Megan Barnard: Editor

Name: Megan Barnard

Age: 24

College & Majors/Minors: Hollins University: English major with a concentration in creative writing. Double minors in communications and history. 

Current Location: Baltimore, MD

Current Form of Employment: Full-time editor at Angel Publishing

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I'm currently an editor at investment research firm, Angel Publishing. I primarily work for Energy and Capital where I write blog posts, PPC (pay-per-click) articles, marketing copy, and copyedit.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

I spent at least half of my senior year applying to writing/editorial jobs… And I found nothing. Job hunting was nearly a full-time job on its own. It was incredibly frustrating to see all these entry-level jobs that needed 1-2 years of experience. I ended up getting a job working customer service in a call center (which I had about 4 years of experience in) for a travel agency in Boston.

I spent about 9 months in the call center… and found that it was not for me. I had moved back to Maryland (where I’m from) at this point and telecommuted for work, but I desperately wanted out of customer service. I did anything I could to make myself stand out: I polished my LinkedIn, I contacted alumni from my university, and I applied to all jobs that possibly fit my experience.

I found the job posting for my current job on Craigslist. I applied immediately and got an email back that day, then had an interview and job offer within a week.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

It wasn’t a job per-se, but I wrote a Senior English Honors Thesis during my senior year of college. The thesis wasn’t required to graduate, but I found that the time and research I had to put into it (I was writing a novel), along with the hours of actual writing and one-on-one meetings with my thesis advisor were vital for developing my writing skills. It also gave me the opportunity to work on my writing daily, and helped me realize that writing and editing was actually something I loved to do each day. It confirmed that I was in the right field of study.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I wrote my Senior English Honors Thesis. I created a resume and LinkedIn account, I kept my GPA high and became a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honors society. I also doubled minored in history and communications. History, because I loved the subject, and communications, because it pairs really well with an English degree and looks good on a resume. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Don’t give up. Don’t listen to the people who laugh when you tell them you’re getting your degree in English (those “you’ll be my next barista” jokes are obnoxious). English is a beautiful field of study, and you can succeed at it.

My top tips:

Create a LinkedIn account. It’s actually way more important than you might think during school. Make sure it looks professional, with your resume and a headshot, and then connect with people from your school, no matter how much you hate networking.

Network. I know, I hated this part too. I think half of us become an English major because we like working with words, not people, but networking is a vital part of the career world. The more comfortable you become with it now, the better it will be. It’s okay to be afraid, but do it anyway.

There are jobs in the field of English—but you have to look for them. Finance and IT are fields that always need writers and editors. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience in finance or IT, apply anyway. I was hired at my current position without knowing anything about the world of finance, but most editors would rather hire someone who knows how to write and teach them about their topics, rather than teach people how to write.

Apply to jobs you don’t technically have enough experience for. I’m not talking about jobs that need 10+ years of experience, I’m talking about the entry level ones that say 1-2. Here’s a secret: almost all job listings say that they want 1-2 years of experience, even if they’re actually looking for people who’ve just graduated. The worst thing that can happen is they say no.

I know a lot of English majors are interested in getting in the traditional book publishing field. I was too, but I didn’t have any information about how to get into those fields, and the career center at my school was not very helpful.

Since then I’ve learned some things. A lot of literary agencies look for interns. I mean a lot. I never had the chance to apply to them, but you can. Bookjobs.com has a lot of listings, but you should also go on the individual websites and look for internships. They say they don’t have any? Send your resume and cover letter anyway. After all, you’re offering free (most literary internships don’t pay) help, so what’s the worst that can happen? Some agencies and publishing houses even have remote internships that you could do while in school.

Lastly, the field of English is one of the most undervalued, but important fields we have today. There are very few jobs around where you don’t have to read and write well, and while it might not be your dream job, you can find a job using the skills you learned in school. Don’t give up. 

To learn more about Megan and her writing, visit www.englishmajorswithjobs.com. You can also follow Megan on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.


Posted on July 15, 2017 and filed under Editing, Editor, Publishing.

Callie Person: Student Financial Specialist

Name: Callie Person

Age: 26

College & Majors/Minors: East Carolina University, BA in English Literature

Current Location: Tallahassee, FL

Current Form of Employment: Student Financial Specialist

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work full-time at Florida State University as a student financial specialist in the business office.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

My first job out of college was as a receptionist/administrative assistant that I was lucky to have found through a friend of a friend who needed someone fast. I performed a variety of duties; editing and creating the company’s monthly newsletter, drafting employee handbook documents for employees, and communicating with vendors to ensure operations continued to run smoothly. My ability to communicate effectively even allowed me the opportunity to become the primary point of contact/account manager for our business’ telecommunications provider. My English degree prepared me during school in such a way that learning how to effectively communicate and be able to read and write professionally was a valuable skill that past and future employers looked for, and were lucky to recognize it in me that I was offered the job.

“...Being able to effectively and professionally communicate is key, a valuable skill that my English degree taught me.”

The skills I learned in my first job allowed me to transition to my new position as a student financial specialist with fairly relative ease. In my new position, I counsel students and parents on their rights and responsibilities as borrowers for their student loans. I assist them in making payment plans and lifting holds on their accounts. I’m responsible for drafting and sending letters to borrowers so they don’t fall behind on payments and risk not being able to register for classes. Again, being able to effectively and professionally communicate is key, a valuable skill that my English degree taught me.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

Creating and editing the company’s newsletter at my previous job really helped hone my editing skills and allowed me the opportunity to work on projects within the corporate workforce that I knew would prove vital in gaining the necessary experience to put on a resume.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I took several literature and communication courses that prepared me on how to write and speak professionally. Many employers look for employees that can do these things, and it is a skill that many lack.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

My favorite English professor once told me that employers love people who can read and write well, so that piece of advice is something I’ve always taken to heart. As long as I could do these two things, I’d have no trouble in finding a job. To this day, I’ve been consistently employed full-time and enjoy my work. I will continue to be a full-time employee while pursuing my graduate degree part-time.

I would say to anybody with an English degree or who is thinking about pursuing English as a degree, go for it! An English degree is so much vaster and broad these days than what it used to be; there are several career opportunities out there, you will never be bored! At the end of the day, you should do what makes you happy, and if English is what you love and enjoy, pursue it.

You can purchase a copy of Callie's first published novel, Unnatural, here. You can also connect with Callie on LinkedIn.


Posted on July 15, 2017 and filed under Interviews, Interview.

Kyle Hendricks: Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Name: Kyle Hendricks

Age: 28

College & Majors/Minors: Major - English, Minor - Psychology

Current Location: Columbus, Indiana

Current Form of Employment: Full Time

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I am the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the United Way of Bartholomew County. I work closely with our Director of Resource Development on all of our donor communications and fundraising efforts to ensure that we are not just asking people to donate to United Way, but giving them opportunities all year long to engage and participate in the work of United Way and our partner nonprofit agencies in our community.

My daily duties vary but usually involve writing, editing, copywriting, graphic design, managing online platforms, social media, stewarding community relationships, speaking or giving presentations, and developing long term strategies for how all of these skills work together to help United Way raise money to help people in need.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

“There is a similar story to every job I have found my way into—I made a personal connection with someone without trying to sell myself. I developed our relationship over time and reached out when I had questions or ideas.”

After graduating college I was bartending at a local spot in my hometown. One day a professor came in for a beer and we started up a conversation. He was starting a new design program in town and we had a good talk on art and literature. He left that day and we kept in touch. I reached out not long after to see if he needed any help with his program and it turns out that he did. I started off working part time at this design space, running errands and doing some low end administrative work (all while still waiting tables in the evenings). I went on to work with him on a national architecture conference and direct some educational videos that were made specifically for that project. My work with the design program gave me the small professional experience and finished products I needed to get me started on a career path in professional communications. 

There is a similar story to every job I have found my way into—I made a personal connection with someone without trying to sell myself. I developed our relationship over time and reached out when I had questions or ideas. I took their advice and explored to learn how new opportunities they presented could help me grow.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

I did an internship with a public relations agency in Indianapolis where I split my time promoting regional events and concerts and running book release campaigns for independent authors. This internship taught me important skills on the job, like how to write press releases, ad copy and online content. Every professional communications position that I have applied for has asked me for professional writing samples, and this internship gave me plenty experience and examples to use on my job search.

“If I had to do it over again, I would have worked more closely with my adviser to find a professional internship before graduation and I would have supplemented my class load with a few journalism and business classes.”

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I'll be honest—aside from showing up to class and doing the work, I did not do much in college to prepare me for my current career. I took the route of an English major because I wanted to learn how to get to the root of stories and how the great ones were created. I was exploring art, poetry and literature as I'm sure a lot of you reading this have explored in your time at school. Those pursuits gave me incredible experiences, an invaluable worldview, eyes, ears, heart and mind for good storytelling, and some hard writing skills. I learned how to be an artist in school, but I did not learn how to focus my skills in a way that allowed me to make a living. That came after graduation in all of the experiences I mention above (and many more less successful tries) over the past six years.

If I had to do it over again, I would have worked more closely with my adviser to find a professional internship before graduation and I would have supplemented my class load with a few journalism and business classes.

“Every office needs some form of a good writer, so you have a good start, but you’ll need other skills to fully develop your attractiveness to potential employers after school.”

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

1) If you're still in school, get some professional experience before you burst out of the academic cocoon. No matter what path you take you will need to learn things in a professional setting that you can't learn in a book or in a classroom or by waiting tables. Talk to your advisers about opportunities that you can connect to on campus or explore internships that your school may know about. Talk to your family members and friends about their jobs and work to see if you can find some things that interest you about those particular businesses or organizations. Every office needs some form of a good writer, so you have a good start, but you'll need other skills to fully develop your attractiveness to potential employers after school.

Don't sweat if you are already graduated and still need this experience. If you're a graduate and you haven't done any of the above, just start now! There is always time to learn. I didn't start my first true internship until I was 24.

2) Graduation is just another step in your growth process—it does not determine your employment or even your career path. You determine your employment and career by how you use your time, talents and energy after graduation. All of these tools are flexible, and deciding not to explore them to the best of your ability is a choice within itself.

3) Always value your relationships over your resources and ambitions. Like I said, every good job I have had started by making a personal connection with someone without trying to sell myself as a potential employee. Build your network consciously but not selfishly. I know this is hard when you are unemployed and can't seem to find a break, but if you stay patient and friendly you will find those connections, too.

4) Keep learning; you don't yet know all you need to know to do your job well. No matter where you are going, you will need to pick up new tools and skills to progress or even just to keep up. Sometimes those skills are hard skills—like figuring out how to code a website. Other times those skills are softer—like learning how to relate to and work with your older co-workers. Stay open to new experiences and stay kind through the rejections and tough lessons.

Along with learning, find resources that you can keep coming back to for personal inspiration and growth. A few that I visit weekly are the Creative Pep Talk podcast, hosted by Andy Miller, and The Daily Stoic, a project spearheaded by Ryan Holiday.

5) Wherever you are geographically, get involved in the community you live in. Volunteering is the easiest way to make a positive impact for others while also building your skills and relationships. Find the people you are passionate about helping and go find the group or organization that's helping them. If there isn't a group or organization in your area helping people you care about, then build one yourself. Making positive contributions to others will help you through your harder days by giving you a different perspective on your struggles and also increases your value to potential employers by showing them that you care enough about your community to get involved.

You can connect with Kyle on LinkedIn or reach out to him directly at kyhendricks (at) gmail (dot) com.


Posted on July 14, 2017 and filed under Interviews, Interview, Communications, Marketing.

Kristina DeMichele: Senior Email Content Marketing Coordinator

Name: Kristina DeMichele

Age: 27

College & Majors/Minors: BA English & Spanish, University of Dayton; MA Publishing and Writing, Emerson College

Current Location: Boston, MA

Current Form of Employment: Senior Email Content Marketing Coordinator, America’s Test Kitchen

Where do you work and what is your current position? 

I work at America’s Test Kitchen as a Senior Email Content Marketing Coordinator. America’s Test Kitchen films two cooking shows for PBS (America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country). We also publish Cook’s Illustrated magazine, Cook’s Country magazine, and many cookbooks. My role there is to manage the entire email newsletter program. I write most all of our newsletters (6 out of the 7), conduct creative tests, analyze the data, and contribute to the overall marketing strategy. I write about food every day, and I love my job!

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

I went straight to graduate school after undergrad, and I interned at a few publishing companies—Da Capo Press in their marketing department, Pearson Education in their rights department (I requested rights from Stephen King/Stephen King’s people once, which was pretty cool!). Then I heard that my colleague at Emerson’s writing center (I worked as a writing tutor there) landed a job as an Editorial Assistant at America’s Test Kitchen. I love cooking and I love publishing, so this company felt like such a perfect fit for me as a workplace. I had coffee with her, and she recommended that I apply for the social media internship. I applied, and her recommendation helped me get an interview and ultimately be offered the position. On the last day of my internship, I interviewed for the position I have now, my first full-time job out of graduate school. 

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

Two internships come to mind that were both pivotal to my acceptance into graduate school and some of the keys to how I received my current position. In college, I was an Editorial Intern at Grupo SM in Madrid, Spain for their English language imprint, University of Dayton Publishing. I translated their texts from Spanish to English, and I did some writing for them as well. This international publishing experience made the difference for me in my graduate application and still stands out on my resume. I was also an Editorial Intern for Entangled Publishing, a remote internship where I got to read New Adult manuscripts (mostly in the genres of romance and science fiction) and write reviews of these manuscripts for the Executive Editor. My boss during my internship at America’s Test Kitchen told me that she thought this experience was so cool and unique—it’s how she remembered me.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life? 

I was one of those kids who knew exactly what she wanted to do after college from day one. I wanted to work in publishing, ideally in Boston where my family lives, and work in the editorial field. I made sure to gain experience in the publishing industry before graduation (in Spain with Grupo SM and with Entangled Publishing). To gain experience in research, I wrote an honors thesis on international digital publishing and conducted my primary research while I worked in Madrid. Networking via LinkedIn and informational interviews over the phone allowed me to establish connections to the publishing industry and learn more about where I wanted my career to go (and where I didn’t want it to go).

“Networking is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. I would not be where I am today without my connections.”

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Networking is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. I would not be where I am today without my connections. Now, I know you’ve probably heard the common phrase “It’s all about who you know.” Well, it (kind of) is. A recommendation from a professional connection is just the first step. Then, when you have an interview with a company you’re passionate about, that’s your opportunity to impress them with who you are. Your experiences matter, too! Also, don’t be afraid to stray away from an “editorial” title. I work in marketing, yes, but I get to write creatively every single day. It’s okay to go outside the box with your job search. You’d be surprised at how many jobs rely heavily on you knowing how to write well. Most importantly, find a job that brings you joy!

Click here to read an example newsletter written by Kristina, Notes from the Test Kitchen (you can sign up to receive this newsletter in your email here). Be sure to follow the rest of Kristina's writing on her food blog, If That Dish Could Talk. You can connect with Kristina on LinkedIn


Posted on July 14, 2017 and filed under Interview, Interviews, Marketing.

Michael Key: Learning Initiatives Coordinator

Name: Michael Key

Age: 30

College & Majors/Minors: University of Dayton, M.A. in English

Current Location: Dayton, OH

Current Form of Employment: University of Dayton

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I am the Learning Initiatives Coordinator at the University of Dayton. I hire, train, and coordinate tutors for the university and supervise a developmental learning course for students on academic probation. The bulk of my job is focused on academic and professional development for student-employees and students-at-large.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I was a graduate student at the University of Dayton and made the penniless choice to forego a graduate assistantship teaching English and providing writing consultation. Instead, I worked for the Office of Learning Resources in mentoring Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leaders, developing formal office procedures by training student staff, teaching students on academic probation, and then eventually supervising all of the course sections. The director said they had given me too much information not to hire me so I went through a rigorous interview process to see if I would be the best candidate for the job. I’ve been the Learning Initiatives Coordinator for two years now and am planning on beginning my PhD in Educational Leadership in the fall.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

Writing has always been a freelance ambition of mine. I was published in an anthology on Neil Gaiman’s work, Neil Gaiman in the 21st Century, while in graduate school. The opportunity actually came from a tweet I made about reviewing the first volume for a class assignment. The editor contacted me about contributing to the next edition so I used my term paper as the framework for the publication. Even now, writing is nowhere in my job description, but I recently published an article with two other colleagues about using Lean Six Sigma methodology to increase efficiency and decrease cost in providing tutoring services on campuses.

“As a first generation college student, I didn’t really have a roadmap or checklist of things to do to complete college. I also had to work in order to go to school.”

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

As a first generation college student, I didn’t really have a roadmap or checklist of things to do to complete college. I also had to work in order to go to school. Therefore, I took every opportunity that was out there to help me learn and grow. I worked in loan collections, housing, alumni relations, the campus bookstore, the writing center, and was once a telemarketer. I also led several clubs and worked as a mentor for students interested in starting non-profit organizations of campus. I think my greatest success was bringing all of my experiences to a new job and building onto it. The snowball has built up to give me a diverse set of skills that have come in handy in jobs or projects that don’t necessarily employ those skills.

“English majors, as well as many other humanities majors, are exceptional critical thinkers. When someone makes a statement, we question why. This is a valuable skill to every organization.”

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

I do not live in a cardboard box. Jokesters of the past were wrong when they said the only thing I could do with an English degree is be unemployed or teach. English majors, as well as many other humanities majors, are exceptional critical thinkers. When someone makes a statement, we question why. This is a valuable skill to every organization. We consume information like a seven-headed boar but we synthesize it to make concise and impactful statements and reports. I’ve heard countless recruiters and managers of businesses say, “We can teach anyone business, but we can’t teach someone to communicate effectively.” Know your value and use every opportunity you are given to back it up.

You can connect with Michael on LinkedIn here


Posted on July 3, 2017 and filed under Interview, Interviews.

30+ Awesome Little Free Libraries

Book enthusiasts all over the world are falling in love with Little Free Libraries! For those who are unfamiliar, the "Little Free Library" is a global book exchange program that has gained an incredible network of over 50,000 "little" libraries.

Here's how it works: People choose a safe and legal spot in their community to install a small box structure, and appoint a steward to care for it and keep it clean and inviting. They fill the little library with books they'd like to offer their community, and visitors can choose a book to take home with them and/or donate their own books for others to read, promoting literacy and a love of reading throughout communities! 

New owners can register their library to make it an official "Little Free Library" and add it to the world map, so people around the globe can find it and take advantage of the goodies that wait inside. While you can purchase pre-constructed "Little Free Library" boxes online, many people enjoy building them from scratch. Many of the libraries show off elaborate, whimsical, and just plain fun designs that inspire creativity and make readers want to come back again and again! 

Here's a look at some of our favorite photos of Little Free Libraries on Instagram:


A post shared by Luke (@kesertravels) on


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A post shared by shelbsgrams (@shelbsgrams) on









A post shared by The Burgy's (@theburgys) on



A post shared by @buttstuffwerewolf on




A post shared by Kristen (@tisenfine) on


A post shared by Stacey Vaas (@staceyvaas) on


A post shared by @keepnolaweird on


A post shared by Mark Huntsman (@mhunts1) on


A post shared by Bonnie Halda (@bhalda) on


A post shared by Many Dots (@ofthedots) on


A post shared by Laura Mac (@lauramacn) on


To learn even more about the "Little Free Library," including how you can start one in your community today, click here.


Posted on July 3, 2017 and filed under Featured Articles.

Anna Gibson: Business Analyst

Name: Anna Gibson

Age: 30

College & Majors/Minors: MA in Publishing & Writing, BA in English, minors in corporate communication, creative and professional writing

Current Location: Columbus, OH

Current Form of Employment: Full time

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I currently work for JPMorgan Chase as a business analyst within the Letters Administration team. I’m basically a project manager for letters that are sent out to customers.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

My first job out of grad school was a correspondence letter editor at JPMorgan Chase, where I edited hundreds of letters and emails before they were sent to customers. I had applied to dozens of jobs in both Ohio (where I was originally from) and in Boston (where I completed my graduate program). I was looking for editorial jobs, and found the position on an online job board. I applied, and I got a call the next day for an interview, and I was hired within the following two weeks.

After a few years of editing letters and helping with internal communications, I knew I wanted to move up to a different positon. My manager was very supportive of me, and was the one who suggested I apply for an internal posting for a business analyst position. It would still be a position working within the letters world, but this time, on the back end of the letters process. I applied and got the job! I’ve now been employed as a business analyst for two years, and with the same company for five years.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

I accepted a full-time editing internship at Wiley-Blackwell Publishing in my second year as a grad student at Emerson College. I was pretty much an assistant to the editorial assistant—they often hired interns, so we were trained as if we were going to eventually be hired and hit the ground running, so we were given immense responsibility for multiple different book projects. I didn’t realize then how useful that internship would be for the position I’m currently in. Learning to juggle multiple projects at a time, maintaining strict deadlines, leading meetings, and learning how to interact with different levels of people throughout the process made a huge difference when I started working full-time in the corporate world.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I had various internships throughout my college years, and I feel like they all gave me a huge step up in how to be successful in a corporate role. I was incredibly lucky to find paying internships, so I could intern full-time while I went to school full-time. It also gave me an opportunity to work with different companies in different types of writing/communications/editing roles, so I could see what the best fit was for me. I did everything from a corporate communications internship with a Fortune 500 company, to an editing internship with a small academic publisher. Each of these experiences gave me a good chance to hone my skills and find out what I wanted (or didn’t want!) in a career. 

“A professor once told me that as long as I could write well, I would always be able to find a job, and that was some of the best advice I’ve received.”

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

A professor once told me that as long as I could write well, I would always be able to find a job, and that was some of the best advice I’ve received. I have two English-major related degrees, and I have always been employed full-time. I believe that is in large part because of my ability to write and articulate clearly and professionally in any setting. I wouldn’t have gained any of those skills without an English degree that focused on writing and communication. Don’t take those skills for granted!

You can connect with Anna on LinkedIn here


Posted on June 26, 2017 and filed under Project Management, Interviews, Interview.

Daniel Brount: Page Designer & Copy Editor

Name: Daniel Brount

Age: 22

College & Majors/Minors: Ball State University, B.A. in English (concentration: Creative Writing) with a minor in Professional Writing & Emerging Media

Current Location: Austin, Texas

Current Form of Employment: Page Designer & Copy Editor

Where do you work and what is your current position?

Currently I work as a features page designer and copy editor at Gatehouse Media's Center for News and Design. Gatehouse is a newspaper publisher that owns a couple hundred different publications across the U.S. At the Center for News and Design in Austin, Texas, we design for those publications, as well as a some other papers not owned by the company. In my position, I primarily design the features sections (food, entertainment, religion, health, home and garden, etc.) for a variety of papers. When needed, I also proof pages before we send them out for publication.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

My position at the Center for News and Design is my first out of college, but I did work several part-time jobs and internships during college. These ranged from a variety of positions on the university newspaper, The Ball State Daily News, to tutoring at the Writing Center to doing a public relations internship in the Ball State English Department. I found those positions through initially volunteering at the newspaper and by doing my best to be involved in the English Department.

But before I got my job at Gatehouse, I spent a few months searching. My initial plan was to get a job in book publishing in New York City. After a few months of applying to every position in NYC that caught my interested and hearing very little back, I decided I needed to do some rethinking. Book publishing remains a goal for me down the road, but I realized it was important to expand my search for the time being. I took a step back and looked at my other skills. I asked myself, what else could I do? What else am I qualified for? Journalism and design were the first things that popped into my head. So I expanded my search. Instead of just looking for book jobs in NYC, I looked for book jobs, editing jobs, design jobs, and journalism jobs nationwide. A few days into this search, I found a listing for a Page Designer & Copy Editor position at Gatehouse on Indeed.com. I didn't feel like I was quite qualified enough to work in professional newspaper design, but I gave it a shot. Less than a week after applying for the position, I started making plans to move from my family's home in Wheeling, Illinois, down to Austin, Texas.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

By far the most important writing-related position I've had is actually a tie between two internships. During the fall semester of my senior year at Ball State, I moved to NYC as part of the New York Arts Program. The NYAP gives students in participating Midwestern liberal arts colleges the opportunity to spend a semester doing arts internships in NYC. My internships were at sci-fi/fantasy publisher DAW Books, an imprint at Penguin Random House, and at literary agency The Rights Factory. These internships gave me hands-on experience in the book publishing industry. I read submitted manuscripts. I wrote reader's reports and title information sheets and query letters. I learned about contracts. I did social media. I edited cover copy and client manuscripts and book proposals. I created book pitches and submissions lists. I compiled reviews and publicity information about various books. I communicated with literary agents and editors and authors and other publishing professionals.

These positions gave me an inside look on the book publishing industry and proved to me that it's an industry I will always pursue. Throughout the semester, I improved as a reader, writer, and editor, gained a massive list of new skills, and made numerous fantastic connections. And, of course, I got to spend an incredible semester exploring NYC.

And while I'm not working in book publishing right now, those skills that I learned still apply in various ways, and they are skills I'll retain for jobs down the road.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I did absolutely every single thing I could in college. I didn't give myself a moment to rest. If I was bored for a second, I decided that meant I needed to try doing something new. College isn't just about taking classes. It's about taking chances. People spend so much time saying that an English major is useless, but I found that even in college, I had an endless amount of options. There were too many internships for me to take, too many jobs for me to work, too many activities for me to join. So I got involved in as many as I was able to. Every single extra activity I did or job I worked opened up a new skill set, expanding the scope of opportunity for me in post-grad life. Limiting myself would only hurt me later on, so I knew I had to prove to myself that I have no limits whatsoever.

The most influential things I did in college: the student newspaper, English Department involvement, and the NYAP.

Working for The Ball State Daily News allowed me to expand my skills with a lot of in-depth, varied work. I wrote articles, edited stories, designed pages, took photos, and managed an entire staff. If it wasn't for this, there's no doubt that I wouldn't have been hired at my current company. But I also had the opportunity to use everything I learned in my English classes and apply those things in a new context. I could use my lessons in storytelling when writing articles, taking photos, and designing a page. Different skills can be applied in ways you'd never think of at first. Designing a newspaper page is all about telling the story of the content on the page, so why not use lessons learned in creative writing classes?

My involvement within the English Department was also integral to developing my skills. Among other roles, I had my public relations internship, my writing center tutor position, positions on literary magazine The Broken Plate and academic research journal The Digital Literature Review. And while all these did a lot to add to my experience and teach me new things, it was being so close to the department that did the most for me. I think students underestimate how many opportunities their department can provide for them. The professors and staff members that I grew close with encouraged me and educated me in so many ways both inside and outside the classroom. Their support is an essential element of my success. Do as much as you can for your department and get as involved as you can, and you'll be amazed with how much you'll get in return.

And with the NYAP, I explained how much that did for me before. But I should mention that one of my professors in the English Department is Ball State's liaison for NYAP. If I hadn't worked with her so closely through my department involvement, I may not have been part of NYAP.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Never sell yourself short. You have so many skills that you can apply in so many different ways. Be creative. Try something new. Take your assets and use them to overcome your weaknesses. Jump for every opportunity that comes your way. Never think, "I'm not good enough for this." It's always worth it to give your best shot.

Find a community. My involvement in the English Department gave me a close community of other English majors to keep in touch with and learn from. My time in NYAP gave me a community in NYC, within the book publishing industry. Make as many connections as you can. View those connections as more than just a resource. They're part of your community. Find ways to help and support them, and they'll do the same. The English major community is massive, and we can all help each other.

Find a cause. When I returned to school after NYAP, I missed the closeness I had with the book publishing industry. So I decided to start a book blog (now also a TV blog). This not only helped me keep consistent with my reading and writing, but it also lets me feel like I'm still linked to book publishing. I'm supporting literature that I believe in, and I'm keeping up with what's happening with books. But it also gave me a cause. I quickly became involved in the #DiverseBookBloggers movement on Twitter. There's a huge community pushing for more diverse books and more diverse characters. As a result, I decided to focus my blog on diverse books. Supporting diversity is now a cause that I believe in and will stick with throughout my career. Another goal of mine is to be an author; now my writing is more focused on diverse characters and stories than it ever was. Having a cause gives my work purpose, and it also sets me apart from the crowd. If you have a cause to be passionate about, it'll fuel your work. It's invigorating. It pushes you to work even harder.

Do more than just work. Outside my job, I also have my creative writing, my blog, my freelance projects, and so much more. Having multiple commitments and outlets expands my creativity and improves my work in whatever I'm doing. Work shouldn't be the only way you use your degree. It's fun and it's useful to give yourself some hobbies and some side projects.

Make yourself a brand. In one of my classes at Ball State, we designed logos and other branding materials for ourselves. My website, resume, letterhead, and other materials all use my logo and a specific design style. This gives me a clean and professional representation, and it makes my work recognizable.

Pick your passion, but don't let that limit your scope. Book publishing is where my passion lies, and it's where I want to work in the future. It's one of my biggest goals (setting goals is another important thing to do). But just because that's what I want, it doesn't mean it's the only thing I can do. If you widen your scope, you can develop your skills in new ways and explore new industries. You might find that you love other areas of work too. Maybe you'll find that you love to work in public relations or design or journalism or marketing (just a few things that English majors can do). It's important to recognize that your experiences in all these different areas can overlap. You can use your skills at other jobs to make yourself standout. Be versatile. Be more than one thing. This goes back to never limiting yourself. You are more than your job. You are more than your degree (even if English is a wonderful degree to have).

To learn more about Daniel, visit his site at danielbrount.com. You can also follow his blog 100 Story Reviews, or connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.


Posted on March 18, 2017 and filed under Editor.