Intern’s Report: Seven Weeks in the Presses
Location: Rose O’Neill Literary House
If you drew up a classic grade-school-style Venn diagram of qualities possessed by both Washington College’s English and Business departments the one aspect you would find resting in the center of the overlap is applicability. While you may be reading Faulkner or a case study on the international business efforts of Heineken, what both programs are truly seeking to instill in students is real world applicability of critical thinking and skill.
As an English Major with a double minor in Creative Writing and Business, I’ve been on a collision course with the world of publishing for much of my academic career. The world of literary publications draws upon numerous skills that I’ve learned through business courses such as marketing, but also allows for a ground-level view of the evolution of a new era of literature.
Through the Literary Editing and Publishing special topics class taught by Jehanne Dubrow, Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and founding editor of Cherry Tree, I was first able to dabble in the merging of both fields. Literary Editing and Publishing brought the contemporary market into perspective in a way that was both comprehensive and intriguing.
Now through my position as the Literary House Press Intern, I have taken my first plunge in. I could not have picked a better time to do so. Fresh off the release of their first trade paperback, The Book of Scented Things, and just a week away from releasing the inaugural issue of the national literary magazine Cherry Tree, Literary House Press was a bustle of excitement and activity. It wasn’t long before I found myself in direct correspondence with Best American selected poets and writers and found myself working through the trials and tribulations of a small independent press.
After the fervor and excitement of Cherry Tree’s launch, I found myself working more and more in attempts to help market the magazine to be the most successful that it can be. Many of these projects involved extensive research and forced me to explore creative new outlets to create notice for what I believe is a truly exceptional grouping of literature. (Which I also had the pleasure of critiquing in an original critical essay for the Literary House blog.)
The Literary House Press has given me an invaluable experience that has allowed me to use the skills and talents that I have honed through my education at Washington College in a professional setting. Whether it’s through organization of new marketing projects for the press’s books, running different aspects of social media, corresponding with established writers, or simply carrying boxes filled with journals hot off the presses, I am getting my hands dirty in a way that is both entertaining and informative. I cannot wait to see what the rest of my semester brings.