For many students, a summer internship is their first exposure to the working world. It can be a great way to learn new skills, connect, and explore different career options. In this episode, Alia Biswas joins Juliet Clark to talk about her experience and the skills she learned in her internship with Super Brand Publishing. Alia is a senior at Scripps College majoring in Media Studies with a concentration in Critical Analysis. Her interest includes video production and analyzing all media types, such as science fiction novels and films. She will be graduating in Spring 2023. Tune in to learn more about the confessions from Super Brand Publishing’s summer intern.
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What I Did On My Summer Vacation With Alia Biswas
Confessions From Super Brand Publishing’s Summer Intern
This episode is going to be a fun interview. Before we jump into it, remember to go over to www.BreakthroughAuthorMagazine.com. It’s a free subscription. It is a group of experts who give you all tips and tricks about publishing, platform building, brand building, media, and all those things that make up a platform, as well as highlights some of our authors who have built good platforms and done a great job.
Our guest is Alia Biswas. She is a senior at Scripps College, majoring in Media Studies with a concentration in critical analysis. Alia’s interests also include video production and analysis of types of media, such as science fiction novels and films. With a minor in Religious Studies, Alia will be graduating in spring 2023 with extensive theoretical knowledge to analyze media in the US. The reason we are having Alia on is Alia was our summer intern. She did a fabulous job. She’s now going to be jetting off to Greece, which Kris and I don’t because we have to work. That’s the way it is. Welcome, Alia.
Thank you. I’m happy to be here.
We also have Kris Johnson, our book developer. As many of you know, Sarah’s out for the summer. We are not going to have Sarah on this one but Alia did work with Sarah for a couple of weeks as well. Did you learn anything?
I feel like I have been introduced to this whole new world. I love it. It’s amazing.
Is it what you thought it would be?
You gave a good introduction to me. You did prepare me well. Like in our initial conversations about the internship, I wasn’t surprised but I loved the most part. I got to work with each of you for a little bit at least and got to see the different aspects and the sides of it. That was probably the most exciting part of it, for sure. It’s getting to see the different aspects.
I did not see the video on your resume, so you and I are going to talk afterward because I got a video project for you. You got to work. What did you work on with Sarah? Did you work on content? Did you write articles and social media posts? What did you do over there?
I mainly did articles and a few social media posts. The most exciting was I worked on some Canva social media posts for this awesome book. It was fun. I got to work on the graphics, branding and making things fit what the authors like and look professional.
Was that Leslie Michael’s book you have worked on?
In fact, her book is coming out. Leslie’s book was released on July 26. It’s so exciting. You then went over to Kris. I have to share with you. You edited part of my son’s book. There was this huge conversation at a party about whether his demi-human characters were furries. You ran one portion of it. You edited. We then got to the furries, and he was horrified but you thought it was a whole conversation between the families. My son-in-law is an avid reader. It was funny because he’s like, “The furry people are awkward and odd but they might be readers.” Tell us a little bit about what you did with Kris besides my son’s book.
I thought it was good for Tyler because I worked with him on it. This is part three of his book. I worked with him extensively on parts 1 and 2. I’ve worked a lot with him on character development and how to present things in a way that makes it clear and for the authors, to read. It is the job of the author to make it clear. It is not the job of the reader to figure it out. It’s nonfiction or fiction. The fact that this objective person he hadn’t heard from before, that wasn’t me, said that to him. He heard it and realized. That was a good learning experience for Tyler.
It was a good learning experience. You and I talked, Kris, about there was a lawsuit and somebody interviewed for a job, dressed for the job interview, and then showed up as a furry and took the company to court because they wouldn’t let him or her be a furry at the office. There’s this huge lawsuit because they were furry individuals. It was interesting to have this conversation about the furries. Alia, what did you learn?
Working with Kris has been so much fun because I have learned many skills that can be applied to fiction, nonfiction or any type of storytelling. We talked, in the beginning, a lot about narrative structure, how to build tension, the issues when you shift POVs in a fiction book, and all these different elements to working through someone’s writing where it may make what they are trying to communicate a little murky.
I’ve learned a lot of practical, real-life skills like, “How can we change this so the message is even clearer.” My favorite part has been learning how to help people communicate more effectively so they can reach that wider audience they want to. I loved it. I feel so much more capable now after working on a few books and listening and having meetings.
Kris, I have much the same problem Tyler has. I know you are going through it and fixing it. I have to tell you this. The one thing I love about Alia that I don’t like about you, Kris, is when Alia, and it’s my work, corrects it all. I get it back and go, “I’m improving as a writer.”
I have that teacher thing in me where I must explain it to you.
It was helpful for me.
I’m sure it is. What makes Kris such a wonderful book developer is being a former school teacher. She does approach it and explains. If you don’t get it the first time, she will come back with another way to explain it, which is a gift. Believe it or not, for folks that are reading, writing is tough. It’s not just putting stuff down on paper. There is a lot to it.
You add in that piece that, for a lot of writers, while they are writing their book, they are also healing something. We have a book now that we are going to let go of because there’s so much ego attached to what’s going on in the book. When I say ego, there’s no willingness to learn the craft. It’s almost like going to a party and barfing my problems at you. That’s what happens in the book.
If you don’t understand, instead of, “If I don’t understand, then you, as the author, have to fix it.” If I don’t get it and I’m hearing from you what’s going on, what do you think is going to happen with your readers who don’t have that going on? They are going to move on to the next book. We want our authors to grow as writers in addition to doing well with their published works so that they can go and recreate more books.It is the job of the author to make it clear. It is not the job of the reader to figure it out. Click To Tweet
Alia, what are you going to do with all this? Are you afraid to go into the publishing world? Are you changing your major and getting a Doctorate or something else?
I feel empowered. I feel a lot more excited about graduating because I have been introduced to the real world outside of academia. Kris and I were talking about all of these different avenues and things I can take after since I do graduate so soon. There’s so much for me to learn outside of the classroom, whether working with more books, content development, screenwriting or whatever it is. I don’t have a sure plan, but now, I have more interest to pursue and a bit more confidence in it. I feel good about it.
One of the things you’ve learned in this process too, is before, you had helped the professor edit his book. You learned that there’s a lot that goes into that author platform, too. Would that be correct? You didn’t go into that before. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Looking at Super Brand Publishing and the website and everything, that’s when I have first seen this growing theme where that is what authors have to do. They have to build a platform consciously. In everything I’ve done since it’s so clear how all the articles I’ve written or other podcasts I’ve watched come through with this shiny message that it’s not something you can ignore. Authors get intimidated by having to do things beyond their little book.
The most empowering thing I’ve seen and learned from you guys is about centering you and realizing that as the author, you are the thing. Your book is an extension of you, and that’s great. When you focus on you being the actual center of where the message is coming from, it helps you elevate all these other things you are doing creatively, whether workshops or whatnot. It allows a much easier experience to be like, “I’m not filling a book. I’m filling myself.” That’s what’s so interesting.
It’s interesting. We had someone that was introduced to us. He didn’t buy a publishing package because he hadn’t finished the book but bought the media package. Jackie was able to get him on a nationally syndicated show within a week. When you say that focus on you, what we are talking about is you are not out there promoting your book while you are building the platform. You are out there promoting your expertise. Dr. Fenster is going to be all over TV. He’s written many books before but they’ve never gotten traction. He’s now willing to open this app and try it this way. What his book is about is supposedly the food war of 2023 and 2024. It is an important topic.
That’s one of the things building the platform. That’s something where his media appearances were happening like, “Why don’t you go do this?” Now, he has somebody who’s getting him on TV, podcast, and radio and pushing that to the forefront. It is important. That’s where authors get messed up in this process. They wait until that book is done. They are promoting their book and not themselves.
You guys have gotten to edit the articles for the October author platform building challenge that we are doing. You can see through that. There are eight pillars there, and you have to be promoting yourself to be able to promote the 8 one. Was that a surprise for you going through those articles that there was so much, and it all has to be integrated?
All the work you guys do, like the message, is so clear. It has come through in all of our conversations. I wouldn’t say it’s so surprising. It makes sense. It’s good that it makes sense to me now. I feel like I’ve gotten that.
What’s next? What do you want to do after school?
I would like to learn more about what Kris and I have talked about of these elements of writing that can be applied to any form of storytelling like narrative structure, how to build tension, and how to create complex characters. That’s interesting to me. I would love to pursue that in any form, whether that is reading manuscripts for books or looking at the pilot episode of shows. I’m a Media Studies major, so I love all types of media. I’m not limited to one. Storytelling is what fascinates me, and we are telling stories everywhere. It’s pretty broad but I’m excited.
Tell me about the science fiction part of this.
It’s on my mind a lot because I’m writing my thesis next semester. That’s another reason why this summer has been helpful because I feel more confident in my writing. I feel like I have been becoming a faster editor, and all these things will be helpful in writing my first major academic paper. Science fiction is not only one of my favorite genres but also something I’m going to be going into more for my thesis. I’m taking this class on Humans and AI robots. I’m getting interested in all these old things I used to love. My sister gave me the book where this big science fiction movie was based on. I’m going into all these things from the ’80s. It has been fun, and I’m going to continue to do that next semester.
It’s also very scary because it was Chase Cunningham before you got to edit. It’s Chase Cunningham’s book. He is in the know about these things. We were talking, and he gave me a video to watch about murder bots. I was like, “Is this real?” He’s like, “This is real. This could happen.”
I edited that book last summer. I spent the whole summer looking up like, “I hope that doesn’t happen.”
There are drones and murder bots. I remember reading a book a long time ago. It was talking about drones that were like a fly on the wall. It’s creepy to think. Now, it’s the AI reading this. They don’t need a little drone to fly around and get smashed by a flyswatter. It’s a creepy world out there. What are you going to do in Greece? Do you want to share? Are you going with a boy?
Yes. I am meeting his family. It was the first meeting with the family. We will see how it goes.
It’s an island. If you don’t like them, you can’t escape.
My dad has reminded me, “Give me a ticket out quick. You can get one.” I’m there for three weeks. That’s an extended stay plan. I’m excited. We are going to a few islands and meeting his extended family. I will try and speak some Greek. It could probably have been going better if I had studied a few hours a day. I can introduce myself. I can say hello. We will pick it up more as there are more people around who are all in Greek but more pressured into learning.
Learn the basics like the hi and the beer, whatever the local drink or food is. That’s all you need and the beach.
Beware of ouzo.
I haven’t drunk ouzo since college. Is there a story you would like to tell us about that, Kris?As the author, you are the thing. And your book is an extension of you. Click To Tweet
I spent a month in Greece when I was about her age. I have never been a drinker, so I didn’t try it but witnessed what could happen with ouzo. I thought, “I’m glad I’m not drinking that.” There was some pretty scary stuff.
I had that in my college career, and the trashcan parties where you buy a big trash can, and everybody had to bring a pint and pour it in. There were lots of sick people and a lot of people that didn’t remember the party. It’s a cheap way to have a party because we didn’t have to buy liquor. On that note, we should end this interview. Alia, thank you. It has been an honor to have you.
I’m going to miss you. I’m going to talk to her like, “When you are done with your thesis, do you want to come back?”
We have been trying to figure out a way to hire you but we are not sure. We have no budget. We are like Rick Dees in the morning, which is probably way before your time. They will say, “This show has no budget.”
We have until she finishes her thesis.
I will be done by December 2022.
Why do you have to wait until March 2023 to graduate?
I graduated in May 2022 but I will be done with my thesis after my first semester. By the start of the New Year, I will not be working hard on that big paper.
My senior project in college took forever. I don’t even remember what it was on at this point. We had to have a senior project to get out of college.
It took me a year to write my thesis when I did my Master’s. A semester is pretty ambitious.
Thank you, ladies. For all of you out there, I hope you got something out of it. Hopefully, Alia, you got something out of working with us.
We loved having you, Alia.
Thank you so much. You guys have been great teachers. I love all this. Thanks for having me.
About Alia Biswas
Alia Biswas is a senior at Scripps College majoring in Media Studies with a concentration in Critical Analysis. Alia’s interest include video production and analysis of all types of media, such as science fiction novels and films. Alia will be graudating on Spring 2023.
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