Q & A with Katy Maas

Katy Maas interned at SUP in the first semester of 2023 as part of the Master of Publishing degree at the University of Sydney.

What have you been working on at SUP?

I’ve been working on a variety of wonderful activities: writing alt text, typesetting in InDesign, planning marketing calendars and social media posts, crafting nonfiction indexes, to name a few. They offered to let me dip my fingers into every pot and I have taken full advantage of that opportunity!

What has been the best part of the role? How about the most challenging?

The best part of the role has been working with the incredible team at SUP, as well as the wider library and university staff; there is such a positive, productive atmosphere within their space that I felt immediately welcomed and appreciated, even as a newcomer. The most challenging part has been realising I will have to stop working with them all!

Has anything surprised you about SUP/scholarly publishing?

Yes, actually - I was shocked by how much slower the pace of scholarly publishing is compared to trade publishing! After multiple semesters learning about demanding expectations of profit and efficiency in commercial publishing, it was a relief to find that those are not the only options out there for graduates. I’ve never been enamored with corporate economics and I was so glad to discover publishers like SUP who value their books over their ROI.

What skills have you used most during your internship?

Dr Agata would be so happy to hear that the technical skills I learned in the classroom were immensely helpful during the internship, even indispensable; being not only familiar with InDesign but confident with it is not just a massive leg-up, but several legs! Having the tech theory already lodged in my mind before applying it practically left me feeling well-prepared to hit the ground running.

What was your dream job when you were twelve? What is your dream job now?

When I was twelve, I wanted to be Monet, living in a gorgeous cottage in France and painting the same bridge over and over again. As an adult, my dream job is less a specific position than a general desire to do something that allows me to help artists bring their vision into the world without sacrificing that incredible post-covid work-life balance we all dream about. Books are my favorite artistic medium, so book publishing is my chosen avenue towards that goal.

You have to take a week-long road trip with a fictional or historical character. Who do you choose and why?

I will cheat slightly and choose two historical characters, as I would love to take a week-long road trip with Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud; together they radically altered how we view human consciousness, and I would thoroughly enjoy hearing their original ideas debated within the confines of a car, without the trappings of twenty-first century psychoanalysis. I (personally) find Jung brilliant and Freud batshit, so it would be awesome to argue with them both!

What are you planning to do next?

Now that I’ve finished my degree, I plan on taking it as slow as I can - I moved to Sydney three years ago and only now feel settled enough to branch out of my home suburb. I hope to find a job doing editorial work, but I’m in no rush to leave my current gig playing with babies in a gym creche; living in Australia is itself a joy and an immense privilege!

Katy Maas is a nearly graduated Master of Publishing student living in Sydney with her partner and two cats.