What a first-year publishing student reads

September of this year I officially started grad school while in the midst of a pandemic, with a sinus infection, and of course in the midst of moving to a new apartment. A few weeks in, I’m feeling much better and I’ve fully settled into grad school life.

Here’s a quick run down of how I ended up studying publishing. Like so many people working in publishing, I loved reading and writing as a child. I always had a book in hand and I ran my own newspaper from home which was distributed to my family weekly. It was always my dream to work in publishing, but I knew a love of reading and writing didn’t make a career, so I moved on but kept that dream in the back of my mind. Undergrad I studied Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and it was truly amazing. I interned at the Virginia Festival of the Book, wrote for an online magazine, and worked various other jobs. I graduated with absolutely no plans and no ideas for what I wanted my future to look like. After almost a year working a miserable customer service job and browsing the web for a graduate program that stuck out to me, I saw it- Masters in Publishing. For the first time I was absolutely sure about my future, and my dream job seemed like it could finally be a reality. I applied, got in, and here we are!

This post is a great resource for anyone who wants to study publishing in school, work in publishing one day, write a book, or is simply fascinated with how books are made.


The Publishing Business by Kelvin Smith & Melanie Ramdarshan Bold

A great overview of all stages of the publishing process, enhanced with interviews, case studies, images, and resources.

Behind the Book: Eleven Authors on Their Path to Publication by Chris MacKenzie Jones

Based on interviews with eleven first-time authors from various genres, this chronicles their process from beginning to end and shows that no book’s journey to publication is the same.

The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman

Writers obviously need to know how to write, but they also need to understand business. With the help of Jane Friedman, new writers will be able to turn their passion into a career.

Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

This is a funny and informative grammar guide from Dreyer, the copy chief of Random House.

The Book Business by Mike Shatzkin & Robert Paris Riger

A great overview of trade publishing with an easily digestible Q&A format and humorous writing.

Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto: A Collection of Essays from the Bleeding-Edge of Publishing edited by Hugh McGuire & Brian O’Leary

These essays examine how the publishing industry has been affected by technology, and where technology will still take it.

Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers by Thomas Woll

A comprehensive and readable reference for anyone looking to understand the business side of publishing.

Breaking the Page: Transforming Books and the Reading Experience by Peter Meyers

An examination of how ebooks function today and their endless possibilities in the future. Should ebooks be an exact copy of print books, or are they an extension- something more?

The Scholarly Kitchen

If you’re not ready to commit to reading an entire book on publishing, or if you’re looking for short but informative articles, The Scholarly Kitchen is an excellent resource with knowledgeable and innovative writers. A great way to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in publishing. Image credit.

Looking to get into publishing- check out what a first year publishing student reads!

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