Abby Saul, ’08, English & History, Associate Agent, Browne & Miller Literary Associates
What’s been your career path?
I knew that I wanted to be in publishing after graduation, and took the “INTERVIEW EVERYWHERE” approach that is necessary to finding a job in this business. Many no’s and several yes’s to shift through, and I ended up just outside New York at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., on the production side. After four years, I transferred to a similar position at a small but up-and-coming house in Illinois, and was then approached by this Chicago agency to come in as an agent and digital initiative expert. I love what I do: reading, editing, managing author’s careers, brainstorming next projects, and a healthy dose of sales and negotiation. But I’m also so glad that I got the foundation I did in the technical side of publishing…everything is changing, and while I believe that there will always be those of us who love to read (and those who help shape the content that we read), adaptation is absolutely necessary to stay relevant.
How did your English major prepare you for your career?
The critical reading, writing, and thinking skills I honed as an English major at Wellesley—where professors would accept nothing less than my best work, be that work an essay or a class discussion—have absolutely been vital to my current job and to every job I’ve had since graduation. (I would also argue that the skills I learned in both my majors also have been vital to my life and the way I present myself to the world as an educated human.)
Were any internships particularly helpful to your job search?
I interned at this very agency one summer during college, and that obviously was a huge help to my current job placement. But more broadly, that internship introduced me to publishing as a business and what I learned bridged the gap for me between “I love books” and “I want to work on books.” It was a professional experience that directly related to what I wanted to do and gave me insight to what the day-to-day of the job looked like. (And it gave me a networking relationship and contact that I heavily relied upon as I began my job search.)