We need to be setting an example for future publishers—to strive for imperative community-building values that promote action and advocacy. If we’re not giving back to the communities that allow us to thrive, exciting children about books, helping provide them with the resources they need, promoting literacy, and, more importantly, giving them characters they can connect to on a deep and personal level and live their lives by—then what are we doing?
As students of publishing, we at Ooligan know that there are multiple nationwide publishing hubs: New York City, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, to name a few. For most aspiring book editors, designers, and marketers, the Big Apple is the endgame. These people will do anything within their power to get to New York and fight their way up to true publishing fame—even if it means living in a box with eighteen roommates and working overtime shifts without pay. In reality, that’s not such a bad goal. While New York can be rough for some, it certainly houses the biggest names in publishing as well as the competitive spirit. And while intimidating, it almost inevitably leads to upward mobility and substantial professional connections. You will meet who you need to meet to get where you want to go, point-blank, period. However, the East Coast scene isn’t for everyone—I spent my New York publishing days crying in the bathroom (no shame). For people like me, the competition is overwhelming and the upward mobility ladder too steep. And that’s okay. I was given advice three years ago that I’ve never forgotten: you need to get in where you fit in.