My Journey into Publishing: A Path for Eclectic Academics and Dedicated Bibliophiles

My journey into publishing may seem like it followed a straight line from an English undergrad to an English MA to a Publishing Program, but, in reality, it strayed far from a neatly plotted path. My educational path began with a diverse assortment of first year courses at the University of Toronto: Psychology, Calculus, Italian, Philosophy, and English. In a way I still feel like those electives sum up the entirety of my interests; that is, deepening my understanding of cognition, logic, languages, being and knowledge, and literature.

I often found the best way for me to merge a variety of my interests was though my study of literature, whether it came through looking at a text through a new theory or philosophy, or choosing to work with texts that dealt with a variety of different subjects that appealed to me.

As it turns out, the depths of that exploration were not satisfied at the undergraduate level. I hungered for more depth, more theory, and more intimate engagement with the authors I had grown to love and to admire.

At this point I was still uncertain of the career path I intended to follow. Nevertheless, I followed my interests to graduate school, earning a Master’s in English at Carleton University. It was here that the seed of publishing was planted: in meeting like-minded colleagues who may have dabbled in the publishing world, were in the process of transitioning out of it, or were in the process of entering into it.

As I grew slightly weary of literary theory and academia, I began dreaming of working with authors and editing manuscripts, and imagining the birth of the works that I studied. I enjoyed wondering, “Did the author really intend for the blue curtains to imply the protagonist was sad? Or were the curtains simply blue?” and “How do we know that this emphasis was significant? What if it’s an editor’s misplaced comma?” Even still, the realization that it might be the career path for me had not solidified.

After completing my Master’s, and contemplating whether or not to pursue my PhD, I decided to take a year off to work, travel, and relax. After a trip to Cuba, some more conservative day trips, a few weeks of catching up with friends, and saving up some money as a result of a thankfully very busy and diverse tutoring schedule, I found a job at a marketing agency. After four months of mostly assisting with event planning, I was granted the opportunity of a lifetime: the agency’s head of communications had just left, and their quarterly foreign direct investment magazine was in need of an associate editor. Before I knew it, I was copyediting, line editing, and working with the designer on catchy yet space-saving cover lines.

I was in heaven. I finally realized that what I wanted to do was work with words, and authors, and publications—but which? I decided I wanted more knowledge, and more training, and was introduced by a friend to the Book and Magazine publishing program at Centennial College by a friend. Given my indecision, and my desire for broader exposure, the prospect of a program that could prepare me for a career in both book publishing and magazine publishing thrilled me.

After the publishing program, I took an internship at a large educational publisher in the media department in order to get a taste of two more fields of publishing to which I’d had limited exposure—I wanted to sample all my options before choosing the perfect combination of publishing flavours.

I am now at the crux of beginning an editorial internship at a competitive literary magazine, and I couldn’t be happier. Only time will tell what the future holds, but I wouldn’t trade the diversity of my experience for anything in the world.