B.A. in English, 2008
M.A. in English, 2010
Most enjoyable experience(s) as an English major:
My fellow classmates!
Senior Publicity and Promotions Manager
University Press of Mississippi
When you graduated with a degree in English from MSU, what were your plans for your future? Has your career path mostly realized those early plans, or have you discovered new plans and goals along the way?
When I graduated from MSU, I only knew that I wanted to do something books. Publishing was on my radar but doing what I wasn’t sure. I started as a Marketing Assistant at UPM because it was frankly the only opening at the time. I had never really considered Marketing (in my head all publishing gigs looked a lot like the editorial role—I never considered all the many departments and roles there are in publishing!), but I really love what I’m doing.
What is your current occupation, and what does your work mostly consist of?
In basic terms, I’m the publicist for UPM. My main goal is to publicize our books, authors, and the press. I do that by creating marketing plans for our books which consists of activities like sending review copies and news releases, advertising, and social media.
Which skills that you learned as an English major do you use most in your job?
I do a lot of writing in my job. I write news releases, captions for social media posts, copy for ads and other publicity materials, respond to dozens of emails every day and I am constantly proofreading!
What additional skills did you need to learn in order to do your job, and how did you learn them?
Because I was always such a reader and writer, I hadn’t had much experience in business and marketing. It wasn’t hard to pick up, though. I feel like my love of books really helps to sell them!
Are there common misconceptions about your career field, which current English majors might share, that you have learned the truth about?
I touched on this briefly but there are actually a lot of roles in publishing that are not just the editor role. Marketing, sales, business officers, book designers, copy editors—publishing houses need different people with different skill sets!
In what ways does your career enrich your life and help you to achieve your personal as well as your professional goals?
I have always really enjoyed books and reading and writing, but I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher. This job has allowed me to have a career based on the things I love.
What advice do you have for undergraduate English majors right now who might want to follow the career path you did?
The best way to get a feel for publishing is to be an intern or a part-time assistant at a UP. University presses (or scholarly presses) are a little different from the commercial presses (like Penguin, Random House, etc.), but the work is mostly the same and you don’t have to live in New York to get the experience! In fact, most states in the US have at least one UP.
Updated October 2021