Is it possible to see the heart and soul of a company? That question was answered with a resounding “yes” recently as members of One World hosted a group of NYU MS in Publishing: Digital and Print Media students for a virtual visit to the imprint of Penguin Random House. According to its mission statement, One World “provides a home for authors—novelists, essayists, memoirists, poets, journalists, thinkers, activists, and creative artists unconstrained by genre—who seek to challenge the status quo, subvert dominant narratives, and give us new language to understand our past, present, and future.”
“What we have to say, what our authors have to say is really important and it should be listened to,” said Carla Bruce-Eddings, Publicity Director at One World. Since the imprint was relaunched in 2017, every member of the team has been concentrating on offering their authors a space where they can develop their voices and share their stories. Nicole Counts, Senior Editor and organizer of the visit, expressed that the imprint’s work relies on a triangle of care: “The book should care for the author, for the readers, and for the editors.” A One World book should open us to the future and all its possibilities; it should bring things out the shadows and shine light on spaces that demand the attention. That is how single truths become universal.
Nicole Counts, Senior Editor, One World, Penguin Random House (photo credit: Aaron Hunt)
One World is a community where every member moves in cohesion to bring about a message to the world. Everyone involved in the publishing process from the authors to the editors, art director, and marketing and publicity directors, has an authentic passion for the work they’re doing, and their project truly is a labor of love. As Bruce-Eddings stated, “These are the books that I’ve always wanted to put out into the world. They feel very urgent, they feel necessary and relevant.”
Recently, the imprint began working on a virtual conversation series, the Ideas & Action podcast. Their original mission of rethinking the past, understanding the present, and imagining other futures takes on a new trajectory, especially considering the ongoing pandemic. In this up-and-coming space, authors are invited to talk about the crucial moments we are now living in and how those moments shape their work.
The Ideas & Action podcast is a virtual conversation series created by One World.
In this new environment we are all experiencing, Lulu Martínez, Marketing Director, expressed the importance of checking in, especially with authors. She stated that every time she gets an email from an author or their agent, she drops everything to answer their questions and follow up. “They want to know that there is someone behind the screen,” she explains. Furthermore, as a marketing director, she has to think about the different ways she can put a book in front of the reader. “We need to think of books as an experience. Because every book is different, that allows you to find different hooks, different venues, different partnership opportunities, and really get creative,” she said.
The process of creating a cover that draws in readers is a key part of the process. Counts pointed out that “As much as people don’t want to judge a book by its cover, books are judged by their cover.” It’s the job of Greg Mollica, One World’s Art Director, to see what threads he can pull from a manuscript and which pieces he can move to show the author’s truth on the jacket design, “[The book] is [the author’s] baby and you have to take the time to think it all through,” he noted. It is his responsibility to see the project from beginning to end, to pick the right collaborators, illustrators, and artists, and to gain approval across the board.
Bruce-Eddings, Counts, Martínez, and Mollica’s work for One World is challenging, but profound and rewarding. As Counts explained: “The stories that we publish at One World open up our lens to the world.” They ask many hard questions and offer up possible solutions. For the visiting publishing students, our time at One World inspired and motivated us to take a closer look at ourselves, at the stories we are invested in, and at the world we live in.
By Thaisheemarie Fantauzzi Pérez, NYU SPS MS in Publishing ‘23
Thai is a first-year student at the MS in Publishing: Digital and Print Media program with hopes of pursuing a career in editorial and becoming an advocate for minority groups in the book publishing industry. She is originally from Puerto Rico and, in her spare time, she enjoys baking, gardening, and reading.
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