By Cari Thomas
Students who want to become published authors have the opportunity on Tuesday, March 2, 2004 to meet with local publication companies through the first annual Publication Fair.
Representatives from 25 publishing companies have been invited to come to the Garden Court in the Wilkinson Student Center from 12 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday to review stories and articles from any one of BYU”s aspiring authors for this event, sponsored by the Publication Lab.
Colleen Whitley, professor in the honors English department, said, “Becoming published is a skill that you have to learn, the same as any other skill.”
This is an opportunity for students to find out exactly how to become published and become acquainted with the process of publishing.
“The point of the fair and the lab is to help students move their work into more public venues, to publish both on and off campus,” Whitley said. “Sheri Dew said at one point that she thinks some of the best writing that is done on campus stays and dies on campus. And she is right. It is really sad because we have such excellent writers on campus, and we have important things to say.”
With a range of publishers available attending the fair, there should be something there for anyone who is interested at all in publishing, Whitley said.
Brit Mosman, a tutor in the Publication Lab, said everyone at the lab is excited about the fair because representatives mingle with a lot of talented student writers who don”t know how to get published. The lab reads manuscripts and edits for content and makes sure they are fit to the audience.
“We help students go from the whole publishing process, starting with making their manuscript better to writing cover and query letters to actually submitting it and then what to do once it is submitted,” said Mosman, a senior from Oregon studying English. “We”re excited to open the door for students to know the publishing process and hopefully get published.”
Students aren”t sure how to pursue publishers and sell their stories, she said. The Publishing Lab and fair was established to overcome these inhibitions.
“Students so often think that publishing is just way beyond them; it can”t be done,” Whitley said. “But it can. We want to help students understand that they can publish, and they should.”
BYU offers more student publications than any other campus in the country, Whitley said. Publications on and off campus look good on a resume and help when applying for graduate school. She said publication it is almost required and makes the application and admission process much easier.
“BYU”s Publication Lab, as far as we”ve been able to determine, is the only one of its kind in the country. … it”s been in operation as a full-scale lab for about three years.”
The lab started out as one bookshelf and one filing cabinet in a corner of the honors commons. It has turned into a one-of-a-kind lab located on the main floor of the library in the information commons and operates every school day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tutors understand the marketing process and staff the lab to help anyone who is interested in being published.
About seven years ago, Cheri Earl, professor in the honors English department, was told as a graduate student she needed to be published or she would be in trouble down the road. After being told that there was no set way to be published, she saw the need and benefit of a publication lab.
She worked with an honors dean to establish the lab, which moved into the library commons three years ago. In the beginning, there wasn”t a list of publications on campus. Now there is a complete list with information on how to become published in each of the publications as well as in most any publication.
“It”s an incredible opportunity for students, and those who have taken advantage of it have done very, very well,” Whitley said.
Many local publishers will be represented at this fair, including Deseret Book, Church Magazine, LDS Living magazine, Provo Herald and BYU Studies.