April 22, 2019

An Intern's Look at the Publishing Industry

I've interviewed a few publishing professionals on the blog before, but one thing I thought would be useful is for y'all to hear from interns. We're still very new to the industry; we're entry-level so our day-to-day tasks and our processes of getting into publishing are more in line with what some of y'all might be doing soon. :) I had the honor of interviewing one of my fellow interns at Bloomsbury, Chantal, and I'll be sharing my own experiences, too!

1. What are your usual tasks in this internship?

Chantal: As the publicity intern at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, my primary responsibility is organizing and maintaining blogger and reviewer mailing lists. For each category (picture books, middle grade, YA), there is a curated list of bloggers/reviewers that have shown interest or professional prowess in reviewing these categories. After I receive the advance reading copies (ARC) or final editions of our forthcoming titles, I am responsible for sending them out to every person on the list.
 Another responsibility I hold as the children’s publicity intern is sorting through NetGalley requests. These requests for an e-pub edition of a featured title can come from librarians, booksellers, reviewers, or media professionals and from all over the United States, as well as Canada. I accept or deny these requests based upon certain aspects of the user’s profile—their rejection/approval rates across publisher databases, their feedback ratio, etc.—and their social media platforms. 
Occasionally, I am asked to draft copies of press releases and galley letters for forthcoming titles. These are my favorite requests! I get to dig deep into my persuasive creativity and come up with something that will, hopefully, inspire others to read our books. 

Emma: As the children's managing editorial intern, my main task is keeping everything organized! This ranges from the foul matter (cover "drafts," manuscript pass pages [typeset pages that aren't ready to be bound into a book yet], and various print-outs) to the production bookshelves, to schedules, to filing style sheets and design memos. I get to make pages for each of the titles in each season that the team uses to keep track of deadlines in weekly production meetings (as well as outside of the meetings). Other tasks I usually do include reading jackets (making sure the final jacket is error-free, the color matches the proof, and any special details are implemented correctly) and assembling picture book proofs.

2. What has surprised you most about working in publishing?

Emma: Just how much everything is about who you know, even in "behind-the-scenes" departments like production. It's all about networking and forming connections.
There are also little things I've picked up at launches, like why holiday-themed books publish so long before said holiday (Christmas books have to be on shelves in September usually!), or what certain colors or animals will imply in a consumer's mind. That's all stuff I've never thought about before.

Chantal: Publishing continues to surprise me every day, but I think the most shocking is seeing how many people it takes to bring a book to life. I mean, before entering the publishing industry, I’d see a book on the shelf and only see the author’s name. Don’t get me wrong, the author is a HUGE part of the equation. Without their ingenuity and perseverance, the book would not exist. However, now when I see a book on the shelf, I also see the beautiful cover, knowing an art designer or illustrator created dozens of drafts before choosing the one before me. I see the agents name in the acknowledgements and wonder how many thousands of queries they must have gone through before finding this one special submission, and how many revisions it took until it ended up on the editor’s desk. I see the editor, the book’s champion, reading at their desk late at night, knowing they were supposed to leave hours ago and still unable to put it down. After rounds and rounds of editing, that manuscript becomes the book I have in my hands. I see the marketer, publicist, managing editor, sales department, production staff, interns—the list can go on and on. When I pick up a book now, I have a better appreciation and understanding of the hard work and countless hours spent bringing this book to life, and how seeing it on the shelf makes everything worth it. 

3. How did you get this internship? How many internships have you had before this?

Chantal: One of my past supervisors recommended me for this internship! And I’m so lucky she did, because I’m really enjoying my time here. I’ve held three publishing internships before starting at Bloomsbury—most notably was my summer internship at Writers House. 

Emma: I was fortunate enough to have formed a connection with the children's publicists because of this blog, so as part of my creative writing practicum, I shadowed for a day at Bloomsbury last February. While here, I got to sit down and learn about managing editorial/production at Bloomsbury from my now-supervisor. I followed up after the chat with a thank-you email (important after any type of interview, y'all!), and landed the internship I'm still doing. This is my first internship in publishing, but I did one at my university's library last spring that gave me a look at another side of the book industry.

4. What did you study in college? Did you do an additional program, or a masters in publishing/creative writing?

Emma: I majored in creative writing, minored in history. I didn't do an additional program, although my adviser told me I would need a masters. *eye-roll* I've spoken with several publishing professionals since then, and they've all told me a masters isn't necessary. An additional program - like those at NYU and Columbia - can be good for making connections, though! But I needed a break from school so I didn't want to apply to those. But if you haven't been running a book blog or doing other publishing internships, they can be a great asset.

Chantal: Funnily enough, I studied Criminal Justice and Criminology in undergrad. I’m the first person in my family to go to college and, since both my parents served in the military, I felt a strong pull towards the justice field. Originally, I thought I was going to be a cop/lawyer in Chicago (where I’m from), but after one internship at the Chicago Police Department, I knew that wasn’t my path. I floundered for a bit after that—I was too far into my program to change majors—and decided to study abroad in Brighton, England. Best decision I’ve ever made! One of my teachers at university worked in publishing and she showed me a different future, one I could imagine myself stepping into without hesitation or regret. When I returned home, I researched my options and applied to NYU’s Masters in Publishing program…and was accepted. I haven’t looked back since.

5. Why did you want to work in publishing?

Chantal: I feel like this should be an easy question—It’s the most popular question I get asked, especially during interviews, and yet I still find it hard to vocalize. I mean, I want to work in publishing to have a voice in the industry. I want to influence what books are being published and I want to get those books into the hands of readers who need them. 
Books have power—they shape who we are, our opinions, our understandings, our capacity for empathy. One of the most important lessons I learned from books is that while I’m the hero of my story, I could just as easily be the villain of someone else’s. 
Books show us the best and worst of society, can predict any number of futures…they are the foundation upon which we evolve. And children’s books are exceedingly progressive. But that’s not all they are—they are also hope and wonder and magic and strength and so many other empowering things. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine a more fulfilling job than one in which I get to work with books all day. 

Emma: I've known I wanted to work with books for awhile, but college helped confirm that I don't want to teach English/creative writing or work in a library. So publishing was the natural route. I thought I wanted to be an editor for awhile, but I've realized I'm better at proofreading and copy editing than big picture edits, and also I like pushing books on people via publicity/marketing, so my route has changed a little. :) I really like the idea of helping someone find that book that changes their world, like so many did for me when I was younger. Whether that's in a publicity/marketing role or a production editorial role where I make sure the book is as perfect as it can be, I'm excited to make it happen.

6. Do you want to be an author as well, or are you content just helping books get out into the world?

Emma: If y'all have spent any time on this blog, you'll know I want to be an author too. I've been writing stories since I was ten, and my major was creative writing, so... But I like publishing as a day job because I get to see both sides of making a book happen, and I'd like to hope that'll make it easier for me to understand editorial and marketing decisions when my books are going out in the world some day.

Chantal: I’m completely content to just help books get out into the world! I think there is a certain spark inside those who are authors—I like to think of it as a mix of creativity, bravery, and an unexplainable need to write. While I enjoy dabbling from time to time, I just don’t have that spark. But I’m super lucky that I get to work with people that do! 

7. What are you reading right now?

Chantal: My TBR shelf is overflowing at the moment—okay, it’s always overflowing—but I just picked up The Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds. I haven’t read page one yet, but I’m extremely excited about it. 

Emma: The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu, which is a quiet MG book, and A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn, which is the third in a historical fiction series that is such a fun romp.

Are you interested in working in publishing? Anyone else in publishing that you'd like to hear from?

April 19, 2019

Random Friday: Favorite Solo Dance Party Songs

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1. "Dancing Queen" by ABBA (Obviously.)
2. "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift
3. "Gorgeous" by Taylor Swift
4. "Sucker" by the Jonas Brothers
4. "I Like Me Better" by Lauv
5. "That's My Girl" by Fifth Harmony
6. "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" by Whitney Houston
7. "Take on Me" by a-ha
8. "Cut to the Feeling" by Carly Rae Jepsen
9. "Love on Top" by Beyonce
10. "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins

What about you? What are your go-to solo dance party songs? Or what's on another of your playlists?

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April 17, 2019

8 New York Bookstores to Visit

Since I moved to New York last summer, I've visited a number of bookstores. Here are the ones you too should check out!

1. Books of Wonder (W. 18th St OR Upper West Side)
If you've spent any time in the middle grade/young adult book blogging community, you'll likely have heard of this one - for good reason. It's all children's books, and they have rare books too!

2. The Strand (Union Square)
This is the bookstore everyone tells you to go to in New York, and it's great...but I think it's a tiny bit overrated. Still worth a visit, though.

3. Albertine (Fifth Ave., by the Met and Central Park)
If you're a Francophile like me, you have to check out the only French language bookstore in Manhattan.

4. McNally Jackson (Prince Street)
A SoHo landmark, this independent bookstore is cozy and fun to explore.

5. Barnes & Noble (Union Square)
I grew up in B&Ns, but this is by far one of the biggest I've ever seen. Their YA collection is still a little lacking (nothing will ever top Joseph-Beth or Books of Wonder), but it's better than your average suburban Barnes & Noble.

6. Housing Works (SoHo, a couple blocks from McNally Jackson)
If you're looking for a bunch of used books, CDs, and DVDs, this is your destination.

7. Books Are Magic (Cobble Hill, Brooklyn)
It truly is...magic.

8. Astoria Bookshop (Astoria, Queens)
If you happen to find yourself in this borough, this tiny little bookstore is a joy to visit. Plus it's super close to the N/W subway line.

Tell me: what other New York bookstores do I need to visit?

April 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

I love curling up with a good book on a rainy day...but most of them happen when I have to go to work, or I have plans with friends, or I have chores that need to be done because I've put them off long enough. But in an ideal world, if I could cozy up with a book every time it rained, here's what I would read/reread.

1. Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens

2. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

3. You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

4. The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman

5. The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

6. The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

7. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

9. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

10. The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters

11. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

12. Three Dark Crowns series by Kendare Blake

13. Truly Devious and The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

What would be your rainy day reads?

April 14, 2019

Review: Serious Moonlight

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Grade: B+
Release date: April 16, 2019
An e-galley was provided by Simon Pulse via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Although I definitely wasn't a fan of Jenn's last book, Starry Eyes, something drew me to this one. I think it was the promise of a mystery, and Birdie's interesting job.
Birdie is such a compelling protagonist. She has a bunch of baggage (deceased mother, recently deceased grandmother, no father in the picture, been isolated for the last eight years), and she's stubborn. So even though she wants to grow and move past things, she also holds onto them and refuses to admit she has problems. It was nice to see a female character be like that for once, instead of the brooding love interest. (Not that Birdie is particularly brooding. She's definitely quiet and has walls, but she's not brooding.) Side note: I did worry that homeschooling and religion were going to be portrayed super negatively (the cover copy made me worry), but I don't think either did really. Birdie's grandmother was religious, but Birdie comes to realize Eleanor's overprotectiveness stemmed from her relationship with Birdie's mom more than anything. And Birdie seemed super chill about being homeschooled; I'm sure she might've liked a public school experience but she wouldn't let Daniel make fun of her past - and she's still super smart to boot.
In contrast is Daniel, the love interest. He comes across as cheerful and interested and well-rounded. He has his own baggage (depression, some rough times in high school), but he doesn't want to make them Birdie's problems - he just wants her to know that they're a part of him. Also, he and Birdie had great chemistry. Sometimes you read a story with a romance (or that's all about a romance), and you can't buy into it. I definitely bought into Birdie and Daniel.
Things I wanted more of: setting, mainly. The hotel and the diner had so much potential, and I felt Jenn underused them. There were all these fun pies referenced, and I wanted more of those. And I love when YA protagonists work interesting jobs, so I wanted more at the hotel and about the guests. The main mystery is kind of connected to the hotel, but not enough for my tastes.
The mystery kind of worked. It took some turns that were a bit...melodramatic, perhaps. But I appreciated that it was Daniel's way of trying to get to know Birdie and not let her run away just because of her baggage and fear of connecting with others.
Also! I loved all the little Seattle things and the references to famous fictional detectives.

Content warnings: discussion of a suicide attempt, deceased loved ones, drug consumption (cannabis), sex, and foul language

The Verdict: Definitely one of Jenn's better books. Needed even more pie, though.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: It's preordered.

April 13, 2019

Venturing Outside My Comfort Zone: On Reading Books Other Than YA

There is nothing wrong with reading and loving YA books. But as someone who devours books, sometimes I still feel a bit too limited by what YA has to offer (and it has a lot). So I read some middle grade novels. But that still doesn't give me quite enough.

So I've started reading adult historical fiction.

I love YA historical fic so much, but there is so little of it! (I should know. I curate the yearly YA historical fic lists on Goodreads.) And most of it is set during the World Wars. So I've tentatively ventured into adult historical fic. A lot of it is formulaic - dual POVs over dual timelines, often partially set in World War II - but at least there's more of it to choose from! And there are some more unique tales like Pachinko (which I still need to read). And I love a good historical mystery, so The Widows of Malabar Hill and the Veronica Speedwell series were right up my alley. (Seriously, YA authors? Write more like Widows and Veronica's books.)

And thanks to my creative nonfiction class in college, I've started reading more memoirs.

I prefer travel and food ones (which are surprisingly hard to find on Goodreads because the lists include fiction), because I get to experience things I might not otherwise get to. I get to sample foods I probably wouldn't eat in real life.

And I've read a little adult romance.

It's mostly been of the diverse variety and in the flavor of P&P retellings (looking at you, Unmarriageable), but it's been fun! There's another one on my TBR that I have an e-galley of - Waiting for Tom Hanks. Considering You've Got Mail is one of my favorite movies, I'm cautiously optimistic about Kerry Winfrey's book.

So how do you venture outside your reading comfort zone?

April 11, 2019

So You Like... #80

It's April, which means spring has (hopefully) sprung! Today's recommendation post is all about books perfect for reading in springtime. (As always all book covers link to Goodreads!)












What books scream springtime to you? Do you have specific books you like to reread in the spring?

April 8, 2019

Reading Challenges Check-In #5

Since I've been semi-good about doing the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge this year, I thought we should do a check-in. And maybe I'll surprise us all and have worked on the Newbery Challenge as well. This is my first true check-in since April of 2018 lol.

RGC Progress

I read The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher in January. It was 749 pages and wasn't as interesting as I hoped. It was half information about food and how things should be cooked or eaten, and half random memories of the author's at various restaurants.

Then, at the end of the month, I squeezed in The Phantom of the Opera, officially putting me ahead of schedule for my 2019 RGC goal (to read one a month). It helped clarify some of the scenes in the musical, and I enjoyed it for the most part. I liked how Leroux truly was the narrator and sometimes had little asides for readers.

In February, I came one step closer to finally reading all of Jane Austen's work. I read Northanger Abbey in the middle of the month and found I enjoyed it greatly.

Then, to round things out, I read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway in March. All I have to say is, let's be real: Hemingway is trash.

We'll see if I stay on track with the challenge as 2019 progresses. I feel like it's easy to stay dedicated in the first three months or so, but then taper off as the year goes on. I do have a list of the 12 RGC books I wanted to specifically read this year, so maybe that will help. It's less daunting than the whole giant spreadsheet.

Newbery Progress

Guess what! I read 2018's winner, Hello, Universe, at the end of February! 

I got lucky because it was a free Prime Reads pick, so I shrugged and downloaded it. The characterization was good, but the book felt lacking overall. I needed more about the characters, and the pacing felt off, and the story ended too suddenly. Also it really bothered me that there were no consequences for Chet's bullying?? Like, is that really a message we should give middle schoolers, that other kids can just get away with bullying? I know the world isn't perfect, but I worry about kiddos.

That's all I tackled for the Newbery Challenge, but I also added this year's winner to my spreadsheet, so I've got another book to read. I've also started thinking that it might be fun to do challenges themed around the Printz, Morris, and National Book Awards after I finish this one.

Are you doing any reading challenges this year? How are they going?

April 7, 2019

Rewind & Review #132

~Went to a book launch in Queens.
~Wandered around the Met for a bit, then had a craving for Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie, so I detoured there on the way home.
~I may not love LOTR, but I am a true appreciator of writers, so I went to the Tolkien exhibit at the Morgan Library.

Books I Received for Review
Chicago Food Crawls by Soo Park (from Rowman & Littlefield via NetGalley)
The Silence Between Us by Allison Gervais (from Blink via NetGalley)
The Inn at Hidden Run by Olivia Newport (from Shiloh Press via NetGalley)
Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan (from Page Street Kids via NetGalley)
Hungry Hearts by various authors (from Simon & Schuster via NetGalley)
The Sound of Drowning by Katherine Fleet (from Page Street Kids)

Books I Bought
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn
Night Music by Jenn Marie Thorne

Books I Read
When Elephants Fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer (3 stars)
The 100 Most Jewish Foods (3 stars)
A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (4 stars)
A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn (4 stars)
The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu (3 stars)
Save the Date by Morgan Matson (reread)
We set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Meija (3 stars)
Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee (4 stars)
Spin by Lamar Giles (3 stars)
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (reread)
The Queen's Resistance by Rebecca Ross (DNF, sadly)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed in the Last Few Weeks
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April 5, 2019

Random Friday: My Characters' Pinterest Boards

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  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my blog.
  • Blog about this week's topic (or a variant of it).
  • Add the link to your Random Friday post at the bottom of this one.

So I do Pinterest boards for my books, but I thought it would be fun to talk about what my characters would pin. I'm going to use pseudonyms for them, so that, even though I'm sensitive about sharing specific details of my book, I still can talk about them specifically.


Recipes. It's basically all recipes, and restaurants she wants to visit. Oh and plenty of Taylor Swift stuff haha, as well as movie quotes and dorm room decorating tips and studying tips. This is something that's on my board for the book that she would definitely pin too:

and this:

Wouldn't have Pinterest, probably. Just not something he's interested in. 


Lots of history memes.

Also leather jackets, poetry, song lyrics (he's getting into Bon Iver and Fleetwood Mac), and hiking stuff.


Stuff like this:

Other room decor things - string lights, greenery, cozy blankets.

She'd pin song lyrics, too:
Lorde // Supercut  In my head I do everything right. -bm🌊
Art credit.

As well as pretty bookcases and dog care stuff. :3 


Narnia. Lots of Narnia.

Like Elle, she'd pin cool bookcases as well as libraries around the world, her favorite book covers, and writing tips and prompts. Here's a few of her favorite prompts. ;)

Ok, so what would be on your characters' Pinterest boards? If they're in a fantasy novel, just pretend they know what Pinterest is. ;)

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