howdoienglish











{August 17, 2011}   Endings and beginnings

After a week of career and job hunting advice, the Publishing Institute ended…

…almost two weeks ago. Our last day was the fifth. I realize it’s taken me a very long time to polish off my education stories here. Part of me thinks that’s because if I don’t write a final blog post, it won’t really be over. Writing this post has the sense of finality to it. I am done with school. All of it.

It’s kind of a frightening thought.

I now have to start looking for a job. On the plus side, I interviewed with a magazine company during one of the last days and was called back for a second interview. I’ll find out soon whether or not I got the internship. I also have another interview lined up for Tuesday. I’m trying to move out of my mom’s house, not that I don’t love my mother, but it’ll be hard if I don’t have paying jobs/internships. So right now, my life is very up in the air. I have to wait to hear back from one place before I know how much I can work for the other and I need to wait for both of them before I figure out if I’ll be able to afford moving out.

While I figure out this employment thing, I’ll be reading the books that have made my list in the last few months after the Institute and working with a publisher. The list is varied and includes titles from many genres. Maybe I’ll be able to promote a living as a book blogger…right.

Current books I’m reading are The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and LA Mental.Listening to A Clash of Kings.

Go.



{July 13, 2011}   Passion

If I could select a one-word summary of the advice that’s been given to the ninety-odd young people in the Publishing Institute’s room at DU over the last two days, it would be that: Passion. Every person in the world of publishing must have a great deal of passion for the work they do, or it’s just not going to work out well. Editors need passion to navigate the manuscripts they acquire through the publishing process; agents need passion to guide their chosen manuscripts to the right house and editor; book packagers…well, they’re another story.

Almost my every waking moment for the last week, especially, has been taken up with something Institute-related. Now that I’m actually there every day…almost my every waking moment is taken up with something Institute-related. This program is a full-time job of listening to lecturers and attending workshops with some of the most brilliant minds in the publishing industry today. And guess what? It’s totally worth it.

Since I have a couple people wanting to know about what goes on with me and the Publishing Institute, I’ll be posting when I can about the goings-on there and, more importantly, how it’s affecting me and how things are going for me in general. I hope to be able to post every couple of days. I got my first homework assignment today and when I get home I just want to collapse on the sofa, so once every few days is the best that can be hoped for, I think.

A quick overview of the last couple days:

Sunday–orientation day. Not my best day. Right before orientation I went to a bridal shower. The only person I knew in either of those places was the bride at the shower, so I wasn’t particularly looking forward to sitting myself in a room of ninety-seven other people after I sat myself in a room with twenty people I didn’t know. Any attempts at conversation both places were stilted and short-lived. I came home frightened for the next four weeks.

Monday–first day of classes. I had the good fortune of arriving at campus at the same time as another commuter (I couldn’t muster up the extra couple thousand to live in the dorms like most of my colleagues). We muddled our way to the building breakfast would be in, making conversation as best we could. (It’s always difficult when you first meet someone to come up with something intelligent and interesting to say, so I think we managed quite well.) I was lucky enough to have her company for the rest of the day as we attempted to get money from ATMs and wrangle parking passes. Sitting in a room of ninety-eight is easier when at least one of them is on somewhat friendly terms with you.

I made the mistake of going home between the last class and our first field trip (to the LoDo Tattered Cover with an author talk, David Wroblewski of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle fame [I haven’t read the book either, though it’s on my list now]), so I arrived late, shuffling into the room while the author read an excerpt. Rarely have I ever been so embarrassed. I also had the fortune of being seated next to the lovely Joyce Meskis (I do mean that, truly), the director of the Institute, after I came in late. She had emphasized timeliness during orientation. You can understand my position. The talk was enjoyable, though, and I loved wandering through the store afterward. I am proud to say I resisted buying anything; I have too much on my bookshelves to read as it is.

Tuesday (today)–second day of class. Sandra Bond, I’m in awe of her now, delivered the lecture on the role of the literary agent. She made me want to be an agent, which I think is a good quality in a presenter. If I want to be everything when the Institute is over, I’ll be in a good position to find a job. Book packaging, though, is a field I don’t think I’ll ever want to go into. I met up with my fellow commuter to go to lunch, and we stumbled on a new acquaintance in the food line and spent our lunch hour talking of science fiction books, working for Tor, NaNoWriMo, old roommates. I had quite the time, delighted to find fellow introverts with similar interests. I can only hope they felt the same way.

Economics proved to be the bane of most of the students. Though equipped with calculators, many of us could only fumble our way through the economic feasibility worksheet for the hypothetical book we were hypothetically publishing. Our presenter, the eminent Robert Follett, couldn’t have been more interesting, though. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him speak: he was inspiring and humorous, acknowledging of his shortcomings and humble in his successes. I managed to finish the worksheet at home where the hum of “I’m so confused” wasn’t there to distract me.

In sum, what I thought might be a torturous four weeks early on has turned into what it should have been all along, an exciting adventure. I feel at a disadvantage not living in the dorms; there you are almost guaranteed three new friends in your suitemates the day you arrive. But with a little luck, I think I’ll be OK. I’ve never been the one comfortable with a large group of people around me, so if I only know two people through the four weeks, I’ll be happy.

That’s all I have for now. The first part of the editing workshop is tomorrow, along with scholarly publishing. (For that, we read a couple book proposals. One of which I hope is actually a forthcoming book because I will read it. I’m getting so many ideas for books to add to my list…it’s fantastic and terrible, all at the same time.)

I don’t know if everyone can comment on this who might want to. If you can’t but want to, feel free to e-mail (goss.bonniem@gmail.com) or Facebook, whatever works. Thanks for reading.



{June 27, 2011}   Books, books, books

First things first: I snagged a new audio book, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, off audible.com’s free trial offer. Note to self, cancel the subscription soon so you don’t get charged money you don’t have for a service you probably won’t use enough.

I moved this weekend. It’s the biggest reminder that the Institute is coming up soon. I’m still up in my old apartment, haven’t fully moved out yet, because I still can work a couple extra days so I get a little extra money. My apartment is ridiculously empty, though, and I’m sleeping on the floor with a blanket and a sleeping bag. Good thing I’m still young, my mom said.

I’ve been thinking for the last few days that it might be super-awesome to work in a bookstore when I get out of the Institute. The more I read about it through these publishing newsletters my boss recommended I sign up for (Shelf Awareness, Publisher’s Weekly), the more it sounds like a fantastic job. Stand around and help people find amazing books all day? Sure! Read the newest books before anyone else so you can recommend them to people? Absolutely! Take books home to read for an ‘assignment’? Sign me up!

What I’m coming to realize, I think, is that just about any job that entails working with books is going to make me happy. Obviously, the closer I am to the book, the happier I’ll be. This is a good realization because it means that just about any job I could get in the publishing institute will make me happy at least some of the time. And that’s what’s really important in a job, right?



{June 14, 2011}   Acquisitions

In my job as a marketing assistant with a micropress, I’ve done a lot of interesting things. Some of them I would classify as “intern” tasks, stuff that you would assign to the new kid because you’re too busy to address envelopes or put chatter teeth into bags.

Today I was the acquisitions editor. Our press opened up submissions to anyone with a book for children, and we have received a good number so far. We haven’t responded to many, however, and my task was to fix that.

The strange thing about being an acquisitions editor for a day was the godlike power vested in me. Though I discussed several submissions with the president of the press, she told me to look through the rest of them and decide if any were the type of writing we wanted to include in the titles published by this press.

I, a twenty-something fresh out of college, decided the fates of people who have been writing longer than I’ve been alive, in some cases. It was with a conflicted conscience that I sent e-mails from an anonymous press e-mail rejecting some people’s manuscripts and asking for full manuscripts from other people. I could be a factor in whether or not some of these people get published.

I may be overestimating my effect when it’s all said and done. But I have gained an appreciation for people who hold this job, for people who decide the fate of a manuscript (and possibly an author).



et cetera