Michigan State University alumnus Arik Hardin, who graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in English, is the Managing Editorial Assistant for the Children’s Publishing Group at Macmillan. Earlier this year, he returned to campus to talk to students interested in pursuing a career in the publishing industry.
“The English degree I received from MSU was excellent,” Hardin said. “One of the best things you can do to prepare for working in the industry is being well-read, especially if you want to work in the editorial or marketing side of the industry.”
While at MSU, Hardin expanded upon his English degree by working for ing Magazine (now called The Current), which is a full-color arts and culture magazine produced by MSU students. There he wrote articles for this monthly print and digital magazine, along with blogs for the magazine’s website.
“Classes or groups like ing Magazine allow you to work with a team to build upon that skill while also learning about scheduling and deadlines, which helped me get into a professional mindset,” Hardin said.
Following graduation in 2017, Hardin worked for the State of Michigan as an Office Assistant. He also was an Editorial Intern at Dzanc Books where he read and evaluated manuscript submissions and e-books and copyedited upcoming Dzanc titles.
In 2018, he received his certificate for publishing from the Denver Publishing Institute (DPI), an intensive, four-week graduate-level summer course that offers its students a holistic view of the publishing industry. The course includes workshops, mock interviews with publishing professionals, and a visit to the Perseus Books Group. Faculty members are professionals in the industry and DPI alumni who work all around the country.
“I learned a ton from DPI,” Hardin said. “Students come out of it knowing exactly what they want to do, and they have a better sense of the specific part of the industry they want to be in.”
One of the benefits of DPI is the networking opportunities it provides.
The English degree I received from MSU was excellent. One of the best things you can do to prepare for working in the industry is being well-read, especially if you want to work in the editorial or marketing side of the industry.
“Just being there, I had 95 more people who were trying to get into publishing that I am now connected with,” Hardin said. “I also had the DPI administrators and all of the lecturers that I could talk to. I got the opportunity to really network with all of these different people.”
Once he arrived at the DPI, Hardin connected with Carl Lennertz, Director of the Children’s Book Council, where he briefly volunteered. Through this volunteer experience, Hardin secured a job as an Editorial Coordinator at McGraw-Hill.
“That job was a great stepping-stone. It allowed me to get into the industry, which can be relatively difficult because it is so competitive,” Hardin said. “Once you are in, though, it becomes much easier to move around, and this job helped me with that.”
During his time at McGraw-Hill, Hardin found his current job at Macmillan where he helps manage the reprints for all children’s book titles.
“Before moving to New York, I pursued certificates and an internship that I knew would make me an attractive candidate for the job that I have now,” Hardin said. “The combination of gaining experience through DPI and everything else I have done allowed me to tailor my resume to the specific job I wanted. If you have the time and the resources to do so, and if you know the direction you want to go, gaining experience strategically is only going to help you.”