In these times when readers are responding to our books “more than ever,” when our authors—including Richard Blanco, Imani Perry, Robin DiAngelo, Dina Gilio-Whitaker, and Bettina Love—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 September, we introduce you to our assistant to the director of sales and marketing, Bella Sanchez!
What drew you to publishing, Bella? How did you find your way to Beacon?
As most people in publishing will say, I’ve always really, really, loved reading. English was the only subject throughout school that I truly cared about, and the idea of getting to work with books all the time always seemed like an absolute dream to me.
What’s your advice to someone interested in entering the publishing field?
Intern anywhere you can! Even if you don’t get one of those elusive publishing internships that four hundred people apply to, find an internship that will help you get the skills that you need.
What helps you focus when you’re at work?
I like listening to some mellow music to help block any distractions. I’m currently into Clairo and Omar Apollo. I particularly recommend Clairo’s newest bop, “Sofia,” which I’ve listened to an unhealthy amount of times.
What do you wish someone had told you about publishing when you were entering the industry?
When I was first thinking about working in publishing, I only had my sights set on editorial. Once I began working at Beacon, however, I realized just how many other jobs there are within the industry. What I enjoy the most about books is convincing other people to read them, and my role within marketing, sales, and foreign rights lines up well with that. Keep your mind open to other jobs and tasks outside of editorial! You might find something that you enjoy even more.
What’s your commute like? What do you do to pass the time on your way into the office?
My commute is a solid hour from Brighton, but I don’t mind it too much. I always read or listen to audiobooks on the ride and end up at work before I know it. There are usually frequent delays on the green line, but I find that it really puts things into perspective. It makes you ask yourself questions like, “If I never get off this train, can I say I have lived a life worth living?” or “Do I have enough snacks in my bag if my train derails and I’m stuck for five hours in a tunnel?”
Hobbies outside of work?
I teach yoga outside of work, and I work out quite a bit—anything from yoga, to spin, to weightlifting. It really helps me destress but it also means that I have the back of an 82-year-old. But in the words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” The last part truthfully does not apply to me, but I can appreciate the sentiment.
Current favorite books?
I read a quite a bit, to the point that my librarian has asked me if I am “going through something.” I did feel a little judged, but that has not stopped me from requesting an obscene amount of books from the library every week. My current favorites are:
Normal People by Sally Rooney. This book will absolutely break your heart, but it’s worth it. I rarely read something where the characters feel completely, wholly real. I highly recommend it!
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. This is a great book to read immediately after you have fallen into a Sally Rooney-induced depression. It’s very fun and adorable, and you’ll have a smile on your face the entire time you read it.
About Bella Sanchez
Bella Sanchez joined Beacon Press in 2018 as the assistant to the director of sales and marketing. She received her BA in English from Boston University in 2018, where she worked as a research assistant for the director of Museum Studies and as a Writing Fellow. She is particularly fond of podcasts and reading five books at once.