by Hannah Bennett
Tqwana Brown, a former high school English teacher, is currently in her second semester of the M.S. in Publishing Program at Pace University. She is currently interning at a literary agency and will be taking over as Blog Intern for the WNBA-NYC Chapter.
Hannah: Congratulations on becoming the new Blog Intern for the WNBA-NYC blog! How did you come to be involved in the world of publishing and in the WNBA?
Tqwana: Thank you! I’m very excited about this opportunity. I first heard of the organization last semester. I attended a few events, but it wasn’t until the blog editor position became available that I became an official member. Growing up, publishing wasn’t a career that anyone in my family even knew existed. I entertained the idea briefly right after I completed undergrad (though it was magazines at the time), but nothing came of it. In fact, that’s when I first learned of Pace. After teaching high school for several years, the idea came back to me that this is where I’d rather be.
Hannah: What are some of your goals for the WNBA-NYC blog? What most excites you about this position?
Tqwana: Getting more member participation. Not just interviews, but guest blogs and event reports. Members should feel like this is their blog, and the best way to do that is to get them contributing more. I want to increase visibility to the organization and grow our numbers. The majority of people currently entering and working in the field are female and our numbers should reflect that. I also want to work closely with Heather (social media coordinator) to help with that.
Hannah: As a Masters student, you’re getting a broad education about the publishing industry as a whole. What part of the industry most interests you?
Tqwana: When I started last semester, I would’ve said editorial without any hesitation, and that’s still my main focus. But, I’m also interested in the agency model, especially with all the changes happening in this digital revolution. Are agents even needed anymore? How will they adapt to stay relevant when self-publishing is gaining popularity and integrity. I’m also interested in how certain books are marketed – why some become hits and others don’t, even when they might be of higher quality.
Hannah: Where do you hope your career will take you?
Tqwana: That’s a tough question. I’m so new to the industry, and I want to try so many things. I’d love to work in an agency, but I also want the experience of working in an editorial department of a publisher. Down the line, I’d like to work for myself, whether that’s as an agent, or a freelancer, or book consultant, I honestly don’t know yet. I still think I have so much to learn before I can start predicting the future.
Hannah: Where did your passion for books come from?
Tqwana: I can remember even before starting kindergarten, I liked to read. My mother was big on educating us early; I was in preschool and reading by the age of 3. I always had Golden Books and Berenstain Bears; I had a tiny little blue plastic bookshelf with Disney books that I would get in the mail every couple weeks. From there, I started reading the Sweet Valley novels, Babysitter’s Club, Fear Street, and Goosebumps. It was also a Saturday tradition to spend all day at the library with my family.
Hannah: What is your favorite word?
Tqwana: Quixotic. Not necessarily because of its meaning, but more how it sounds and what it looks like. I think I have a thing for Qs. Comes with having an unpronounced one in my name.
Hannah: What are you currently reading?
Tqwana: Besides queries and manuscripts? I just started Sugar by Bernice McFadden. I plan to read its sequel, before moving on to the God Don’t Like Ugly series by Mary Monroe. My to-read list at this point will probably follow me beyond the Pearly Gates.