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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emerson chapter.


Her Campus Emerson had the honor of sitting down with Marisa Finklestein, the interminably smiley senior who is turning heads with her work this year as co-president of Undergraduate Students for Publishing, also known as Pub Club. We talked publishing, internships, priorities, Teen Titans, and what’s next for the one of Emerson’s most ambitious students.


What new events have you added to Pub Club this year?

Well the Publishing Gala is new this year. We’re co-sponsoring it with Atlas Magazine. We’re all for making connections in the publishing industry and we love to help Atlas; it’s a really great organization and publication at Emerson.

That’s really their event but what we brought is the Boston Teen Author Festival. The co-founder, Renee Combs, and I went to a Teen Author carnival in New York City over the summer where authors come and speak at a panel about their books that are coming out and then at the end there’s a huge signing.

Boston didn’t have a festival that catered to young adult literature. That’s what we really wanted to bring to people, a place where local Boston authors of young adult literature could come and share their stories about writing and publishing. We thought that Emerson was the perfect place for it because it’s a very publishing-minded school.

Renee did a lot of the creative side of it. My role was more technical with the logistics like getting a space and making sure that we got everything cleared to sell books through the Emerson bookstore. It was an avenue for authors to sell their books, and we wanted to make sure we were doing that in the easiest way possible.


You also doubled the book project this year.

Yes. We doubled the book project and it worked out so well because our member list has grown so big. Our substantive team alone had about 20 people on it and for one book that’s not a lot of voices that can be heard.

The point of the book project is to make it a hands-on experience with publishing where you basically have six weeks to put out a book (Author’s Note: Pub Club’s book launch took place on December 7th, and both published works are available to buy now!). So it’s a very quick process but you get a sense of what each part of a book’s life is in relation to the project. 


Pub Club is a pretty big club. What’s your average membership?

I would say between 50 and 70. We’ve gotten to the point where we have to book classrooms and that’s still too small. Mostly because people don’t want to sit next to each other!


Pub Club does so many other things – what other events did you inherit as President?

We just had the Career Writers Panel. We partnered up with Career Services to help market the event to Emerson students because Pub Club is a graduate organization and people recognize us.

We also did Banned Book Week where we had our open mic night and movie night celebrating literacy and non-censorship. And then also every month we have our Genre Night workshops where we take a genre of fiction and you create a piece of work.

Also last semester we published our first genre-only literary magazine (Generic). A lot of the pieces we got were from the workshops we put up, and I think we published about 5 to 7.


Does all the extra-curricular work take a toll on your schoolwork?

Absolutely. Pub Club is number one, schoolwork is number two. That’s probably a big reason why I took three classes this semester. I could have taken four but I didn’t need the extra work. I am graduating this semester and I just wanted to really focus on the next steps after graduating and making sure that Pub Club is in its proper place as far as the two book projects. I wanted to set up a kind of template for future semesters because we do want to continue doing the two books each semester.


What other events are you involved with on campus?

I’m secretary of Thread, Emerson College’s only script anthology. I’ve been doing that as long as I’ve been doing Pub Club. I’m kind of surprised I’ve stuck with it so long because it’s such a different type of literary magazine. But I think that’s why I liked it, because it was different and it’s so much fun to be a part of.

I’m also in Kaleidoscope, which is a start-up where we workshop child and young adult fiction. I also did Gangsters in Concrete for a year. And I did the Evvys for a spring semester before my job really started.


Where do you work?

The Curious George store in Harvard Square. The one and only!


Tell me about your internships? How many have you had?

Five. Candlewick Press, MIT Press, Carolyn Jenks Agency, Hachette Book Group, and the Hornbook.

And Shep is a big six publisher. They published J.K. Rowling’s new book, Twilight, Gossip Girl and Tina Fey’s Bossypants and a ton of others. I was their first New York based managing editorial intern. I read manuscripts and proofread, and I got to copyedit some picture books; I also helped with project management and proofing. I made some really good connections and became friends with people I worked under and with.


Do you know what you want to do after Emerson?

I really want to do production editing, which is basically managing editorial. I think it just fits who I am. I guess I came to Emerson and I was of the mindset, “ I want to be an editor!” and it’s very much the mindset that a lot of people come in with because they don’t know what else there is in publishing. After my internship at Candlewick as a marketing intern I really got to see, wow there’s so many other cool things I can do.

Through all my internships, being part of Pub Club, and being at Emerson in general, the passion behind the making of books just grew and grew.


Do you have any advice for overachievers like you?

I would say never lose focus of why you came to Emerson. Associate yourself with people who share the same passion as you. And don’t forget that this is school, this is the time to do way too many things and try on all these different hats and figure out who you really are.

A lot of people at Emerson think this is the end-all, be-all but this is just the beginning. There’s always something beyond when our books are published or the last episode of a TV show airs or after the curtains close for a show.

I feel like people lose focus of who they are or burn themselves out really early on here, and that kind of affects them later on as they move forward. It just makes it harder to find that same passion again once you graduate.


Of all the things you’ve done at Emerson, which has been your favorite experience?

The book launches, and/or the Evvys. It felt cool to say you’re participating in the nation’s largest student-run multi-camera award show. Oh! And the Castle.


Hardest question, what’s your favorite color?

I like blues and greens. Earthy colors.


What do you do for fun?

Karaoke! Well, I read and I watch British shows and cartoons. Teen Titans, anime and Young Justice. My Little Pony is hilarious. 

Erin is now a senior at Emerson College in Boston, MA pursuing a degree in Print & Multimedia journalism. Originally from West Orange, New Jersey, Erin enjoys fashion, baking, hiking, traveling, and sharks. She is currently Co-Campus Correspondent of Emerson's Her Campus branch, and recently worked as an Editorial/Web Production intern and freelancer for Details.com at Conde Nast in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @appenzo.