Tag Archives: NYU

Bewitched by BEA

What a thrilling whirlwind of literary bliss. There was nothing that could have prepared me for the stunning experience of Book Expo America. The opportunity to be in the mix with all the publishers I have such respect for and such fervent desire to be a part of and the incredibly talented authors who have had such a formative impact on me as a reader and writer is one that I cannot quite find the words to do justice to. I was swept away in a delicious haze of exquisite literary induced rush. For three days I walked around in the most glorious heightened state of what can only be described as euphoria. Anyone who shares my burning passion for this industry can understand that my language is not hyperbolic but rather decidedly apropos.

The literary gods seemed to be always in my favor. While volunteering at BEA I had the most surreal experience of meeting some of my favorite authors. I am not the type of person who gets starstruck, but with authors that’s a completely different story. It takes everything in me to maintain composure and speak intelligently, rather than let show the flustered, tongue-tied, and giddy person beneath that veil. Of course with some authors there could be no such façade. Helen Fielding, Bill Bryson, and Elizabeth Gilbert were the three authors that left me stumbling over my words. It’s crazy to be able to say that I have met each of them.

I stood in line waiting to meet Helen Fielding with this bubbling feeling that was a mixture of bursting elation, anxiety, and disbelief. She was so kind and gracious and as funny as her charmingly endearing character Bridget. After gushing about how much I loved her books (which she’s certainly heard countless times) I was caught completely off guard by a camera crew from The Today Show.  They had overheard how excited I was to meet her and how much I loved her books and wanted to interview me for the launch of her third book. I am certain that I fumbled through every question still buzzing on the high from meeting Helen, but I can only hope that I made some sort of sense. My interview is going to be featured on The Today Show in October for the launch of Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy! I am going to be actively searching for the date it airs. I still can’t quite believe it happened.

After my amazing luck with meeting Helen Fielding and being selected for an interview I didn’t think it could get much better. There was more literary excitement to be had. I later had the good fortune to get a free ticket to the exclusive Author’s Tea sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association featuring a panel of author’s, including one of my favorites, Bill Bryson. I had been hoping to get the opportunity to stand in the back of the event, but actually was able to go into the tea as a guest, get an ARC of Bryson’s latest novel, One Summer, and meet him as well. I had a lovely conversation with him about my love for England and his uproariously humorous Notes from a Small Island. As a fellow Anglophile, it was the icing on an already decadently rich cake.

The final day of BEA held still more literary bliss. I attended the Author Breakfast and got the opportunity to hear Helen Fielding speak about her experience creating the character of Bridget Jones and about the themes of Mad About the Boy. I met her for the second time and to my sheer delight she remembered me! We had a really nice chat in which I was much more composed than the first day and was actually able to speak intelligently to her. It was such an amazing experience to get to speak to one of my favorite authors as if we were friends (in my mind we are now of course).

Later in the day I met the final author on my wish list, Elizabeth Gilbert, at a conference about the importance of book clubs to the reading experience. I was intrigued to hear about her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, and am anxious for its release in October. I was so pleased to hear that she actually holds a book club with her fans on Facebook and they are currently reading Jane Eyre. I am quite embarrassed to say that I have yet to read this classic, but I purchased the new Penguin Drop Caps edition at BEA and plan to begin reading it as soon as possible. With my SPI program starting on Monday it is unlikely that I will be able to make the June 8th book club discussion with Elizabeth and the book club members, but it is high time I add this classic to my list of “read books.” Elizabeth was so engaging and personable and was even kind enough to give me some advice about how to grow my own writing to cross the precarious bridge from short stories to novels. She gave me hope that one day I too might be able to say that I have completed the extraordinary feat of writing a novel of my very own.

My experience at BEA can only be described as exquisite perfection. I was overwhelmed by how incredibly lucky I was to be at an event that spoke to the two most fervent desires of my heart: to be a part of the publishing industry, and to one day be able to call myself an author. It fueled my hope that there is a spot in this industry for me and that I am on the right path. Since arriving in New York  everything has fallen beautifully into place. I have never in my life felt more certain that I am on the cusp of achieving what I have wanted for so very long. I can feel the heartbeat of publishing pulsing through the city and mine beating along in time.

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The Journey Begins

The time has swiftly arrived—I’m off to New York in pursuit of my dream of a career in publishing. It’s a surreal feeling to think that I’ll be volunteering at Book Expo America this week and amidst publishers and authors from across the country. It is such a thrilling opportunity to get to volunteer at the publishing event of the year that I can’t quite believe it’s happening. I’ll be volunteering in the autographing area and am giddy at the thought being so close to the authors and perhaps able to have a conversation with them and get a few autographs of my own.

I am most excited for the opportunity to see Bill Bryson and Helen Fielding speak at the author events.  Bryson’s dry and witty reflections on the cultural differences between the UK and the US have me in stitches. As someone who’s grown up living in both places I am very familiar with the cultural debacles he describes in his musings. I have known and loved the comical character of Bridget Jones and her blundering antics for years now and I am confident in my ability to quote lines from the book (though when I meet Ms. Fielding I will do my best to refrain).

This will be my first time spending an extended period of time in New York. I went on two day trips to the city with my family as a teenager, but other than that I know very little about what this glittering city of dreams holds for me, which is quite an adventure itself. I always love exploring a new city and finding those hidden gems—quiet parks, quirky bookstores, quaint cafes—all tucked away and waiting to be stumbled upon.

The excitement and energy within me is pulsing expectantly as I am on the cusp of beginning this new journey. To get hands-on training from skilled executives in the publishing industry is something that makes my book lover’s heart flutter, and I am anxiously awaiting the start of my classes. I’m looking forward to delving into the world publishing, to gaining experience in the diverse facets of the industry, and to moving one step closer to this ardent dream of mine. It has been a long courtship between the publishing industry and I, with me being in hot pursuit and the industry coyly playing hard to get. It is my fervent wish that this experience will flip the scales and the industry will begin pursuing me as eagerly as I have pursued her. And so another adventure begins…

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Countdown to NYU

It’s getting steadily closer and closer–my flight to New York and the start of my new adventure towards a career in my dream industry, publishing. I can hardly believe that I am this close to beginning what I hope will be the most exciting and challenging chapter of my life thus far.

As I experience the difference stages of anticipation–excitement, joy, fear, doubt–I am reminded of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. I recently read this novel, long overdue, as it is one that I had been meaning to read for several years. However, time has a funny way aligning things in your life and making them all the more meaningful. I could not have picked a better time to read Coelho’s inspirational story of a shepherd boy on the pursuit of his dreams than as I was beginning to embark on my own journey.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how each of my experiences have brought me one step closer to this time in my life. Achieving my B.A. in English, interning with Texas Monthly, traveling to San Francisco to intern with Tango Diva and continuing to write travel articles after my internship ended, having the incredible opportunity to travel to London to intern with Pickering & Chatto Publishers, and now on the verge of beginning my six-week crash course into the world of publishing at NYU, my emotions are a blend of overwhelming excitement and just a tinge of nerves.

I have wanted this so desperately, cried for this countless times, and been filled to my core with the conviction that this is the industry in which I truly belong. It seems surreal to think that I am this close to gateway to my dreams. As I journey through this program and wherever it may lead me afterward I will carry the words of Paulo Coelho with me that “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I will keep this as my mantra through the good times and the bad and always remember that “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Here’s to the adventure of the unknown, to relentlessly chasing the dream, and to reaping the spoils of dedicated hard work.

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Chasing the Dream

It has long been my dream to be a part of an industry that shares the captivating words of talented writers with an audience of eager and impassioned readers. In this blog I will chronicle my quest to prove myself worthy of a spot in the book publishing industry. In one short month I will be leaving my Texas roots for New York City to attend NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute.

This I’m sure sounds like a million other stories of wide-eyed, naive young professionals striving to make it big in NYC. It is my sincere hope that I can amount to more than that stereotype and that I can come up with content witty and engaging enough to actually get people interested in my story.

Who will save our books? Copyright James Patterson-Publishers WeeklyThough the face of the industry is changing, something I read today sparked a great sense of hope in me. James Patterson’s bold ad in Publishers Weekly highlights the serious lack of action surrounding the decline of books with the question “Who will save our books?”. His message is both an ardent support of books and a catalyst prompting much needed attention and focus on this troubling issue.

This is what I want to fight for. I want the children today to grow up with the same fervent love for the written word that I had as a child. I want that love to be nurtured and fueled by the profound words of the authors they read. I want our society to be aware of the paramount importance that should be placed on revitalizing the love of books.

This is not an issue that we should sit back quietly on, shaking our heads and saying ‘What a shame.’ We need to fight. Fight for the beautiful and powerful words that dance through the minds of authors. Fight for the transformative influence those words will have on their readers. Fight for a resurgence of the book in a world that is dangerously teetering on the edge of losing its understanding of their great importance.

It is with this sense of drive, determination, and purpose that I will pursue my dream of a position in book publishing. I know that I have much to learn and I am excited for all the lessons that will come out of my experience at NYU. I will begin this journey with the steadfast conviction that I will join this industry as another voice that will speak loudly for books and will refuse to be quelled.

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