A Day in the Life of the Press

Do you ever wonder what your favorite authors and illustrators do in their daily lives? What it must be like to work in the bustling world of publishing? Well this week we are giving you a sneak peek into the “top-secret” daily operations of some of our staff and authors so you can find out what we really do all day! (Hint—it’s not all internet cat videos… )


To give you this insight into “A Day in the Life of the Press,” Intern Anna interviewed some of our interns and staff members regarding what they do at New Rivers Press on a day-to-day basis. She also emailed our most recent Many Voices Project winner Julie Gard about her writing routine. First up is Anna herself, as well as two more of our dedicated NRP interns, Laura Grimm and Mikaila Norman.



Q: What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?

A: First, I sign in to my computer, check the New Rivers Press email and my school email, load MailChimp (our newsletter creation account), and find some YouTube playlist to listen to.

Q: What are the main things you work on for the press?

A: As the newsletter author, I usually look for things to include in next month’s newsletter, work on writing or editing the newsletter, or  start sending it out to our subscribers at the beginning and end of every month. In between there, I mostly do odd jobs that Nayt asks me to do. These include getting the mail, moving books from the “dungeon” to the office and back again, researching events or other publishers/publishing programs, and more. Right now I’m working on a big project with one of our authors for April, which will be shared in more detail in the April newsletter!

Q: What is the most challenging part of working at New Rivers Press? Why?

A: I think the most challenging part is that I don’t always know what I am doing (as a first-year intern), so I have to just try things out and see if they’ll work. It’s also difficult to come up with new and creative ways to promote our books and the press when we are less well-known—and well-funded—compared to other small independent publishers in the Minnesota area.



Q: What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?

A: I go on the computer, pull up the New Rivers Press Facebook and Twitter pages, check the notifications, messages, comments, etc.  to see if there are any that need responding to.

Q: What are the main things you work on for the press?

A: Social media is the main one, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I work to promote submissions, share great books, and pass on fun facts. I also do other stuff like, “Let’s go do inventory and package all these books!” There’s also a lot of “Go get this from the dungeon and don’t die while you’re down there.” In addition, I try to answer questions for people that stop into the office when Nayt’s not there.

Q: What is the most challenging part of working at New Rivers Press? Why?

A: You have to be prepared to do things that you don’t know how to do, or to learn on your feet.



Q: What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?

A: I usually arrive when there are other people at the press. I’ll say hi, be personable, and ask if there are any little tasks that Nayt wants me to do. I’ll eventually end up embroiled in the website editor, worrying about whether or not every little thing on the page is square.

Q: What are the main things you work on for the press?

A: I manage the blog and website. Depending on the need I’ll edit or create webpages for the press (for say, an event that we’re sponsoring.) I also edit and upload blogposts that the other interns have written or work on my own blogposts. Occasionally, I help Nayt with manuscript editing. Other than that, I do some day-to-day tasks like getting the mail and preparing boxes to be shipped. I’m on a first name basis with the school’s postmaster at this point in my New Rivers Press career.

Q: What is the most challenging part of working at New Rivers Press? Why?

A: Staying on top of the blog posts (we try to make them fairly regular) and balancing my press duties with the other aspects of my busy life.


Next, Anna spoke to our Managing Editor, Nathan “Nayt” Rundquist:



Q: What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?

A: The first thing I do is check email, voicemails, and see if orders have been placed for books, either from buyers or our distributer SPD Books. I also answer any questions people have and do related email tasks.

Q: What are the main things you work on for the press?

A: Editing in particular, as well as communicating with authors, editors, designers, and distributors to keep everyone on task/schedule. I also grade papers for the publishing classes, do accounting work, supervise interns, and perform editing work, paperwork, and accounting.

Q: What is the most challenging part of working at New Rivers Press? Why?

A: Finding time to do everything that needs to be done.


And finally, Anna wrote to one of our recently published authors, Julie Gard. Julie Gard is the author of Home Studies, a prose poetry collection that is one of the finalists for the Minnesota Book Awards in Poetry. This is what she had to say:



Q: Do you have a certain routine before you start writing?

A: I’m not a “morning person,” but all the same, morning is almost always when I write. It’s the time of the day I can claim for creative thinking and doing before all of the other demands set in. The routine is: wake up, feed the cat if my partner hasn’t already, make tea and breakfast, check out the weather through the kitchen window, and drink/eat while reading work that feeds my own.  This is usually prose poetry (a few favorites: Gary Young, Claudia Rankine, Louis Jenkins, Francis Ponge, Holly Iglesias) , but could also be short-short fiction by Lydia Davis or Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “The Ethicist” column in the New York Times Magazine. Ethical dilemmas are great for the imagination.

Q: How often do you write? Do you set aside specific times or just write whenever you have the chance?

A: Two weeks ago, I could have said, “Almost every morning,” but right now I’ve gotten off schedule due to that intractable cold that’s going around, piles of mid-semester grading, and prep for readings in New York and Philadelphia next week. So there are definite lapses in my writing routine, but I invariably and obsessively return to it. Most of the time, I write five mornings a week, sometimes just for twenty minutes if that’s all I have, and other times much longer. The ideal is a couple of hours to journal, draft a new poem, and work on revision of an older poem or two – and I do a ton of revision.

Q: Are there any habits you practice regularly to become a better author?

A: Active, engaged reading of others’ writing, especially in my chosen form of the prose poem, and a revision process that is at least as intense and creative as the drafting process.

Q: I know you have a “day job” as a professor, so is it difficult to balance your time between being a professor, a writer, and a mom?

A: Since my daughter is an independent young adult now, most of my parenting consists of offering moral support and the occasional hot meal — much less intense than five or ten years ago! However, it can still be difficult to consistently make time for writing (see above). Sometimes teaching seems wonderfully compatible with writing, and other times not at all. There’s often not really “time” to write, but I do it anyway. I have a fortune cookie taped to the wall in my study that says it best — “Little and often makes much.”


We all do what we can at New Rivers Press to help the press thrive, and we appreciate the interest of people like you that support us in so many ways. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this backstage pass into the world of New Rivers Press, and I encourage you to look into how other authors and publishers function around the country. It’s a hectic world, but I’m sure most industry members would agree that there’s no other place they would like to be.

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