Journals Marketing and Sales Coordinator, Wayne State University Press
Please tell us a bit about yourself (e.g. hometown, current locale, course of study).
I grew up in Memphis, TN, where I attended an all girls’ school. I moved to the other side of the world (aka Boston) for college, studying advertising at Boston University. I loved Boston so much that I decided to stay a little longer and get a masters in publishing and writing at Emerson College. After grad school I moved to a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, where I currently live with my fiancé.
Describe some of your current responsibilities, and what type of organization you belong to.
For the past two years, I have been the journals marketing and sales coordinator at Wayne State University Press. I am responsible for distributing journal issues (online and in print) as soon as they are released; selling subscriptions, single issues, and articles to individuals, institutions, and subscription agents; and promoting our 11 journals through a variety of marketing efforts. This involves working with a number of online platforms that disseminate scholarly content, as well as with my counterparts at other university presses.
What was your first scholarly publishing role? How did you get that job? What path led to your current position?
I had interned a couple of places previously, but my current position is my first “real job” in scholarly publishing. People told me all through school that the only way to get a job was to know someone, to network. I know people who have found jobs that way, including me; a couple of my pre-publishing jobs came from knowing someone who knew someone. But the jobs I’ve been most excited about—and ended up enjoying the most—were the ones I got on my own, without anyone having to put my résumé in front of the right person. And that’s exactly how I got my current job. I saw the posting on the AAUP job board, applied, interviewed, and was offered the position. I had had two internships at scholarly publishing houses, one of which was in journals marketing, so my path was logical and linear, and my qualifications made sense on paper. That was important to me; I liked being able to point out for my potential employer exactly where I had gained all of the knowledge and experience I would need for the job.
If there was a pivotal moment or key person in your career development, please describe briefly.
My current manager has been incredibly influential over the past two years. She’s encouraged me to pursue professional development opportunities, and given me the latitude to expand my role in whatever ways made sense and were appealing to me. Receiving the SSP Early Career Travel Grant was also a significant turning point for me. Attending the conference allowed me to meet people in scholarly communication outside of the university press world, who have valuable perspectives and different approaches to some of the challenges we all face.
What tools, web sites and organizations do you find most valuable for your career development?
Scholarly Kitchen is great for keeping up with news in our corner of the publishing world, but I also like to stay abreast of trends in the broader publishing industry. I subscribe to the Publishers Lunch and Shelf Awareness Pro daily emails for that news. Organizations like SSP and AAUP are key places to connect with others in scholarly publishing. The people in our industry are so open and community-focused. Everyone is willing to share ideas and talk about what they’re working on, so it would be a waste of resources not to reach out to other presses when approaching new initiatives.
What are some of the surprises/obstacles that you’ve encountered during your career?
The biggest surprise has actually been the lack of obstacles. It’s not a cutthroat race to the top. There are always new things to learn, and evolving technologies to contend with, but there is also always someone willing and able to offer guidance.
What do you wish you knew more about?
I wish I were more conversant in the wide array of subject areas our journals cover. I sometimes correspond with the editors and wish I had something intelligent to add about anthropological genetics or film studies.
What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?
When in doubt, get more education. That doesn’t have to mean another degree (although that was my approach). Read everything you can about the industry, and figure out what you think about what you’re reading. Before an interview, do a ton of research. Have opinions and, if possible, new ideas about what the company is doing or could be doing. And once you get that first job, learn as much as you can about absolutely everything going on around you, even if it’s not directly relevant to what you do right now. Find out out what everyone around you does, and how your responsibilities connect to and affect theirs. The more you understand about the bigger picture, the larger operation you’re a part of, the better you’ll be at your role.
Follow me on Twitter @J_Markowitz and check out the journals I work on at www.wsupress.wayne.edu/journals