Keep Track of Your Reading List with Goodreads

By Kylie Widseth

You know that moment when you first meet someone. That moment when you just know that the second you have a wifi-enabled device in your grasp you’re going to find them on Facebook, stalk them to find out every detail of their life to see if you two are really meant to be best friends forever. Okay, maybe that’s just me. But admit it, to some extent I know that’s everyone out there reading this.

I would actually go out on a limb and say that my favorite type of social media is not actually Facebook. I know, I know, it’s a shocker to me too. My favorite type of social media platform is actually one that involves books, so naturally, it’s Goodreads.

Can we just take a moment to say a quick thank you to the person that came up with this brilliant idea?

Goodreads is everything I’ve ever needed in more. To explain it simply, it’s basically Facebook but every single thing has to do with books. Your friends can update their status on what book they’re reading, comment on someone else’s reading status, add books to their to be read list, rate books they’ve read, and the list goes on and on.

One of the first questions I typically ask a fellow reader is if they have a Goodreads account or not? If they do, I know I’m instantly going to be clicking on the “compare books” button on their profile to see how similar our book tastes are.

Goodreads has been my saving grace in so, so many ways. If I’m at the bookstore and I’m questioning whether I should buy a book or not, I immediately turn to the site to check out the reviews and rating out of 5 stars. If I see a friend has read the book, I quickly text them to ask them if they think the book is worth reading. Sometimes I’ve bought a book because it has a 3-star rating and sometimes I don’t buy a book for that exact same reason. Oddly enough there is a little excitement knowing that a book you’re reading doesn’t have the highest rating on Goodreads, but you just really had the feeling that the book was going to perfect for you.

Now I’ve had my Goodreads account since middle school, so I did got a little crazy with adding books to my TBR. I’m pretty sure I have over 600 books on my list, but in my defense, I just got a little excited when I first started using the site. Slowly but surely, I’m trying to get rid of all those Justin Bieber biographies and middle-school aged books from my TBR list. Hey Goodreads, can you find a way to make it a little easier to delete multiple books at a time?.) Any time I’m watching BookTube video and they talk about a book set to be released that sounds interesting, I first go to Goodreads to add it to my list.

Not only does Goodreads allow you to rate books after you’ve read them, but it’s also a little like Netflix, Goodreads will give you recommendations based on books you did or didn’t like. You never know, your new favorite book could just be waiting in the Goodreads recommendation lists.

I know this may seem pretty obvious, but it’s much more valuable than you think. Goodreads keeps track of all the books you’ve read and when you read them, etc. I know you’re thinking, well duh, Kylie, but just hear me out. I cannot tell you the amount of times asks me if I’ve read a book, and I sit there thinking, maybe, but I’m not sure. Goodreads saves me every time. I can quickly go to my account and say oh yeah, I read that book two years ago, and I gave it 4 stars! If I’ve even left a written review for the book, it’s such a quick, easy, and nice way to give myself a little refresher. It’s amazing how just a couple sentences can really jog your memory.

I’m grateful for always being able to stalk my avid reader friends at any place and any time. This is just a little ode to Goodreads for always having my back. I don’t know where I would be without you, stay beautiful.

If you have a Goodreads, please add me! My favorite friends are Goodreads friends!

 

The Publishing Industry: More Than Just NYT Bestsellers

By Danielle Lieneman

Before the long process of beginning a career in the publishing industry, it is imperative that you understand your options. Last week we broke down the different titles you could have at various publishing houses, this week our focus is on the different types of publishing houses there are (and believe me, there’s a lot more than you initially think).

Trade Publishers

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Trade publishers are those that create the books that are typically found in bookstores for the average consumer to purchase and read. It’s estimated that trade publications account for over half of all publishing in the United States. The majority of trade publications lie with the 5 biggest global companies, commonly referred to as “The Big 5:” HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster.

These companies have multiple smaller “imprints” that have specific specializations and focuses, like YA fiction, historical fiction, and even cookbooks. If you’re interested in working with a specific focus, these smaller imprints could be the perfect choice. Lists of the company’s imprints can be found on their websites. Additionally, these imprints make great stepping-stones for positions within the general company after you have already proved yourself.

Don’t be intimidated by the Big 5 and their imprints or think that your options are limited because of them. Even if your dream job is to work in a company that specializes in literary fiction, there are smaller, independent publishing houses that do exactly that. Working at a smaller company provides the opportunity to gain experience working with a project from start to finish and getting exposure to parts of the industry you might not otherwise see. This experience is imperative if you wish to move to a bigger company one day.

Scholarly and University Presses

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Theoretical and research intensive texts are the main focus for scholarly and university presses. All books that get published are of a high, scholarly caliber and aim to bring good publicity to the university. Books can range from fiction to nonfiction, with many having a regional focus. Because these companies typically operate as a component of the university, they are usually fairly small. That also makes these companies great options for students looking to gain experience in the industry and for university faculty to get their name in print.

Textbooks and Technical Publishers

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Similar to scholarly and university presses, textbook and technical publishers focus on educational and academic information. The biggest difference is that textbook and technical publisher’s will more often than not publish the big textbooks that feel as heavy as an unborn child. An attention to detail is crucial no matter what sector of publishing you choose to go in, but it’s especially important here. For some of the more advanced material, like college level Chemistry or Calculus, background knowledge in the subject is required in order to catch content mistakes. Despite my aversion to all things math and science, there are plenty of other opportunities in the technical and textbook publishing fields that should be explored.

No matter which field of publishing you decide to go into, all provide a rich and rewarding experience. It’s amazing to know that you’re impacting someone’s life, whether by fostering a love of reading, providing SAT prep help, or teaching someone about a country they’ve never been to. Internships are available for most every company, so if you think that the publishing industry is the one for you, get out and start researching!

In case you couldn’t already tell, I have a true love for this industry and the written word in general, so please reach out to me if you have any questions! To learn more about the publishing industry as a whole, I highly recommend our book Publishing 101. While initially intended for authors looking to publish their book, there is a lot of great information within the book that can help anyone interested in the field.

Let’s Get Writing: Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

By Yvonne Bertovich 

For every thing you’re good at, there will always be someone who is better — that’s just how the world works. However, there is a bit of cruel comfort in the notion that there are plenty of people who aren’t better than you at any given thing, too. Because I’m sitting here attempting to give you advice on how to become a better writer does not mean I automatically think I’m better than you. The fact that I used the word thing twice in the first 50 words of this post would send my AP Language Arts teacher’s right eyelid into a twitching fit — the woman despised the word, and fervently implored that no one in my class ever use it. But whatever, that just brings me to my next point that for every thing you’re good at — and you may be dang good — someone out there will still feel otherwise. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness despite the crushing weight of personal expectations and the insatiable desire to please others” is the resounding motto of our country, after all.

OK, enough of the pleasantries and unnecessary backstory — I’ll make an example out of myself with my first tip:

  1. Be concise. Get to the point — because you hopefully have one — with everything you write within a reasonable amount of time. Stringing readers along for paragraphs and paragraphs of nonsensical nuances and metaphors can be fun sometimes, but, chances are, they may get tired of reading and just quit. The amount of brevity (another word for concise) you will need to exhibit will depend on the nature of the written work and the subject, especially if you are constrained by a word count.
  2. Vary your sentence structure. This may not be something you have ever really considered. Varying your sentence structure and intermingling side notes and short, punchy sentences can really make your writing more special. It takes a seasoned writer to master long sentences with multiple clauses (not to mention using commas and punctuation correctly), but this doesn’t mean that you can’t do it, too. Knowing where exactly to place commas can be determined by using the next tip.
  3. Read your work aloud. Even if you are only able to mutter it under your breath, it will proofreaderhelp you. Reading your work aloud can determine where you would naturally pause, and thus, where you should place commas. This will also point out confusing sentences or areas where you may get too wordy. This also usually helps point out if you missed important words or made a typo that spell check didn’t catch.
  4. Read your work from the end to the beginning. If you are working on a particular piece for a long time or you have the bad habit of speed-reading, it may be easy to get caught up in your own writing. Reading your work from the end to the beginning will help you notice errors a lot more easily than if you read it how it is actually organized.
  5. Use your voice. You don’t always say the same thing or use the same words or the same cadence with everyone you interact with. I’m gonna be bold and assume you have some amount of personality. Or, if you’re kinda dry and monotone, own it anyway. Don’t be afraid to use your voice in your writing. Adding personal touches or side comments within your body of work will keep the reader entertained and more in-tune to who you are. It’s much more fun to write pieces in a conversational manner — and much easier, too.
  6. Use spell check and any proofreading service you have access to. Having a bunch of misspelled words and cruddy grammar will quickly cheapen even the most otherwise well-written pieces. Even if you have spell check on, having it run through your document again before you finalize it can never hurt. Have someone you trust read over your work to look for grammatical errors. Or, if you trust yourself, trust yourself less. Act like you’re reading someone else’s work and use strict scrutiny. Did you use the right form of “to/two/too” or “their/they’re/there?” Did you use the right pronoun? Do you need to be more clear? This takes us to our next tip.
  7. Keep it simple, stupid or K.I.S.S. I’m not sure where I heard this phrase first, but it’s something that has stayed with me for several years now. In my own writing, I used to get so caught up in trying to think of the most eloquent yet academically challenging words and phrases I could possibly use to sound as intelligent as possible that I probably just made my writing more confusing. Case in point, I just kinda did that in my last sentence for effect. Honestly, though, you shouldn’t write anything that you wouldn’t feasibly say out loud in a conversation with someone. So, if you can’t ever see yourself using the term “cacophony” to describe a noisy environment, don’t put it in your writing. I should also note, though, that it is also great to test your comfort zone and use new words, especially in narrative pieces where you have more creative freedom.
  8. Write something every day. Something, anything. For the love of Pete (who the heck
    is Pete, anyway?) dream up a fancier way to write your grocery list. Another great tip is to not get too caught up in lingo and slang. Don’t become one of those people in the professional world who have forgotten how to write a proper email. In case anyone hasn’t told you yet, 79 percent of adulthood is about knowing how to properly email. I personally love using slang and weird phrases, but that doesn’t mean that I let my grammar and punctuation falter, even in the most trivial of text messages.
  9. Read something every day. Am I stopping you mid-eyeroll? You don’t have to read a reading up closelot to reap the benefits. It can be as simple as reading a few tweets or Facebook posts. However, challenging yourself to read higher-level work will benefit you further. Not only will this help you to examine styles that you like and dislike, but it will also help to improve your vocabulary. If you are reading work from talented writers, you will subconsciously start to think and write in their style.
  10. Keep your audience in mind. This is perhaps the most important tip, and it sets the parameters for anything you write. If you’re writing a term paper, essay, research paper, free response, dissertation, news story, feature story, or whatever else — ACT LIKE IT. If you’re writing to your employer or a potential employer, put your best words forward in every exchange with them. Don’t be lazy. If you’re texting your best friend because you’re bored at 2 a.m. — do whatever ya want. You don’t speak the same exact way to everyone in real life (even though writing is real life, too) so your writing should vary as well.

In an attempt to take my advice for being concise (total lies, and I rhymed, yeesh), I’ll wrap this up quickly — thanks for sticking with me. If you want to learn more about how to improve your writing, check out The Young Adult’s Guide to Flawless Writing for $14.95 on Amazon. And let’s change that motto to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness through better writing,” no?

 

 

 

BookTube All Day, Every Day: BookTube Recommendations

shutterstock_337052687Guilty as charged. I’m that person who spends all my free time watching YouTube. While I do watch a lot of the stereotypical people that you think of when I say the word “YouTuber,” I spend a good amount of my time watching BookTubers also. Ah, just saying the word makes me so happy.

I’ve been watching BookTube for about two years now, so I have found some of my favorite content creators. These are the people that the second I see they posted a video, I’m watching it no matter what I’m doing.

Maybe you’ll find that you love these five I mention, but maybe you won’t love them. Regardless, I think they are a good mix of people, and I highly recommend watching at least one of their videos.

Now, this list is in no particular order because I arguably love all of them equally. Even while scrolling through my subscriptions to find my select five, my heart broke because there are so many BookTubers that I absolutely love. But these are the five that I watch the most often and could rave about for the longest time. I tried not to choose the BookTubers that everyone knows about like abookutopia, jessethereader, polandbananasBOOKS, Katytastic readbyzoe, etc. While I do love them, too, I wanted to pick the not-so-obvious choices.

aVxKnfFe5. BooksandLala – First of all, I just want to say how utterly jealous I am of how many books she has in her book hauls each month. She just knows how to find a good deal,. which I really respect because I personally never buy a book full price. Lala, can I come book shopping with you sometime?

I love that Lala reads a wide range of books. She reads such long books, and I wish I could do the same. The way she rates her books in her wrap-ups each month is so unique and something I really enjoy. When she rates the books, she gives them a one to five star rating, but each star that she gives relates to a specific thing about the book and each star she takes off relates to a specific thing she didn’t like. For example, she might give a star for the character development, plotline, or pacing of a story. She might take off a star because she couldn’t relate to the characters, the story was
n’t believable, or the ending of the book didn’t tie up all the loose ends.

DZ-cClsV4. Bookables – There is a good chance that I like Heather because she reads the same type of genre of books that I do: chick lit. The style of her videos is just so fun. I also really like that she replies to each and every comment that people leave on her videos. There are other BookTubers that do this, too, but she is one that I really notice. It’s such a simple thing to do, but it really goes a long way because it really helps you build a connection with your audience. Our tastes in books are so similar that if there is a new-released book that I think looks amazing, and Heather says it’s bad, I won’t read the book.

D4B2pI5R3. HaileyinBookland – Maybe I just notice it more than the others, but she posts videos on such a consistent basis: Three times a week, which I just find incredible. I have a BookTube channel of my own (shameless self-plug), and I can barely manage to post a video a week! Hailey goes to school, has a job, and still finds time to film, edit, and post a video. Is she Superwoman because I am honestly questioning it? She also has some of the most original video ideas, which I think is quite hard to do. It’s already hard to post three videos a week, but it’s also hard to continuously come up with new ideas for videos.

Whitty2. WhittyNovels –One of the reasons I really like Whitney is hands down because of her humor. She’s roughly the same age as me and going to college as well, so a lot of the things she talks about in her videos are really relatable. I still vividly remember watching her vlog about when she moved into college, and I had just started college the year before so I had all the feels for her. I will say that I don’t always agree with her views on books, (sorry, but I love Colleen Hoover), but I think that’s part of the fun with BookTube. It allows the opportunity to really get exposed to other’s views on things, and it genuinely expands your horizon. If you don’t follow her on Snapchat, I highly recommend that you do. Not only is she hilarious, but when she is home there are numerous videos and photos of dogs, and dogs are probably tied with books on my list of favorite things on this planet. (I haven’t read Shatter Me yet, but I promise I will soon!)

Laura1. LovelyLikeLaura – Again, Laura is someone that I can relate to because we are around the same age. Sometimes I genuinely wonder if we are the same person because we have a lot of the same interests and most definitely the same taste in books. I finally started reading Colleen Hoover after hearing her talk about how much she loves her, and I found out that I really like her books. The second I hear her talk about a book that I haven’t heard of, I add it to my TBR list. So thank you to Laura for making my TBR pile 10 times longer.

While I may spend far too much time on YouTube, it’s a great way for me to stay up-to-date on the book world, which I think is incredibly important since I want to continue my career in publishing for as long as I can (and hopefully the rest of my life). So if you ever find yourself with some spare time on your hands, I highly recommend watching one of these individuals!

*Photos used with permission from the BookTuber.

Thank you, Heather for the featured image!

 

Happy Birthday Mr. President…Jackson

NEW Andrew Jackson battleMarch 15th. A seemingly uneventful day for most of us, but on this day in 1767 our 7th president was born. Andrew Jackson was an America statesman, soldier, and politician who is most well known as being a president for the common man. Before becoming president, Jackson led quite the interesting life: he was kidnapped by British soldiers at the age of 13; he was educated as a lawyer and served on the Tennessee Supreme Court; he served in the U.S. Army during the War of 1912 and became a national war hero after a decisive victory at the Battle of New Orleans; and was (briefly) Florida’s governor.

In honor of his birthday, we have decided to give a sneak peek of our biography: People That Changed the Course of History: The Story of Andrew Jackson. This excerpt focuses on one of the most controversial and well-known actions that Jackson took while in office, The Trail of Tears.

Although Jackson had defeated the Creeks and Seminoles, it didn’t put an end to battles between settlers and Native Americans. One of the most controversial acts of the Presidency was the decision to deal with the constant clashes between Indians and Americans in the South. To make matters worse, gold was discovered in Cherokee territory in the state of Georgia. Governor George Gilmer complained to Washington that he had no authority to give rights or protection to the either the Cherokee or the trespassing minors. Something had to be done.

The people demanded action, and in May, Congress passed The Indian Removal Act. This law gave the federal government the right to meet with tribal chiefs for negotiations to move the tribes further west into territory that is a part of Oklahoma today. In reality, it demanded the Indians give up their homes and lands to the United States and pushed them out of the way.

 A Virginia newspaper defended the law. It claimed that the Indians would not be forced to go and that they would be given money for expenses and their first year of life in the new land. In Washington, the President stated it would “separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; [and] enable them to pursue happiness in their own way, and under their own crude institutions” (Globe, 1830).

Those who spoke out against The Indian Removal Act included Davy Crockett and Abraham Lincoln. It made no difference. President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act on May 28, 1830. It gave him the right to grant the Indians lands in the West as a trade for the Union taking over the lands of their ancestors.

Although the Indians had the right to meet for negotiations, there would be little choice in the matter in the long run. They would have to move. The pressure to submit to the will of the Republic fell on the Indians. Many of the tribes hesitated. They saw no reason or right for them to be kicked off their lands. When the Indian fighter, Andrew Jackson, won the White House election again two years later, most of the leaders finally agreed to go.

The majority of the tribes went peacefully, but not all of them. They sent delegations and petitions to Washington. They even took their case to the Supreme Court. Loss after loss doing things the white man’s way left many frustrated and depressed.

As a treaty was drawn up that gave the United States the right to take Indian lands in exchange for western territory, supplies, and money, a small group of Cherokee Indians received permission to meet with President Jackson in person. They called him the “Great Father.” He had already met with some of their greatest lawyers and defenders but turned them away. The Indians must have felt this would be their last hope.

The president continued, telling the representatives they were now subject to the same laws and consequences of white settlers. He scolded them for their violence as well as growing problems with alcohol. They didn’t do much to farm or modernize their lands the way whites thought it should be done. He warned them they would eventually disappear like the Indian nations before them if they didn’t learn the white man’s ways.

He eventually closed with what he considered wise counsel. “You have but one remedy within your reach. And that is to remove to the West and join your countrymen, who are already established there. The choice is yours.May the great spirit teach you how to choose.”

Eventually, the Cherokees submitted to a Senate-approved final treaty when it was sent to their own National Council in New Echota, Georgia. They were forced to surrender all of their lands east of the Mississippi for $5 million. Along with the new territory granted to them in the West, they would receive regular shipments of supplies like blankets, kettles, and rifles.

In the winter of 1838, the last of some stubborn Cherokee tribes were lined up and walked out by force. Thousands of them died along the way, earning the march the name The Trail of Tears.

If this piqued your interest and you want to learn more about Andrew Jackson and the early years of American history, be sure to buy our book here.

Accepting Rejection – You’re Not Alone

By Melody Wolf

Not everything is “meant to be.”

Rejection is one of the worst feelings. It’s the kind that sits at the bottom of your stomach, pulling at your insides. Even if you weren’t craving the part or position, being told you aren’t good enough is never easy.

When I was in high school, I wasn’t told “no” very often. The easy access to leadership roles made it easy to blow up my resume with little effort. I was flying high, and man oh man, ignorance was bliss. Then, I got to college.

Stepping onto the college campus was overwhelming to say the least. I wanted to get involved, but with no idea of where to start. As I started finding my feet, I soon realized that I was coming late to the game. I started applying for every organization that I was even slightly interested in, and I soon found myself dealing with a lot of rejection, doubt, and loneliness.

College is a reality check – especially when you go to a school like UF. All of a sudden, you’re surrounded with so many bright, young minds that it’s easy to lose confidence in your ability to stand out.

Recently, I went through the interview process for a second time for a club I have had my eye on for a long time. I truly believed that these people would enhance my college experience and that my time spent with them would be both productive as well as socially uplifting. I’m nearing the end of my second year, and I still feel like I haven’t found my place.

I made it to the final interview. When I got the final email saying I had been once again been rejected from this organization, I was devastated. I had told myself that this was my one shot at college and that if I couldn’t get into a college organization, how was I supposed to find success in my career?

The amount of overthinking drove me up the wall. I was at home at the time, with my dad and sister. I didn’t want to go back to college. I didn’t want to explain it to my friends. I didn’t want to face the rejection. I just wanted to watch trashy reality TV shows all day, because you can’t get rejected if you don’t put yourself out there right?

As the week went by, I slowly started to realize that I had made this all up in my head. I had no real gage off who these people were – sure, I’d seen pictures, but everyone at this point knows that pictures are just an inflated version of reality.

You see, when it comes down to it, sometimes we long for something so bad that we make it out to be a life or death situation. By doing this, we are only killing ourselves in our drive to do better – to be better. The truth is, there are so many opportunities to grow that focusing on one is a waste of our precious time, and we only only get one shot.

I wanted to write this blog post is to make other people aware that they are not alone. To the naked eye, it may appear as though every person that passes you by knows exactly what they are doing. Want me to let you in on a little secret? They’re just as dazed and confused as you are.

Letting yourself give up after being turned down is so incredibly easy. Don’t give in to the little voices telling you that you aren’t good enough, and don’t give up the drive that you had coming into college. Swallow your feelings of self-pity and use your rejection to your advantage.

While rejection is inevitable and you won’t get every position you apply for, it’s important to be as prepared as possible. For advice on how to nail the interview, check out our book: The Young Adult’s Survival Guide to Interviews: Finding the Job and Nailing the Interview.

Get to Work! Careers in the Publishing Industry

By Danielle Lieneman 

As someone with a passion for the written word and literature of all sorts, the publishing industry is one that has had an impact on me. Despite this, I didn’t really know much about the world of publishing until I decided that was going to be my chosen career. The extent of my knowledge came from Hollywood depictions like Margaret Tate from The Proposal (10/10 would recommend, even if its depiction of the publishing industry and its editors is a bit harsh). It wasn’t until I was a junior in college with half of an advertising degree and a few English classes under my belt that I started to wonder about a possible career in the publishing industry.

Editorial

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The most commonly thought of career path within the publishing industry is that of an editor. Editors are responsible for reading manuscripts in search of new talent and working with authors to create a final product. Editors need to be able to balance both an eye for detail (for all those pesky grammar mistakes and plot inconsistencies) and an ability to see the big picture. Bigger publishing houses have numerous editors with varying responsibilities: copyeditors (correct grammatical and spelling errors), commissioning editor (find new manuscripts and read book proposals), and editorial assistants (help with anything needed from administrative to editing duties) At smaller publishing houses these tasks and responsibilities are often combined.

Possible majors: English, Journalism

Marketing and Publicity

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Marketing and sales representatives are responsible for getting the product into the hands of the consumer. They are responsible for the creation of innovative marketing campaigns that will stick with the consumer long past their initial exposure; marketers and publicists create the image of the product for the consumer. Additionally, publicists and marketers work directly with the media to deliver press releases and media kits to garner media exposure for new releases.

Possible majors: Marketing, Public Relations

Design and Production

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If you have an eye for design and consider yourself a visually creative person, design would be the ideal home. From cover design to page layout and font choices, the production department is responsible for ensuring that the final product is visually appealing. Knowledge of InDesign and Photoshop are an absolute must. Production staff work with the manufacturers to ensure the quality of the product. Frequently they are among the first to hold the final copy!

Possible majors: Graphic Design, Advertising

Sales

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Sales representatives work closely with the marketing department to ensure that books are available to consumers. They are responsible for selling books to third party sellers like Amazon, local bookstores, and other booksellers. They frequently have to travel to the client in order to convince them of the quality of work and its capacity for sales. The ability to communicate in an engaging and persuasive manner is an integral trait of a great sales representative. Without the sales department, consumers would be incapable of purchasing the title anywhere except from the publisher directly (wouldn’t that be inconvenient!).

Possible majors: Marketing, Advertising

No matter what track you choose, a career in the publishing industry requires a love of literature and the dedication to work hard. Publishing is a hard field to break into, but it’s well worth the effort. For more information on the publishing industry, everything from writing the novel to getting it on shelves, be sure to check out any of our related titles:

 

Relaxing Reads: Recommendations for Spring Break

By Kylie Widseth

As you might have guessed, when I’m not editing books my favorite pastime is reading. My favorite genre by far is contemporary, so spring break is one of the best times of the year reading in bed.jpgfor me: I get to read my favorite genre for a whole week straight!

I compiled a few of my favorite contemporary books, ones that I think would be perfect to read on spring break, wherever that may take you. Whether spending break at the beach or in your bed at home, these reads will be sure to delight and entertain.

  1. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon — I want to start out with the book that I most recently finished. I thought that this book wouldn’t be as good as everyone said because I had seen so much hype for this book, but oh my goodness, was I wrong! This book follows a Jamaican girl named Natasha and a Korean boy named Daniel. The two end up meeting up on a street in New York City on the day that Natasha is supposed to be deported. This book takes place over the course of a single day, and that idea alone still blows my mind. Please do yourself a favor and read this.
  1. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover – Now I know Colleen Hoover can be quite a controversial author, but I really like her. If you like a good romance , she could be the author for you. Now I really can’t say a whole lot about this book because one of the big things that makes this book successful is just going in blind to the book. Don’t look up reviews or anything because even being spoiled a little can really ruin the beauty of what this book is. I’ve heard people say that her books keep getting better and better, and I definitely agree.. This book was the first one I read by her, and I almost regret it because none of her past books can match this one.
  1. The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke – Sometimes I really believe that I’m a middle-aged women trapped in a young adult body. Either that or I am really starting to “grow out” of young adult books because I find myself reaching for adult books more and more. I think this book is a good in between because it has a really unique plot line that can appeal to younger and older audiences. It’s about a 35-year-old woman named Kate. Her fiancé, Max, decides to call off the wedding while they are at their rehearsal. As expected, Kate is heartbroken and confused. She struggles to really understand what went wrong when she discovers that her Facebook statuses are changing the outcome of her life, whatever she writes in her Facebook status comes true. Now just take a second to really imagine what they would be like! This could be a really great and exciting thing, but it also could create some issues. This book revolves around Kate really trying to understand why Max left her.
  1. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult – Sometimes spring break can be the perfect time to tackle longer novels, or at least that’s what I like to do. This list wouldn’t be complete without a novel from my absolute favorite author, Jodi Picoult. I’m sure you know of some of her more popular books, but this is one of her most underrated books and my personal favorite. This book follows a wife and mother named June. Years ago, one of June’s daughter and her husband were murdered and a man named Shay is on death row for their murders. In present day, June’s daughter, Claire, has been diagnosed with a terminal heart condition and needs to have a heart transplant to survive. Since Shay is already on death row, he wants to donate his heart to Claire as a way to redeem himself. This book follows the trials and tribulations of whether Shay can actually donate his heart and whether June will let the man who killed part of her family donate his heart to her child.
  1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – This book is by another one of my favorite authors. This book can be a little bit of an emotional one, but that only adds to its beauty. As with It Ends With Us, I’m only going to give a little bit of the book away. The main character, Aaron, is battling a decision about a Leteo procedure. This procedure would allow him to completely alter any memory in his life, and throughout the book he contemplates whether this is a good idea and what particular memory in his past he should change. I know that was an incredibly vague description, but once you really get into the book, it will all make sense. This book was incredibly beautiful and one of my favorite books of all time.

beach chair reading.jpgI hope at least a few of this books sounded interesting to you, and if you decide to pick up any of these books let me know what you think of them! Whether you decide to read this books or not, I hope you find just the perfect book to curl up with over your spring break! I know I’m particularly excited to read any and every spare moment I have.

Happy reading!

Write On, Dudes! Advice for Selecting a Major if You Love to Write

By Yvonne Bertovich

Even words can sometimes not express how quintessential it is to the livelihood of writers to write — ironic, isn’t it? Either that first sentence resonated with you or it didn’t. But true writers know that there is frustration and beauty and humor and nuances and isms and honesty and love and hate and so many things they still have left to say in this world — they just have to tap into the right mindset.

College provides the ideal environment to encourage creativity and to push one’s boundaries. If you’re at all interested in writing, here are a few majors that will make you feel at home.

Journalism: If you enjoy “seeking the truth,” synthesizing facts, talking to people (anyonejournalist
from Average Joes to government schmoes), going on adventures, working on deadlines, critical thinking, being creative, and, most importantly, being challenged — journalism may be the right major for you. The course load can be rigorous, but it is nothing short of thrilling and rewarding. This major provides so much real-world experience in communications and pushes you out of your comfort zone (even if you’re shy, like me).
This major is definitely one to consider if you find yourself fascinated by the news, feature stories on anyone and anything, as well as investigative or data-driven pieces of writing.

Public Relations: If you’re a confident, business-minded go-getter, love to write, being creative, and feel that you advocate for others well — public relations may be the major for you. The course load is typically similar to that of journalism, however, the two are different in the sense that public relations focuses on the ability to synthesize information for a client or clients. This may be a large corporation, small company, an individual, a celebrity, or some other entity. 

Advertising: If you enjoy analyzing what makes people tick, thinking critically, thinking creatively, pushing boundaries, taking risks, collaborating, and gathering data —
advertising may be the major for you. We live in a highly consumerist society and are
constantly inundated with options for different products and services. Advertising is for those who want to take a stab at advocating for a product, service, company, whatever, and turn it into “the next big thing.” Advertising involves a lot of research and studies to best gauge what campaigns resonate with consumers and why.

camera.jpgTelecommunications: No, this isn’t just for those who love camera time. You can totally be camera shy and still make it big in the telecom world. Telecommunications is a major perfect for those who love to synthesize large concepts and break them down for the average viewer. This doesn’t mean all of the telecom world is about simplicity. As soon as video storytelling becomes involved, the options for creativity are endless and ever-changing. There is great power in being a telecom professional, because viewers have not only their eyes to read information, but their ears to hear, and their emotions are also made vulnerable.

English: If you’re a traditional guy or gal, enjoy reading, thinking critically, thinking creatively, and just want to write, write, write — the English major may be right for you. Your days and nights will be filled with words and it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for you to feel compelled to craft the next great American novel or book of short stories or collection of poems.

Something else: Even if you do not choose a major where writing is the focus, that doesn’t mean you will not be writing plenty in college in a wide variety of fields. Research papers, reaction papers, essays, dissertations, applications, and more are undoubtedly going to come fluttering your way. There is also the option for many majors to become an English minor. This would allow a definite influx of writing assignments on literature-relevant topics.

writingRegardless of whether or not any of these majors sound appealing to you, don’t ever stop typing, scribbling, or scribing for as long as you feel compelled (even if it’s just to take some extra time on that Instagram caption or for a short story on Twitter). There is so much to be said and so many ways to say it — write on, Dudes!

 

The Blog Post About Blogging

By Danielle Lieneman

Let’s write a blog post about blogging! How meta!

It used to be that when I thought about blogging, it was never something that I thought was for me. I envisioned someone infinitely more talented than me, with more time and a better understanding of HTML, but boy was I wrong. Not only can anyone become a blogger, but the very process makes one a better writer and is infinitely rewarding.

Why start a blog  

Blogging can be a great outlet for those who love to write. Even if no one reads your blog (which happens to the best of us at the very beginning), it’s cathartic to write out your thoughts. For me personally, there’s an added pressure to keep up with my blog posts and writing if I know that people are reading the blog and expecting more posts

Types of Blogs

There’s no set type of format to follow or subject matter to cover when blogging. Blogs can range from entirely personal blogs with personal writing samples to blogs about cooking, makeup, and of course, my personal favorite: books. Usually the easiest part about blogging is deciding what kind of blog you want to create for yourself; you know your interests better than anyone. However, to make your blog stand out there needs to be something special that differentiates yourself from the millions of other blogs on the internet. For example in my personal book blog, instead of just being another blog that writes book reviews, I take the lessons that literature teaches us and apply them to the world around us to learn about different perspectives and cultures. My most recent post was about Frankenstein and how the monster is representative of minorities and anyone that identifies as an “other” within society.

Starting Your Blog

WordPress is easy to navigate and personalize, but other blogging platforms include Wix, Blogger, SquareSpace, and Weebly. No matter which site you use, coming up with a unique and creative domain name is an integral component to your blog’s success. Your blog domain name should be something unique that relates to your future content in some way. Not all sites allow for a change in domain name, so it’s important to be sure before creating the site. For example, my original blog title name was daniellesreadingcorner (I mean honestly, how boring is that??) before I then changed it to livingintheplot to become more engaging and interesting to potential readers.

Most blogging sites provide basic themes free of charge that are fairly easy to personalize with added pages and widgets. This is an important function because the blog should not only be polished and professional looking (especially if you want to include it on a future résumé), but it should reflect who you are and what you want to be. The best part of free themes is that they require little to no knowledge of HTML!

Benefits of Blogs

Creating and maintaining a blog has numerous benefits. It gives the writer experience writing material that other people are going to read. It also provides the opportunity to connect with people from all around the world with similar interests, something that may not otherwise be an option depending on where you live.

If the blog is professional and organized, it could be an item at the bottom of a resume. I’m still convinced that the reason I got an internship at Atlantic Publishing was because I researched the company before, saw that this blog existed, and proceeded to bring up my interest in this blog and my own personal blog. While putting in the research and finding this blog certainly was beneficial to the interview, I think that my obvious passion for books, reading, and writing were what put my interview over the top.

Even if blogs don’t land you a dream job some day, they are a fun way to organize your Screenshot 2017-03-03 10.54.01.pngthoughts and find new friends. Even when I think that no one is reading my ramblings about my latest read, I have a record of how I felt about the novel and can connect with people about it. If you are inspired to start your own blog, or even if you already have a blog and just want some pointers, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us! There’s nothing we would love more than to inspire our readers to start their own blog (We even wrote a book about it to show you how! Available here).

If we’ve convinced you to start your very own blog, send us a message with the URL. We would love to see our reader’s hard work!

~Shamelessly adding a link to my personal blog~