In Ally Condie’s young-adult fiction debut, “Matched,” the government arranges a marriage between 17-year-old Cassia and her lifelong friend Xander, a good-looking nice guy most girls would be thrilled to betrothe. Or was Cassia really meant to be with Ky, the strong and silent poet? In “Crossed,” the highly anticipated follow-up to the bestselling dystopian trilogy, due out Tuesday, Cassia leaves the constraints of the Society and heads into the Outer Provinces to search for Ky. Susan Carpenter, who writes our regular young-adult literature column “Not Just for Kids,” caught up with Condie to talk about the series.
thank you so much for taking the time to answer all our questions, it's really interesting reading the responses. i would like to ask about other jobs in the industry that do not involve the writing/editing/design ect of a book, because i know that those jobs aren't for me, but i would love to go on to work around something that i love, so what other jobs are out there that you think could interest me?
Well, it’s interesting that you say that because I think most people try to get into publishing as an editor, thinking that’s what they want to do, and find a job elsewhere in the industry that fits them better! That certainly happened to me and a lot of the people I know. So you’re a little ahead of the pack, since I would say that editorial jobs are the most competitive.
If I were you, I’d definitely look into jobs in marketing, publicity, sales and subrights (subrights is the department that sells the rights to publish our titles to other countries; they also license out things like movie rights, audio rights, merchandising rights, theme park rights, etc). If you’re very detail oriented, you might be interested in managing editorial (which is different than editorial; managing editorial liases between editorial, who produces the content, and production, who produces the physical book, to manage the list as a whole), production, or contracts as well. I’m sure there are things I’m not even thinking of that would be interesting as well.
How many internships are received for the internship program, and how many interns are usually accepted?
That’s classified. ;) Actually, I have no idea, and tbh it probably wouldn’t really be useful information anyway. However, I think it’s safe to say that the program is competitive, as are all of the internship programs at the big houses.
Since we're on the topic of interning, is there a minimum age/grade level a student must be before they can apply for an internship? I wasn't able to find that information online, so I'm just curious. Thanks so much for answering all of these questions for us :)
Applicants for internships at Penguin should be in college.
Hi there! I have a question regarding internship and job opportunities. When you look at an applicant, what do you like to see school-wise? I'll be graduating from a university with a BA, but my grades won't be FANTASTIC. Do y'all look at that pretty closely, or do you focus more on our backgrounds with books (job as bookseller, blogger/reviewer, etc) and willingness to learn and contribute?
Well, first of all I have to be honest—I work in marketing and I don’t see every application that rolls in. Any cover letters/resumes we receive are filtered through HR, and I can’t speak for how they decide what they’ll pass on and to whom, although I know they have a system that works for them. I’m not even sure I’ve seen GPAs on resumes, or if they were there I certainly didn’t look at them (which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do as well as you can in school, because you SHOULD).
What I mostly care about is the way in which the candidate demonstrates their passion for books and knowledge of the marketplace; willingness to learn and contribute is something you may not know until you meet a person, and maybe not even then, but it is SO important, so you should definitely make a note of that in your cover letter.
That’s a big question. :) And I feel like our authors have answered it much better than I ever can on their own blogs. HOWEVER, there are some things that they all say, so let me see if I can distill them.
One is that the most important thing to do if you want to be a writer is WRITE. Many people aspire to be published without being willing to do the work—and it is WORK, you guys, trust—necessary to get there. Butt in chair, as they say. Put the words on paper, and don’t worry about being perfect right away—most books are born in revision.
Another piece of advice is READ. Read widely, but also read enough of the sort of books you want to write that you get a feel for what that type of book’s audience is interested in reading. Usually that’s not an issue, since people often write the books they like to read, which is great, but this is especially important in the teen market—if you want to write a book for teenagers and you’ve never read a YA novel, you’re probably in trouble.
More advice? Persevere. You will probably have to throw out many manuscripts, fully written, half written, or otherwise. That’s just how you get enough practice to be good. Also, listen to the advice of others, but don’t take anyone’s word as gospel. A big part of learning how to be a writer is figuring out how to discern between good advice and bad advice, or helpful advice and not helpful advice. Don’t be too quick to reject someone’s feedback just because you don’t want to admit you’re not perfect on the first try, but don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed by everyone else’s opinions—at the end of the day, it’s your story, and you don’t want your voice to get lost in the noise.
And lastly, develop a thick skin. This is easier said than done and takes WAY longer than feels fair. Some writers never really get there. But rejection is a big part of this business, and it doesn’t just end with signing a publishing contract. As all writers will tell you, it’s a job with ups and downs just like any other. Disappointment will happen, as will total awesomeness. Don’t let the disappointment blind you to the awesomeness, and try not to take anything too personally. As a good friend of mine once said to me, “It’s not life or death; it’s just publishing.” :)
What's the best way to get an internship in the publishing industry, specifically the area of editing?
Apply, apply, apply. Demonstrate that you have the necessary skills for editing, which really involve a keen knowledge of the marketplace (what’s been selling, both to consumers—check the NYT bestseller list, and maybe ask your local booksellers what’s popular—and to editors—for that, Publishers Marketplace is your best bet; also Publishers Weekly does deal reports), a broad reading list (you should mention several titles that you read and loved in your cover letter, many of which should be titles that the publisher has published recently), and a real desire to learn.
Nobody expects interns to come in with a ton of experience, and unfortunately, as with all competitive, coveted things, it can require a lot of luck to get an internship at a big publishing house. But demonstrating a love for books and reading is always important, and a knowledge of the marketplace is highly desireable. Also, don’t forget about smaller presses/university presses, even educational publishers. Before I worked at Penguin I was an editorial assistant at a textbook publishing house, and an intern at a very tiny nonfiction trade publisher, and both of those experiences were so great, both on a personnel level, and also a learning level. If you’re not in NY but you still want to get an internship in publishing, definitely look to go the small press/university press route. There’s a lot out there when you start to look.
I sent an e-mail a long time ago for this e-mail "yrmarketing" but no one answer me. Can you send me another e-mail? I have a site about books & we do book reviews. How can i do a partnership with you? Can you give an ARC of your books? Thanks:
That is the only email address we have. Unfortunately, we get so much email that we can’t respond to everything, nor are we able to fulfill all (or, really, even a substantial amount) of the ARC requests that we receive. Building relationships with publishers takes a lot of time and patience and polite following up, because there are so, so few of us, but we do our best. The only advice I can give is to resend your email.
about the John Green quote, you do realize the main character of the book says that at the start but actually spends the rest of the book realizing how wrong he is for thinking that way?
I am aware of that, yes! But there’s so much cool, cool art on Tumblr using that quote that I can’t help but reblog on occasion, and anyway, even if Colin realizes he’s wrong for thinking that way, it does strike a chord, doesn’t it?
hey, thanks for reblogging my little typography project! i'm always looking for new quotes to do, have any you'd like to see?
You’re so welcome! I really try as hard as I can to reblog cool stuff about our books—or books or creativity in general—so if you (and here now I mean everyone reading this Tumblr) ever create anything along those lines that you think is awesome and you’d like us to see, let us know about interesting projects at email@example.com. If you make something regarding any of our books in some way, do tag the title and author in the post because we do follow a bunch of those tags. Or you can tag #penguin teen!
Hello! I'm beginning the process of writing my cover letter to apply for the Summer 2012 Penguin Internship. I really dislike using the phrase "To Whom It May Concern" because it feels so impersonal and like I haven't cared enough to find out to whom I'm actually writing. Can you tell me the name of the Internship Coordinator at Penguin Group USA? If you can't, thank you anyway! I'll just be re-reading Matched while I wait. ^_^
To Whom It May Concern is just fine for internship applications, really. I don’t think anyone loves using it, but it won’t hurt your application at all.
What's the average level/area of education in your office? English majors all, or...?
You do get a lot of English majors in publishing, mostly because it’s pretty obvious for people who’ve been obsessed with books their whole life (guilty as charged over here). But you get people with all different backgrounds as well. Certainly our design departments are full of artists and graphic designers, and one of our marketing managers was an accountant before moving in to publishing, so there’s no reason to think that just because you weren’t an English major in college that will hold you back. What people are really looking for is relevant experience. Again, my little PYRG profiles will address this more thoroughly. Better get started on that.
Oh wow, it seems like Penguin HQ is filled with some truly awesome people! How does one go about starting a career in such a company? (as in, what kinds of jobs do you all do, besides editing?)
This is a good question and it requires an extremely long answer. Editorial is certainly the most, I would say visible branch of publishing, but we also have sales, marketing, publicity, production, art/design, managing editorial, and more! I keep meaning to do a weekly feature on people at Penguin Young Readers Group and the various jobs they do, so I will work harder on that, because it really is fascinating, and PYRG is filled with some really top-notched people.
“The glitter in the sky looks as if I could scoop it all up in my hands and let the stars swirl and touch one another but they are so distant so very far apart that they cannot feel the warmth of each other even though they are made of burning.”—Beth Revis, Across the Universe (via breakmenow)