Meet a Lerner: Andrea Nelson

Meet our Digital and Editorial intern, Andrea Nelson!


What brings you to Lerner?

During my undergraduate studies, I served as a managing editor for the University of Minnesota’s undergraduate art and literary magazine, Ivory Tower (now The Tower) and as an editorial intern at Graywolf Press. These experiences strengthened my desire to pursue editorial positions in publishing. However, I also wanted to gain skills that would help me to innovate and promote reading in new ways. Enter Lerner.

Lerner’s associate editor-in-chief, Vicki Liestman, contacted me about the hybrid digital/editorial internship and I was immediately intrigued. The responsibilities included the editorial aspects that I already knew I loved, as well as a new component—digital creation—that would help me broaden my skill base. I had done an informational interview over the summer, so I was familiar with the company and its excellent reputation as a major children’s publisher. It was a no-brainer to come on board.

Describe a day in the life of an intern.

I work in both the digital and editorial departments at Lerner, and split my time evenly between the two. In the mornings, I work on digital projects such as constructing eBooks, creating activities for interactive books, and checking to make sure that all of our digital content meets our quality standards. Usually this means I am listening to audiobooks or reading our eBooks on e-readers. I love this part of my job because I get to see and familiarize myself with every product in a season.

In the afternoon, I move over to editorial work. My tasks include fact-checking manuscripts, building indexes and style sheets, and conducting research for potential bibliographic sources, authors, and consultants for our titles. Because Lerner has numerous brands, imprints, and markets, each title brings unique challenges in terms of leveling and content.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, as well as The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin. I don’t usually read sci-fi/fantasy books, but I’ve somehow found myself reading two of them simultaneously and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I’m also listening to the audiobook of The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.


What’s your best source for finding new book recommendations?

Luckily, I have surrounded myself with good recommenders. I work at a bookstore where at least one of my coworkers has read from each section of the store. I have my book club that focuses on social issues. I have my fellow editors at Paper Darts who share my passion for the bizarre and feminist. I have colleagues here at Lerner who have handed me books and simply said, “Read this, because I think you’ll like it.” And they were right!

I supplement this with podcasts and social media. The podcast that best matches my taste is “What Should I Read Next?” by Anne Bogel. She has one guest on the show who names three books they love and one they hate, and then she gives them three recommendations for new books to read. This format allows for a wide variety of tastes and does not simply depend on her own personal preferences. I’ve added tons of titles to my TBR from listening to “What Should I Read Next?” Publishers and bookstagram accounts are another great way to see what people in the book world are excited about—especially if a book has a beautiful or unique cover.

Name your top 5 favorite books.

The Song Poet by Kao Kalia Yang, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. (Of course, there are many, many more. But you made me choose five.)


Who do you admire and why?

I have a lot of respect for Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson for their activism and advocacy supporting female empowerment.

In my mind, Margaret Atwood, Ann Patchett, and Barbara Kingsolver create a trifecta of women authors creating vibrantly imagined, women-centric stories. I’m a great admirer of their craft and often feel a strong connection to their characters.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

Probably Italy. It has everything you could need: a beautiful Mediterranean landscape, more art and history than you can see in a lifetime, and sweet, sweet carbs.

Thanks, Andrea!

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