Life / 5 Lessons From Undergraduate Students for Publishing | Pennies & Paper: Life / 5 Lessons From Undergraduate Students for Publishing

    

Life / 5 Lessons From Undergraduate Students for Publishing

Thursday, May 14

As I come to the end of my college years, I will be doing a "series" of blog posts about the events of my final weeks. Excuse the tearstains.

On my blog, I often mention how busy I am, but I rarely discuss exactly why that is so. My college has very specific majors and focuses intensely on careers. While this is a concern at other colleges as well, I have heard of few that go to such great lengths to prepare students for the working world. One of the ways this happens is through the "co-curriculars"--our on-campus organizations.
Over the years, I've been involved in many, many clubs: writing for a lifestyle magazine, Atlas; editing for a literary magazine, then Gangsters in Concrete; playing Quidditch for my team, the J.P. Jaguars; writing entertainment news for Emertainment Monthly; doing PR and editing work while abroad for the Black Swan Literary and Cultural Magazine; managing both publishing and finances for a script anthology, Thread. But the club that stuck with me the most is Undergraduate Students for Publishing, affectionately called "Pub Club." This club does it all: holding networking events, panels, and workshops as well as publishing two student manuscripts and a genre-fiction literary magazine each semester.

5 Lessons From Undergraduate Students for Publishing | Pennies & Paper Blog
The three-pronged club logo: Undergraduate Students for Publishing, Wilde Press, and Generic

When I joined this club first semester freshman year as a regular member, I knew I wanted to be the president. Four years later, I'm finishing up my second semester as president for this wonderful club. We've done so much since I began as a publishing-illiterate freshman. At the end of my first year we added the literary magazine, Generic. My sophomore year, Wilde Press moved from publishing one book a semester to two.We then re-branded to accommodate our three branches (of events, book publishing, and literary magazine). We earned an honorable mention for one of our books from the New England Book Show. This year, the vice president and I created an official website and put a larger focus on networking and diversity within our events. We partnered with the small-but-connected graduate branch, Graduate Students for Publishing.

I just love this club, and I cannot get over the fact that I will not be a part of it any longer--but I also cannot wait to see what later presidents accomplish. Most importantly, I have learned so many invaluable lessons from this club. Here are the top five:

// Being in charge means delegating. I like to do everything myself, or at least see it all happening. But with so many events and projects, I just can't be everywhere at once--and nor should I. I got a taste of delegating last year, as the marketing director, but this year I really had to remember that each and every member is talented enough to do their job on their own. If someone was passionate about a particular task or event, I tried to assign the project to them. Other times, I would have to assign tasks based on skills or even how much free time someone had. But I also learned that it is equally important to make yourself available to provide help or extra training.


5 Lessons From Undergraduate Students for Publishing | Pennies & Paper Blog
Fall 2014 Book Launch (Dec. 9th): pouring rain makes for inventive book transportation // our two lovely authors with their books // Generic, Issue 6 // the fall executive board
// Knowing how to on-the-spot problem solve is vital. It is impossible to plan for all the complications that will come to even the most organized production schedule. In the fall semester, for example, a printing error resulted in many copies of one book to have a word missing from the four-word title. To make things so much worse, the books were late and it was the day of the book launch, and it was pouring. After some frantic texting, we asked the author to handwrite in the missing word when she signed each book--she agreed, and we were able to play off the error as a purposeful "special edition." The other author decided to hand number each of her books, so we could announce both "special editions" before the launch. (As for the rain...all I can say is trash bags are your best friend.)
5 Lessons From Undergraduate Students for Publishing | Pennies & Paper Blog
Spring 2015 Book Launch (April 28th): each of our books for this semester // Generic, Issue 7 // graduating co-presidents
// Understand the big picture, but don't forget the small one. Pub Club is quite large. Our general events are open to the college at large, including both undergrads and graduates. Sometimes, professors will bring their entire class to a panel, or regular members will bring friends along to workshops that are specifically of interest to them. Generic has a staff of between 20-30 students, and in the spring we had 68 people working on the two books, one of the largest groups we've had. So while I was running a huge club and dealing with many different aspects of it, I also tried to meet as many people as possible, and would spend time before and after meetings talking to members I did not know.

// Assume everything will take longer than it should. Production schedules and editorial calendars are beautiful things and help keep everyone on track. However, something will go wrong. The printer will break, an author will decide to add four poems a week after the manuscript has been copyedited, both authors will hate their cover options... The best way to "plan" for these unscheduled changes is to include time for them in the first place. I built a week in overall into both semesters' production schedules--a day or two for each step of the process--which was a lifesaver in the fall and a relaxing extra few days in the spring.

5 Lessons From Undergraduate Students for Publishing | Pennies & Paper Blog
a spring 2015 author signs his book (photo by Michael Domenicucci)
5 Lessons From Undergraduate Students for Publishing | Pennies & Paper Blog
the other spring 2015 author signs his book (photo by Michael Domcnicucci)
5 Lessons From Undergraduate Students for Publishing | Pennies & Paper Blog
the spring 2015 book launch was one of our largest yet! (photo by Michael Domenicucci)
5 Lessons From Undergraduate Students for Publishing | Pennies & Paper Blog
Spring 2015 executive board who attended launch...and entire spring 2015 executive board

// Do what you love. I was happy to spend so much time working for this club because I love its mission, its products, and the people in it. Helping others learn about publishing while also learning more about the industry myself made Pub Club the best possible place for me, and my my time at Emerson more than worth it.

Do you have a club that defined your college experience? What have you learned from it?

More in this series: 5 Lessons From Pub Club | It's the Little Things | Monday Meetings & Farewells | Twice on Top of the World on a Tuesday | A Big Blue Watery Road | Graduation Recap | Graduation in Focus
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