At Texas Tech University Press, we have undergraduate student interns and graduate student assistants. We wanted to give them a chance to introduce themselves and to talk about their work at the Press.
Can you give us a few basics about yourself? Standard introductory stuff: name, year in school, major, interests, future plans?
I’m Toluwani! I am a senior journalism major with minors in English and Spanish. I love reading, writing, playing guitar, collecting candles, and reviewing books on Instagram. My all-time goal is to become an author, but for now I’m okay with just being a writer in whatever way I can.
What drew you to spend some time learning about publishing?
I always knew my future career had to involve books or writing in some way, but other than becoming an author, I wasn’t sure how. Over the summer of 2021, I looked into getting a master’s in publishing, but when I learned that Texas Tech had its own press, I figured the best place to get a first taste of the publishing world was on campus. I wanted to peek behind the curtain and learn how books get from the author’s page to store shelves.
What work did you do for the Press? What stuck with you?
My fellow intern Grace Gandy and I developed a social media publicity guide to help current and future TTU Press authors promote their books. Individually, I got to work with Andy Bowman, author of The West Texas Power Plant That Saved the World. As a lover of the online book community, I had a basic understanding of how to navigate that niche; still, I have found myself constantly learning and being challenged to think creatively with this project. I deeply value the freedom I am allowed in helping Mr. Bowman achieve his promotional goals. I’m grateful that nothing Grace and I have done over the semester has felt like busywork; there was always an earnest need for the tasks we did, which was super encouraging and rewarding.
As part of the internship, you sat in on a bunch of all-staff meetings where we did plenty of very basic publishing stuff—argued about titles, discussed tricky proofreads and fiddly contract negotiations. You saw a lot! I wonder if anything struck you as particularly weird or interesting.
The discussions about titles were honestly fascinating. Every reader has their own two cents on book titles, but I was unaware of the amount of forethought that goes into assigning a title. There were several interesting debates about how to title books about complex political figures, for example. I enjoyed seeing how everyone worked as a team, even when they disagreed.
I’m not going to ask, “What’s your favorite book?” because that question drives me insane. But what’s something that you read that stuck with you? Could be a meaty book you read for class or a favorite childhood book.
When I was in eighth grade, my mom bought me a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah because a clerk at Barnes & Noble—a fellow Nigerian—recommended it for me. I read it everywhere: at lunch, in class, under my covers. It was the first serious adult book I had ever read and my introduction to modern Nigerian literature. Adichie is now one of my favorite authors, and since then, I’ve completed my collection of all of her novels. So thanks, Mama!