Author Topic: Brandon...where'd you go to college?  (Read 1660 times)

Swiggly

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Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« on: June 29, 2007, 09:46:19 PM »
Well, I've been putting thought into what I want to be when I grow up and what I have to do to get there. This is mainly because I'm bored. But, when I do something, I don't do it half heartedly. I've decided that I want to be a publisher, and possibly the owner of a bookstore. I can't imagine myself doing anything that doesn't involve books, you see. Being the owner of a bookstore would involve a lot of stuff, especially my own independant one. So, right now I'm focusing on the publishing aspect of my career plan. So, I really want to know where you or Moshe went to college. I'm not really giddy about the idea that I will be going to college on the west coast, but its closer to Hawaii where my family will be; even if its not as close to the south as I want it to be. A lot of colleges in the west coast are in the WOOEY program so I won't have to pay out of state tuition. So, do you know of any really good literary colleges?

This post makes me sound super future oriented, which I guess I am.
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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2007, 01:17:42 PM »
He went to BYU in Provo Utah. Many of us were in classes or extracurricular activities with him.

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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2007, 05:12:35 PM »
If you want to own a bookstore get an MBA not an English degree, even EUOL has stated he would rather have a History or Anthropology degree as a bachelors.

English Degrees are only good for annoying other people.
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stacer

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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2007, 05:40:04 PM »
Same goes for publishing--I got more attention for my student experience editing and writing rather than any major I had. My major was marriage, family and human development--emphasis on child development--but I also got a master's in children's literature and really knew my subject area. If you want to get into publishing, know the subject you want to edit, whether that's science, math, literature, or whatever. And get some good student job experience, even if it's just an unpaid internship.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2007, 05:58:53 PM »
It's definitely good to take some editing classes though. Not for your resume, but so you know what you're doing.

I majored in Linguistics, but minored in English with an emphasis on the editing classes. (I also minored in astrophysics.) My work experience is what got me my job, and knowing what I was doing is what kept me it.
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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2007, 06:08:32 PM »
I have to agree with what other people are saying. I've done a lot with publishing and I never considered being an english major. Literary programs rarely teach about publishing.

Publishing is a combination of subjects like business, communications, graphic design, linguistics, and any number of specialty educations.

My suggestion would go along the lines of what Stacer said. Major in the field you want to edit (for science fiction that would be a physical or social science degree and for fantasy that would be something like anthropology or history). Then do what Ookla did with minoring in English or editing. Then go on to a MBA program if you want to open a bookstore or publishing house.
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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2007, 11:05:51 PM »
BYU's editing and publishing program has now moved to the Linguistics (& English Language) department instead of the English department. English departments in most academic settings are focused on critical theory rather than practical applications like real-world publishing.
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stacer

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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2007, 01:34:51 AM »
Or, y'know, like getting a job.
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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2007, 01:56:06 AM »
Speaking of jobs, there is some work experience that is absolutely necessary to get into publishing. Most people start out volunteering for a student journal of some kind. Then if you are lucky you get to be a proofreader, reader, or student editorial assistant that might pay you some meagar wage. Getting any sort of publishing internship helps a lot. Then after getting a few years of low-paying jobs, you might creep up a bit into a modest paying publishing job.

If you want to own a bookstore, you'll definitely want to work some retail and spend some time working in a bookstore. A university bookstore would be an great place to get some experience and you won't have to compete with all the English PhDs to work minimum wage like you would with B&N or Borders.

Does that sound close to accurate?
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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2007, 02:24:34 AM »
That one's been pretty well covered.  A lot of writers, myself included, suggest that NOT majoring in English is a good route to go.

However, there are good reasons to choose English.  Ookla has mentioned editing classes, which are very useful.  Another good thing about English programs is that if you plan to be a writer, and take writing classes, then your homework is writing--which you should already be doing.  The classes, then, won't teach you a ton, but they WILL be a lot easier and a lot lest work intensive than other majors, which will let you spend your time writing.  That's what I ended up doing.

As for good lit programs, I think the best on the west coast is still Stanford, if you can manage it.  They have a great writing program which is not focused on a degree--only on the writing.  In fact, I don't even know if they give a degree for writers.  However, it sounds like you might be more interested in being an editor.  In that case, Stacer is the one to listen too--as well as Ookla.  They both know a lot more about it than I do.

However, in sf/f, a lot of the editors get their jobs through work experience.  They volunteer first, do unpaid internships, and worm their way in.  So, schooling is important--but any respectable school will do.  The step after that, surviving in New York (or, in some cases, Boston or Chicago) while you do jobs for free is tough.  Heck, even getting those unpaid jobs can be tough. 

You say anything on the west coast is open for you?  I'd look at Stanford or UW (Seattle) first.  Other than that, I can't really point you in the right direction.  BYU is, unfortunately, not the best choice for these areas.  I'd go the University of Utah for anything literary before BYU, if you can get in.  (I got rejected, but that was before I was published.)

Oh, and Moshe got into publishing by reading for magazines when he was a kid, becoming a rabid fan and going to all of the conventions and meeting everyone in the publishing industry, then eventually becoming an intern at the science fiction book club.
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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2007, 03:13:53 AM »
English Degrees are only good for annoying other people.

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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2007, 04:25:04 AM »
The only real problem with Stanford, and why I'd suggest against it, is the cost of going to school there and living is SF.  I had a mission companion that was going to Stanford and he was telling me that at the time (7 years ago, so the situation could be different, but I doubt it) grad students had to live in tents because there were not enough dorm rooms and they couldn't afford to live in the city.
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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2007, 03:12:11 PM »
To be fair, if you want to go into publishing as either a writer or an editor, you just have to know a lot of diverse stuff. Some of it is stuff you can get in one college degree, a lot of it you can't.

That would be the problem with most English programs is that they tend to be short degrees that don't require a lot of diverse studies. I've talked to a lot of English majors who sadly do less reading and writing than most students in other common majors. English programs tend to be so loosly organized that it's easy to take nothing but fluff classes. So if you do major in English you really should consider double-majoring or getting a strong minor, and being really focused in what you want to study. FYI, the undergraduate English major is often used by university administrators as the quick route for people planning to go to law school, business school, medical school or other graduate programs.

If you want to go into publishing, you can't skip taking English classes, but you don't really need to get a degree in it. Beyond generals, there are probably only 4-6 English classes you really need to take. So probably plan on adding an extra semester to whatever you do pick as a major if you don't decide on English.
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Re: Brandon...where'd you go to college?
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2007, 09:22:09 PM »
I didn't even minor in English/editing. I just took several editing and writing courses to round out my work experience. But (and this is said in all modesty) my strengths/talents are in grammar, spelling, attention to detail, etc. I had to learn how to edit for the big picture, because I was a little too detail-oriented, even. Those qualities and an ability to recognize a good story and see where it needs to be strengthened are the skills you want to develop, whatever program you decide to study in.
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