In these times when readers are responding to our books “more than ever,” when our authors—including Cornel West, Anita Hill, Robin DiAngelo, Charlene Carruthers, Howard Bryant, and Christopher Emdin—are appearing in the media, their ideas going viral on social media, their voices being heard on so many platforms, we thought it might be good to take a break to focus on some of the staff who work hard to find, shape, edit, produce, and promote those works. Our blog series “Beacon Behind the Books” introduces to you a member of our staff and gives you a behind-the-scenes look, department by department, at what goes on at our office.
For the month of February, we introduce you to our sales assistant, Jennifer Canela!
What drew you to publishing, Jennifer? How did you find your way to Beacon?
I was an English major in college and worked on online publications and art journals while there, because I wanted to be directly involved with spreading the good word of the works that I thought were important. I always knew I would be in publishing in some capacity after realizing I could manage paper deadlines, print deadlines, and still have that passion and drive to work on projects long term. I was a publicity intern at Beacon my last semester in college, and then I stayed on as an editorial intern after graduating and I’ve never left.
What’s a typical day in the life of a sales assistant?
My days as a sales and marketing assistant start off by answering tons of emails, mainly from sales prospects and potential opportunities. I follow up with many of our accounts at that time as well. Then I make a list of the tasks I need to complete that day, whether that be writing online copy and making sure it has both marketing and sales potential, tracking sales for that day and making sure the numbers make sense, researching organizations that Beacon Press can potentially partner with, and making a connection or coordinating with event organizers to make sure Beacon books are present where they need to be. One thing is for sure: No day is the same!
What do you wish someone had told you about publishing when you were entering the industry?
Something I wish someone had told me before I got into publishing is how involved we become in the whole process. As someone who has overseen publications from start to finish, I thought my input would be limited by my responsibilities here. I was surprised and happy to know that this is a truly collaborative process.
What skills have you taken from previous jobs to help you do your work at Beacon?
Customer service experience has played a huge role with all the client facing I do now. Working in sales and retail has also helped in interpreting sales opportunities and managing expectations when it comes to a title and its potential in certain markets. The life of a book is a long one, and keeping track of sales and trends is something I focused on in previous jobs, so it’s been incredibly helpful to have that experience under my belt. I think this position is the intersection between my experiences and passions, so I’m lucky to be able to develop those skills in this space.
What other departments does your department interact with? And how?
I interact with our publicity team the most regarding events. I am working in sales but also as a marketing liaison for some titles, which means I’m working closely with our Director of Sales and Marketing and the marketing team in making sales as well as marketing plans for books. I interact with our finance department frequently to bring sales to a close.
In an alternate universe, what career would you have?
Movie director. High-power attorney. Talk show host. Spider-Man.
Hobbies outside of work?
Visiting breweries and creating my own flights.
Right now, I’m listening to season 1 of Slate’s Slow Burn about Nixon and the Watergate scandal.
About Jennifer Canela
Jennifer Canela was an intern at Beacon Press before joining the sales and marketing team. She is a graduate from the University of Massachusetts-Boston with a BA in English and Professional Writing. While in school, she worked with two distinguished arts and creative writing journals, transcribing print to digital media. She is a proud Latina, a lover of words, and a firm believer in knowing the rules before you can break them. Sometimes she talks exclusively in puns.