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.