5 Questions with 4 Publishing Pros
A handful of Bookbuilders of Boston Board Members spent an evening with students last week, discussing how to break into the publishing field in addition to networking strategies for new professionals. Board Members Will Myers, Josh Garstka, Nicholas DiSabatino and Sarah Bell spoke at the College Casual Networking Event held April 13 at the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus.
We sat them down for a quick and casual followup—check out our Q&A with our Board Members below, all of whom are involved in various positions within the industry.
How did you first land into publishing?
Will Myers, Editor, Beacon Press: After college I was interested in learning about publishing. I did an internship and worked at a couple of textbook publishers before finding the perfect position for me, one that combined my passions for politics and books.
Josh Garstka, Contracts Manager, O’Reilly Media: My senior year of college, I knew I wanted to work with books, so I applied (and was accepted) to Emerson’s masters program. While I was taking a course on copyright and subsidiary rights, I interviewed with Pearson for a position in rights and permissions, and I was able to parlay that course knowledge into my first publishing job.
Nicholas DiSabatino, Publicist, Beacon Press: I was an English major at Kent State University in Ohio, and I knew I didn’t want to teach. I applied and was accepted into Emerson College’s MA in Publishing and Writing Program. That really opened my eyes to the world of publishing.
Sarah Bell, Inside Sales Representative, Pearson Education: After attending networking events through Bookbuilders of Boston for just under a year, I applied for an entry-level position at Pearson. It was a temporary editorial assistant job in their custom publishing group. I was able to secure permanent employment at the end of that summer.
What are you doing now/where do you want to go next?
WM: I love what I’m doing now: acquiring books on environment and nature for a respected progressive publisher. I’d like to keep growing my list to help make Beacon the go-to publisher for books at the intersection of environment and social justice.
JG: I just passed the one-year mark at O’Reilly Media. I am the Contracts Manager on O’Reilly’s legal team, signing authors to create content with us. O’Reilly is pushing the boundaries of what a publisher can do; we provide technology how-to’s in whatever forms suit our users, from print and digital books to trainings and conferences. Right now, I plan to soak up as much as I can on the legal and technology fronts.
ND: I’m a publicist at Beacon Press. I’d like to continue in publicity whether in books or in another field.
SB: After the editorial assistance role, I moved into project management roles both in print and then digital publishing. An opportunity then opened up for a job that combined project management and sales operations, working directly with the sales organization. A year and a half ago, I became an inside sales representative. I’m interested in exploring sales further and then possibly a position that combines my aptitude for project management and customer relationships.
What are you reading right now?
WM: I’m a huge Cleveland sports fan, so I’m loving this new book on the Cavs’ 2016 championship, Return of the King: LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Greatest Comeback in NBA History.
JG: Just finished André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name, and eager to read Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad next.
ND: I’m reading The Charioteer by Mary Renault. It’s a WWII gay love story with an actual happy ending. Quite radical for 1953!
How has Bookbuilders helped you in your career?
WM: Not only did I receive a scholarship from Bookbuilders while I attended Emerson’s graduate program, which was immensely helpful, I’ve also found that Bookbuilders’ supportive community and networking opportunities to be invaluable throughout my career.
JG: I found my jobs at O’Reilly Media and at Pearson on the Bookbuilders job board. (Seriously, check the job board often!) Bookbuilders keeps me tapped into what’s happening in the Boston publishing world, and it’s great to develop different skills than I use by day, organizing events and connecting with interesting people from other publishers.
ND: Bookbuilders has definitely helped me connect with a variety of people in various parts of the publishing industry that I wouldn’t normally have a chance to talk to.
SB: I probably couldn’t have started my career without Bookbuilders of Boston. Between the networking and diverse connections I’ve made and the leadership skills I’ve developed through my roles as Book Show co-chair and board member, I’ve been lucky enough to advance myself throughout my tenure at Pearson.
1 fun fact about you!
WM: Another Ohio-related interest of mine: I’m obsessed with the Dayton-based band Guided by Voices, which just released a double album last week that I’m playing on repeat. It’s the 100th album released by GBV mastermind Robert Pollard. One hundred albums!
JG: I’m only useful at trivia night when there are movie questions. I’ve hosted an Oscars night party for the last ten years, and I try to watch every nominated movie each year before the awards.
ND: I have a fondness for collecting vintage children’s fairy tale books.
SB: While I studied Illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, my favorite subjects in high school were calculus and physics.