Jordyn Martinez has long been a serious book lover, but she didn’t initially see where she could turn that passion into a career path.
“I knew I wasn’t an editor – I’m not that great with grammar, so I thought publishing is not for me,” she says. “But my husband said, ‘I’m pretty sure there are other job options within the industry.'”
After landing back-to-back internships right out of the Creative Book Publishing program at Humber, Martinez now works as a national sales representative at Simon and Schuster Canada.
“I get a portfolio of titles with different imprints, different categories, different formats and I sell that to our national retail accounts.” This could mean approaching a chain like Indigo with a range of new book titles and highlighting why each would appeal to its customers.
She chalks up a big part of her success to zeroing in on an industry role that aligned with her natural aptitude for numbers and technology.
“I knew I wanted to end up in sales and I was also really interested in Excel and data-based decision making, which is kind of unheard-of for book people because we don’t like numbers,” she jokes. “But that helped me find this little niche and I was able to carve out a spot for myself.”
Julia Chanter is one of the program instructors at Humber. She says that the very changes affecting the publishing industry right now help shape the curriculum for students.
“Book publishing is changing in the ways that a lot of media is changing,” Chanter says. “We might not see the same kinds of 40-year careers at big publishers that would have been a normal career path 20 years ago. You have to make your career what you want and be prepared to do internships and freelance jobs.”
Chanter emphasizes that, in publishing, it’s important to be able to bring sophisticated knowledge of how companies can utilize technology to strengthen their businesses. “A lot of the bigger organizations are being run by people who have been in the industry for 40 or 50 years. They might not have the technical skills to see how technology can contribute. That’s one key thing students can take away from this program.”
Alan Cross, a veteran broadcaster and guest lecturer at Humber, would echo much of this advice. In the time he spends with students in the Music Business program, he emphasizes adaptability and an entrepreneurial instinct as keys to breaking into a business in the midst of seismic changes.
“The radio industry is going to be here for quite some time yet, but it is evolving,” he says. “And what I tell students is that the things they’re learning will be useful no matter where they end up in the business.”
A lack of experience can actually be a great asset, according to Cross. “In order for the industry to continue to evolve and thrive and survive, it needs new ideas from new people, and a lot of the best ideas are going to come from those who are who have lived digitally their entire lives.”
He encourages students to seek out organizations that are embracing the widespread changes affecting the music business, as they’ll likely be the ones best suited to continue growing into the future.
Students like Chudi Harris, a musician and performer hailing from the East Coast, are taking this kind of advice to heart. While his eye is still trained on making music, he’s found his footing in the business through a position at FACTOR – a national funding organization that supports artists, music labels and more.
“For the past few years, I was just putting out music and getting to know people, playing a lot of shows and building my own network,” he says. “It felt good to make progress, but after a while you start to realize that if you really want to take it seriously, you have to be where the industry lives and where the infrastructure exists.”
He looked at his options and considered what would be the most realistic next step to get into the business side of music, and that’s what led him to Humber.
“It’s one thing to be an artist,” he says, “that’s possible for almost anyone. But to have a career that pays your bills from January to December, that’s something else.”
Learn more about Humber and the exciting career paths available to students here.