Tag Archives: publishing

Good News Oct. 2018: Collaboration Galore!

Faculty News

Prof. Susanna Benko and her colleagues Dr. Emily Hodge and Dr. Serena Salloum completed a project for New America and the International Society for Technology in Education. Along with other researchers, their team contributed to the paper titled “Creating Systems of Sustainability: Four Focus Areas for the Future of PK-12 Open Educational Resources.” Specifically, Benko, Hodge and Salloum’s contribution focused on district and state policies that support the use of OER. You can read the report here!

Drs. Benko, Hodge, and Salloum also recently published a commentary in Teachers College Review titled “Instructional Resources and Teacher Professionalism: The Changing Landscape of Curricular Material Providers in the Digital Age.”  

Continue reading

September Good News: Publishing Frenzy!

Faculty News

Prof. Emily Rutter’s The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry (University of Alabama Press) is now in print! Order it now!

Prof. Deborah Mix’s Approaches to Teaching the Works of Gertrude Stein, co-edited with Logan Esdale of Chapman University, is finally in print! Order it now!

Cover of Prof. Emily Rutter’s newly published book.

Prof. Michael Begnal’s poem “The Traitor’s Flag” was published in Writers Resist issue 71.

Prof. Molly Ferguson’s article, “‘To say no and no and no again’: Fasting girls, Shame, and Storytelling in Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder” was published in the Summer 2018 (vol 22:2) edition of New Hibernia Review.

Prof. Jill Christman had two essays published over the summer: “Naked Underneath Our Clothes” (Creative Nonfiction) &  “Life’s Not a Paragraph”(River Teeth). Spinning: A Love Story (a collection of essays) was a finalist for the 2018 Gournay Prize at The Ohio State University Press. She will be attending the NonfictioNow conference in Phoenix, Arizona next month to present on two panels: “Writing the Day” and “Our True Voice(s).”

Cover of Prof. Deborah Mix’s newly published book.

Prof. Rai Peterson will be the Banned Books Week “prisoner” at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library during the last week of September.  While she is incarcerated in the front window of the Library, she will be meeting with visitors of the KVML, blogging on its website, and speaking at her release event on Saturday, September 29.

Prof. Gui Garcia gave a workshop on RMarkdown earlier this month in the Applied Statistics and R group (ASR) at Ball State. The group, which is now led by Dr. Garcia, is resuming its monthly meetings this fall. Look out for future dates and topics. Also earlier this month, Dr. Garcia gave a talk at the Montreal Symposium in honor of Lydia White, who created the field of Second Language Acquisition in the 1980s—and who just retired. Later this month, Dr. Garcia will present two papers at the 8th GALANA (Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America), a biennial meeting held at Indiana University (Bloomington) this year. Finally, he has recently published an online tutorial on his website on how to graphically explore vowels using the R language. Continue reading

Skills in the city, or how I discovered my career path in the Big Apple

Natali Cavanagh is a senior creative writing major. Last semester, she ventured to New York to do two publishing internships as part of the NY Arts Program.  After graduation, she will be working as a publicity and marketing intern for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. In this guest post, she describes her work at a journal and a literary agency and talks about how the skills she learned in English classes came to life in this jobs.

My junior year, I, like many of my peers, was wondering where my English degree would take me and what I would pursue after college. I knew I liked books and I enjoyed reading, analyzing, and interacting with stories, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a writer or teach English. In Cathy Day’s Novel Writing class, though, we learned a little bit about how the book publishing industry worked and the process a manuscript goes from beginning to end; the more I learned, the more I wanted to know! So last semester, I went to New York through the NY Arts Program and was offered 2 dream positions: working as a social media intern for Guernica literary magazine (which has published pieces by some of my favorite authors like Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, and Zadie Smith!) and an editorial intern at Writers House literary agency (who also represent some of my favorite authors like John Green, Grace Lin, Ingrid Law, and Neil Gaiman!).

At Guernica, my primary job was to help build social media presence. On a daily level, I made Tweets and Facebook posts to promote pieces from the magazine (new and old); for long term projects, I worked toward making materials (like cultural calendars and workflow templates) that will continue to help the staff long after my time with them. Even though the internship was predominantly remote, the staff meetings were always so much fun; listening to all the fascinating and exciting new projects people were writing, helping create and plan for a new special topic issue (Deserts!), and having the opportunity to work with so many engaging and intelligent people was invigorating.

At Writers House, I worked under Senior Agent Dan Lazar and his Assistant/Junior Agent Torie Doherty-Munro. As an editorial intern, my main job was to read submitted manuscripts and provide editorial feedback: every day when I came in to work, Torie would send me a few partials (a 50-100 page section of a manuscript) and I would tell her whether or not I’d be interested in continuing to read/accepting the manuscript, what was working, and what potentially needed to be changed. Both Dan and Torie represent primarily Children’s/Young Adult books, but I read everything from short, middle-grade manuscripts to contemporary adult, realistic and historical fiction, speculative fiction, and fantasy. Every day I was reading something different! My favorite projects to work on, though, were always manuscripts that I got a chance to see evolve; seeing a manuscript improve after helping give editorial feedback was so gratifying and worthwhile.

I was lucky to be at two places that really encouraged growth and hands-on participation. At Guernica, I was writing and composing social media content every day, interacting and engaging with their online community. At Writers House, I felt that my editorial feedback was valued and that the work I was doing to help bring manuscripts to life was really helping the authors and agents I was aiding. And ultimately, I used every skill that I learned through my English classes: understanding craft and story structure, analyzing character and audience, writing in various styles (for a social media audience, for an individual author, for an agent…), being able to communicate my ideas clearly and concisely. Overall, I’m so grateful for my time in New York, not only for giving me an insider look into the industry I want to be a part of, but also for the opportunity to collaborate, play, and experiment with skills I’ll use for the rest of my professional life.



Originally written by Natali Cavanagh

Immersive Opportunities: Gain Hands-On Experience!

Are you wondering how you can get more involved in the department? Do you want to spice up your class schedule next year? Consider one of our many immersive learning classes! Immersive learning courses provide students with hands-on, real-world experience in their field of interest.

Previous courses have included Storytelling and Social Justice, where students published a book of true stories from community members to make poverty in Delaware County more visible, and Creative Writing in the Community, where students taught writing techniques to young writers in Muncie and published a collaborative anthology.

Fall 2018 English Immersive Learning Courses:

ENG 400: Book Arts Collaborative

This community letterpress and book bindery is located in the MadJax Building in downtown Muncie. Students learn to set type and hand-bind books, and each has the opportunity to become a student manager, where they’ll learn the ins and outs of business through collaboration with community partners. To learn more, contact Prof. Rai Peterson at rai@bsu.edu.

ENG 299X: Jacket Copy Creative

Students staff this in-house marketing agency for the English Department. They manage the department’s social media accounts, blog, and annual newsletter. Students learn storytelling strategies through practices in public relations, graphic design, editing, content marketing, and more. To learn more, contact Prof. Cathy Day at cday@bsu.edu.

ENG 489: The Broken Plate

In this class, students learn firsthand the editing and publishing world, as they produce this nationally distributed literary magazine. Students field submissions in poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, screenwriting, art, and photography, and the journal is released at the annual In Print Festival of First Books. To learn more, contact Prof. Silas Hansen at schansen@bsu.edu.

ENG 400: Digital Literature Review

Students read deeply in literature, theory, and criticism on a vital topic, then produce a volume of this scholarly journal on that topic. Next year’s topic is Brave New Worlds: Utopias and Dystopias in Literature and Film. To learn more, contact Prof. Vanessa Rapatz at vlrapatz@bsu.edu.

ENG 299X: Rethinking Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Students will focus on rethinking characters in children’s and young adult literature to help shift the stigma associated with being disabled. The course culminates in the production of a comprehensive magazine/website containing resources on literature featuring disabled characters and fiction and non-fiction pieces co-created by students at BSU and the Burris Laboratory School. To learn more, contact Prof. Lyn Jones at ljones2@bsu.edu.


Women's Week: "Celebrating Variety" through Sister Cis-ter

In case you didn’t already know, March is National Women’s History Month.

And during the last week of the month, Ball State’s Women’s and Gender Studies program celebrates the achievements and experiences of women through lectures, critical discussions, theatrical performances, and more!

Since this year’s theme is “Celebrating Variety,” those involved in Women’s Week hope to support all women across all intersections by addressing the inequalities suffered due to race, gender, class, sexuality, age, and ethnicity.

Speakers from the English Department


Cathy Day: Women in PublishingCathy Day

  • Thursday, March 26th
  • 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
  • Student Center 301
  • Are you an aspiring writer, editor, or publisher? Prof. Cathy Day (Assistant Chair of English) can tell you what to expect about the publishing world, while also offering some tips for being a good literary citizen.
  • Cathy (@daycathy) runs a blog on literary citizenship, a blog on teaching, and a blog on novel-writing. She’s also the author of two books; one of which has been adapted into a musical.

Continue reading

Madisen Ray Discusses her Experience at the University of Denver Publishing Institute

Each summer, universities across the country play host to summer publishing programs. These intensive programs last approximately 4-6 weeks and focus on many areas of publishing such as editing, marketing, design, sales, and digital media among others. This past summer, Ball State English alumna Madisen Ray was granted the opportunity to attend one of these publishing programs hosted by the University of Denver. Continue below to read about Madisen’s experience at the University of Denver Publishing Institute as well as the program’s impact on her future.

*Photo provided by Madisen Ray

*Photo provided by Madisen Ray

Continue reading

Welcome back! Guest Post: Johna Picco on tips to getting internships and careers in publishing and marketing

Welcome back, BSU! We hope you’ve had a great break, and are keeping warm and safe in the present tundra that is Indiana. This semester we will be keeping you updated on all English Department events, as well as continuing to feature posts from alumni, students, and faculty. We are excited to start the new year and hope you all share the sentiment. To kick off the new year, we have our first guest post of 2011 from alumnus Johna Picco. Johna tells us about her experiences interning at various presses, leading to her job as marketing coordinator for books and products at the American Medical Association, and also takes times to share some tips on how to get great internships like hers.


Johna Picco

Growing up, it was drilled into my head that through hard work and determination, I could do anything. Yet, when graduation and the real world, with its failing economy, came a-callin’, it was my Dad’s polite inquiry about what I planned to do with an English degree that got me thinking. It was undoubtedly an inquiry mingled with concern and skepticism, and I was a bit worried myself.

The first thing I needed to do was to think about what I wanted to do. My initial plan of going to graduate school to obtain a Masters in Library and Information Science (LIS) was nixed when I realized that the lack of funding for public libraries was too frustrating to fight all my life. Then, I heard about a web site called Book Jobs.com, which features literary jobs and internships in everything from publishing to IT. This was my light-bulb moment—or light bulb website.

I applied to numerous publishing internships and was hired as a marketing/publicity intern at The MIT Press and Candlewick Press. So, I left college a semester early, packed my bags, and moved 900 miles across the country to Boston, Massachusetts. My employment at The MIT Press progressed from intern to temp, and finally to full-time employee. And in the meantime, I had also acquired an internship at Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

As an acquisitions assistant at The MIT Press for a little over a one year, I realized that I missed my family and the Midwest, and so, I quit my job. Everyone thought I was nuts, what in this awful economy and all. Luckily, after only five weeks of searching and applying, I found myself hired as the marketing coordinator for the books and products department at the American Medical Association in Chicago.

A lot of people wonder how I’ve done it, and to that I have this to say: with a lot of help, a lot of work, and openness to change (and travel!). Along with the aforementioned, I have a list of ten things that have helped me along the way.

1. Take advantage of professional development and writing classes.

I cannot tell you how many people I’ve met post-college who don’t know how to write a cover letter or résumé. There are plenty of opportunities both on and off campus available to help you sell yourself to a future employer—take advantage of them! I learned this early on: what you take from college is what you put in. No one is going to hold your hand, but they will be there to help you—if you ask.

2. Get involved.

Knowing how to create a cover letter and resume is all well and good, but if you have nothing to put on it, well, that might be a problem. I speak from intern-hiring experience when I say that you need to be involved in college.

3. Listen to your intuition.

Inside everyone is that little voice telling us when something isn’t right. Mine happened to escape in the form of a panic attack during a journalism lecture. Something about what I was studying (journalism) and what I was interested in (literature) just wasn’t lining up. So, instead of staying unhappy and safe, I took the scarier route and switched majors halfway through my college career.

4. Internships, internships, internships!

How do I gain experience when every job I apply for requires experience?!

Most people, myself included, have at one point or another faced this frustrating reality. Solution? Internships! Partake in as many as possible. They don’t have to be exotic or located in some far away location. They don’t even have to be related to your end goal. But they will give you invaluable insight into the workforce, corporate culture, and what to expect when someday you land your first ‘real’or, what I like to call, big-girl job.

5. Get your resume into the ‘maybe’ pile.

I was taught that before you make it to the ‘yes’ pile, you need to find yourself in the ‘maybe’ pile. How? You make your résumé pop. No, I am not talking about the use of color or scented paper—that’s just weird, trust me. I am talking about a well-designed and well-thought résumé. I’m fortunate to possess some basic design talents and the Adobe Creative Suite, but if you don’t have one, or either of those, fear not! Why? Because you go to Ball State, and Ball State is teeming with loads of uber-talented designers who are more than happy to swap their design skills for your keen editorial skills.

6. Network.

In my opinion (for what it’s worth), this is the hardest thing on my rambling list. I consider myself a very social person, but even I have a pretty hard time ‘networking.’ That was until I changed my way of looking at it. Networking doesn’t have to be cheesy and awkward. It can be as simple as talking to someone and telling them about yourself and what you’re looking to do. For instance: I recently attended a wedding and by way of normal chit-chat, found myself being introduced to my date’s cousin, Bob, who worked at Candy Co. as a marketing director. Before I knew it, I was walking away with several business cards and an interview. Moral of the story: networking = talking.

7. It’s a small world—and everything (and everyone) is connected.

My internship at The MITP was a result of my work experiences and activities in college. My temp position was a result of my internships. My full-time job came about because I was a temp and on and on it goes. This same rule applies for people. The workforce is a very small world—do not burn bridges, it will come back to haunt you. On the flipside, if you make good impressions, those too will follow.

8. Identify your weaknesses.

Everyone has things they don’t excel in. The key is to identify what those weaknesses are and devote time to work on them. Your weaknesses tend to be an interview topic, so being knowledgeable about them serves useful on several levels.

9. Learn to ask for and accept help.

In my experience, people are much more willing to lend a helping hand than one would imagine—you simply have to ask. People like to help, simple as that. Just don’t take it for granted or forget to return the favor. And even more important: thank you notes (particularly the handwritten, sent with postage sort)— they go a long way.

10. Get scared.

Some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve encountered have also been some of the most terrifying. Moving nearly 1,000 miles from home and knowing just three people in Boston was scary, but I certainly learned a lot about myself. Quitting my job in one of the worst economies since the Depression and moving back in with my folks was extremely terrifying, but they were also two of the best, and most needed, months of my life. With risk comes reward.

Guest Post: Tyler Gobble on chapbooks, a DIY medium allowing a variety of options concerning publishing and creativity

You might be asking yourself two things: how in the world did they let you back on here, Tyler Gobble? And what in the world is a chapbook? I can’t really answer the first one, but the second one I’m gonna try.

Avoiding the long history of the chapbook, the way it developed, its historical purposes, etc., I’m going to focus on how the chapbook is used by indie writers, small presses, and even students, focusing on Ball State University.

First, a chapbook is a small print book with a low number of pages, often stapled-bound. Nowadays, the chapbook serves a wide range of purposes, from being a teaser for a forthcoming book to acting as a DIY thing for writers to use (often similar to how local bands use demos to make money and spread their name). With the popularization of ebooks, electronic chapbooks have also become popular in the form of pdfs and webpages. Essentially, chapbooks are a viable medium, I think, for writers as they are relatively inexpensive to produce, less difficult than full length books to create, and easily distributable.

Ball State University has its own realm of professors and students with chapbooks. Creative Writing faculty Sean Lovelace and Mark Neely have recently won chapbook contests for print chapbooks. Former students Shaun Gannon and Daniel Bailey each have their own echapbooks from independent publishers. As students, Gannon and Bailey also self-released their own print chapbooks. Current students Jeremy Bauer and Ryan Rader have also went the DIY route by seeing to their own chapbooks being published. Whether through a contest, a publisher, or self-published, I think it is pretty sweet to see these Ball State affiliated writers have their work published via the chapbook medium.

Now, I want to take a minute to talk to one of these cool dudes, Ryan Rader, about his chapbook.

Interview With Ryan

1.     Can you tell readers about your chapbook (how it came out, when it was released, the process, etc.)?

I wrote a group of poems for a class with Mark Neely, and once I had seen Dan Bailey’s amazing chapbook look at me deeply with great meaning I knew I wanted to do something just like it: simple, small, memorable. A co-worker of mine, Johanna Ofner, was a design major and offered to put together a print version of these poems. I edited them to add a pseudo-narrative and we printed off about seventy copies. I believe this was in 2007, but my memory is fuzzy.

2.     What kind of response did you receive about your chapbook and the poems in it?

Exceptionally positive, especially at such a young age (all of the poems were written when I was eighteen-twenty years old). A couple of the poems had been published in online journals before it was in print; this gave me the confidence to publish other poems myself. It is still the best personal project I have ever done, and I am proud of the results.

3.     What is your opinion on chapbooks as a medium for literary endeavors?

You know how all the cool kids buy their music on vinyl because they love the feel of it? How holding something antiquated and beautiful in their hands and actively moving through the print and the music all at once brings them closer to a pure form of expression? Chapbooks, and really any small press publication, are to publishing what vinyl is to the modern record industry. Definitely a niche market, but a devout one that appreciates a DIY approach combined with professional quality.

4.     What are some chapbooks that you have enjoyed (either print or online)?

Daniel Bailey’s chapbook was my original inspiration; I love every poem in it (“Underwater God” is a favorite). Shaun Gannon’s Casual Glory; or Macaulay Culkin does nothing is, simply, a hoot. Never has vomiting seemed so cool and poetic.

5.     Do you see a difference in productivity/quality/readership between online vs. print chapbooks? Press published vs. self-published?

Since the readership for poetry is criminally small, it seems like fighting over who’s getting more readers is like getting in a bidding war over acres in Antarctica. Quality? Always subjective, especially in the hyper-specialized world of poetry. I want personal exploration and juxtaposed, absurd imagery—others want their poetry tight as a snare drum and loaded with natural beauty. But we are, ultimately, on the same side: trying to get more readers. I think it takes conventional and unconventional means to reach that goal. It’s the same world to me; while I prefer to stick with print, because humanity is obsessed with the tangible, I know that both mediums working in tandem is crucial to the proliferation of new, good, exciting poems.


Two members of last year’s In Print Festival, Matt Bell and Mary Miller, have had chapbooks released by presses. Bell’s first chapbook, How The Broken Lead The Blind, was published by Willow Wept Press in April of 2009, and his second, The Collectors, was published in May of 2009 by Caketrain after being a runner-up in their 2008 Chapbook Contest. Since both of these chapbooks have sold out, they are available as ebooks now. Matt also wrote Wolf Parts, a chapbook released by Keyhole Press last spring in anticipation of his first collection, How They Were Found, in which Wolf Parts and The Collectors appear. Mary Miller’s Less Shiny was released from Magic Helicopter Press in 2009 as a teaser for her first collection, Big World. These examples illustrate how up-and-coming authors can use contests and chapbooks to further push themselves towards full length collections and literary success.

Through websites, like Chapbook Review, small press competitions, and the continuing popularization of DIY art, chapbooks are a respectable medium in the literary world. I pick up a chapbook, and I am like, “HEY I CAN MAKE THAT.” Then, I open it up and there are these words like beautiful hellos and I shake my head at how wonderful all these words are. For me, chapbooks are accessible, awesome, fun, interesting, and useful because they are nice simple bundles of literary booyeah.