Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

Bright Young Things of Mexican Publishing: Alicia Flores

Mexico-flagIn honor of BEA’s International Market Focus on Mexico this year, we asked a few young Mexican publishing professionals for their take on the industry they’re simultaneously inheriting and helping to create. William Dietzel and Alicia Flores share their thoughts about their careers thus far and what might be next.

****

Alicia Flores

Alicia Flores

Alicia Flores was born in Mexico City and studied linguistics at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. She has worked as a reader, copyeditor, proofreader, and editor for several Mexican publishers, and currently lives in Oaxaca, where she moved seven months ago to work with Almadía Publishing as Managing Editor. In her spare time she takes spinning classes and works on her French.

 

How did you get started in publishing? How many years have you worked in publishing, total?

My first job at a publishing house wasn’t in editorial. A little less than five years ago, I used to do ad sales for a book supplement distributed by major Mexican newspapers. I didn’t like it, but it was my first real exposure to the editorial process. My stay there was short, though: a few months after I started the publisher went bankrupt. Later, by chance, I met a publisher who invited me to write readers reports for a very prestigious publishing house. The job was freelance, and my responsibility was to read the manuscript and (in my role as “potential buyer of books”) to decide whether it was a work I would read (or more accurately: would buy). The books (mostly fiction and essays) had already been published in Spain, and my job was to decide whether they would be welcomed by the Mexican public. That was the first job I held it had to do directly with the editorial process. After a few months, I had the opportunity interview at Almadía (the publishing house for which I currently work) and was hired as assistant editor. That was about four years ago and was a really beneficial step: I learned a lot about correction, editorial judgment, layout, editing, design, and production of the books, I’m sure it was the step that helped me decide this was what I wanted to do with my career.

What is your current job title? What are some of your favorite things about your job?

I am the Managing Editor at Almadía. The things I like about my work … uff, so many! I’m immersed in almost all parts of the process. From the arrival of the manuscript, I coordinate proofreading, layout, design, and everything else up until the printer delivers copies in the warehouse–just before the books go on sale. My job involves knowing the function of all departments and each stage of the editorial process. Although I was originally partial to the correction and editing (there’s nothing that worries and interests me more than language), it excites me assemble the entire puzzle. The moment when I actually get to hold the finished book in my hands, and I get to smell it, touch it, see it … it’s like seeing everyone’s joint efforts finally take shape.

What about current Mexican book business excites you most?

In recent years there’s been an impetus in Mexico to found small independent publishers. Traditionally, Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey are the only places in the country where you can do or get almost anything; outside there are fewer possibilities. Now, different publishing houses are emerging both inside and outside the cities. Independent publishers publish local writers, and small towns are increasingly starting their own independent book fairs. What excites me most is the increasing interest in getting published, and initiative that provides people to write–I can feel it and feel it more than ever. You might think it’s not much, but consider that I live in a country where people read, on average, less than two books a year. In that setting, the enthusiasm for publishing, writing, reading, and attending book fairs seems to me to be something capable of revolutionizing a lot of things in the country, socially and culturally. Plus, it has a beneficial impact on the publishing industry. Unlike a few years ago, it is now common to ride public transport, walk through a park, go out for coffee, and everywhere see young people reading. That motivates publishers to make a wider variety of books to attract all readers, and organize activities to promote reading. Young people are a bit fed up with the current situation of our country and many books have helped reveal possible ways to improve as individuals and as a society.

What challenges face your generation of Mexican publishers that differ from the challenges for previous generations?

The challenge definitely will be (or already is) technological development. Mexico is just beginning to publish digital editions, and is only at the beginning of the migration to digital–we still have a lot to accomplish. New publishers will grapple with new platforms, new ways to edit, design, publish, market, i.e., face a completely different editorial process and also a separate market. In Mexico, only a small sector of the population has access to read on an electronic tablet or ereader, it’s a very specific market and will become more generalized only at a very slow pace. As these platforms become the standard way of reading, publishers will have to continue paper editions, all while remaining meticulous with the selection of titles they choose to publish.

What are your hopes for your own career–things you’d like to learn or do in the future?

I don’t like to think ahead and make plans too much, but I do know I’m interested in doing more digital book publishing and learning about new technologies. For now we have ebooks, but the pace at which technology develops suggests they won’t be around forever. We’ll probably create new ways of relating to books or information in general. I’m not necessarily bound to literature, perhaps it would be interesting to apply technologies within the educational sector or at a periodical–maybe in a magazine or a web portal about music (another of my passions), education, language, or general culture. I love languages​​, and I also like to do translation. What I do know is that my passion is for publishing, and I don’t see myself doing anything else in the future. Time will tell…

2 Comments

  1. Cuauhtemoc says:

    I love that woman

  2. Marcia says:

    She’s the woman who taught me to read and write

Leave a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>