No More Chicken Sandwiches, and Other Perks of Working for Atlantic

chick fil a sandwich

This sandwich looks amazing right? Well it wasn’t after 2.5 years…

I’m not going to lie. When I got the email asking if I was still interested in working for
Atlantic Publishing, my first thought was that I could finally quit my job at Chick-Fil-A. That was two and a half years of lunch rushes, broken ice cream machines, and fried chicken that would be replaced with an office job doing what I love: inspiring people with the power of books.

When I started five months ago, I didn’t quite know what to expect. While I had repeatedly told myself that a career in the publishing industry was the correct path for me, part of me was worried that I would get there and hate it. Another part of me was apprehensive about the focus on YA and nonfiction because I had never thought about either of those genres as an option. Well between you and me, I was completely wrong. I love publishing. I love nonfiction. I love the YA world.  As a kid I spent more time than I would care to admit in our school library, but let’s just say that the librarians knew my name, reading level, and the books I had already read. They even would keep new arrivals behind the desk for me to go through. I love having the chance to help create new and engaging content that will hopefully impact students like I was impacted.

As one of two marketing interns with no real marketing director above us other than the president of the company, I had an unexpected amount of freedom and a variety of tasks. Some days I would spend hours on Amazon creating ads and updating product descriptions. Other days I would do revisions for an updated edition of our massive Restaurant Managers Handbook. No matter what the rest of my day consisted of, the best part of any day was managing this blog and social media. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that people are reading the words I’ve written and being influenced by them.

keywordsThe publishing industry isn’t always glamorous or exciting. Those hours on Amazon? I can’t say that they’re my favorite part of my job responsibilities, but at the same time I love being able to physically see the impact that my work has on the company when we make a sale.  In the relatively short time that I have been here, many of the ads that I have worked on directly created over five hundred to a thousand dollars in sales.

This semester has been an incredible learning experience. I couldn’t be more grateful to Rebekah, Doug, and Lisa for providing me with the opportunity to learn and grow or to my fellow interns who made the workday so fun.

I can’t wait to continue working here full time next year! Keep reading and keep writing!

 

The Art of Editing, Mysterious Cats, and Phone Scams: My Time at Atlantic Publishing

By Yvonne Bertovich

During my first day in the office at Atlantic Publishing last July, the phone rang and one of my fellow interns picked it up. I thought to myself, “Obviously that must be pretty important. Probably some designer or author following up.. I’m glad I’m not the one answering.” I’m one of those people who gets all twisty inside when I don’t know the answer to something, but I’m definitely quick to admit my shortcomings. Listening in to that phone conversation provided me with my first lesson about Atlantic. “Ma’am, I’m sorry, we’re actually Atlantic Publishing.. You’re referring to Atlantic Publishers. We’ve found out that’s actually a scam company claiming to be based in Colorado.” OK, noted. I work for Atlantic Publishing — names are a big deal, people.

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Another gem from Shutterstock, but honestly not an exaggerated visual representation of these calls.

Unfortunately for us, it was a rare day in the office if we didn’t receive at least two or three accusatory phone calls (usually from older folks) asking where in the heck their magazines were. “Atlantic Publishers” (whoever they are) sends out fraudulent mailers warning magazine subscribers to hurry up and send them money because their subscriptions are running out. Due to the influx of phone calls we received, clearly a lot of people fell for it and thought it was us.

Atlantic Publishing specializes in adult and young adult nonfiction books on a wide variety of topics from taking care of worms to becoming a fashion designer. It’s truly a fascinating range. As an editorial intern, you might assume that every day of work would be about the same — but it hasn’t been. Working at a book publishing company, I assumed I’d constantly be surrounded by books, both old and new, both crisp and shiny or even sour and water damaged. Sure, we have a few books in our office, and our distributing warehouse is right on-site too, but most of my job entails a lot of computer work. Microsoft Word has quickly become my domain, even though I tried to make Pages a thing for a large portion of my life (sorry, Apple).

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I have edited and proofed and added my own bits here and there to manuscripts  for works about the Peace Corps, a massive handbook for restaurant managers, a book about John Quincy Adams, a book about the Russian Revolution, a guide for waiters and waitresses, how to care for cats, how to become a U.S citizen, how to survive long distance relationships, a guide for filmmakers, a guide to studying, a guide for new professors and new teachers, a book about living a healthy lifestyle, etc. I’m forgetting many, I’m sure. I was even able to undertake a re-write project for a young adult’s book on pet-sitting (coming soon) and write regular blog posts.

One of my favorite moments was helping interview the second-oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, Lt. Jim Downing, for a book in our historical anniversary series. Downing, who had recently celebrated birthday number 1-0-3, provided a wealth of information in a warm, yet lulling voice. You could feel how much the ordeal stuck with him. Downing, also interviewed in publications such as Time Magazine, shared a story of how he helped send handwritten letters home to troops’ families — being especially useful in narrating the words of those who were recovering in the infirmary. He even took on the painful task of gathering dog tags of the deceased and further detailing deaths to family members overseas. He knew all of his 1,500 shipmates on the USS Virginia personally, because of his position as postmaster on the ship. He’s not sure how many handwritten letters he sent, but he estimated well into the hundreds.

Like Downing, I believe there’s something very special and personal in handwritten letters. Another small project I loved at Atlantic was when I wrote thank you notes to contributors to the young adult title “So You Want to Be a Fashion Designer.” The main contributor was the winner of Project Runway Junior, and I recognized the names of several other contributors from the regular version of the show.

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Considering that I have been involved with Atlantic for roughly 10 months, the office landscape has changed in small ways (for example, there was an office cat at one point that mysteriously came and went who I lovingly named LeBron), but my acquisition of knowledge has remained pretty steady, as well as my love of sorting through hundreds of corny stock photos to find ones worthy of use for our books (personally, I think the cornier the better, but it’s all about the readers).

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One of my favorites that Shutterstock had to offer when I searched for “college students.”

Once you assume the role of an editor of other people’s work — real work that will be produced sold in the real world — it’s hard to turn this switch off when proofreading your own writing. I am incredibly thankful to have gained an even greater appreciation for the written word and yes, even good grammar.

Being an editorial intern all these months hasn’t made me into a perfect writer, no. That’s the beauty of writing. It’s ever-fluid and ever-changing. One word swap can change the meaning of a whole block of text. It’s one of those areas where there is always room for improvement. I’ll read something I wrote three months ago, three weeks ago, or even three days ago and scoff at myself, “Wow, what was I thinking.” Some people call it self-deprecation but I call it fun. Your toughest opponent in life is yourself (or some other weird slogan with an 80s aerobic gym flavor). Or, in some cool cases too, I’ll reread something I’ve written and re-inspire myself for a current project or enjoy revisiting something I’m proud of.

Working at Atlantic has caused me to be even more critical, analytical, and curious. It has reaffirmed that I’m at least somewhat on the right path to having a successful career due to the support I’ve received from my editors Rebekah and Lisa, and my boss, Doug. I’m honestly just thankful it got me out of the newsroom, at least for a while. I may be a journalism major, but I’m no newsie.

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?

 

 

 

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~

7 Revision Tips You’ll Find Useful For Big Projects

1267_4944364By: Grace Hudgins

I’m currently revising a book about team building exercises in the workplace, which is a lot let me tell you. But it’s only overwhelming because of all the tasks that go along with revising a second edition book — or any edition for that matter.

I’ve learned a few things this past month that have helped me organize my thoughts and ideas when it comes to editing in general, so I’ve decided to share them with you all.

1. Read through your script

Whether it’s a book, paper, or article you’re editing, read through it first before making any changes. It’s easier to see which sections need to be edited or taken out this way.

Reading your copy will make it easier for you to know the type of content you need to add to it, too. Sometimes it’s hard to follow the tone of other authors, but once you get a feel for their writing style, you can adapt to it quickly.

It’s important to actually know what you’re editing or writing — I mean actually know it and understand it. If you’re looking for sources to contribute to your assignment, you need to be able to give them a summary easily. Nothing is more embarrassing than having a professional ask for details about a story you’re reporting on or a book you’re writing, and you end up providing them with inaccurate information or no detail.

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2. Make a to-do list

Once you’ve read your material, you’ll have a greater sense of how much work needs to be done. Even if the workload is small, make a to-do list for yourself. This way, you can keep track of what you have and have not done. Setting deadlines for yourself is also helpful; that way, you can avoid procrastination (don’t lie to yourself, we all do it).

3. Make an outline

My editor suggested this to me, and it’s been really helpful. Instead of getting to certain sections of the book as I go, I made an outline of the entire book instead. Now, the content is organized in the way I want it to be before I try to write multiple chapters in one sitting.

This helped me gather my thoughts, and it made me feel more organized. I had 365 team building activities to sift through, so categorizing them and then placing them in an outline made it easier to decide what to write about and where to put it. It also makes the book flow better. It’ll be easier for my readers to pick activities that relate to their teams.

4. Check all facts and update all research

It’s common to have facts in nonfiction books. It’s one of the reasons books are revised. But, just because a fact was published before doesn’t mean it’s still accurate. Always double-check. It’s embarrassing to publish inaccurate information, and it looks bad, too.

If there are facts in your paper, book, or article that are more than five years old, then I would update them. There is an abundance of research on just about every person, place, or thing on the internet, and chances are new studies have been published on the topic you’re writing about.

5. Pace Yourself

Deadlines are hard, but don’t lose sleep over a project — unless it’s due the next day. Start early, and be productive; that way, you can give yourself time to take breaks in between editing long sections.

It’s easy to overlook small errors because you’re tired or not focused, which leads to more mistakes that you’re suppose to be catching. So, take as much time as you need on parts that you think need it, and don’t try to rush your work.

6. Remember the basics

Of course, don’t forget your basic writing and editing skills — grammar, spelling, grammerpunctuation, sentence structure, and if you’re a reporter, AP Style. If you aren’t sure about a hyphen or the spelling of a word, look it up online on Merriam-Webster’s website. It’s the most accurate for spelling. English websites are also great guides for the rest, and AP Style has it’s own guidebook for journalists, but you can see a brief overview of the main points here. Utilize your resources, in print or online, and trust your gut feeling. If you think a sentence sounds wrong, then rewrite it.

7. Breathe

Editing and writing big projects can be a little overwhelming at the beginning, but remember to breathe and take your time. Not rushing through your work gives you more time to think creatively and come up with more ideas. I thought of some of my best ideas when I wasn’t staring at my MacBook or rough draft.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, too. You can ask professors, editors, or your peers who have experience for guidance on big projects. It’s nice to get ideas from other people. They might give you the perfect idea you’ve been looking for or catch a small error that you overlooked.

Revising any project takes a lot of time from what I’ve learned so far. I’m used to banging projects out in two days or less, which is why I felt so behind and overwhelmed at first. But I realized I needed to take my time and ask my editor for advice when I felt stuck.

Now, I’m almost finished with my team-building book. Next week, I’ll fine-tune it before I send it back to my editor, which I wouldn’t have completed so smoothly if I hadn’t organized my time and taken advantage of all the things I just talked about above.

Oh, one more MAJOR tip: don’t ever send your work back to an editor (or someone higher than you) without proofreading the whole thing first — it’s unprofessional. It’s OK to have a few minor mistakes in your copy, but you were editing the project for a reason, not making it worse.

Have fun, and happy revising!

Five Things I Learned from My Internship at Atlantic Publishing

By Taylor Gaines

It’s hot outside. You probably feel like you need to shower two to seven times a day to deal with the humidity (that’s not just Florida, right?). The days are actually longer during summer than any other time of the year. But for some reason, whether you are in school, working at a job, or just hanging out at home, summer always seems to be gone before you know it.

This summer was certainly no different for me, one that I spent here at Atlantic Publishing blogging and writing and editing and phone calling and twittering and sitting and standing and driving and much, much more. I did and learned more than I could have ever hoped for during my internship here at Atlantic. But for my last blog post as an intern, I want to take the time to talk about some of the things I’ve learned from my time here.

So, without further ado, here are five things I learned from being an intern at Atlantic Publishing.

1) Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect, but It Sure helps

The old adage about bringing your lunch pail to work every day is certainly tired and more than a little cliché. You’re probably pretty close to journeying far away from this part of the internet just because I brought it up. But listen. There really is something to it!

As a writer, there is something I find incredibly soothing, nourishing, and beneficial to coming in every day and working on my skills. Whether I was writing blog posts, editing upcoming books, or making phone calls to sales reps, I felt like I was improving my skills in one way or another on a daily basis.

In my first blog post, I wrote about the importance of reading and writing a lot if you want to become a good writer. I have to say — and I’m far from perfect — I feel more strongly about that than ever. Writing is not about being struck by creative inspiration and writing the Next Great American Novel. Writing is about sitting down at your desk every day and spitting out words. You can’t get better if you don’t put anything down on the paper (or the screen).

2) Hard Work is Contagious

Maybe you’ve been vaccinated and can’t be infected by it, but in my experience here at Atlantic Publishing, I’ve found that hard work is incredibly contagious. Whether it was our editor, Rebekah, working in the cubicle across the way or the warehouse guys working their butts off next door, I always felt like I had to work harder just to keep up with everyone else here at IMG_2008Atlantic. Looking around and seeing that everyone else wants to do a great job definitely makes you work a little harder so that you feel you deserve to be working alongside them.

It’s like when you watch the Super Bowl-winning team rant and rave about how great their locker room environment was and how they really pushed each other to success. Listen, I’m not 100 percent sure if we could put together a Super Bowl-winning team here at Atlantic. But I like our chances.

3) We Are Not Atlantic Publishers

I’m sure that when I was telling family and friends about my internship this summer, I may have accidentally called the company Atlantic Publishers once or twice at the beginning. Heck, I’m Criminalssure we’ve all done it. Publishing, publishers; they’re pretty similar words, I don’t blame you. But let me tell you something.

WE ARE NOT ATLANTIC PUBLISHERS. We are Atlantic Publishing. Atlantic Publishers is a scam magazine subscription company based out of Colorado who tries to steal money out of the pockets of the elderly. They send fake bills to people and ask them to send money in. Do not send them money. Do not pay $200 a year to subscribe to People Magazine. If you do either of those things, don’t expect the magazine to actually come in the mail. If you get a bill from Atlantic Publishers, throw it out. It’s not real. And it’s not us. It’s a completely different — and far less legitimate — company. We don’t like them either.

Trust me, we get a lot of calls about it.

4) Commuting Isn’T Really that Bad (But it Kind of is)

I don’t think I ever really understood why my dad was always complaining about his hour-plus commute to work. I wasn’t necessarily running around going Get over it already, Dad, but I definitely didn’t get why it wasn’t something you didn’t just get used to. But you know what, I get it. I drove 45-50 minutes three days a week to work at Atlantic, and I got annoyed by it sometimes. It can be long, and draining, and really mess with your sleep schedule when you have to factor a couple hours of driving into your schedule every day.

But it’s also kind of comforting and soothing to hop in the car and go into the office like a grown-up. I took a route without much traffic, and I have a pretty healthy podcast diet. So I usually had something to look forward to. I’ve always been one to be catching up on podcasts a week or two after they come out because there are just too gosh-darn many that I really like listening to and not enough time to listen to them. But you want to know something about commuting? I am always caught up on podcasts. Not only that, I find myself looking forward to new episodes coming out rather than dreading having to catch up on all of them. It’s an entirely new cultural experience for me.

(Okay, maybe I care about the podcast thing a little more than I should…but still! It’s pretty great!)

5) Publishers Do a Lot of Stuff

I never would have considered how many different things go down at a book publishing company.

There’s writing and editing; those things I expected. There’s emailing, answering phones, and having meetings; those things I should have expected. Then there’s inputting book data into something called ONIX, calling sales reps for libraries and schools around the country, and finding reputable professionals to write forewords and case studies for our books. Those things actually make books and book-selling happen, and I never even considered them.

There are a million more things, too. We check books for plagiarism, we look up BISAC codes, and we make glossaries and indexes for our books. We even have a distribution center right next door to our editorial office. Really, it all happens here. I may have thought I would come to Atlantic, do some writing, do some editing, and be on my way. Instead, I did that and much, much more, getting a ground-level look at the publishing world and seeing the ways it is changing and evolving every day.

I’m not sure I’ve earned the right to pull of some kind of poetic ending to this post or to make some kind of memorable goodbye (and hey, it’s not like I’m dying, my internship is just ending), so I’ll just say this. Thank you for reading. I hope you learned something at some point, or at least enjoyed something. Keep reading, and keep writing. We’ll see you real soon.

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Writing Help + Life Tips: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

By: Lauren Capps

As writers, we all have struggles to overcome when we start out and are knee-deep in an 80,000-word book. The constant questions and doubts running through your mind can start to overwhelm you, and if it does, maybe you think it just isn’t worth it to keep going. Or that you need to delete the whole project and forget about it.

Well, I am here to tell you, do not do anything of that sort. You are a writer. You live, sleep, and dream about characters, plots, and even movie adaptations that you hope will become a reality someday. Don’t give that up just because it’s hard or you don’t think you are good enough.

Some of the main struggles that I and other writers have gone through or even worried about are:

“Am I a good writer?”

“Does this sound right?”

“Good Lord, this is awful. I’m deleting that and starting over.”

“What is my writing voice?”

“How would this compare to (insert author here)?”

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And many more.  But the main topic of this post is to help you stop comparing yourself to other writers. If you clear that doubt from your judgment, you will be one step closer to success. Here are some ways to show how comparing impacts your life, and some tips to help you overcome it.

“Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self.” -Iyanla Vanzant

1. Comparing Stops the Learning Process

By focusing on others’ work and always envying what they do, it can stop the process of learning how that person is successful or how they write so well. If you focus on finding their secrets to success, then you will be able to apply it to your own work.

2. Don’t Compare Yourself to the Likes of, Say, Stephen King

If you are comparing your unpublished, never-before-seen-by-the-public work to the likes of the best books by the best authors, you are only putting yourself down, and it will negatively impact your work. As a first time author or a newly published one trying to get your work noticed, you can’t expect to be as good as them. I know it’s hard to hear, and sometimes the truth hurts. Focus on yourself only. Think of ways you can be successful in your own right. Sit down and write the best way you know you can, so you don’t even need to think about those high-end authors.

3. Comparing Takes Away Control

By constantly comparing yourself to others, you are letting it not only impede your judgment but also take control of your life. It will negatively impact your emotions and values. It’s a destructive habit that only you can get out of. By taking back the control over your life, you can choose to be positive and focus on what really matters — your own work.

“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.” -Shannon L. Alder

4. If You Need to Compare, Compare Yourself

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Sometimes comparing and competing can be beneficial instead of negatively impacting. Don’t compare yourself to James Patterson; instead, compare yourself to yourself. Think about what you have achieved in life and see how successful you have become already.

Look at the progress you have made in your book — have you written 50,000 words? That’s awesome! Use this shift of thought to help you overcome negative habits, and it will only show in your work to come.

5.  Break the Habit

If none of those tips helped you, and you are still having a hard time with comparing yourself to others, try to break the habit. The first step is to be aware of when you are judging yourself or your work to others. When you do, stop yourself and think: “I am better than this. I am a good person and a good writer.” Think about positive things like how you won that writing contest, or any positive aspect of your life. Don’t focus on your weaknesses but rely on your strengths to help you overcome negative thoughts. And finally, be yourself.

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If you are OK with who you are and how you do you, you won’t need to compare yourself to others. Stay focused, stay positive, and kick that nasty habit to the curb. By doing this one simple thing, the only direction your life is going is up!

“Whatever your passion is, keep doing it. Don’t waste time chasing after success or comparing yourself to others. Every flower blooms at a different pace. Excel at doing what your passion is and only focus on perfecting it. Eventually, people will see what you are great at doing, and if you are truly great, success will come chasing after you.”-Suzy Kassem

 

 

 

Writing Hacks: 5 Tips to Help You Start Your First Nonfiction Book

By: Rebekah Sack, Editor

Starting a book can be a pretty daunting task — especially if your goal is to write a fiction book that carefully reflects the life you’ve lived in some profound, poetic, literary way. However, if you really need to get your name in print, starting with a nonfiction book can be the perfect way to jumpstart your career.

Nonfiction is much easier to write and edit than fiction. There is less “creative justice” that must be served — though being creative certainly shouldn’t be dismissed — but that means that the editor won’t get caught up in ambiguous territory. Most nonfiction prose is pretty straightforward: that sentence isn’t parallel? Fix it. This chapter seems out of order? Move it around. This date is wrong? Change it.

The writing process also closely imitates that of a research paper. You do the research on the topic at hand, take close notes while doing so, and then you begin.

But, for many people, that’s where the “ummm, what?” faces start to form. How exactly do you begin? Here are 5 easy tips to get your first nonfiction book in print.

1. Figure out who you’re writing for

So, you want to write a book. You’re a natural-born writer, but the writing world seems like a catch-22, right? If you don’t have something published with your name on it, the big publishers won’t take you seriously.

That’s where considering a work-for-hire job can be useful. These kinds of jobs mean that you take the topic that the publisher assigns you, and you churn out the book for a set amount of pay. You don’t earn royalties on the book, but you do earn the invaluable experience of working for a professional publisher as well as an editor. Many fiction writers spend years working on their drafts, and they never see their work come to fruition (meaning they never earn a dime).

To find work-for-hire writing jobs or freelance writing gigs in general, check out Upwork and LinkedIn. I get messages on LinkedIn often about freelance opportunities, and you’d be surprised how successful this kind of networking can be. There are others, but as an editor for a publishing company that frequently hires work-for-hire freelancers, these are the ones I would recommend.

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2. Research similar books on Amazon

Whether you land the work-for-hire job or you plan to start your book on your own, it’s important to be clear about what’s already on the market. For example, let’s say you want to write a book for young adults about bullying. The logical first step would be to type “bullying book for teens” or something of that nature into the Amazon search engine and to look closely at the first page of results. Take note of the titles (unless your publisher has already finalized the title in a work-for-hire circumstance) and use the “Look Inside” feature to browse the table of contents. What appeals to you? What kinds of topics are being covered? What appears to be missing? You may find areas that you wouldn’t have thought to include in your book, but your key is finding the missing stuff — what are people in need of that isn’t being given to them?

That’s the sweet spot, and that’s exactly what you need to capitalize on to make a name for yourself in the industry.

It can also be useful to test out questions on social media or to your target audience. You might come up with a list of questions like these:

  1. How prevalent is bullying in your life?
  2. What do you want to know about bullying?
  3. Do you have any personal stories regarding bullying?
  4. What do you think other people should know about bullying?

3. Draft up an outline

Once you’re comfortably familiar with what is already on the market, it’s time to draft up your outline. Again, some publishers might actually already have an outline for you to work from, but many won’t — they’ll expect you to come up with one yourself that the editor will approve.

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I have seen many outline submissions myself, and I have a few do’s and don’ts:

DO

  • Format your document carefully.
  • Include brief statements explaining what your headings mean.
  • Be thorough — a half-page or even a one-page outline is lazy.
  • Try to group things in threes — If Chapter 1 has 2 subheadings, do your best to come up with a third. In general, when things are grouped in threes, it feels more right.
  • Make note of sources you have that might help with a certain section — this will help you in the long run.
  • Do NOT send in an unpolished outline for an editor to review. You will drive me her crazy.

DON’T

  • Be sloppy.
  • Include too many details — while a 6-page outline with paragraphs under each chapter heading might seem like a good idea, at the end of the day, the editor expects an outline review to take a short amount of time. If she has to sift through a 6-page paper, you’re making her life a bit more difficult than it needs to be. Keep your detailed notes in a separate document and only include short descriptors.
  • Have underwhelming titles. Your goal is to impress and to have an outline that is as close to the finished product as possible. You will have leeway as you write, but do your best to brainstorm the best titles and headings.
  • Leave out key information. This is why researching what is already out there is so important. Take careful notes of what everyone else is doing so that you know you aren’t missing something. If you’re writing a book about managing a restaurant and you forget to mention scheduling issues, you’ve missed the mark.

4. Stick to a schedule

I’ve seen it happen, and it’s not pretty. The deadline is at the end of the month, and you’re only one-third of the way there. While setting a writing schedule can be intimidating, do your best to plan a certain amount of time to work every single day. I would advise against a specific word count (I’m going to write 1,500 words every day), messy deskand I would steer you more towards a time-related goal (I’m going to sit down for 1.5 hours every day). The reason for this is that not all of the work you’re going to be doing is writing.

With nonfiction work, there’s a lot of research and documentation that needs to be done. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself sitting down and spending 30-45 minutes just reading the latest research. That doesn’t directly translate into a word count goal, but it does count toward the progress of your project.

The important thing is that you’re sitting down every day, and you’re progressively working toward the finish line. If you don’t keep up with it, you might find yourself being kicked off of the project, or worse, never finishing the book you set out to complete.

5. When you’re done editing, edit some more

This is particularly important if you’re not doing a work-for-hire job, but no matter how you slice it and dice it, it’s still key to producing quality writing. When you submit a manuscript to anyone, whether it be an agent, a publisher, or your editor, it should be, for all intents and purposes, an edited draft. There should not be any grammar or punctuation mistakes, the sentences should be coherent and well-formed, and there should be little to no thoughtless mistakes, such as the word “or” being “of” on accident.

An editor expects to fix things, but not careless mistakes. She expects to fine-tune — move this sentence here, add a paragraph here, create a hook there — not to be doing spell-check for you on what was supposed to be your final draft. Take pride in your work. Sure, you might be working for a miniscule paycheck, but your reputation is on the line. This is your stepping stone, and you’re making a name for yourself. Only submit work that you’re proud of, and you’re on your way to becoming a successful author.

Happy writing!

Break The Ice: Five Team-building activities to use this Fall

By: Grace Hudgins

Getting acquainted in a new place is probably one of the hardest things to do as a young adult. I’ve heard it doesn’t get much easier when you’re an adult either – not to be a Debby-downer or anything. But as students, we’re constantly meeting new people, becoming a part of a new team or leading a set of students on our own.

I’m currently rewriting a book that has 365 team-building activities – emphasis on the 365 – so icebreakers and team bonding exercises are the only topics that I can think about this week. It’s kind of beneficial for me though because of the leadership positions I have in college. I’m always trying to think of new activities to bring my group members closer together, and this book has given me a couple of great ideas.

So this week, I’ve decided to pass along my now expert-knowledge on teamwork and introductions to you all just in case you have a leadership position back at school like me.

Below, I’ve listed 5 icebreakers that don’t suck are sure to make your first few classes/team meetings/orientations a breeze.

1. Two Truths and a Lie

This is a classic icebreaker that’s used at pretty much every orientation, team meeting, or first day of school/classes. It’s a great way to get to know people. No matter if they are just your classmates, teammates or club members, it’s a great start to conversation.

How it works: Everyone will write two true facts about themselves and one lie. Taking turns, everyone will read what he or she wrote and have the others guess at which fact is the lie. It’s fun to include personal facts that are surprising to people, and hear about what people actually have and have not done.

78_32944772. The Name Game

I’m sure there are more versions of this game, but the one I’ve listed is a lot of fun. I’ve played it at many leadership retreats and dance camps, and it’s always successful.

How it works: Each person writes his or her own name on a tag. The leader then collects all the names and the team sits in a circle. The leader then sticks the tags on the backs of the people at random. When the leader says, “go,” everyone gets up and tries to find his or her tag. Each person also tries to prevent others from seeing the tag that is on their back. When team members find their tags, they grab them and put them on their chests. The game ends when everyone has found his or her tag.

3. Find the Common Thread

Different details can be added to this exercise to make it fit the occasion you’re using it for. It’s fun to play because you get to see how much you have in common with those around you.

How it works: Divide your team/class/group members into two, and give them a chart with how many ever slots your heart desires. From there, your team will have to walk around and talk with others to find out if they have anything in common. Ten is usually a good number because it’s not too long or too short. Whoever has the most first wins.

4. Gifts and Hooks

As I was researching different team-building exercises for the book I’m revising, I came across this one written by a managing director for leadership strategies. It’s simple, will get your team talking, and maybe even form a bond of trust between group members. It can be used for students also to help with group projects and assignments.

How it works: Have each person write down their “gifts” or skills they think they can contribute to the team, along with a “hook,” which is a flaw, that they think they could improve. Once that’s finished, have them walk around and discuss it with a partner or have them post their answers on a wall. From there, the leader (if that’s you) can decide who will work best with whom or figure out how to tackle the year ahead. For more details, read the instructions here.

5. Color Personality Tests

These are a lot of fun, and they make people think about their everyday actions. You can find these online anywhere, but it’s basically a survey that will tell your team members what kind of personalities they have. Once everyone has figured out what color and personality type they have, it will be easier to group certain students together based on their results.

How it works: Check this one out as an example.


Here are three that suck are not very good.

1.What Animal Are You?

Yeah. I saw this one as an employee team-building activity. I don’t really think I need to explain it either. Piece of advice: Don’t make students who are in high school or college play animal charades as an icebreaker, much less full-grown adults at work. Just take my advice and don’t do it.

2. Make the Largest Bubble67_3979458

Yes, you read that right. This is an exercise where team members have to make bubbles out of soap. Not sure why anyone would think this activity builds character, but I wouldn’t suggest it to people 10 and up (or period, but that’s just me).

3. Share the Crayon

This is another one I researched that didn’t really make sense to give to people older than 10, but to each his own, you know?

How it works: Each team member gets a different color crayon. Give the team a subject to draw and color. They must create the object together. Everyone must use his or her own crayon and only one person can draw at a time. The goal is for everyone to use his or her crayon at least once in the picture. You can choose different objects to draw.

At the end of the day, you know your team the best. So, if the last three activities I listed would work well for your team, then by all means give them a go. Just try to keep in mind the age group of your team’s members and what your team needs to become stronger.

The Internet is a great research tool, as well. So if you can’t wait for my new book to come out in a few months or so, I know Google would suffice until then (wink). Happy preparing to all you fellow leaders/presidents/board members!

Good luck, and have fun team building!