Saturday, December 18, 2010

Entry into the world of NY publishing

Nicole Sawa was an Abernethy fellow for MANOA during the 2009–2010 academic year. She received her master's degree in May and moved to NY in August. Here is a report on her first week at a major publishing house.

My first week at Norton went really well. On one hand, it was overwhelming because of new people (and the resulting super-politeness + new procedures + lack of supplies. On the other, everyone is friendly and helpful, the procedures are things I am familiar with because of MANOA but are just larger in scale + I got my official email address on Wednesday and my office on Friday!

In case I haven't said this enough: you are doing a really good job of training people for jobs in publishing. I get the sense that the people training me keep expecting me to ask more questions, but I feel like I have a good grasp of the essential elements.

I mean things like the importance of tracking, being responsible, putting files and notes in a shared location, keeping coworkers informed, following procedure, and most importantly, understanding why every step is important. Even though this had been explained to me by teachers, other employers, and of course my first days at MANOA, I felt like I really only understood how essential they were when applying them at work, and sometimes suffering the consequences if I or someone else had overlooked steps!

I was thinking about this because Norton people are telling me the exact same things, so MANOA's professional standards are a match for any big publisher. All that is different are the details. (However, I've assured them I'll have to ask a lot of questions once I actually start doing things like contracts and invoices and payments.)

The things I've done this week are things I first learned at MANOA: intranets, file sharing, tracking manuscripts, and checking blues. Their intranet is huge (they have to use intranets as well as FTPs like Cyberduck, and my team uses a lot of Google docs and Basecamp within our own projects), and my big project this week was making sure the pages (tables, pictures, chapters, etc.) for an upcoming ebook textbook matched the already-published print version. I could've used the MANOA checklist for page proofs!

Instead of being with the science department, as I orginally thought, I'm in the digital media department on the college side. I'll work mainly with the science ebook editor (where applicable, a discipline will have an editor for the print textbook and an editor for the ebook), but also with the sociology and music ebook editors. However, I'll also work with the print editors and EAs for those disciplines, since the print textbooks are still the primary foundation, and the ebooks and ancillaries like study guides, DVDs, videos, CDs, digital flashcards stem from it.

I'm still not sure if I understand it accurately, but I'm looking forward to it. It seems like I'll be working with a lot of different disciplines and media.

I like that Norton is somewhat big but still independent, and I can learn a lot working in digital media. Plus, having my own office is a big creature comfort for me, and it's only 35 minutes away by subway. So I love where I am.

And the whole point of this long email is to tell you how this week has been and to say thank you. I couldn't be where I am now without you, and MANOA. All of my job interviews centered on my experiences at MANOA. So if you have any students interested in working for MANOA and/or eventually working in New York publishing, feel free to have them contact me: I will vouch for the power of MANOA!

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