BA in Communication

Keaton Maddox, 2015

Keaton Maddox

What work are you doing now?

I am an Associate Editor at Red Hen Press and an Assistant Managing Editor at the Los Angeles Review. Red Hen Press is the largest independent book publisher in California, releasing almost 30 poetry, fiction, and nonfiction titles a year. I manage the editorial staff and oversee publicity, which includes the assessment of submissions for eleven different annual awards, as well as solicited and unsolicited manuscripts.

What do you like about it?

I love being a part of the creative process. Once we have accepted a book for publication, it will need copy-editing, and occasionally, developmental editing. Here, my input helps shape the art of poets and writers whose work I've admired for years. More than anything, I enjoy working with authors to help them see their creativity transformed into something tangible, something physical and bound they can hold in their hands.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

The process of getting a book from acceptance to print can take almost two years in some cases, so the long-term planning skills I developed in college have been especially useful. Minoring in philosophy taught me how to comprehend dense writing; minoring in English taught me how to break down stories and poems in a way that is critical, yet constructive; majoring in public relations prepared me to work with media and press releases.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

Why you want to work at a particular company matters. If you don't care enough about the job to research the company before your interview, they won't hire you. Also, don't be afraid to apply to places you feel are beneath you. Sometimes opportunities arrive in the strangest ways. Even if you decide after the interview that it's still not where you want to be, at least you'll have practiced selling yourself and tested out how your resume comes across to people you don't know.