Nicole joined the INCLUDAS team in September 2021 and is the Social Media Intern. We are so excited to have her with us!
Tell us about yourself.
I feel like I’m a good listener, especially since I was a journalism major in college. Because I interviewed so many people, I developed the ability to empathize and sympathize with others more easily and understand where they’re coming from. I always want to treat everyone with kindness, like I would want to be treated by someone else.
The most significant thing that’s influenced me as a person, I would say, is my thesis project. I worked with one of my professors—with whom I took a fiction writing class and a publishing class—to help me examine how anxiety is represented in young adult books. I noticed a common theme among them that just when the book ends, they start going to therapy or that they start getting help. It leaves readers with the impression that they’re cured once they start treatment—which is rarely the case. I researched anxiety disorders and used that research to write a short story of my own that addresses these issues. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was in first grade, so writing that short story and representing anxiety in my own way was momentous to me.
What makes you proud of yourself, and what are your aspirations?
I would say graduating college was a big accomplishment for me. I was very emotional that day because I remembered, throughout the years, hearing about all the classes and projects I would do and being scared about having to do them. As someone with anxiety, everything worries me, and I always think everything will go wrong. But from graduating college, I learned that I’d eventually do it, and it will be okay. I pushed myself to have the experiences I did, learned things I’d never done before, and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
As for dreams and aspirations, I hope to work as an editorial assistant for a children’s publisher one day because that’s a genre I’m particularly passionate about. I also hope to publish my own book one day.
Why are you interested in working in publishing?
I’m interested in working in publishing specifically because I love being part of a team, working with writers, and working with them to publish their stories. I have always found myself gravitated toward those roles, whether it’s being on the editorial board for my college’s literary magazines or working for the school newspaper. Being in a group that is passionate about storytelling means a lot to me.
Why is disability diversity in stories important to you?
Disability diversity is important to me because it’s not enough to publish books from disabled authors and other marginalized authors. It’s important for the team to uplift and support their authors throughout the entire publishing process. You can’t just publish one book and go, “Here’s your diversity!” You have to continue to publish as many experiences as possible because one character and one story do not represent an entire community. The more disabled authors and stories centered around disabled characters there are, the more chances readers have to relate to those stories and characters.
For children and young adult books, their audience and readers are still trying to figure out who they are. I appreciate organizations like INCLUDAS who advocate for disability diversity in the publishing world, especially for young readers, because it’s another big step forward. They’re putting books in the hands of readers so they can see these experiences and feel relief in being represented.
What’s the most fulfilling part about being on the INCLUDAS team?
What’s exciting me right now is potentially starting a TikTok for INCLUDAS. It’s an opportunity for me to do more video work because I do a lot of writing, designing, and photography. It’s also a great way for me to apply my skills in social media from other internships and apply them to making TikToks, which is a social media platform culture I really love. It’s a great way to get content out there and allow people to be more aware of what INCLUDAS is and what we advocate for.
Any advice for those wanting to work in the publishing industry?
My main piece of advice is to find a mentor, whether it be a professor or teacher or even somebody on social media—just someone who knows you’re interested in publishing and can help you out and give you that first step forward. They can help you apply to internships and get you into contact with people. It’s a way of speaking it out into the world, and you can both be excited about it. They can help you reach your dream.