to fulfill the requirements of their graduate degree. The internship experience is solidly grounded in the academic experience:  from securing the position – i.e., preparing resumes and cover letters and interviewing – to the writing of a graduate thesis paper in the second part of the course. Pace students have interned at such powerhouse companies and publications as: HarperCollins, Simon&Schuster, Random House, Penguin, Pearson Education, Tor Books, Writer’s House Literary Agency, Vogue, Details, Martha Stewart Living, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, GOOD Magazine, and Publishers Weekly, as well as new and innovative companies and organizations like Open Road Media, Diesel eBooks, and as bloggers for the Women’s National Book Association, to name a few.

In this piece, Professor Denning talks about the value of internships for students and the value of interns for employers. Recently Professor Denning was interviewed for an article published in the Village Voice entitled:  Unpaid Internships Aid Schools’ Bottom Lines, But Do They Flout the Law? According to Professor Denning, “The work experience is now expected by employers, leading some of my students to accept multiple internships without credit simply to build up their résumés. It’s incredibly valuable. In today’s competitive marketplace, you need a résumé that shows some experience already in the industry to even get an interview for an entry-level position.”

For this month’s BIGMPG Index, Professor Denning will discuss the value of the internship experience for both students and employers, offering up a bit of advice to both parties, for making sure they are the unique, career launching experiences that they should be.

The Value of the Internship Experience for Both Students and Employers

In a perfect world all internships would be paid and lead to employment. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. While some employers do offer minimum wage or stipends to their interns, employers can legally “hire” interns without paying them as long as the experience meets the criteria laid out by the US Department of Labor.

When I first started my position at Pace over 10 years ago, internships as we know them today were not as common, and if there were these types of opportunities, they usually included a modest stipend. Today both employers and academic institutions across the country realize the incredible value of the intern and the internship experience. The expectations of employers are that students fresh out of college come equipped with resumes that include relevant work experience in the form or one or two (or three) internships.

For employers, it is a wonderful way to tap into potential employees who come with an outstanding skill set; something that is invaluable in this age of rapid technological change. Today’s college students have remarkable computer and social networking abilities, as well as strong writing and analytical skills. Due to the huge amount of applications that employers often receive for internship positions, they can cherry pick from the most prestigious universities’ best and brightest, in both the US and abroad.

For students, working as an intern can open the door for potential employment, provide excellent networking opportunities, allow them to develop a specific skill set for and knowledge about their intended career and provide them with an excellent academic experience—something that I personally think is important and essential. Building one’s resume while an undergraduate or graduate student is a very smart thing to do and a lot of companies out there are looking for qualified interns.

My time working with both students and employers has shown me just how rewarding and valuable the experience can be for all parties. As a Professor, I love to see my students embarking upon their internships as novices and emerging at the end of the semester with the wisdom that can only come from applying all of that textbook knowledge they have worked so hard at, in the real world. From employers, I am often pleased to hear about the wonderful contributions an intern has made to an organization and how much they enjoyed mentoring and working with them. I always tell my students to look around the office at the people they are working with as many of them just might be colleagues of theirs in the not too distant future.

In order to make the internship experience a valuable one, I have some advice to offer up to both students and employers. I hope you find it helpful!

STUDENTS:

1.)  Make sure your internship (or at least one of them) is tied to an academic experience and that you receive credit for the experience. Most departments have a course in the curriculum that allow students to intern for credit and if they don’t, see if you can work with a Professor you admire to act as your advisor in an independent study course. Working with a Professor will allow you to maximize the experience and provide you with someone to turn to if you need help with any aspect of your internship (for instance, you spend most of your time getting coffee for your boss—not acceptable). In addition, your Professor will most likely require you to write some kind of paper about the experience or some aspect of the field you are interning in. If you want to keep building your resume and gain even more experience, you can always do more than one internship —they don’t all have to be tied to an academic course.

2.)  Have a great resume and write an excellent cover letter. Read internship descriptions and postings carefully and prepare your resume and cover letter accordingly. Use key words and phrases from the description—tell employers that you have what they are looking for. Be sure to take advantage of any advice and assistance you can get from your university. Go to workshops offered by your career services office, ask professors with whom you have good relationships to review your resume and cover letter and ask your friends to proof your resume. You should also have more than one version of your resume—one size does not fit all. You can have all of the basic information organized in a standard format but if you are applying for a design position for example, you might want to showcase your design skills in your actual resume (be careful to not go too overboard with this however). In addition, employers are starting to ask for more than just a resume, so look for tools and services that your university might provide (Pace provides ePortfolios for all students and faculty).

3.)  Once you secure an internship, give it your absolute best. Remember that you are an intern and there to learn—not to run the company. What this means is that your internship might start out a little slow—your employer might want to familiarize you with the office, the job, procedure and forms, your boss. Filing, photo-copying, and answering phones are all part of internships (and all entry level jobs) so do your best to maximize the experience. Take a look at the documents you are filing, take note of who is calling and act professionally at all times. While you absolutely should not be getting coffee or picking up your employers dry cleaning, don’t act like packing boxes for shipment is beneath you—it’s not. That said, you need to communicate with your employer, and they with you, throughout the experience. In your interview and initial meetings once you are hired, ask what type of projects you can expect to be working on and be proactive. If you have finished all the work they have assigned you, let them know you are available. It is also important to find out (during your interview) if they offer any “lunch and learn” type meetings for interns or any other kind of mentoring or networking opportunities.

4.)  Understand that not all, in fact very few, internships are paid. That said, it never hurts to ask in your initial interview if there might be the possibility of an hourly wage, a travel and lunch stipend or some kind of honorarium at the end of the experience. If the answer is no, be sure to focus on the internship’s benefits:  a great experience to put on your resume, a chance to network and meet key industry professionals, possibly some writing samples that are credited to you, a chance to learn about your future career from the inside and possibly entry into the company. Towards the middle of your internship, ask to meet with your supervisor to get some feedback on the work you are doing. It is also important to discuss your departure from the position (you want to do that professionally) or the possibility of staying on longer. You should also schedule a meeting with HR (if the company is big enough) to discuss possible future employment and to share your experience with them. Take full advantage of the opportunity!

EMPLOYERS:

1.)  While the internship does not have to be tied directly to an academic experience, it is a great idea to seek out students from universities that offer programs and degrees that relate to your specific business. Students look for internships all year long – fall, spring and summer. Universities can be great feeders for you and serve as a filter in terms of the quality of the candidates you consider. Go to university webpages and look to see if they have a career services office – typically they serve the needs of the entire student population in terms of resume writing, interviewing and job boards. If you are interested in posting a position, this is a great place to start. Another way to reach out is to look at the webpage of a specific degree and see if they offer an internship course, have someone who directs an internship program or to get the name of the Chair of the department. Send out an email and inquire if they would like to place students with your company.

2.)  Write and post excellent descriptions of the positions you are looking to fill. This will help you filter candidates even before you receive any applications—for example if you need your candidate to be proficient with In-Design or Excel Spreadsheets, list that as one of your hiring criteria. Look for well written resumes and cover letters. These documents are your initial introduction to your intern and can tell you a lot about the candidate you are considering interviewing. Is it well-organized? Well written? Well designed? Does is showcase the skills and accomplishments of the candidate and does his or her skill set match your needs? Is the cover letter good? This is especially important if part of your intern’s responsibilities include writing letters and company documents.

3.)  Treat your internship with respect and remember that this is a learning opportunity (see link above to government guidelines) for the student. If possible, meet with your intern(s) on a regular basis, invite them to sit in on important meetings, talk to them about specific projects and answer questions they might have. Be a good mentor and try to fully utilize the talents that the intern has to offer. Have them assist other employees with key tasks so that they are exposed to the talents of your other employees—this is the best way to learn. Let them work independently once they develop an understanding of the procedures and goals of your company. While they are not to be used in positions that would displace regular employees, they can absolutely be of assistance on important work. Just remember that it requires you to supervise them closely and that they might make mistakes.

4.)  Most students understand that internships these days are typically unpaid. If that is the case with your company, make that clear but be sure to let the student know what they will be getting from the experience: an opportunity to network with key industry professionals, to learn a new computer program, to get their name on some piece of writing, to assist in a project that is directly related to their career goals, an opportunity to attend meetings, conferences, lunches, and direct guidance from their supervisor. If their internship is tied to an academic experience, find out if they have to write a paper about some aspect of the business and offer to serve as a source for them. If you can offer some sort of stipend for lunch or travel expenses, that is always a nice thing to do. Also be up front with them about potential employment opportunities—if that is a possibility, let them know, if you are not planning on or are not in a position to expand your staff in the near future, let them know that too. Lastly, be sure to communicate with your intern on a regular basis—they might want to stay on for a second semester or might be able to recommend one of their classmates. Lastly, embrace the chance to impact these young lives as others have yours, it is very rewarding to guide and mentor bright, aspiring students.

In closing, I am a big believer that an internship can be a rewarding experience for both students and employers. My final words of advice would be for employers to take their role in training interns and as mentors seriously and for students to give their absolute best to their employers. The benefits for all are far reaching and rewarding.

Photography provided by Stock.xchng.