Pandemic Opens Doors in Publishing Industry

Student at computer

February 18, 2021

By Rachael Blaine '21

Susquehanna’s annual Break Through event is all about networking. Break Through provides a chance for SU students and alumni to learn from professionals in their fields and make connections that may eventually turn into internships or jobs.

Sometimes, though, networking isn’t as clear-cut.

As Christina Joell ’18 shared with those in attendance at this year’s panel Getting it “Write”: Creative Writing, English, Publishing and Editing, her job as an associate publicist at HarperCollins Publisher came to be as a result of the connections she made through the Columbia Publishing Course.

As she neared the end of her time as a creative writing major at Susquehanna, Joell realized she wanted to pursue a career in publishing. She applied to the Columbia Publishing Course, was accepted and spent six weeks after graduation learning about publishing from leaders in all aspects of the publishing industry. Not long after this experience, she landed her job at the William Morrow imprint at HarperCollins.

Joell noted that one thing the pandemic has provided is an opportunity for people that work outside New York — the hub of the U.S. publishing industry. “For the first time, publishers are looking to hire remote workers and interns,” she said. “Now is the time to apply.”

Sarena Pollock ’20 assumed her position as a publications support assistant at Montgomery County Intermediate Unit in a roundabout way as well. After graduating during the pandemic, Pollock wasn’t sure where to start to find a job in her field. Then, a friend of her mother’s connected her with the education service agency. “Don’t think of networking as just LinkedIn. It could be random,” she said.

But for panelist Alyssa Moore ’15, things were more happenstance.

“I wouldn’t have my job now if I hadn’t been a nanny,” she admitted.

Moore currently works as an assistant at Root Literary Agency in Los Angeles. She discovered the job because the parents she nannied for had connections in the agency. “I fell into the job at Root Lit. It was the happiest accident of my life,” she said.

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