May 2, 2018
You’ve probably not seen me, but chances are pretty great that you’ve come across some of my work this spring. My name is Nathaniel Barry, and I’m writing this as one of my final duties for the Marketing internship at the University of Arizona Press. As an English major, I plan to go into the field of Advertising and Public Relations, creating copy for professional ballet and theatre companies across the United States.
I remember, once, not getting hired for a certain marketing internship because my knowledge of literature was, quoted directly, “very Eurocentric.” While I understood what that statement literally meant, I had a hard time figuring out the communicative implications of it. Can I be blamed for my exposure—or lack thereof—to minority authors? After all, I’ve been reading exactly what my teachers have assigned, so what’s the fault?
The fault, indeed, was in my choice, conscious or not, to avoid expanding my horizons. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that just over 800,000 books are published across the world each year; I’m lucky if I read maybe fifteen of them. I made the decision this semester to change that fault, and start my marketing career with a publishing house that was already in the mindset I wanted to embrace.
The University of Arizona Press works diligently to vocalize underrepresented authors from all backgrounds. They are the premier publisher for scholarly work from the fields of anthropology, archaeology, environmental science, history, Indigenous studies, Latinx studies, Latin American studies, and space studies in the state of Arizona. In just one semester, I’ve worked with around thirty authors, each differing in needs surrounding their upcoming titles. I’ve arranged press opportunities, reviewed course adoptions, solicited book reviews, and have been secretly updating the UA Press Instagram page!
More than anything, I’ve been cultivating experiences with authors. I’ve been listening to their stories, reading their books (or at least snippets), and figuring out what works best for them as writers. I could say that’s just the “customer service” in me, but everyone at the Press carries this attitude. I’ve always viewed marketing in a certain sort of way: marketing isn’t about selling the consumer something, it’s about developing a relationship that makes the consumer want to buy. It’s kind of like when your best friend buys you a coffee.
Or when your grandmother cooks you dinner even though you ate an hour ago.
The Press is like a family—that’s more what I’m trying to get at. During my internship, I’ve felt needed, useful, and like I’ve made a difference in the lives of those recently-published authors, whether it was their first book or their twelfth. What I’ve truly loved most about working with the Press is the experience it’s provided me and the people that I’ve met along the way.
And when I reflect on this past spring with the University of Arizona Press, that’s what stands out the most: listening to the experiences of these underrepresented authors, and sharing in the culture they’ve spent their entire lives cultivating.
One last time,
Thinking about a career in publishing? University of Arizona Press interns are exposed to the many facets of book publishing, including insight into how manuscript projects are submitted, reviewed, and selected for publication; the process of editing, designing, and producing a book; and the various aspects involved with marketing and advertising new titles. Visit our internship program page for more information on opportunities to get involved.