Four young Hamilton alumnae revealed the ins and outs of the publishing industry and shared their personal experiences on working in various publishing roles at the Explorations in Publishing: How to Publish a Novel panel on April 22. The event was organized by the Career Center and the Novelists’ Support Group.
Panelists included Hali Baumstein ’11, associate editor at Bloomsbury Children's Books, Olivia Valcarce ’15, editorial Assistant at Scholastic, Amy Appel ’13, junior agent at McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency and Lauren Magaziner ’12, author of The Only Thing Worse Than Witches and Pilfer Academy as well as a former assistant editor at Scholastic.
The panelists began by explaining the various and distinct stages that a manuscript must go through before finally becoming a publishable book, in addition to how their individual jobs play a role in that process.
Consequently, when asked about the steps budding writers can take when attempting to get their work published, each panelist shared tips on what to do and say and what not to do and say, including how to send inquiry letters or pitch stories to literary agents.
“Writing and communication skills are definitely important in being an editor, which is something Hamilton really emphasizes, as in the curriculum of taking writing-intensive classes,” Baumstein said. “It’s very important to be able to communicate clearly with your team at the publisher about the book you want, because an editor is the first advocate for the book, and the way to get your team excited is by clearly communicating to them what you love about it and why it would work.”
Appel also emphasized the importance of having knowledge beyond simply writing such as time-management and organizational skills, as she commented on having to “complete administrative tasks, keep track of deadlines, act as a liaison for different departments and help keep [her] boss organized.”
In discussing what specific choices students could make during their college career, Magaziner advised, “Explore beyond creative writing classes and take other things and explore other interests because you never know where your next idea is going to come from.”