The Magic of Books

2 Jun

Books are magic. I always have believed that in some form or fashion. As a little girl, I was convinced books just magically appeared at the stores, like candy and pasta. I wasn’t sure how they got there; maybe a large, studious stork carried them. It didn’t really matter how they got to the store, it mattered that they got to me. I decided very early on I wanted to be forever surrounded by books. I dreamed of owning the elaborate library in Beauty and the Beast, and I still dream that to this day. Of course, this was all before I actually could read.

Once I traded pretending to read the picture-filled pages upside down for actually reading the text on the page, I found out just how magical books really are. Through hundreds of thousands of collective pages, I was able to escape the tiny town I lived in and explored new worlds of which I could hardly dare to dream. I dodged around the streets of London with Oliver, fought terrorists alongside Dirk Pitt, fell in love and had my heart broken with Maurice, and learned to spell with the Sesame Street gang.

As magical as I always have found books, it’s a wonder I didn’t turn to publishing sooner. In fact, the publishing field never occurred to me. I tested the waters in other industries throughout high school. I wrote for Teen Trib for three years and found out newspaper writing really wasn’t for me. I spent a week of a summer at Presidential Classroom only to discover that, while I enjoyed the experience, I was not cut out for politics or government. By my senior year in college, I had no clue what I was going to do.

I thought I had run out of options, but the magic of books stepped in again. By chance, I applied through the English Department for an internship at a publishing house. I sent out one resume (something I do not recommend any student do!) and was lucky enough to land at TCU Press. My supervisors supported me and encouraged me to pursue publishing.

It was at my internship that I discovered books were a little less magic and a little more elbow-grease. I originally had believed that books, though not delivered by storks, arrived at the publisher’s completely finished and ready to be printed. That was before I got to see my very first unedited manuscript. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a little overwhelmed, but I would be lying even more if I said I didn’t love it all the same.

Convinced that publishing was my path, but unsure of what focus I wanted, I spent the following summer at New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute, a six-week intensive course in the publishing field. I really felt the magic of publishing those few weeks. The first three weeks, we focused on magazines, which was fascinating and much more fast-paced than I had imagined. It was the last half of the program, though, that sticks with me. There was a panel of editors, mostly from the Big Six (Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster), who spoke to us about editing. I saw a passion and pride in their eyes as they discussed the various projects they had worked on, even a few New York Times bestsellers. I knew then and there that I wanted that piece of magic, that emotional thrill when you hold a finished copy in your hands, and I knew that I wanted to get there as an editor.

A little while later, I find the magical wand in my hand. I have passed through the mystical curtain and have stepped into the world of publishing as an editor here at TSTC Publishing, my dream job.

In whatever spare time I have, I also work as a volunteer acquisitions editor for a publishing house out of Florida and help zombie/apocalyptic authors with their novels. From here, I want to grow as an editor and learn all of the technical skills of the trade. As far as I am concerned, there is so much more to learn. I look forward to the challenges and tight deadlines and red pen shortages ahead. Somehow, editing is what I wanted to do all along, and the magic of books guided me here.

–Ana

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