This is Grace here, post-midterms, ready to get back into the swing of things. I’m hoping that classes — and my immune system — no longer consume my life. (And I’m doing the Whole30, which will supposedly help with all that.)
I’m currently typing away from New York City, the first time I’ve gotten to the city since BEA 2015. Since W&L goes later than most other schools (and has a shorter winter break), we get two spring breaks: one “cold weather spring break” and one “warm weather spring break.” I’m in the middle of the first, dubbed Washington Break for our observance of President’s Day, and figured I’d go shop around at some publishing houses and see what the day-to-day of the jobs really are.
Plus, I haven’t gotten the scoop on what 2018 book titles I should get excited for!
I’m hoping to do a BEA-style recap of my time in NYC as I go, or else I’ll forget all the details, so excuse the small bit of lifestyle sneaking its way onto a blog that is — usually — predominantly bookish. Without further ado, here’s what being in NYC has been like again.
I got up around 6 A.M. Getting up early doesn’t bother me — in fact, I love it way more than staying up late. I immediately bundled up in my business casual sweaters, coat. Did my makeup, which I never really do for the daytime. My brother’s godfather drove me to the airport since he was in Tampa, which was kind. Drank a green juice. (Whole30 rocks, y’all.)
I’d missed home. I always try to catalog as much as possible because all the associations are no longer part of my normal. The scent of sunscreen, sweet water soap, neroli. The sounds of birds in the morning. Palm trees!
While I nearly missed my flight, I did not!!! I did, however, leave my keys in Florida because I am an idiot. Working that out, but I was just relieved to be on my flight, where I promptly passed out for a few hours because white noise knocks me out.
When I got to New York, I spent about thirty minutes trying to figure out public transportation before realizing there were no more buses headed my way. Luckily, I ended up with the kindest taxi driver, whose son actually goes to school in Virginia too. “Welcome to the jungle, miss!”
I’m very much a little-things person, and there were a lot of little things I loved about being in NYC again. Especially since it was 70+ degrees and sunny — it felt like I wasn’t giving up so much of the Florida lifestyle I already missed.
When I arrived at Scholastic, I went up to see Jeremy and Jeffrey West again. They’re both friends from blogging who it feels like I’ve known forever. They take good care of me, and had set up all these mini-meetings with Scholastic folks throughout the day.
First, we went to La Mercerié for lunch. I loved the aesthetic — the faded gray brick walls, the wooden platters, the white plates, dried flowers. That’s what I’ll be hunting for in the city — well-branded areas with plenty of character. And the food!
Back at Scholastic, I met with a flurry of people who pitched their jobs/departments to me and answered questions I had about the industry.
- Editorial: project managers, excel at keeping track of deadlines, acquisitions, editing on own time.
- Publicity: managing with editors, author care, lots of writing copy, arranging tour logistics and scheduling.
- Rights: visiting book fairs, negotiating contracts, exploring co-editions and intellectual property.
- Sales: dealing with physical displays, brokering sales (obviously.)
That’s a little simplified, but it’s the basic gist. All the people I met at Scholastic were so nice and helpful — and I ultimately left the day laden down with new books to read. Including the GORGEOUS illustrated version of the second and third books in the Harry Potter series, which will reside on my coffee table someday. Additionally, Jeremy West gave me Ally Carter’s latest, which I’m already about halfway through. (You can preorder here, and support independent bookstores!) Love love love any and all of her books — and this one is no exception.
This is the first time I’ve been to New York without a set agenda, or without spending most of my time in the Javits Center. BEA (BookExpo America) week is a special kind of beast.
To be entirely honest, I love New York but I’m not entirely sure I could handle it for an extended period of time. This week is a bit of an experiment for me, in seeing what I adjust to and what I might want to consider.
After Scholastic, I wandered SoHo for a little while and got something to eat. Now that I’m actually settled in, I’m deciding what I want to hammer into the schedule versus when I want to wander. Mostly, I’m just trying to get a feel for what in publishing I might like to go into (if that’s a field I ultimately pursue) and be around people who thrive on the same creative field that I do.
This weekend, the plan is just to have lots of coffees with people in assorted fields and get a little bit more clarity. Just a little step further to whatever I’ll end up doing that’s not chipping away at a blog I’ve been running for sevenish years.