Rachel Behr

UCF '13 Grad. Student at NYU's Summer Publishing Institute. Aspiring Editor making my start in NYC

10 Things I Didn’t Know Two Weeks Ago

NYU IDSo I’ve been a student at NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute for 2 weeks now. 2 weeks and 80 pages of notes later, I’ve learned A LOT. The magazine industry is never something I thought about going in to. But for the past 2 weeks, I’ve been working on a launch project and I’m realizing how much I’m enjoying it (even if my designated position is Publisher/Ad Sales director, which means lots and lots of numbers). Obviously, with 80+ pages of notes, I can’t outline everything I’ve learned so far, but here’s a list of 10 things that stood out to me!

1. There will always be a church and state division between the business and editorial side of publishing…but that line is blurry.

Things like advertorials look like magazine spreads, but are actually fancy advertising tricks. I’ve spent so much time looking at my (free) magazines that I’m learning to seriously differentiate between the two.

2. The words endemic and non endemic.

Endemic and non-endemic advertising relate to whether a product advertised within a magazine is related to what the magazine is about: Endemic advertisement in a travel magazine – Airline; non-endemic advertisement in a travel magazine – perfume.

3. Magazines aren’t just magazines anymore, they’re entire brands with tons of extensions.

A print magazine does not, and will not ever stand on its own again. It is part of a web of apps, websites, blogs, social media platforms, experiences, clothing lines, makeup brands, and one hundred other things that you never would have associated with magazines 25 years ago. But now, unless a magazine brand maintains each part of the brand, their readership and engagement statistics will suffer.

4. The top left corner of a cover is the most important spot on a magazine.

A person’s eye will always look at the top left portion of the cover first, so your most crucial design/headline decisions must go there.

5. Also, blurbs at the top of a cover “are like broccoli; probably good for you, but mostly they just get in the way.”

One of the speakers explained this while discussing covers and I thought it was brilliantly stated and simple enough to share.

6. Publishing DOES exist outside of New York City.

We had a panel with a ton of speakers who came from magazines outside of New York City. When you’re in love with this crazy industry called publishing, you quickly figure out that most likely you’ll have to live in New York. While I love it here, and I don’t think I’ll want to move away anytime soon, it’s definitely nice to know I have options outside of the region, considering how far away my family is now. We’ll have to say if the representatives of the book industry feel the same way!

7. I’m kind of an expert in SEO.

I spent months teaching myself the importance of writing for keywords, Google Analytics, and the customer all at once, and I didn’t realize it’s significance until this week. During the lecture on SEO and SMO, it finally dawned on me that the months I put into teaching myself SEO for a law firm may actually come in handy as I start my career in the publishing world.

8. The importance of a compliment sandwich.

Before this program, I thought an editor’s job was to make a piece better (regardless of length), and to do that, I thought an editor was supposed to be the harsh person who acted as devil’s advocate, challenging everything an author wrote to spark a discussion. More than one speaker has made it clear that, the approach I thought I’d have to take was completely wrong (and I’m so relieved). The thought of having to be mean like that is terrifying for me, as I hate confrontation, so this revelation was great. An author’s work is like their baby, so you have to treat it with respect and coax the changes, rather than bombarding the writer with criticism. Be respectful of their work, effort, and time, and they’ll be responsive to your critiques.

9. There WILL be a test…an edit test.

Oh how I thought I was done with tests now that I’ve graduated college. Apparently that is not so. I never imagined that publishing companies would actually give you a paper test to evaluate your abilities before hiring you, but the concept actually makes sense. In a way, these tests determine how well you match with the aesthetic and feeling of the company/brand you are going to be working for. One of the speakers said something profound: “If you don’t have fun with the edit test, the job probably isn’t a good fit.” And she’s right; this test is a preview of what your work would look like on the job, and if you hate it, you’ll probably end up hating your job. These edit tests will probably be the most important tests I ever take during my lifetime.

10. And most importantly…print publishing is NOT dead.

It’s evolving in a way that makes it crucial for someone in the industry to be adaptable. For years people have been telling me that my career goals are a waste, but they’re not. Publishing is a dynamic industry that exists because the people want us to. They crave the content and people in the publishing industry will always be the one’s to give it to them, regardless of the platform it is delivered in.

Every day that I spend at SPI, the affirmation I feel toward this career path grows and grows. I can’t wait to start my career in this amazing industry.


Let the Countdown Begin

Only 5 days until I make my triumphant return to New York for NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute!

As I get ready to make this huge move, I’m feeling one hundred different things, including, excitement, fear, being overwhelmed, sheer glee; the list goes on and on. But, one thing’s for sure, I know for a fact I’m making the right decision to make this move, despite the unknown that envelops the time following the six weeks at NYU.

For now though, I want to focus on how amazing this program is going to be. Class begins Monday, and I’ve spent all of this week preparing by doing the pre-program assignments. After 2 years in and IB program in high school, and 3 years of honors and literature classes at UCF, I don’t think I’ve ever been challenged and captivated  by a homework assignment. I’ve been thrown straight into industry expectations, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue.

I’ll be leaving Florida for New York at 6 AM Sunday morning (which means leaving my house around 4)! Any reading suggestions for the flight?! Comment below and your suggestions will be taken into consideration!


Updates to follow once I’m in New York and the next chapter of my life begins.

Leave a comment »

Hello Blogging Universe :)

The blogger, herself.

Hello Blogging Universe!

I figured I’d take the time to introduce myself before I start this whole blogging thing. My name is Rachel Behr, Rae for short. I just graduated (with Honors) from the University of Central Florida, after majoring in English Literature. I graduated with my BA in only three years, which people tell me is a major accomplishment, but I feel like I just did what I was supposed to.

Next on my agenda is becoming a student at New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute for the Summer. During that the time I’m in the program, I will be completely immersing myself in the publishing industry as I learn from industry professionals and work on real projects that will (hopefully) launch my career. After the program, I would love to find a job in the editorial department of a publishing house in a major city somewhere.

While I was a student, I interned at a national Literary Magazine, in addition to being a marketing/copywriting for a local law firm. Through these positions I learned the ins and outs of social media, SEO (for those non-tech savvy people out there, like myself, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization), proofreading, and the inner-workings of a small press.
Though I’m new to blogging, and new to the publishing industry, I plan to use this blog to document what I’m learning, while expressing my viewpoint on current bestsellers, current events, and anything else that comes to mind.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any feedback/writing ideas, let me know! I’d love to hear them!
Leave a comment »