People of the Press is back this week! Inspired by the Association of University Presses celebration of the people of AUPresses, we would also like to celebrate our dedicated publishing professionals throughout our 60th anniversary year.
Today, we’re featuring our Publicity Manager, Mari Herreras.
Hello Mari, what do you do for the Press?
I work as Publicity Manager for the Press with the marketing team crafting publicity campaigns for the fifty or so books published by the Press each year, as well as working on events and social media.
How long have you worked at UA Press?
I’m new. By the time this goes online, it will be my 10th or 11th day. I am beyond grateful to be here, and can honestly say I’ve wanted to work for the UA Press the last five years. The Press has been part of my life since I moved back home in 2007 to take the position as staff writer for the Tucson Weekly. But when I was living in Seattle in the early 1990s, my mother sent me a copy of Patricia Preciado Martin’s Songs My Mother Sang To Me, a collection of oral histories from Mexican-American women who pioneered and were part of Southern Arizona’s history. Talking about this book sometimes makes me cry because it meant so much to me then and now. It was the first time I read a book that reflected my family’s own history and story. That’s one example of the gifts the UA Press gives many of us from Tucson and Southern Arizona.
The University of Arizona Press is committed to helping contribute to an informed society and enlightening readers. What’s one thing you’ve learned from your work?
I think I’ve always known this, but see it more clearly now—that there’s more to the story then what’s written in each book published by the Press. Each book comes with the author’s own unique story about their life, their world, their research, and how they decided this one book needed to be published. That’s the great opportunity I’ve been given in this position—to help tell those stories and reach out to media to inform them of the deeper stories that come with each author.
What would people be surprised to learn about your work?
Oh probably all the details that go into each book. It’s more then just reaching out to scholarly journals and journalists about our new books and their importance. It’s also about the meetings and careful discussions with almost everyone on staff about each books’ unique story, and how we are going to communicate that to booksellers and reviewers. It’s also tracking that work on different software systems and spreadsheets. There’s a lot of love there, but also a lot of computer time.
Tucson has a thriving literary and scholarly community. What’s one of your favorite spots to hear authors, find a good book, or just curl up and read?
When the Tucson Festival of Books first started in 2009, I was invited to participate as a moderator for panels taking place at the Nuestra Raices stage. Over the years, being involved in those panels meant the world to me because that particular venue hosts Latinx writers from throughout the country, as well as local writers directly involved in community work. It’s been an important venue for local writers and book lovers. I’ve been grateful for local poets who’ve worked to create reading spaces, such as Teré Fowler-Chapman, TC Tolbert, and Kristen Nelson. I also don’t think Tucson would have been much of a home for me to return to after being gone for almost twenty years without Antigone Books and the UA Poetry Center.