What I’m Looking Forward to at AWP…

The AWP Conference & Bookfair is upon us! This year, the event will be held in Minneapolis from April 8 – 11th. I’m excited since this will be my first time in the Star of the North state and my first time attending the conference. Past editor and author attendees have written that AWP is overwhelming and advise everyone to have specific goals in mind when they attend. Consequently, I wanted to take a minute to share what I’m looking forward to and what I hope to accomplish while I’m there.

Let’s get the fun stuff out of the way first:

  • Author signings: Three of my favorite fabulist writers will be there for book signings. I can’t wait to meet Kate Bernheimer, Kelly Link, and Karen Russell and get books signed.
  • The bookfair: I’ve heard incredible things about the bookfair and have to check out other literary magazines and small presses, talk shop with editors, and discover new authors.
  • Panels: While not all panels will live up to their promise, I’m excited to hear what authors have to say about creating literary magazines, writing “unlikable” characters, conducting research for fiction, creating dark fiction, and finding their voices. I’m especially eager to hear Roxane Gay, Kate Bernheimer, and Karen Russell discuss their writing processes.
  • Camaraderie: I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that I’m pumped to spend time outside of Rosemont with my peers and the program directors. After two years, I’m still settling into Philadelphia (by way of Brooklyn) and feel as if I’m finally starting to make friends…thanks to Rosemont. This event will give me a chance to connect with this lovely like-minded group outside of the classroom.

Now lets get serious. I’m kidding, because my goals for AWP aren’t insufferable (unlike doing my taxes, which I should get done before I board the plane!):

  • Represent Rosemont: Naturally, I’ll be “womanning” the booth for part of the time. I’m happy to talk to AWP attendees, authors, editors, and potential students about Rosemont’s Master’s in Creative Writing and Master’s in Publishing, not to mention the Rathalla Review.
  • Recon: Next year, I’ll be the managing editor of the Rathalla Review, which means I should explore what other literary magazines are publishing and what design elements they have that make them stand out. I want to observe the mind blowing and the not so amazing so I have clear ideas what the lit mag staff should strive for and what we should avoid.
  • Networking: Since I run my own writing, editorial, and creative services company, I figured I would introduce myself to publishers of all sizes to offer my services in the future. I can’t wait to connect with those who are making good books and literary magazines happen.
  • Observe: Like any conference, I’m sure I will learn what works at a conference of this size and what doesn’t. I’m also sure I will learn a lot about my peers, the industry, and how to plan for next year’s conference. Of course, I hope to have some fun as I pay attention to what’s happening.

That’s all for now. If you are attending AWP, visit us at Booth #1600.

Event: Publishing Career Symposium on March 21, 2015

The Graduate Publishing Program and the Office of Post Graduate Success are hosting a Career Symposium on March 21, 2015. See below for details:

What is the Publishing Career Symposium? This one-day event will prepare Rosemont graduate and undergraduate students to enter the job force, interview for positions, and put their best foot forward when corresponding with current and potential employers. It will also help attendees craft the perfect LinkedIn profile.

When and where? The event will take place on Saturday, March 21, 2015, from 9am-5pm at Lawrence Hall.

Why should I attend? The Publishing Career Symposium will open with a panel discussion about the current state of employment in the publishing industry, general “dos and don’ts” of interviewing, how and where to search for jobs, how to can get jobs, and how to put your best foot forward. Two other morning sessions will follow the panel: How to Interview and Crafting Resumes. After lunch, we’ll hold two additional sessions: Cover Letters and Other Business Correspondence and the Benefits and Necessities of LinkedIn.

This event is free and lunch will be provided!

Who will attend? You, of course. And top professionals in the field, including Tom Hartmann, Cynthia Laufenberg, Adam Louie, Joe Taylor, and Rosemont College’s very own Anne Willkomm, Meghan Mellinger, and Rudy Wise.

The event is open to graduate students (primarily in the publishing and creative writing programs), undergraduate seniors, and juniors by invitation.

Specifically for the undergraduate attendees: There will be two discussions: 1) To Grad School or Not; and 2) Career Advice for College Majors. Mock interviews will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

How do I sign up? You can register here.

An Interview with Trish Shea, the Creator of Sole Magazine

Trish Shea is the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Academy of Notre Dame and a graduate of the Rosemont Publishing program. She has more than thirty years experience in her field and deep expertise in writing, editing, graphic design, communications, and brand development. I got a chance to catch up with Trish to discuss her thesis project Sole, a magazine dedicated to shoes. Here’s what she had to say.

What inspired Sole?

Sole was a culmination of everything that I learned at school and throughout my career and a way for me to develop a magazine that focused on something I am passionate about. What woman doesn’t love shoes? Sole helped me put into practical application, from concept to completion, a feasible magazine.

What were your first steps when developing Sole?

I started with research. I had to ensure that Sole would be unique. Luckily, there wasn’t another publication dedicated to shoes, except for trades published by industry associations that weren’t geared toward consumers. I also conducted five focus groups in person and an online survey with women between the ages of 24 and 60, my core demographic. I interviewed people in professional positions related to magazines and shoes, such as an executive at Condé Nast, a cobbler, a shoe designer, and a podiatrist. It was a fun process.

What was your mission and what did you want readers to walk away with?

The mission was to deliver interesting facts to people who love shoes. I wanted Sole to be similar to Real Simple in that it would be a quick read. I didn’t want long narratives or feature stories, but rather factual tidbits about buying and caring for shoes.

Where did you get your article ideas?

When conducting the focus groups, I asked people what they wanted to read. I took this information to heart and combined it with my own instincts. I curated a range of facts that included but wasn’t limited to the history of shoes, manufacturing, shoe care, fashion, and style.

What inspired the layout of the magazine?

I wanted the graphic appeal of bold colors and images, so I chose black highlighted with lime green and hot pink. I used lots of white space so that the images and text would stand out.

How did this experience advance your career?

The education I received at Rosemont, including the creation of Sole, has benefited me. While in school, I applied what I learned in the classroom to my duties at work. Plus, I had the chance to study under professors with expertise in magazine publishing, which shaped my instincts so that I could develop Sole from proven methods. The degree also helped me refine the way I approach creating materials at work. Rosemont’s Masters in Publishing program taught me so much more than what I would have been able to learn on my own.

What advice would you give to women that want to start a magazine?

I would say that they should figure out a specific industry niche and live it. They should get involved with professional groups and attend events. To be truly successful, they will have to cultivate a natural instinct for what people who read their publication and web site will think is newsworthy, interesting, and relevant.

Read Sole here.



Think YA Book Publishing Jobs Are Hard to Get? Alexa Pastor Will Change Your Mind

Winter storm Juno was a bust, but Alexa Pastor was working from home when I called her last Tuesday, the day that the storm was predicted to pummel the Northeast and New England. Alexa didn’t let the weather deficiency ruin her mood. She was happy to speak about landing her dream job at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, where she is the assistant to Justin Chanda, the Vice President and Publisher of S&S Books for Young Readers, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Margaret K. McElderry Books, and Saga Press.


Alexa has always loved YA novels and been an avid reader, and her passions have inspired her professional goals. “When I was growing up, I had a group of friends that passed books around at lunch. That experience helped me build a community, plus it shaped many strong associations that I have as an adult. That is unique to the YA genre. That’s why I want to be part of a publishing house that puts out books that teens love.”

After graduating from Villanova University with a B.A. in English, Alexa was accepted into Rosemont’s Masters of Publishing program, where she focused on children’s and young adult books. She also had internships at YA publishing houses Running Press Kids and Bloomsbury U.S.A.

“Human resources said that I was one among a thousand applicants applying for the editorial assistant position at Simon & Schuster. My Masters in Publishing set me apart from the pack. It introduced me to the basics of the business and the terminology utilized in the field so that I could hit the ground running. Because of my degree, I have a unique perspective shaped by seasoned professionals in the industry and a wide range of experience that helped me land the job.”

On a day-to-day basis, Alexa attends meetings, manages Justin’s schedule, assists him with acquiring books, handles administrative tasks, and assists in editing manuscripts. She hopes to advance in the editorial track of book publishing. “I love being part of the creative process,” she said.

When asked if she had advice for other students that hope to break into the YA book publishing industry, Alexa said, “Read as much as possible—that includes classics but also contemporary authors. You will have to understand what is current, so you must become part of the audience in order to be able to acquire and edit books. Be persistent and focused on your dreams and goals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and form connections so that you can get your foot in the door.”

Alexa is currently finishing her Masters in Publishing at Rosemont remotely. Her favorite YA authors include Morgan Matson and Rainbow Rowell.