It’s Wednesday and you know what that means – I’m going to introduce you to a woman that rocks.
Trisha came into my sights in the middle of 2016 as a young, hungry, well-spoken, educated and driven female. I knew I had to find a way to work with her – but little did I know just how important she would become to the operations of Pen Name Publishing. She started as an intern, and two months into her six month contract, I threw her another contract making her an Assistant Editor. I’ve never done that before and I have zero regrets.
The more I talked to Trisha and learned about her family, the more she amazed me. She is just an all around phenom and a bright light to hit the literary scene. I want to share her with you today, and, I am thankful to even have this opportunity.
Ready? Let’s go!
I’m doing a bit of everything! I make YouTube videos, chat about books on Tumblr and Twitter, and I sure do edit a whole bunch of manuscripts. Initially, I simply knew that I wanted to be involved in the publishing industry SOMEHOW. I’ve been a lifelong lover of literature, and I wanted to connect to something I loved. But over time, that desire to simply be involved evolved into another hope: to broaden and deepen the stories being told by giving marginalized voices the support they need to reach the audiences they deserve.
My commitment to diverse and Own Voices works is personal. I’m a young black woman seeking space in an industry that has a history of excluding perspectives that don’t fit an accepted model. Publishing often shuts out marginalized identities and lived experiences, preventing them from attaining the success they could have with more support. Our place is constantly undervalued or dismissed. But we need to be here, and need to be part of the publishing process at every level.
I’m here for all kinds of stories, but those that uplift diverse realities are a priority to me—and they should be. These tales need encouragement and advocacy. Through editing manuscripts and through my YouTube channel, I hope to provide a little of both. Own Voices authors in particular deserve respect and support, deserve to know that they are being heard and that the stories they tell are important. Our stories matter.
My biggest obstacle has definitely been a lack of resources—money, reference materials, functioning tech, space. Not to mention I’m currently living in the rural South; there isn’t much in the way of opportunity out here. I run largely on ambition because it’s free and readily available to me. It’s understandably frustrating to feel like you’re working with nothing. But you have to work where you are and make the best of what’s available to you. Great things are still possible!
Social media allows me to be surrounded by stellar publishing professionals all day long. I honestly couldn’t choose just one (or even a mere few)! It’s a pretty great dilemma to have.
Try everything! There’s no one road to a career in publishing. If you have an interest in publishing but aren’t sure where you might fit, keep an open mind. Be conscious of your strengths, weaknesses, and passions. Then seek any and every opportunity you can. In a little over a year, I experimented with so many book-related activities: I interned at a literary agency, started a book blog on Tumblr, launched a Booktube channel, scoured the internet for every remote publishing internship or job I could find, started freelancing. I even played Bookstagram photographer for a bit before realizing I might not be meant for that path. Haha! See what sticks. You never know how you’ll get where you’re meant to go. And you never know what endeavor will spark something in you!
Related to the previous answer: try something else! This is always easier said than done. I’m a hardcore perfectionist. If I feel like I’m doing something wrong or like I’m failing, it’s difficult for me to pick myself up and try anew. After all, if things aren’t working out, isn’t it all a lost cause anyway? You have to fight that thought process. If you don’t, true failure is imminent. If the results you seek aren’t coming, take a step back, reevaluate your plan or system to find where the problems lie, then breathe deeply and rework the path. You’re not a failure, and the world isn’t ending.
Be calm. Be patient. Be determined. Work hard and stay humble.
My daily workflow is unique insofar as it’s constantly changing. On one level, that’s simply the nature of the work I do. Every manuscript I edit or video I create is different and requires different tools and energies from me. Thus, one day can seem quite distinct from the next. On another level, the workflow flux is a byproduct of growing and developing. I’m aiming for a standard of efficiency that I haven’t quite reached, but those are the growing pains of embarking on a new venture and learning what works and what doesn’t. I’ll get there!
Call me basic, but YouTube is my lifeline. Am I confused about how to do something? YouTube. Do I need to relax? YouTube. Am I seeking inspiration? You got it. YouTube. It’s at least 80% of the reason I’m a semi-functional adult-in-training. The YT app is the best app.
- Tracie Thoms: She was my first role model of a successful black woman in a creative field (thanks, RENT!). And I’ve met her twice in person now; I’d love to sit down, eat, and pick her brain for wisdom as far as keeping on when faced with adversity.
- Angelica Schuyler: I’m a Hamilton fan, yes. It’d be great to connect with another ambition-driven individual. Like Angelica, I too will never be satisfied. (Stay hungry, kids.)
- Marines of mynameismarines: She’s an amazing Booktuber who is a great resource for those seeking information about why diversity and representation in media matters. Would love a chance to meet, chat, and be educated!
- Elliot Wake: His books are the definition of “raw.” If I ever need to be reminded of all the complexities of being human, his work would be the first thing I’d turn to. His creative process is one I’d love to hear about!
- My mom: She can join the festivities if she cooks all the amazing Jamaican food and keeps the entertaining stories going!
Does Trisha sound like a woman you want to know or work with? Trust me – if you work with Trisha, you will not be disappointed.
Here’s how to find her:
Are you a woman who rocks? Tell me about your project – don’t be shy – by filling out this survey (Click here)!
Also published on Medium.