Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

M.A. Candidate – Publishing and Writing November 16, 2012

I’ve always been fascinated by the Book Publishing industry.


When I was a child I was enamored by books; their creation was such a mystery and I was interested in everything. Who was the author? How did the author get the idea to tell this story? Who was in charge of making it a book? How was the book manufactured? How is it that the book is available for us to purchase? How did they get that shiny gold edge on the pages of our bibles? How do people get into this business?

Upon acquiring a new book I would look first to the copyright page. I wanted to know as much as possible about its origins, I wanted to somehow unravel the mystery, but for some reason it never occurred to me that book publishing was a tangible career possibility.

Not until my senior year of undergraduate college, while interning for a journal published through my university, was I introduced to the behind-the-scenes of publishing. I found it fascinating. From acquiring works, to selecting which pieces to include in the journal, to editing the pieces, to electronically formatting the works for print publication, everything was enthralling.  I enjoyed it so much that the journal’s Editor suggested I intern for the university’s press. My university had a press? I hadn’t known a thing about it, and I was ecstatic.

During my time at the university press I began to see the mysteries of book publishing revealed right before my eyes. I wanted to know more; I wanted to learn everything. There are only a handful of universities in the country which offer Master’s degrees in Publishing; I knew that Emerson College would be perfect for me. Five years passed before I was able to attend; one mortgage, two children, the roller coaster of my abusive marriage, and the continual lack of finances all attributed. Nevertheless, I was determined to make it to Boston, to learn even more about the ins and outs of the industry, to meet and network with people who actually work in publishing, to further unravel the mystery, the magic, of bookmaking.

Being here has been wonderful. I love the city, I love the school and the people that I am surrounded by, who are as enamored by good writing and beautiful manufacturing as I am. I have met people on all sides of the industry, from authors, to editors, to marketing folk, from agents, to booksellers, to those who are brave enough to do rights and permissions, from traditional booksellers to eBook professionals, from printing facility personnel to distribution managers. All sides of the spectrum are being shown to me through this program, and I feel so fortunate to have made it here. I love that I am getting my Master’s degree in a field that intrigues me, fulfills me in a way that no other profession has the ability. I belong in this industry, I breathe publishing.

After this semester I will be three courses away from obtaining my M.A. in Publishing and Writing. Just three courses away; I am going to make it. I will have no choice but to stay in school through the birth of Baby #3. I will not be able to take a break as we are currently living off of my loan money. It scares me a little, but I have the support of my program’s faculty, and I hope to be allotted flexibility. I will not give up, I will not drop out. If I quit now I will probably never finish; I am too close to quit. And I want this.


I don’t know what the future holds for me as far as it goes with me actually working in the publishing industry. I have learned so much throughout my schooling that I have a wide range of interests in various aspects of the trade. I absolutely love marketing, but I unexpectedly fell in love with production as well. I think that trade books would be exciting to sell, but I am compelled to work for a scholarly press. Then there’s always novelty books, textbooks, electronic publishing, or something else.

Only time will tell which direction I may go. Right now my focus is on graduating, taking care of my three babies, and stabilizing our lives. One thing I can count on is the industry still being around when I am back on my feet. Only three more classes and I will have a Master’s degree in the field of my dreams. I must find the strength to keep going. I’ve come so far. I am so close now.

I will succeed.


Reign, Reign, Go Away September 26, 2012

My last event as the President of the Graduate Students for Publishing Graduate Student Organization (GSP GSO) at Emerson College was held today. I’d arranged for the students to tour a printing facility 45 minutes outside of Boston. The tour was at a company called Quad/Graphics, the second largest printing company in the world, topped only by R.R. Donnelley.  Despite my lack of sleep and running this organization single-handedly, I’d have to say that the event was carried out successfully.

  • The charter bus showed up on time
  •  The trip attendees all had their ID’s and liability forms
  • We did not get stuck in traffic either way
  • The printing facility managers were amazingly cordial and informative
  • We were treated to coffee, danishes, grapes, and adorable palm-sized bottles of water
  • We got ear plugs and goggles and in-depth safety training before going out onto the floor
  • We got to see the entire book manufacturing process (from the Prepress department to proofing signatures to binding to foil stamping to shipping the product)
  • The plant is so large that we got a really good overview of an array of machines
  • After we returned to campus, the room I’d reserved for our luncheon was set up properly
  • Catering arrived on time and the order was perfect
  • There was enough food for everybody
  • I didn’t miss my train coming back home (even though I had to leave the luncheon early to make it in time)
  • From the sounds of it, everyone had a good time.

It will be a relief once I am no longer President as my personal life needs to take precedence, but it will be a loss as well. I worked diligently throughout the first semester of my graduate school career to bring the organization out of its defunct state, to revive the dormant group to what it has become today. The GSO held panels with publishing professionals, and hosted socials, helped to bridge the gap between MFA students and MA students in the Writing, Literature, and Publishing Department, and began to branch out into the Boston community for the greater publishing good.

The learning experience has been incomparable. I have enjoyed the duties, learned from the difficulties, and shocked even myself with my unwavering dedication to the organization. I am, however, very happy to put the overwhelming responsibilities of GSP GSO President behind me. I need to focus on my daughters, and Baby #3, and getting more sleep, and exercising, and finishing my Master’s degree, and applying for my PhD, and moving in the summer of 2013, and………………………………………