Are you interested in a publishing career? There’s more to the industry than screening submissions and marking up manuscripts.
Four Middlebury alumni who have worked as editors, agents, reporters, and writers shared their insight into the multi-faceted world of publishing. They opened up about the most relevant trade publications worth following, their best advice for interviews, and getting the most out of any experience.
Isabelle Bleecker ’88, Founding Agent, Nordlyset Literary Agency
Krista Karlson ’17, Managing Editor, Active Interest Media
Peter Knobler ’68, Writer
Carolyn Kuebler ’90, Editor, New England Review
I asked Isabelle, Krista, Peter, and Carolyn about the the best strategies for entering and succeeding in the field. Take a look at their tips!
Hannah: What trade publications should students follow to understand the current trends?
Isabelle: Publishers Weekly is the best for the American market and The Bookseller for the UK. Both also have free daily newsletters. Online, Publishers Marketplace is a terrific resource for jobs. Also, Michael Shatzkin has a blog about changes in the industry. And last, Shelf Awareness is a free e-newsletter primarily for booksellers but with some industry news.
Hannah: What books should students read regarding the history and future of the industry?
Carolyn: If you really want to dig deep into literary magazines more specifically, there are some really interesting books on the subject: The Little Magazine in America (1979), The Little Magazine in Contemporary America (2015), Paper Dreams (2013)–there are others!
Isabelle: Andre Shiffrin’s The Business of Books and Jason Epstein’s Book Business. Though both are a bit old now and lament the loss of a more golden time, they give some lively history and are by great editors. I don’t think there’s any book that describes what’s going on now well, especially the growth of the self-publishing and electronic and audio books. For the future of the industry trade magazines are better.
Krista: It really depends what your goal is. Letters to a Young Journalist by Samuel Freedman is decently helpful for people who want to work at a newspaper, although somewhat outdated since the media landscape has since changed dramatically. Congratulations, Who Are You Again? by Harrison Scott Key is good for people who want to write a nonfiction book or to freelance. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is meant for novelists but has some good, transferable advice that could apply to freelance journalists.
Hannah: What are some digital/technical skills you look for in entry-level candidates?
Carolyn: While we don’t expect everyone to have experience working with the same programs we work with, we do like to see a demonstrated ability and interest in learning new technologies. Software we use includes the usual Office suite; some Adobe programs, like InDesign, Photoshop, etc.; and website publishing, such as WordPress. More and more we’re interested in audio editing experience, too. As for editorial work, a familiarity with the Chicago Manual of Style is nice, but not expected, for newcomers. For being a manuscript reader, participation in creative workshops is helpful.
Isabelle: The general Microsoft Office software set–Word and a familiarity with how to use the review tab is helpful. Excel, for the business side of things. It’s helpful to have some database experience as there’s a lot of data on the nuts-and-bolts side of the business. It may seem obvious, but if you want to be in the book business, first and foremost you need to be a reader. Ideally of the genre in which you want to work. And the more, the better.
Hannah: Do you have an interview dos or don’ts?
Peter: It’s most effective to be direct and candid. I try to control the impulse to be crafty; the most productive interviews I ever gave or took were undisrupted by calculation or doubt. Say what you’ve got to say; if your interviewer doesn’t want the person you are, you’re best not to waste your time at that job.
Isabelle: Be ready to talk about what you’re reading and to pitch a book (depending on what you’re going for). Present yourself as a problem solver. And in looking at job listings, think beyond editorial. There are lots of great opportunities in book publishing in sales, marketing, publicity, subsidiary rights. I started out in editorial and production and then moved to selling subsidiary rights–this is the business side of publishing and it entails licensing book content to other publishers, which earns money for the publishers and authors beyond book sales. Becoming an agent is a great combination of those experiences–I develop projects with my authors and also sell their book rights to print and audio publishers around the world, as well as for film and TV rights, among other rights. It’s dealmaking and creative work that makes every day stimulating.
Hannah: What is one key to success in the industry?
Krista: Persistence. You’re going to receive a lot of rejection. This was really hard for me to adjust to at first. It’s not personal. The more you push through rejection and learn from it, the more rewarding it will be when you have a success.
Carolyn: Willingness to try your hand at marketing or other areas of publishing, even if what really drives you is editorial acquisition and content shaping.
Isabelle: Publishing is not a well paid industry, but there is rarely a dull day or dull colleagues and that makes it very satisfying in the long term. It does often demand long hours and a willingness to jump in and take more things on. Putting in extra time can lead to success. Also, be deliberate in your choices. Aim to work for a publisher–or website, or news outlet–whose publications you really admire and can support.
Hannah: Any final tips to share?
Isabelle: Publishing jobs are very competitive. Internships give you a definite edge. Also, participation in any kind of book or writing-related activities–staffing a journal, working at a bookstore, interning for an agent. Those will give you a leg up.
Krista: Every experience is a learning experience. I worked for a year and a half as an editor at a fishing magazine, even though I had very little interest in fishing. But I had an amazing mentor and I learned a ton about journalism. I came out of the experience with very tangible, transferable skills, and way more confidence than when I started.
Carolyn: Don’t be afraid to ask people you know to ask people they know to help you locate some leads. A personal note from someone can help a hiring manager who’s looking at a lot of equally qualified (and overqualified) applicants. You could also contact literary magazines (or presses) who are looking for volunteers and get some experience that way. Also, more and more nonprofit presses are offering what they call editorial fellowships, for entry level candidates, in an attempt to diversify the field of publishing. Look for these, and ask around!
If you’d like to get in touch with these accomplished alumni and others, you can reach out to them on Midd2Midd.
We’ve been fortunate that many Midd alums have come back to campus to share their knowledge and insight with students regarding various industries when participating in CCI programs.
Click on the program links below to refresh your memory. We’ve also included their bios.
Click here for the complete list of past Field Guide programs!
In addition, alumni participated in programs regarding Careers in Data Analytics, Communications, Media and More! Click here to review the complete list over the last few years.
If you would like to contact these alums and others, please log into Midd2Midd to connect. If you can’t find them on Midd2Midd, please connect with them via LinkedIn.
If you would like some tips on Networking, click here for our guide. If you would like tips on Informational Interviewing, click here for our interview guide. If you have any questions, please schedule an appointment with me in handshake. I’m here to help!
Learn more and apply on Handshake. Application deadline is June 1, 2020.
Early Career – Information Technology – Software Developer positions are available in Atlanta, Georgia, Austin, Texas, Phoenix, Arizona, and Detroit, Michigan.
At General Motors, we’ve charged ourselves with one mission: to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles. We have recently undergone one of the largest Information Technology transformations in the history of the automotive industry and continue to drive technology innovations within General Motors.
GM IT is a leader in cutting edge technologies such as Mobility, Telematics, Mission-Critical Business Systems, Supercomputing, Vehicle Engineering, and Real-time Computing. We offer challenging positions for passionate professionals looking to get in on the ground-floor of a growing “Fortune 5” firm that is re-inventing IT with a laser focus on Innovation, Speed, and Business Value.
WE’RE LOOKING FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY GRADUATES WHO:
- Have an insatiable drive for excellence
- Challenge themselves and their peers
- Enjoy working collaboratively in a cross-functional teams
- Demonstrate a strong work ethic
- Have a strong ability and willingness to learn
- Excel in a variety of job assignments
- Understand physics and math concepts, and have the ability to apply them to real applications
- Desire to deliver innovative solutions to complex problems
In addition to specific areas below, our roles require critical thinking, excellent communication, and a passion for service excellence. If you have what it takes, come join our team as a Software Developer:
A Software Developer is responsible for developing solutions that drive innovation and competitive advantage. The role encompasses writing code to build and support GM’s systems, applications, and platforms as well as configuring, optimizing, and deploying packaged software (COTS). The role will interface with other project developers and architects to ensure that designs and quality are meeting GM requirements. Each Developer is envisioned to be part of the full SDLC of a project: from initiation through deployment.
Career Update with Canary Ly ’17
Minor: Secondary Education Studies
Tell us about life after Middlebury. After Middlebury, I worked for a year as a Medical Assistant at a gynecology office in Vermont while taking prerequisite courses for graduate school. I was accepted to a few schools and chose UMass Medical School, Graduate School of Nursing to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), in which I am currently a second year student. The program includes an accelerated year of studies after which I was eligible to receive my Registered Nurse license. Upon passing my board exams, I started working part time at a community health center and per diem at a local hospital, both of which I balance with school. Only 2.5 more years for the doctorate!
Where are you working? I currently work as a Registered Nurse (RN) in 2 locations: Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center and UMass Memorial Medical Center Marlborough Hospital.
How did you find your job(s)? Networking! When I initially moved to Shrewsbury, MA, I put my name out as a babysitter on a Facebook community forum, and started sitting for a few doctors in town. Once I passed my boards, they were able to put in a good word for me at the hospital.
How did CCI help you find this opportunity? When I was at Middlebury I worked as a Front Office Assistant at CCI. After working with such a great group of people there, I saw the benefits of branching out and not being afraid to ask for help. It never hurts to ask!
What advice do you have for Middlebury students looking for an internship? Push yourself to do the most you can. Network, be yourself, and never forget that you have a great community of resources at your fingertips. You just have to use them!
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work? The most rewarding part of working two different jobs is that I get to see the best of both worlds: seeing families and getting to work with kids in the outpatient setting, and then being a part of the treatment team and caring for sick adults in the inpatient setting!
What do you wish you knew before interning that you would like to share with Middlebury students? Don’t doubt your ability to learn on the job–it’s not always about knowing everything in the books! Also, no question is a dumb question.
If you want to network, you can connect with Canary via Midd2Midd!
Are YOU interested in being in the Alumni Highlights? Tell us about your post-Middlebury experience here.
This is your time to shine! Salesforce is now hiring top graduates for our Solution Engineering Success Graduate Program. Develop your technology and consulting skills, acquire Salesforce certifications and build your career with Salesforce.
Success Graduate Program: The Success Graduate Program is uniquely designed for university graduates. It will give you exposure to a myriad of solutions that create business value. You will have many opportunities to impact and learn from colleagues all over the US while having fun and developing your career.
Solution Engineering: The Solution Engineering (SE) team is a group of professionals that have one foot in the technology camp, and one in the commercial side of the business. We are experts in Salesforce’s applications, platform, and technology, but explain it in terms of the business impact and value it delivers. SEs work primarily with the account teams to give our customers the confidence to move forward with their projects using Salesforce as their preferred technology. The key to this is unearthing and understanding the customer’s business imperatives. This is done through workshops, research, investigation, and spending time with key stakeholders. We then map Salesforce’s technology to these imperatives and prove how Salesforce uniquely addresses the customer’s requirements. This proof can be as simple as a one-off meeting or involve a complex account strategy involving large teams.
What will you be doing?
- Assist with hands-on product workshops and education sessions
- Assist sales teams with product demo design, build, and delivery
- Assist sales teams in responses to customer RFPs and requirements documents.
- Work closely with other groups within Salesforce (e.g. alliances, sales effectiveness, product marketing, etc..) to develop and execute solutions programs and initiatives.
- Participate in all appropriate product, sales, and procedural training and certification to acquire and maintain the knowledge necessary to be effective in the position.
- Demonstrate deep product knowledge of Salesforce products
- Cover trade show booth shifts. Responsibilities include answering technical questions and demonstrating Salesforce solutions to customers and prospects.
- Attain quarterly and annual objectives assigned by management.
Who are we looking for?
- You will be or are a recent graduate (within 1 year of graduation, graduation of Spring 2019 or December 2019) in Computing/STEM, Informatics, Business, Computer Science, Management, Software Engineering, MIS or equivalent – or you’ve completed a degree with a combination of business and technical subjects.
- You thrive when solving challenges – no matter how large or small.
- You are inquisitive, curious, and approach work with humility, determination, and grit.
- You are passionate about helping people through technology.
- You are a technology enthusiast, excited by constant innovation and re-imagining the future. Whether you code, or just geek out the latest and greatest – there’s a place for you with Solution Engineering!
- You value inclusivity and equality for all – in your community and where you work.
- Understanding of Customer Service offerings in the market and ability to discuss cloud architectures
- Flexibility to travel to customer on-sites
Don’t wait – this posting expires January 10, 2020. Apply today on Handshake!
Before joining Carnegie Mellon, Andrew worked as a professional stage, film and television Actor, and is the Co-Artistic Director of Project Y Theatre Company in New York City. He founded and led a business in NYC called Artist Building Company, where he hired set designers and painters for NYC remodeling and building jobs.
Click here to schedule your 1:1 chat on Thursday, January 9