Maya Alpert '16 graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Inspired by her time working on the Harbinger staff, she attended the New York University Summer Publishing Institute to pursue a career in book publishing. Maya is now an associate editor at Insight Editions in the San Francisco Bay Area, editing cookbooks and cocktail books based on licensed entertainment brands such as DC Comics, World of Warcraft, and The Office.
What year and issue of Harbinger did you edit?
The 2016 issue, “Girls Like Us.”
What did you learn from your experience as the editor of Harbinger?
Harbinger was a wonderfully challenging and rewarding experience. As an editor, I gained insight into the creative and technical processes involved in producing a literary magazine and honed my editorial skills. As editor-in-chief, I learned skills that are vital to a professional in the book publishing industry: Effective communication with team members, persistence in meeting tight deadlines, and, of course, line editing.
Harbinger is designed to be a learning experience, an opportunity to collaborate closely with your peers to produce a tangible expression of Stephens students’ creativity and vision. But it is also an exercise in patience, dedication, and learning to trust your team members to help you reach your collective goal.
What is your job now? What do you love about it? What are the challenges?
I work as an associate editor, focusing primarily on titles within the food & lifestyle space that are also tied to official pop culture brands. As a junior-level editor, I not only edit my own projects but support three senior-level editors on their projects as well.
My favorite part of my job is getting to pitch new ideas for books! I love the opportunity to brainstorm with coworkers and conduct research. I also enjoy digging into manuscripts and working on developmental and line edits.
The biggest challenge on a day-to-date basis is working with the brand licensors. When creating a product tied to a licensed brand, my job as the editor is to work within the at-times limiting brand guidelines while also producing a compelling book, which can sometimes be quite challenging! But the added challenge has provided many opportunities to find creative solutions to complex issues.
What advice would you give graduating English and Creative Writing majors?
My best advice would be to apply to internships if this is financially feasible, continue your editorial education by writing book/media reviews, etc., on a personal blog, and work on creating excellent cover letters that are tailored to each job you apply for (no matter how many you apply to!).
I would also say to trust that with time and hard work, you will eventually find your way up from your first entry-level position. It may not happen overnight, but you will move up eventually!
What's your favorite book, film, and song?
My favorite book is Jane Austen’s Persuasion. My favorite film is Sunset Boulevard, and favorite song is “Mykonos” by Fleet Foxes.
Please share an inspirational quote from one of your most admired people.
“If you don’t see a clear path for what you want, sometimes you have to make it yourself.” -Mindy Kaling