NYU's Summer Publishing Institute – the six-week intensive course I just completed last week – was an incredible experience that has very quickly changed the way I read magazines and books. It began with three weeks of learning about magazine publishing followed by three weeks of book publishing, with the days (and sometimes weekends) filled with group projects and lectures and panels from some of the top people within the industry. (Bragging aside: my book group’s YA fantasy imprint, Figment Books, won second place! Booyakasha.)
Though I was fascinated by the magazine section (especially the lectures from the Editor-in Chief of Esquire, Art Director of Rolling Stone, and the EIC of New York Magazine, to name very few), it was, naturally, the book section I really loved. Our lectures and panels were filled with stars from the publishing world; John Sargent, Amy Einhorn, Jonathan Karp, Julie Grau, Jamie Raab, and scores of others were among those who took the time to come speak to us. Of course they all had fascinating things to say about their own roles within the industry, but what I was surprisingly excited by was their generosity in being there and speaking with us. They offered advice, were friendly, took the time to speak with us one on one, and were so encouraging to all of us trying to break into the industry. It seemed they were happy to see the (hopefully) next generation of the industry, and eager to help us on our way. This was something I was not expecting that renewed my sense of purpose in trying to find a job in publishing; it really is an industry of people who are passionate about what they do.
One of the panels at SPI was one I was able to write about on the NYU Publishing blog, titled Creative Alternatives to Corporate Life. Take a look at my blog post if you’re interested in reading about entrepreneurs within the industry, and how they approach book publishing in a different way – it was a fascinating panel with some really interesting people. I was very excited to see today that David Nudo, former publisher of Publishers Weekly and one of the panelists, tweeted a link to the blog post. (I am slowly making my way around the Internet!) Fun bonus: in the post below mine on the NYU blog, you can see a wonderfully unflattering photo of me speaking with Macmillan CEO John Sargent.
All in all, SPI is an incredible program that I was lucky to attend. I’ll soon be writing about some of the books I read thanks to it (one of the best perks: piles of magazines and books every day), and I’m sure it will continue to sneak into some of my entries to come. Now, lets hope it gets me a job, and soon.