Member Monday – Jenna Vaccaro

Today’s Member Monday interview recently ran in the New York Bookwoman and features Jenna Vaccaro, who has taken on the position of Co-Editor of the chapter newsletter. Jenna has also represented the WNBA-NYC as a Youth Representative to the United Nations. She’s also been a contributor to the blog for Feature Friday posts. Be sure to congratulate her in the comments and when you see her.

jennaHello Jenna, and welcome to your new position as co-editor of the New York Bookwoman! Thanks for agreeing to an interview so our members can get  to know you a little. Let’s start out with a very basic question. How did you get into the field of publishing?

I got involved in publishing by accident. In undergrad at American University in Washington, D.C., I studied law and sociology and was sure I would be going to law school.  I started working at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Smithsonian’s Asian Art Museums for some spare cash during school. I began assisting the Head of Scholarly Publications, Ann Gunter, and stuck around the publishing and design offices of the museum for the next four years. I loved editorial and design work, and knew I would be happier continuing on that path rather than a legal one.

So how did you end up in New York from DC?

My major reason was to learn more about publishing by attending graduate school at Pace University and gaining experience with New York publishers. I moved last fall and it has been quite a change. The longer I live in New York, the more I grow to appreciate it. The energy and ambition of all the people in this city is nothing short of inspiring. The motivation of the people around me surely helps motivate me. I feel like all of my goals are possible in New York. Washington and New York are so different, I could write my own Tale of Two Cities on the topic.

How do you feel graduate school has prepared you for your future career?

Graduate school is giving me a great foundation in publishing and has trained me to be much more entrepreneurial. I thought I knew a lot when it came to publishing, but I have definitely learned more about the business side of things. Coming into graduate school with a good chunk of experience has helped me to know what questions to ask and how to interpret things better. I have met so many people through school and found so many great opportunities such as the WNBA. Graduate school has been a great experience in terms of networking and relationship building.

What are you most excited about your new position as co-editor of the NY Bookwoman?

I’m so happy to have this opportunity to share and grow with the WNBA. I am excited to communicate with members and grow my connections with our organization. I have a strong connection with literacy and education, as my mother was a teacher. As a WNBA Youth Representative to the United Nations, I have learned so much about the ways in which NGO’s can work together to promote social justice and human rights.  I am hoping to highlight those issues more in our newsletter, and shine light on other NGO’s who do work in those arenas.

What are some of your favorite books?

I started watching Jane Austen adaptations with my grandma at the age of 3, and would probably consider her my favorite author. I’m a sucker for Anne Rice and Stephen King- I love horror and science fiction in general. H.P Lovecraft and Neil Gaiman are also favorites of mine.  I have a pretty great collection of comics and graphic novels, Hit-Girl and Harley Quinn are my favorite characters. I also love Nick Hornby: About a Boy and High Fidelity are very meaningful to me.

What do you think about the future of publishing?

The business is in such a state of flux now, it is nearly impossible to say what the future will look like in 5, 10, or 20 years. I think the market will always be there for beautiful, well-produced books, however it will shrink over time due to the digital revolution. I don’t own a Kindle or iPad, so I haven’t been affected by digital reading too much. I think that academic or scholarly writing fits better on the internet than fiction does, as research capabilities are increased ten-fold with the archiving of educational texts. The same need doesn’t hold as true with fiction. As a young person in the publishing world, I’m excited to be at the helm of these changes.

Thanks for your candor, Jenna! And congratulations on your new position!

If you’d like to be featured in a Member Monday interview, send me an email at – Tqwana, Blog Manager

About Blog Editor

The Women’s National Book Association was founded in 1917 by female booksellers who weren’t allowed in the men’s organizations. Nearly 100 years later, the WNBA is still supporting women in the book industry through literary events, networking, literacy projects, workshops, open mic nights, book clubs, and many other entertaining programs throughout the season!

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