Drexel Publishing Group Gives Undergraduate Students Real-World Publishing Experience
By Gina Myers
October 12, 2021
For a hands-on experience in publishing, Drexel students don’t have to look far from campus. In fact, they don’t even have to leave campus.
The course WRIT 405 – Internship in Publishing gives students practical experience in the publishing world through a variety of projects run by the Drexel Publishing Group (DPG).
“True to the Drexel tradition, DPG allows students interested in writing and publishing to not only learn, but to also do,” says Scott Stein, teaching professor of English and cofounder of DPG. “Our internship emphasizes the teamwork, communication, project coordination and attention to detail required for success in publishing careers.”
Students work on a variety of projects, from writing and editing book reviews and articles for DPG’s online publication Write Now Philly to learning about production and design while applying styles, formatting and copyediting books that DPG publishes, including The 33rd, an annual multi-genre anthology of interdisciplinary student and faculty writing edited by Teaching Professor of English Gail D. Rosen, JD.
“DPG has also recently started working with Philadelphia Stories, giving our interns the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the literary journal selection process in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Our students will also be working on the Philadelphia Stories newsletter,” notes Stein.
In addition to these offerings, special projects also arise. For example, the interns are currently working with the Drexel University Black Alumni Council (DUBAC) to publish a book called A Legacy to Share. The book features more than 50 essays written by Black alumni from past decades about their experiences at Drexel and their careers, which the interns are copy-editing and preparing for publication.
Chris Faunce, a civil engineering major, decided to take the internship over the summer because of his interest in reading and writing poetry. He was particularly drawn in by the possibility of getting to write for Write Now Philly and having his work published as an undergraduate.
“Writing the articles for Write Now Philly was my favorite part of the course,” he says. The opportunity also connected him with other writers. “I reached out to around 10 authors from the Philadelphia area in total, and then I got to write about them in my articles and book review.”
Write Now Philly features articles and book reviews with a regional focus. Because of his interest in poetry, Faunce profiled former poet laureate of Montgomery County Deborah Fries, and poet and fiction writer Deborah Burnham, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. He also reviewed a chapbook of poems by Valerie Little.
Faunce’s favorite article to write focused on self-published authors. “Most of [these authors] don’t make a ton of money, but hearing their stories was cool. Typically, they’ll hire someone for cover art and maybe interior book design. When self-publishing, I learned it’s important to do as much as you can on your own to keep costs low. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing makes this process accessible, but not necessarily easy,” Faunce explains. “One of the authors I wrote about learned the process and has now made a modest retirement career out of editing and publishing people’s books through Amazon.
“I was glad I got to write about these people because I’m sure they often feel unrecognized in their craft. I hope some people will come across my article and buy their books.”
Madison Betts, an English major who is now taking the intern class for a second time, has also enjoyed getting to write articles for Write Now Philly. “I've been able to talk with bookstore owners and the CEO of a nonprofit for book donations. And I've been able to do some book reviews as well. It was very cool to get an advance reading copy (ARC) of a book,” she explains.
Betts is also involved with editing the DUBAC book project and has served as a judge for writing contests. She has enjoyed the variety of experiences. “I’ve gotten great exposure to a whole host of things. Even though it is titled ‘Internship in Publishing,’ there’s a huge variety of opportunities offered as part of the course.”
In addition to writing, the internship allows students to gain practical experience in several aspects of publication, from the administrative side to editorial and publicity.
Betts has also picked up a number of important skills through the internship. “It’s so self-directed that you have to have the initiative to get the work done. It feels like an actual job. Time management skills and communication are important,” she says. “You have to reach out to a lot of people and follow up. You can’t take rejection harshly. You have to be able to work with other people and take criticism lightly.”
Rejection is frequently part of the game for writers interested in getting their work published, but the students in the internship benefit from the mentorship provided by Stein, a published author.
Faunce says, “It’s cool that Professor Stein is a writer himself, which gives him some substance within the Drexel literary community.”
Learn more about the Drexel Publishing Group.