Spring Internship with the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

The Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency is looking for someone who is hard-working, conscientious, and detail-minded for an unpaid position, working at least 16 hours a week for a minimum of 12 weeks. This minimum is negotiable but is preferred.

Additionally, while there is no guarantee of employment as a result of an internship with the agency, many of our interns have gone on to work in various areas of publishing.

This is a small office, and the intern would be trained in a number of areas, including but not limited to: use of a software program used by a variety of literary agencies and publishers, the nature of the submission process both domestically and internationally, along with other various projects, including book marketing, blog research, contract audits, and database maintenance. Our interns will gain a strong understanding of publishing and the inner workings of a well-established literary agency, with a strong track record both domestically and internationally.

This is not an internship that requires any reading at the office, but the interns are welcome to read submissions and manuscripts on their own time if they choose.

If interested, applications are due to Ms. Tara Hart no later than Wednesday, November 19th.

 

Tools of Change Conference

Last week a number of Pace MS in Publishing faculty were able to attend (via a complimentary pass) the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference that took place from February 12th to the 14th,  at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.  In addition, a number of Pace students had the opportunity to volunteer at the conference and to attend sessions. It was a wonderful conference and we are grateful for the opportunity we had to learn from and mingle with industry professionals who are on the forefront of change in the industry.

On February 12th, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the Author (R)evolution Day,  a one-day conference-within-a-conference presented by  the thought leaders at Tools of Change and Publishers Weekly. This day was “designed specifically for professional authors, content creators, agents, and independent author service providers who want to move beyond “Social Media 101” to a more robust dialogue about the opportunities in today’s rapidly shifting landscape.”  Joe Wikert, the GM & Publisher and Chair of Tools of Change (TOC) at O’Reilly Media, Inc., in his introduction, emphasized that for today’s hybrid authors, a “thread of entrepreneurship” would run throughout the day.  And, it certainly did—leaving everyone in the audience with a lot to think about as well as with concrete information on how to succeed in today’s dynamic digital marketplace.

The first speaker was Cory Doctorow, a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger.  His  thought provoking and informative talk “Welcome to the (R)evolution”, focused on the idea that “there are three things creative people and industries must understand if they are to thrive in the digital world: don’t let others put locks on your stuff; competitive markets mean more money for you and the Internet is more than an entertainment medium.”  Stating that “until we get these right, we’re stuck.”  Mr. Doctorow’s talk set the tone for the day which was clearly one of opportunity and empowerment for authors.

Other talks such as “The Author Blueprint for Success” which featured the well-respected Porter Anderson, a journalist, writer and speaker on publishing and Eve Brindberg, founder and director of Boston’s Grub Street, gave very specific and useful advice to authors on how to navigate the path to success. Subsequent sessions focused on current issues such as free digital content, the new, emerging role of the literary agent as radical advocates for authors, strategies for marketing and discovery (a panel which included Pace MS in Publishing alumna Tara Theoret,) choosing production and distribution services and community driven publishing —with great speakers like Amanda Barbara from Pubslush, Allan Lau from WattPad and Mark Jeffrey from Glossi.com to name a few!

Overall it was an outstanding day—as a Professor in the MS in Publishing program teaching publishing to a group of aspiring publishing professions, having the opportunity to hear from innovative industry professionals who are on the forefront of change in the industry, was invaluable.

Professor Jane Kinney-Denning

————————————————————————————————————————————–

I had a great time at the conference! Thank you for arranging for the opportunity to attend. I was assigned to a particular room for the day; but within that room, the various speakers represented a marvelous variety of innovative technologies in the publishing field. Lunch was great too — not only the food, but it was another chance to have great conversation, in a relaxed environment, with people who are working on exciting projects in publishing. I’m glad to have been a volunteer for O’Reilly TOC.”

 

Sharon Brown-Volunteer—Graduate Student, Pace University, MS in Publishing

——————————————————————————————————————–

Below, Pace MS in Publishing Professor Andrea Baron, shares some her notes from the conference:

I. A panel discussion called “Creators and Technology Converging: When Tech Becomes Part of the Story” presented the participants’ views on the overlap of digital and print publications, including some refreshing ideas and opinions from Louis-Jacques Darveau, editor and publisher of The Alpine Review. This is an international publication, recently launched in Montréal, Canada, and distributed in 30 countries.  He views its mission as an “operations manual for alternative culture” and reports it has been very successful in its print-only model. Follow the jump to read more of Professor Baron’s account of the conference

Job Opportunity with Scholastic!

Scholastic is looking for an energetic, highly organized Creative Assistant to work in the Creative Services Department of Scholastic’s Trade Marketing group.

The Creative Services group writes, designs, and releases all collateral materials for the marketing, publicity, conventions, and educational/library teams. Items that the group creates range from bookmarks, displays, ads (online and print), discussion guides, posters, in-store signage, and website builds to powerpoint presentations.

The Creative Services Assistant will:

  • Work closely with Brand Managers on newsletter placements and external ad campaigns
  • Administrative support for the VP, Trade Marketing
  • Provide Production assistance
  • Manage Estimating Process through Manufacturing
  • Track Released jobs through Manufacturing
  • Manage Cover Art Collection
  • Create Powerpoint presentations
  • Assist with Digital Marketing projects
  • Pull assets for site maintenance updates (generally buy links, covers, and excerpts from The Source, and summaries from the catalog)

Requirements:

  • Experience in publishing/creative field useful, but not required
  • Some design experience is a plus
  • Solid writing and communication skills required
  • Knowledge of various computer systems: Experience with Excel, Word, Quark, Adobe, Powerpoint, FileMaker Pro)
  • Ablity to multi-task
  • Good follow-through skills

If you are interested in this job position, please send your resume and cover letter to Professor Denning at  jkinneydenning@pace.edu by Friday, May 11.

Alumni in the Spotlight – December 2011

Janet Behning is a 1999 graduate of the MS in Publishing program at Pace University. After working for a few years in administration at Routledge/Taylor&Francis, in 2001, Ms. Behning was hired as a production manager at Princeton Architectural Press, a publisher of books on architecture, landscape, design, photography and visual culture. There, her primary responsibility is book manufacturing. In 2007, she was promoted to Production Director and now oversees an expanded staff that includes an assistant production/reprint manager, digital prepress manager, and long-term intern. In this interview, Ms. Behning will share with us her insight on the state of book production and manufacturing today and the impact that new technologies are having on these processes.

Prof. Denning: Hi Janet, and thank you for agreeing to do this interview.  It has been 12 years since you graduated from the MS in Publishing program.  What have you been doing with yourself since then?

JB: When I graduated, I was working as the assistant to the president and HR director of Routledge, an academic publisher. For years, I had thought I wanted to work in editorial, but I figured out while at Routledge that production would be a better fit. I found out about the position at Princeton Architectural Press through a Pace job posting, and I knew their sales director, an ex-colleague at Routledge. I was fortunate that despite my very limited experience in production, but certainly with my ex-colleague’s recommendation, they were willing to hire me. There was a lot of on-the-job learning. About six or seven years ago, I joined the Book Industry Guild of New York, to meet and learn from other professionals in book production and manufacturing.

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

JB: My publishing career had an aborted start about 30 years ago when I was hired as an assistant editor for the publishing program of a nonprofit located in central Indiana. We had a typesetting machine and a paste-up clerk, and I was first introduced to the Chicago Manual of Style, which was right next to my IBM Selectric. After a year, I moved to New York, hoping to find another job in publishing. I discovered that a year’s experience outside of New York didn’t count; contacts did, and the financial industry paid better. I took an administrative support job in a trading operation. So while the tools have changed dramatically, the importance of contacts (and the salaries) have not. Both of my publishing jobs in New York came through contacts, and many of our hires have some existing connection with PAPress or the staff. Certainly with the relatively small size of our company, it’s a fairly successful way to hire.

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

JB: I’m probably not a typical student because before I enrolled, I had worked for a metal-forming factory, a nonprofit, a securities trading company, a start-up litigation firm, and a niche retailer. So I chose the Pace program because it clearly was focused on finding a job or advancing in publishing. And I had a varied experience as foundation for the coursework. But the internet had happened during the ten years I had been out of the professional workplace. I remember struggling with just typing the internet addresses correctly for technology class assignments. But it was better to struggle for a class assignment than for a work task. And the internship program was a big selling point for the program.

Prof. Denning: Do you remember the topic of your thesis paper? What advice would you give to students who still have to write their papers? What do you think the value of writing a thesis is?

JB: Since I was working for an academic publisher at the time, my thesis was on recent developments in academic and university publishing. I discovered while I was writing it that I would rather clean my house than write. So, just do it—procrastinating isn’t going to make the thesis any better. My only other advice is to be sure you backup your work. A member of my family erased my hard drive mid-thesis. They survived.

I think that like many people, I do a lot of writing in my work. It tends to be relatively short—no longer than one page or a screen. A thesis a rarer type of writing discipline, taking sometimes disparate information and experiences and shaping them into a narrative that shows mastery of the material. I have no plans to write another, but I’m glad I was required to write a thesis. I’m also glad that I was not required to defend it.

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

JB: I’ve always carried books around with me and would read whenever I could. At one point, I was walking to work and reading as I walked. So what could be better than working in publishing? It just took me a while to get the timing right.

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

JB: One of my first classes was with Berenice Hoffman, a Literary Agent teaching at Pace. She knew the business, and while we were students, she expected professionalism from us as well. She also had some amazing stories. The right faculty is key to the experience. I only had one professor that I thought was weak, and [he or she wasn’t] in the program long.

I ended up as a marketing intern at an academic publisher. Marketing would not have been my first choice, but it was a book publisher, and I was paid, which was important to me. I was not going to work for free at this point in my life. As I remember, there weren’t that many internships available that fit my criteria. One company was on the internship director’s blacklist because of how they treated a previous Pace intern. I appreciated that the school kept track of how the employers performed as much as the students. After six months, I was offered a full-time job in administration, which was a better fit for me than marketing. I certainly consider the internship a success.

Prof. Denning: How have you been involved in the program since graduating?

JB: It’s been a fairly low-level involvement. When I graduated, Professor Raskin asked me to join the Advisory Board. I attend the luncheons, which keeps me up to date on the program, and I attend some of the lectures depending on the topic.

Prof Denning:  Can you tell us a bit about Princeton Architectural Press and what it is like working there?

JB: PAPress started when an architect student at Princeton University wanted to own copies of some classic architectural books that were no longer available. He persuaded the library to let him photograph the books. The film was imposed for printing, and he was hooked. Thirty years later, the press still uses good will and limited resources to publish amazing books on architecture, design, and visual culture. The staff has grown in the 11 years that I’ve been there; we’re now at 25 with two resident golden labradors. The offices moved from Princeton to a rowhouse in the East Village about 25 years ago, and it’s certainly a non-corporate environment, both in and out of the building. Between a staff of this size and the type of books we publish, there is a lot of interaction between the staff.

Prof. Denning:  Tell us a bit about what your job entails.

JB: Several years before I joined the company, the schedules were lengthened so that we could take advantage of the lower 4C printing costs in China. A large part of my job is being the liaison with the printers, whether it is quoting and re-quoting a project, trafficking the proofs, sorting out manufacturing issues, writing purchase orders, and approving invoices. In 2006, I went to Hong Kong at the printers’ invitation to meet their local staff and to visit the printing plants in China. There used to be a significant number of printers in Hong Kong, but as real estate has become more expensive, they moved to China. Now I only print in Hong Kong if the book’s content (political or sexual) will not make it past the Chinese censors. I visited five plants in China, and each of a different size and layout. It was eye-opening to see the handwork facilities—large open spaces—with table after table of young workers, many working on projects that quite clearly were intended for a western market. But the greatest pleasure was when I saw one of our books on press or forms waiting for folding and binding.

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

JB:  Certainly technology, whether it’s a layout/design program, Excel, database, or a file transfer program are important tools to getting my job done. While there is a tendency to think that everyone of a certain age is computer literate, there is a big difference between using a technology for entertainment and communication and using it as a business tool. The closest I get to social media is being a very inactive member of LinkedIn. But certainly social media, including blogs and Facebook, are important tools for the publicity and marketing staff.

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?

JB: Publishing was already changing before Kindle and Nook were added to the mix. We already had video games, cable TV, and the internet offering alternatives to book reading. Sales channels were changing with struggling independents, superstores, and Amazons. Self-publishing, both print and digital, continues to grow. Book publishing has always had an element of gambling. You think a book will sell, will find its audience, but there are no guarantees, so you work as smartly as you can to make that happen, knowing full well that it might not. I don’t see that changing.

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

JB: I don’t think my take on the biggest trends will add much to the discussion, partly because I don’t really think in terms of trends. But I do think that publishers will need to more clearly articulate why they publish and what they bring to the process. I see how much thought and care our editors and designers put into to their books as they prepare them for printing. I can see the difference between their work—after all, we are a design press—and self-published titles. As more and more unedited content is coming across our assorted screens, I think it will be harder to persuade readers of the value of well-written and well-edited content from publishers.

Prof. Denning: What companies (apart from Princeton) do you admire or think are innovators in the industry? Does Princeton have any direct competitors?

JB: I always read what Brooklyn-based publisher, Dennis Johnson of Melville House, has to say or is doing. I also make a point of stopping by David R. Godine Publisher’s booth at BEA, just because the books are so beautiful.

Everyone has competitors or there wouldn’t be such a thing as unsold inventory and returns, would there? I just don’t recall sales talking about any particular company. We occasionally buy titles from UK-based publishers, Laurence King and Thames & Hudson, so I’m sure that when they sell directly into the US market, they are competitors.

Prof. Denning: Would you like to speculate on the future of ebooks? Books in general?  What areas do you think will be the most impacted (textbooks, children’s, trade, art books, graphic novels, romance, etc.)?

JB: We use electronics because in some way it has made part of our life easier or better. E-readers were around before Kindle and Nook, but it was their fast delivery system that made them desirable. That delivery is perfect for genre readers who devour books and for people who have trouble waiting. The lighter weight of readers compared to many individual books is a selling point for commuters and travelers. The resizable font is a gift for those who really don’t want to read a large print edition. But there are many readers who are content with books and are indifferent to e-readers. Just as some readers only buy hardcovers, not paperbacks, we’ll see similar choices between electronic and print.

We’ve already seen that text-only books are most in demand in digital format. It’s harder but not impossible to create a satisfactory digital book with 4C images, but it becomes a question of resources, particularly with small- and medium-sized companies. We’re slowly working to include digital editions in our print workflow, but with the variety of our books, it’s not an easy process.

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

JB: It’s critical to understand what makes a business communication different from messages to friends, including conciseness. I know I’m old school, but I hate getting solicitations from people I have never met who use my first name. I’m also a believer in developing project management skills.

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

JB: My work experience has been in smallish companies, but no matter where they end up working, it’s really smart to understand how the departments support each other’s work. Ultimately, it will help them do their job better. The core requirements of Pace’s program should be to give them a good start.

Prof. Denning: To those looking to survive and thrive in this industry?

JB: It’s a cliché, but you have to want to be in publishing. There are always easier ways to make a living. And one should never discount luck.

Alumni in the Spotlight – November 2011

Meghan Stevenson is a 2007 graduate of the MS in Publishing program and is currently an Associate Editor at Hudson Street Press at Penguin Group. In this interview, in addition to offering up advice to students and alumni, Ms. Stevenson will tell us a bit about how her career has evolved and continues to grow in today’s dynamic publishing environment.

Prof. Denning:  Hi Meghan, and thank you for agreeing to do this interview.  It has been 5 years since you graduated from the M.S. in Publishing program.  What have you been doing with yourself since then?

MS:  Hi Jane! I’ve been working at major publishers since I graduated from the program—actually I started as an intern at Touchstone (Simon & Schuster) my very first semester at Pace. I got hired there as an assistant, moved up the ranks and joined Hudson Street Press/Plume at Penguin in 2008 as an Associate Editor.

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

MS:  Pace helped me get my job. Not only did it put me in the right place at the right time—that is so critical—but it also made the learning curve of being an editorial assistant easier. Frankly, I had a broader concept of publishing than other assistants which gave me a boost in terms of gaining experience.

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

MS:  Ironically, my thesis was on fiction, which I don’t publish anymore. But mostly it was about how editors and houses “break out” debut authors, which is still relevant in my career today. I would advise students not to get hung up on what subject is “right” but what really interests them. To me, I wanted to know why a few debut novels become bestsellers and others didn’t.

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

MS:  There are so many! I made a million friends there, which I think was the biggest perk I didn’t expect. The classmates I went to Pace with are still really good friends of mine and create an extensive network across publishing. I really enjoyed Professor Carroll’s class on copyediting, and Professor Soares is an invaluable teacher. I also have to thank you for hooking me up with the internship at S&S, because that got my career started!

Prof. Denning:  How have you been involved in the program since graduating?

MS:  I’ve been pleased to give presentations for Professor Soare’s classes, both online and in person with my fellow alums. I’ve also passed along resumes for students that professors thought had talent where appropriate.

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

MS:  I read tons of books but never thought of publishing as an industry. Then a undergrad friend came into an English lit class proclaiming she was going to work at Random House, and a light came on. I wanted to move to New York, and it seemed like a good fit because I’ve always loved books. In retrospect, I had been acting like an editor all my life.

Prof. Denning:  Can you tell us about Hudson Street Press and what it is like working there?

MS:  Hudson Street Press is a truly unique imprint. It’s really small—just my boss, me, and an assistant—and we publish about 10 to 15 nonfiction, hardcover books a year. I love it because I have a great boss (Caroline Sutton, of Random House, Collins, and Touchstone) and I get to work on books that change people’s lives. And, since my list is relatively small, I have enough time to help individual authors on each and every one of their projects.

Prof. Denning:  Tell us a bit about what your job entails.

MS:  That’s actually incredibly difficult to pin down! I do a bit of everything. I consult on jacket and interior design, I read and acquire submissions, I edit books, I advise authors on social media and marketing, I help tailor the messages publicity and advertising use, I tell authors how to handle their love lives!

To people outside the industry, I describe my job like an octopus: I’m in the center, delegating throughout Penguin to publish the book from start to finish.

Prof. Denning:  As an Associate Editor, do you prefer the acquisitions side of the job or the editorial side (manuscript development)?  Why?

MS:  Acquiring is awesome but I particularly enjoy taking a manuscript or proposal that is a bit rough and finding the right way to communicate what the author wants to say. I enjoy developmental editing the most, because I like to work with the author to tailor their overall message and delivery to the reader.

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

MS:  Well, I’m on twitter (@megstevenson) and I use that to bridge my personal and professional lives. I get to keep on top of news and cultural events and follow famous people I love, but I can also tell my authors bits and pieces about who I am and what’s important to me. It’s a unique way of communicating about publishing too—tons of editors and agents tweet, and we hold #askeditor sessions where random people can ask questions about what we do and how we operate. I think that’s really important because there are so many writers and so little information out there about how big publishing works.

Prof. Denning:  What influences the types of books that Hudson Street Press acquires?  Are there certain factors that would make you fight for one book over another?

MS:  I acquire a lot of narrative nonfiction, and what attracts me is the same as what attracts fiction editors: a story you can’t put down. And for the prescriptive (how-to) books on our list, I always look for a unique hook—something that other books haven’t covered, or a book that presents information in a different way—and an author we can promote, usually with academic or professional connections. If I would be the audience for the book, I typically try to acquire it as well!

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?

MS:  Personally, I think ebooks are a great new frontier. People reading is people reading. There has been research that shows people buy more titles on ereaders, whether it’s a Kindle or a Nook or an iPad. I think people buy more on ereaders because it’s easy, quick, and you don’t have to take out your wallet to do it. I suspect it will definitely change the way publishing operates, for obvious reasons, but I don’t think it’s the Armageddon some people proclaim it to be.

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

MS:  For nonfiction, brain books are huge but I think we’re near the cusp of that now. And in terms of challenges, I think that figuring out how to make ebooks profitable and fair to everyone in the industry is a big one. I also think that physical bookstores will transition somewhat in the coming years, though your guess is as good as mine as to how. Some people think they’ll focus more on cards and gift items (like B&N) while others think hand-selling will come to be a reason consumers shop at actual stores rather than by going online.

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

MS:  It’s always hard to get a foot in the door. But today, you have the economy and the shrinking of the industry to deal with. If I were a student today, I think I’d go into the smaller businesses of publishing instead of trying to work at a house—like agencies, ghostwriting firms, copywriting firms, etc. Those places are great to intern at and help you build connections.

Prof. Denning:  Editors are always on the lookout for the next big thing.  What are some of your strategies in successfully navigating and anticipating the ever-changing market?

MS:  I think it’s crucial to think like a reader. Where do you buy books? What is your natural behavior in a bookstore? What do your friends do? What are your buying habits? I like asking people who don’t work in the industry how they feel about ebooks, or what reader they are using, or which books are their favorites. I think this helps you figure out what sells and what doesn’t on a very basic level. It can also help you spot holes in the market.

Prof. Denning:  What companies (apart from Penguin) do you admire or think are innovators in the industry?

MS:  Obviously, what Larry Kirshbaum is doing with Amazon Publishing should be interesting to see, and I applaud both Simon & Schuster and Random House for doing some amazing promotions and having huge bestsellers this year. But I also think Penguin is doing interesting things online, including BookCountry (an independent site for writers.) But overall, I’m impressed by Harper Perennial because I buy their books more often than other imprints and they’ve done some great promotions with ebooks on twitter that promote the imprint as a brand.

Prof. Denning:  Would you like to speculate on the future of ebooks? Books in general?  What areas do you think will be the most impacted (textbooks, children’s, trade, graphic novels, romance, etc.)?

MS:  I suspect longform journalism, novellas, and short stories through programs like Amazon Singles will become even more popular than they already are. The Vanity Fair ebook about The Art of Fielding was wonderful. It not only helped sell the book to readers but it also gave a fascinating insight into the world of publishing. I’d love to see more of that happening from the big houses. (Penguin is doing eSpecials, which are similar, e-book-only short books from established authors.) I think bookstores will continue to exist but that people will be driven to independents more often because their booksellers know exactly what you’re looking for and can hand-sell you books based on your taste. It’s a better experience for the customer—especially one that doesn’t know what he or she wants—than searching for what you want online through some kind of logarithm.

Ultimately, I think books will become like vinyl is today: a useable, but precious object. People who just want the story in their library or to read it once will buy it online as an ebook but those of us who adore it, who want to experience it over and over again, have it as a reflection of who we are on our shelves will continue to buy printed books. But as a whole, I’m betting readers will buy more eBooks than print. That’s already happening.

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?

MS:  I think you have to be ready to take any position, even if it’s not what you originally wanted. Every position has lessons to teach. Read as much as you can—especially bestsellers, because it’s important to know why those books work even if you’re not publishing in that area. (For instance, I typically read one or two fiction bestsellers even though I don’t publish fiction, to see why readers fell in love with the book. And, admittedly, for fun.)

Prof. Denning:  What advice would you have for students specifically looking to become editors? Are there any skills or resume builders that are especially helpful to achieving an editorial career?

MS:  If you want to be an editor, the first stage is being an editorial assistant. A definite advantage is experience working in an office. You should know how to answer phones, type letters, handle minor IT travesties (so you can show your boss how to navigate common programs), and deliver refreshments like coffee, tea, and appetizers fluidly. It’s all part of making your boss look good. Otherwise, jobs related to writing and editing like working at a bookstore or volunteering at a book related charity (such as Housing Works Bookstore or the Goddard Riverside Book Fair) would also be helpful. Essentially your resume should reflect both where you’ve been and what skills you have to offer that will help you be great at the job you’re applying for.

Prof. Denning:  Any other advice you would like to offer to our students as they work towards graduation and entering the field?

MS:  A lot of people will tell you that publishing is dying, that everyone is self-publishing, or that there’s no jobs. That’s not exactly true: publishing is changing and jobs are just as hard (or as easy, for some) to come by as they ever were. Staying open to any possibility and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes along will be the best (and frankly, the only) preparation you can do. It’s especially important to network with your fellow Pacers! You never know when a graduate school friend will come through for you.

Prof. Denning:  Any advice for those looking to survive and thrive in this industry?

MS:  This is going to sound like Sesame Street, but it’s really key to be yourself. We all love books, so that’s something everyone has in common. Ask questions of your elders, whether those are fellow assistants or people above you. Be appropriate, but be curious, and whatever you do, keep reading.