Every graduating Goizueta student embarks on a unique academic and extra-curricular journey upon entering Emory University. As we celebrate 2021 graduates and recent grads who will take part in this year’s in-person ceremonies, we share the stories that continue to shape our next generation of principled leaders.
Acclaimed author Joan Didion once said, when asked about her craft, “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” For two recent Goizueta graduates, writing is a way of thinking through life’s stressors. And when it came time to publish their work—a notoriously difficult undertaking, especially in an economy hobbled by the pandemic—the lessons they learned at Goizueta helped them stand out from the pack.
“Writing for me is a very cathartic experience,” said Lyndsey Garbee 20BBA. “People talk about carving out time for self-care and taking care of your own mental and emotional health; writing really helps me process my feelings.” This turned out to be a useful coping mechanism in 2020: Garbee called graduating remotely due to the pandemic, “a bit underwhelming.” But Garbee lit up when she explained, a Band-Aid on her arm from her second shot, that she’s looking forward to walking across the stage with friends and classmates this spring.
Maria F. Suarez 20BBA did get the traditional graduation experience—and she shares Garbee’s passion for the pen. During her time at Goizueta, writing was a way for her to balance the stress of school with the creative, playful part of herself. “I have two sides of my brain and my attitude,” she said from her apartment in Midtown Atlanta. “The writing is the fun part, and then everything else is the things I have to get done. Writing feels like cheating: I’m not working, I’m just doing something that I really enjoy.”
Both Garbee and Suarez hustled hard while at Emory, completing their degrees and their books simultaneously. The fruits of both authors’ labors are full-length works of fiction, published via hybrid model. Garbee is currently in her second round of developmental edits for Imperium, a young adult fantasy novel from Warren Press. Suarez’s book, Spinning Threads, is out now through New Degree Press.
Suarez financed the project on IndieGogo, using her Goizueta skills to pitch herself as a creator worth funding. “I couldn’t have done it without having a business background,” she said. “Yes, I was trying to sell my book—but I was really trying to sell myself. That was 100 percent what I had to learn about for interviewing, and it really translated into my publishing career. I can’t emphasize that enough.”
Goizueta Prepped Authors to Network & Market for Career Growth
Careers in writing and publishing are notoriously difficult to ignite. When it comes to marketing of their works, authors must often wear dual hats. Adding to the difficulty of breaking through is the flood of self- and hybrid-published work out there: somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books each year in 2013 in the U.S. alone, according to Forbes, competition has only gotten steeper since then.
So, what makes the difference? Business sense.
“We went through a whole round of pre-sales, and that was straight marketing. It was nothing to do with being a writer,” said Suarez. “I was thinking, ‘Thank God I have a business background, because how would I navigate selling a significant number of copies, just to get my work published?’”
Garbee came by her contract with Warren Publishing through networking—a skill emphasized at Goizueta—at her current job as a consultant at Simon-Kucher & Partners. “I was talking with a partner at my current firm,” she explained, “and I told him I’d written a book. And he said, ‘I have a friend who runs a hybrid publishing company in North Carolina, why don’t you call her?’ From that call, she recommended that I submit my manuscript.”
Suarez’s attention to her connections also helped her get full-time work after graduation—a must for the vast majority of writers, since the median income earned from writing, according to the Author’s Guild of America, is only about $6000. “Reshma Shah’s class, a Marketing and Consulting Practicum, was one of my favorites,” Suarez said. “Reshma gave us some structure, but a lot of the class was like, ‘Work with your group and figure out what to do, then come up with a solution.’” Suarez worked as Shah’s TA in subsequent semesters, and when it came time to find employment, Shah connected Suarez with Zahir Palanpur 94MBA, CEO at Azul Arc. Suarez interned and then landed a job there as the Associate Product Manager.
The initiative Suarez was encouraged to practice in Shah’s class translated to her current role. “What I learned in that class is you can sit back and just wait for things to happen to you, or you can go out and take initiative. And that helped me get where I am now.”
Marketing at Goizueta guides students to learn how to determine, create, communicate, and deliver value propositions that meet the needs of an organization’s customers. Learn more about the Emory Marketing Analytics Center (EmoryMAC), a cutting-edge academic research group focused on advancing the field of marketing analytics.