:: I started to recognize my passion for the publishing industry: choosing and editing pieces for print, building connections with authors, and above all, seeing a book come to life right before my eyes.
Welcome to our blog series “Blue Crow Bio,” where you’ll get to meet the people of Blue Crow Publishing—authors, editors, and everyone else who makes Blue Crow possible. Up first is our summer intern Tamiya Anderson. She has blown us away with her genius and her work ethic. Also, she is so speedy. Read her story, and hope you might be so lucky to work near her one day. -Katie
I’m Tamiya Anderson. As co-publishers, Lauren Faulkenberry and Katie Pryal have graciously taken me under their wings, I am delighted to be a part of the Blue Crow Publishing team where I hope to learn, contribute, and experience the daily workings of the publishing industry. As I will be writing some forthcoming blog posts for Blue Crow, I would like to provide insight regarding how, why, and when I discovered that I wanted to go into this business. From biology major to a proud member of the publishing industry, my path to this business has been one of discovery, and is still ongoing.
Here is a glimpse of how I became drawn into this world. Closely. From the start.
This is it, I thought. This is what I want. But how do I get there?
As much as I wish that I could have been one of those people who knew exactly what they wanted to do for the rest of their life from the moment they enrolled in college, I have come to terms with the fact that I was not. In the back of my mind, I kept the possibility of pursuing a career that I enjoyed buried underneath self-inflicted pressure to become something “great”—you know, doctor, lawyer, or brain surgeon.
And yes, while I certainly fall under the classic trope of growing up loving to read and write, unapologetically using semi-colons in a text message (yes, I am “that person”), and casually inserting lines from Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities into informal conversation, I never imagined pursuing anything English-major related, even publishing.
In the fall of 2016, prior to knowing that I wanted to be a part of the publishing industry, I was a freshman determined to pursue studies in biology. That’s right: with beakers, forceps, and test tubes in hand, I was certain that a career in science was the path for me. Rest assured, the second semester of my sophomore year I realized my discontent with the major I had chosen. I always joke that it was the late Friday evening physics labs that made me reconsider my interests.
I now know it was not a lack of interest (or the late labs), but rather a lack of passion. After nearly two years of wrestling with the idea of what I wanted to do, or perhaps what I “could” do with an English degree, I decided to hang up my lab coat and pursue something unexpected: a career working with writers.
Shortly after my decision, the “aha” moment of realizing my true interest in the publishing industry emerged when I joined our university’s Editing and Publishing course, which was composed of a small staff of ten students and one phenomenal faculty advisor. As I became more involved in the course, I discovered the under-appreciated value of English studies, including its lack of restrictions on career choices. Many believe that all English majors want to be teachers—I pushed against this common stereotype, and I started to recognize my passion for the publishing industry: choosing and editing pieces for print, building connections with authors, and above all, seeing a book come to life right before my eyes.
This past spring, following the completion of our literary journal’s 60th issue, our staff, along with the English colloquium class, took a trip to Chapel Hill, where we had the opportunity to visit UNC Press. Indeed, during my visit to the press my passion for the publishing industry deepened. On the drive down my professors reminded us of the magnitude of our visit. Take in every second. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Soak it all in.
Truly, I was unsure of what to expect. As a student, your future career is, for the most part, a mere point of discussion. Yes, you get a small taste of it in some of your courses, but there is nothing like a first-hand experience. As I listened to the UNC Press team (while vigorously jotting down every piece of advice), I felt an immediate sense of longing—a longing that has stayed with me. This is it, I thought. This is what I want. But how do I get there? At that moment I was no longer just listening to what the industry was like, I was experiencing.
The trip was, by the way, extraordinary. Back to back, each department cohesively echoed the words of the one discussed prior. From editor to designer to marketer, the publishing industry is truly like a well-oiled machine—a quality I deeply admire. Certainly, I knew going in I wanted to be an editor. Yet, our staff’s discussion with the press underscored something that I had not often considered: there is so much more that goes into publishing a book—something Katie reminded me of during my interview for my internship at Blue Crow.
Now—you won’t be surprised to find out—my pursuit has miraculously landed me here, at a wonderful press in Chapel Hill (seriously, Katie and Lauren are fantastic). And at times, I am brought back to the insightful words of Dr. S, one of my favorite professors, who has often reminded students that though we are still students, “You are already living in the ‘real’ world.” And she is right about that. As I wrap up my final year in college, I have come to realize that though I have been living in the “real world” all along (even as an “almost” biologist), this industry is a world I cannot wait to explore.