It’s been ten years since I graduated from Queens College in the spring of 2010 with a BA in English, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2014 that I started working in book publishing–aka, my dream industry, because what book nerd would not want to spend their day working on books?
Probably the two most frequent questions that I get asked when I mention what I do for a living (besides recommendations) is: do I get free books and do I spend my days reading books in my office. Yes. And no. Yes, I do get free books and have early access to all the books that my company publishes (and books from my friends who work in other publishing houses) which is a HUGE perk. Okay, who am I kidding, it is really one of the best parts of my job. But sadly, no, I do not sit in my office reading books all day long, even though I wish I could.
While getting into the industry is hard, it’s not impossible. Many people (myself not included) do it through internships. Internships are great. They give you a glimpse of the industry from the inside, let you discover different departments, and allow you to make connections with people who work where you want/hope to be. Connections are VERY important, because connections are how I landed a job in one of the Big 5.
I didn’t do internships, because I didn’t have the luxury to do so. While attending classes at Queens College at night, I worked full time as a legal assistant during the day. Once I graduated, I was exhausted and welcomed the time to myself that had once been occupied by school. I knew that I wanted to make a career change, I had made that decision while at Queens College, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I also wanted to walk into the industry with something more than a BA, so I went to NYU School of Professional Studies and obtained a Certificate in Book Publishing. While there I again made connections, and stayed in touch with a couple instructors (one of whom is the reason why I have my job today).
It’s been over 5 years since I began my career in book publishing, and though I am not in the editorial department as I had originally envisioned, I love the industry and I love what I do. It took a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but I made it, and I did it on my own. Were there times when I wanted to give up? Sure, but that’s normal. Whenever I felt like I was getting nowhere, I would force myself to step back and look at the bigger picture, look at my end goal. Would I be happy taking the easy way out and giving up the chance at my dream? If you answer yes, than it wasn’t really your dream, but if you answer no, don’t give up until you have reached your goal. It may not happen overnight, but when it does, trust me when I say that it will be worth it.
Connect with Sara on Linked-In.