What a Publishing Career Means to Me

Chasing after a career in publishing was never my plan. Not a clear one, anyway. Thinking back to when I was a little girl, I distinctly remember telling everyone I’d grow up to be a veterinarian. This career choice, I’m assuming, piqued my interest because I wanted to be around animals all day (I still do). The plan obviously didn’t stick, though I’m guessing my bank account wishes it had, but I digress. Once I hit my tween years and my love for both books and writing really began to blossom, it was all over for me.

From there on out, I would daydream about writing books or becoming a well-versed professor who quoted Shakespeare at the tip of a hat. I’ve always been good at constructing lofty ideals. Needless to say, things didn’t exactly go that way. After receiving a BA in English I felt a bit lost. I didn’t know what my next steps would be. All I knew was that my desire to write remained and I’d taken a liking to editorial roles, so that was a start. These two things led me to various job roles, such as digital content producer and web journalist, but I still felt out-of-place. That’s where publishing came in. I’d always toyed with the idea of publishing and made it my main focus in 2015 after I was accepted into the MLitt Publishing Studies program at the University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland. It was a small-town Texas girl’s dream come true.

Even though a master’s degree in publishing isn’t necessary to work in the industry, I’m grateful for the insight and opportunities it provided me. (My internship with Saraband Books especially tops the list of invaluable experience I’ll always look back on with fondness.) Upon completing the course I took on a job as a senior editor at a university. Not exactly publishing, but it was close enough. After two years it still didn’t feel like the right fit. So, here I am living in Scotland once again and pursuing a Ph.D. in Publishing Studies. What do I hope to gain from this? Well, I’d like to make a positive impact on the industry with my research, especially where independent publishing, diversity, and inclusion are concerned. Independent publishers are important to the publishing ecosystem. That needs to be said more. Diversity and inclusion must be improved upon. We must never stop pursuing that.

As for end goals? Well, they’re big. Too big, some might say. I eventually want to set up my own independent publishing company that reflects the potential of the industry. At times, the publishing industry can feel like a clique that requires you to tick a certain box to fit in. It’s been guilty of excluding people and of being late in addressing its own issues, but it’s also more than its flaws. Publishing is an industry where ideas and creativity thrive. It’s an industry where small companies are speaking with powerful voices. It’s an industry that continues to fight even in the face of hardship. It’s an industry that has the ability to give hope to people when there doesn’t seem to be any left.

All these things and more are what continues to fuel my passion for publishing. Even if I feel like I haven’t found quite the right fit yet, I know I will soon. That’s enough to keep me at the end of the day. Long live books and the people who make them a reality.

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