In an effort to get to know our Oxford University Press staff better, we’re featuring interviews with our staff in different offices. Read on for our Q&A with Alyssa Bender, marketing coordinator for our religion and theology Academic/Trade books and Bibles in New York.
When did you start working at OUP?
What is the most important lesson you learned during your first year on the job?
Take notes on everything! From training sessions for programs to meetings where I had no idea what anyone was talking about, filling up my notebook (and constantly revisiting later) was my saving grace.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve found about working at OUP?
How many books we come out with every year. Never could have guessed we publish the volume that we do.
What’s the least surprising?
While it surprised me at first, it really shouldn’t have—everyone here is so intelligent and talented. It’s likely that those are just the type of people who are drawn to work at university presses, but it’s still great to work with such smart people every day.
What drew you to work for OUP in the first place? What do you think about that now?
It was a job in publishing! Those are hard to come by when you’re first out of school. Luckily, it turned out to be an awesome job with a great team. Still is.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
Open my inbox and sort the emails by priority.
What is your typical day like at OUP?
Lots of answering emails. Also, lots of meetings. In between emails and meetings, there’s creating marketing plans, pulling sales reports, gathering social media content, proofing newsletters and catalogs, updating website copy, submitting review copy requests, making flyers…the list goes on.
What is the strangest thing currently on or in your desk?
A 3D paper pear made out of note paper. A gift from my manager, who brought it back from her trip to Japan.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
Seeing my efforts pay off when a book does really well.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
Determining reprint quantities. No matter how much research you do, you can still be way off in your estimates. It’s one of the many aspects of my job that only gets easier the more experience you have doing it.
What is the most exciting project you have been part of while working at OUP?
Helping to launch the @OUPMusic Twitter, back when I still worked on the music team. It was really fun to be a part of the strategy conversations and learn what goes on behind the scenes of company Twitter accounts. It was also fun to be behind some of the tweets and interact with the followers.
Tell us about one of your proudest moments at work.
Pulling off a successful American Academy of Religion/Society for Biblical Literature conference this past November. As the team leader for the conference, I was responsible for organizing almost every detail about our presence there, from deciding the booth layout, to determining the books we would bring (and how many of each), to making sure enough people were present for set-up/tear down. It was my first AAR/SBL, and my first large meeting in general, and I was really happy with how it all turned out.
What will you be doing once you’ve completed this Q&A?
Cleaning my desk! So many piles of paper, bookmarked galleys, meeting notes, books, and folders everywhere!
Alyssa Bender joined Oxford University Press in 2011. She is currently a Marketing Coordinator for our religion and theology Academic/Trade books and Bibles in New York.