Alexandra Korcz (she/her) is an Associate, Rights and Permissions for Penguin Random House Audio.
What are some of your responsibilities?
My job can be broken down into two categories: files and permissions. In Audio we rarely design our own covers, so I am responsible for getting cover files from the print imprints, but also from other publishers all over the country, such as W.W. Norton and Disney. In addition to getting the files, I need to clear the copyright so we are allowed to use the art and designs on our editions. This means I get to work with and pay people all over the world, including artists in Australia or art galleries in France.
How did the classes you took during your time in the program prepare you to work in the industry?
Like so many people unfamiliar with publishing, I went to Pace convinced I wanted to be an editor. The classes opened my eyes to the number of jobs there are in publishing. I also love that Pace has given me a vocabulary to talk about publishing and insight to the industry as a whole. Thanks to the publishing program, I can approach my job with a big picture view and am given learning and growth opportunities at Penguin Random House.
What were some of the highlights during your graduate experience?
I loved the whole experience. At the time I was working part-time at Barnes & Noble and I had grown up reading, and the graduate experience was the best peak behind the curtain I could’ve asked for. One of my favorite assignments was in my first semester. We all received the same unmarked, untitled manuscript and were responsible for taking this manuscript through the entire publishing process.
I also loved the conversations I got to have with my classmates and faculty! The graduate program had a great sense of community which I had really been missing as someone who had recently moved back home after completing her undergrad degree at a small college in Albany.
Did you have an internship? If so, what was it and how did it prepare you for your current position?
I didn’t take the internship course offered by Pace, but I did do an internship. In Spring 2016, I was a marketing intern at Macmillan and was responsible for helping with giveaways, creating marketing materials and reading books to come up with future marketing ideas.
My job at Macmillan was so different from my current role at Penguin Random House Audio. I think one of my biggest takeaways from that internship was time management, as I was completing my degree while interning and while also working another part-time office job. As my first publishing job it gave me a concrete understanding of some concepts that Pace was trying to teach me.
In a funny coincidence, during a filing project a few years ago, I did come across a title I’d helped market at Macmillan that Penguin Random House Audio had produced in audio… so maybe there’s a bigger intersection in my career paths than even I had realized?
What advice do you have for current students in the program?
Learn as much about the publishing industry as you can and don’t ignore opportunities just because they don’t match the plan you have for yourself. If you had asked me when I started the program where I expected to end up, I never would have guessed here. The job I have now is one I didn’t even know about five years ago.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 5-10 years?
I hope to see myself surrounded by more books and with a big enough bookshelf to fit them all!
In all sincerity, so much of my career has been from saying yes to opportunities and proving myself with hard work. I hope that I can continue to grow into more of a leadership position and find ways to add creativity into my day-to-day life.
One thing I hope to see is less about me, but more about publishing as a whole. I hope in 5-10 years (and even sooner) to see more BIPOC, neurodiverse, and queer people in publishing, both in the books we publish and in leadership positions.
What are your favorite aspects of the publishing industry?
Everyone I know who works in publishing loves books and reading. As the kid who used to read at recess, stepping into my first Pace Publishing class felt like finally finding my people. Any time I hear someone talking about a new book they read or an author they discovered, it feels like a kindred spirit. I love that there is a book for everyone and as we continue to diversify our publishing houses and our books, publishers can help everyone find their favorite book.
What are you reading right now?
I’m very lucky because the only thing I have to read for work is emails; all of my reading is for pleasure!
One of the best parts about working at Penguin Random House Audio is that I learned I love audiobooks. Thanks to audiobooks I now know how to pronounce the names of all of the characters. By far, my favorite narrator and series is THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray. It is narrated by January LaVoy who is phenomenal and does different voices for all of the characters. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her and that is still one of my favorite days on the job.
In terms of reading and not listening, I just finished a Riley Sager book. If you like thrillers and unexpected twists, I’d highly recommend any of Sager’s books. I’m a voracious reader and am rarely surprised, but every single one of his books manages to shock and delight me. I don’t want to give anything away, but expect to be on the edge of your seat and love every minute of it.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Try to build relationships with your classmates and your professors. I got a job at Penguin Random House because a friend from Pace sent me the job opening before it went out to the public and I have the position I have now because I was able to prove myself to my supervisor, a fellow Pace publishing grad.
I’ve also emailed professors after graduation and they’re always happy to hear from me and help out! Never underestimate the human connection in publishing.