Before joining the Center for Literary Publishing, Stephanie G’Schwind worked as a copyeditor at Group Publishing and then as senior production assistant and freelance copyeditor at Indiana University Press. As director of the Center, she is editor of Colorado Review and the Colorado Prize for Poetry Series, and directs an internship that trains graduate-student interns in basic publishing skills.
Describe a typical day at Colorado Review. I answer a LOT of email: from current authors, previous authors, printers, advertisers, subscribers, interns, former interns, colleagues. Every day is different, but the one thing I can count on is answering email. Otherwise, I might read a few submissions, maybe discuss some of them with interns. I might edit a manuscript. I might teach someone how to copyedit or typeset. I might design a book cover or an ad, or teach an intern how to do that. I might send out some contracts. I might send out fundraising letters (or thank you notes for funds raised). I might write a grant. Generally, my time is divided between publishing and teaching publishing. I love it.
What was the last really great book you read? The Lost Daughter, by Elena Ferrante.
What advice would you give a student who is interested in pursuing literary publishing? How did you become interested in publishing? Do an internship! Then do another internship. And do some research: If you know someone who works in publishing, ask to sit down with them and have a conversation about their experience and see if they have any advice. If you don’t know anyone who works in publishing, ask your parents, aunts/uncles, friends, neighbors, professors if they know someone who might be willing to talk with you.
I was always interested in publishing, but did not, unfortunately, take the advice above. I stumbled into it after graduate school when I took a temp position at Group Publishing in Loveland. My first job was to keyboard manuscripts into a tiny little Mac—manuscripts that had been typed on typewriters. I was so excited—I was working in publishing! After a few weeks, the head of the books department invited me to apply for a position as a copyeditor, and I was hired a couple of weeks later. And that’s how I got into publishing.
What is the best part about your job? Letting an author know I’d like to publish her story/essay/book. I have to say no way too often in this job (and I’m not very good at that), so saying yes feels really great. It also makes me super happy when former interns find jobs they love using some of the skills they’ve learned at the Center.
Who was the last great voice in literature you discovered through your work at Colorado Review? In the most recent issue, Summer 2014, we published a beautiful essay, “Natural Forces,” by Liza Cochran, who writes about depression, addiction, and finding one’s higher power in the natural world. You can read it here.
What would you like to see happen in the next few years in your work? In May, we published our first nonfiction anthology, Man in the Moon: Essays on Fathers & Fatherhood. Depending on how that sells, I’d like to put together another nonfiction anthology. Maybe one on names and naming? Maybe one on photos and photography? But I’m still catching my breath after the first one!