Amber (Wegwerth) Ross
Year of Graduation: 2002
Current Position: Product Development Manager, Red Line Editorial/North Star Editions
Please give a brief description of your current position and what it entails?
I’m the product development manager at Red Line Editorial and North Star Editions. It’s a small company, and my role has me wearing two very different “hats” on a daily basis:
- Red Line is a book packager, which means that publishers come to us to make books for them, which they will then publish with their name on it. I work with our clients to generate the list of books that we will develop for them. The books are almost exclusively nonfiction, and our clients are mostly in the school library market.
- My work with the North Star side of the business is evolving. Here we are the publisher of the books. I work on developing (mostly) fiction book ideas that are intended to go into both the school (library and classroom) and trade markets. I concept the book ideas, find authors, etc., and edit them. These books are mostly middle grade, and with our Jolly Fish imprint, although I do other ancillary work with our YA imprint, Flux, as well.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
I started out as an editor in a professional-type setting. It was a decent job for a recent college graduate, but nothing I could hang my hat on. I decided I wanted to be in publishing—book publishing to be specific. After many many months of searching for a job, I landed a position editing textbooks for struggling readers. When that big publisher decided to close its Minnesota office, I networked like crazy and landed a job at Capstone, where I worked for 8 years. Wanting a change (as well as a better commute), I jumped on an opportunity available at Red Line (also obtained by networking) and haven’t looked back since.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Two things: read voraciously (not just books, but also book reviews, blogs, industry news, etc.) and network, network, network!
What skills are important in your field?
Probably the most important would have to be keeping a pulse on what’s going on around you and what’s going on in the world: current events as well as trends in books, TV, movies, etc.
What are the most challenging and satisfying parts of your job?
Seeing the books I concepted in print, and reading others' reviews of the books (especially if they garner awards or starred reviews!).
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for your current career?
I'd have to say the critical thinking skills as well as the broad knowledge from CSB/SJU's liberal arts education have proven to be the most valuable to me in the "real" world.