Tyler VanderGaast ’15, Waln Fellow in Publishing
Already my last week at Westview, (and the last week of summer!) and it was filled to the brim with finishing up projects and learning as much as I could up to my last day.
I had the opportunity this week to sit down with our marketing department again and learn about how Westview’s website operates and how it gets updated. Highlighted and promoted books are rotated each season to reflect the newest editions and printings. Books are divided up into subject category headings and from those, we can track how many free and exam copies are ordered directly from the site. Westview provides (limited) free copies to professors that are potentially interested in adopting our textbooks. However, as it goes with the internet, there are always people that try to get around the system to grab free books. We are able to monitor through our website who orders exam copies, how often, and how many. Luckily, this allows us to block the users that have fake accounts and abuse the system.
Also through the Westview website, we are able to periodically update the information about new books as they come in. New books appear on the website about 6 months before publication, and as that date comes closer, more accurate and official information becomes available about that textbook. It was my job this week to go through the website, looking at our upcoming books, and fill in the missing Table of Contents and chapter information.
At the end of this week I had my closing interview with our publisher, Cathleen. We talked about what I’ve been working on for the past few weeks and I was able to ask some questions about her own experience in publishing as well. We talked about what my experience with textbooks as a student had been like and how some of the current trends in the textbook world would continue to affect publishing.
I have to say, everyone that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at Westview this summer has been unbelievably kind and willing to sit down and talk with me about the publishing world. I’ve heard stories about post-graduation, what it’s like working in different departments and companies, and I’ve gotten some great advice about making post-graduation decisions.
Working in publishing is extremely competitive, and it can often be advantageous to attend a program after your undergrad years like DPI (the Denver Publishing Institute); however, it was uplifting to hear that often, when companies are looking into hiring, an internship can be as valuable or even more valuable than an extra certificate. An internship (especially when it comes with a recommendation from that company) is proof that the student has worked in the field, gotten their hands dirty, and been able to learn what it is like to have a career in publishing. During this internship in particular, the main goal has always been for me to learn and absorb as much as possible from the atmosphere, company, and people I work with. It has been an absolutely amazing and constructive opportunity for me. I’ve heard myself telling people that they should try internships too, because it’s like getting a test run in a job you might want, in a city you might want to live in. What’s better than that?
Heading into my junior year, it’s hard to say where I’ll be in three years, but I know that I’d love to work in a place like Westview, with the people that I’ve been able to shadow and learn from. Thank you so much to everyone that I had the opportunity to meet at Westview and thank you to the Cornell Fellows program and the generous donors that allowed me to have this opportunity and have such a memorable summer!
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
Mount Evans, Clear Creek, Colorado