In celebration of W. W. Norton & Company’s 100th year of publishing, we’re offering readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the bookmaking process—the people behind the books and the products we create! Through our “Behind the Book” blog series, discover who plays a role in creating a book, what daily life looks like at Norton, and what being part of an independent and employee-owned company means.
Bridget Walsh started at W. W. Norton as a Trade Marketing Intern in the fall of 2021. In May of 2022, she joined the company full-time as the Advertising and Conventions Coordinator in the College Department.
What is your current role and what part do you play in the book publishing process?
I’m the Advertising and Conventions Coordinator. Half of my role is coordinating logistics for the 60+ academic conferences we attend each year to promote our college textbooks. For the advertising side of my role, I act as a liaison between our book teams, our designer, and our vendors to bring ad pieces to life. Once the ad pieces are finished, I organize their distribution to our nationwide sales team, who uses them when pitching our products to instructors.
For your current role, what does an average day look like?
It varies, but generally I’m doing a lot of planning ahead! At any given time, I’m working on 10–15 conferences. This involves collaborating with the book teams to arrange the shipments of key titles and advertising materials, booking their hotels, event planning for any receptions or focus groups we’re hosting, and more. I’ll also be working on our current requests for ad pieces, which includes contacting our vendors for price quotes, project managing the copywriting and design process, and sending the finished designs to production.
What skills do you need to succeed in your job? Did any previous work or life experience help you in your role?
Organizational skills are key. There are many small details that are easy to forget, so going about my tasks methodically ensures I’m tying up all loose ends. Flexibility is also important since last-minute requests and changes are inevitable when it comes to both event planning and travel. I was a bookseller and the marketing manager at an independent bookstore before I started my internship at Norton. The experience strengthened my ability to multitask and prioritize effectively, as there are always a million things happening at once at a bookstore.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in publishing?
Don’t count yourself out! I think there’s a misconception you need to have a certain kind of background to enter publishing. If you’ve had previous publishing internships, that’s definitely valuable. But if not, the skills you already have are more transferable than you think. A real passion for books and learning new things will get you far.
What have been some of your favorite projects?
It’s been such a treat working on all the centenary-related projects. We’ve created centenary-branded totes, pens, stickers, conference banners, and table runners, and we currently have baseball hats in the works. All of these items attract attention to our booth at conferences, and they give our reps an opportunity to share Norton’s rich and storied history!
What has kept you at Norton?
It’s easily the people I get to work with every day. I’ve learned so much from them, and I feel so lucky to be a part of our close-knit team!
Lastly, what do you like to do outside of work? Any fun hobbies or recent reads you would recommend?
To no one’s surprise, I love to read. Right now, I’m finishing up Either/Or by Elif Batuman. Fun fact: in The Idiot, Batuman’s first novel, there’s a reference to Norton Critical Editions!