I develop, edit and publish nonfiction books people love to use and keep.
I think about how ideas and authors' talents can be developed into unique, defined, competitive, and commercial projects. I write colleagues in house and in the industry, explaining the next steps, creative concepts, marketing positioning, strategy. I prospect, pitch, and close deals and negotiate terms. I think about and implement a business strategy for about 75 titles / year that we're publishing on the two lists I direct. I get to be entrepreneurial and creative! I love it all.
Here's the first step for middle school students
Write all the time. Read all the time. Read stuff you wouldn't normally read. Join or start a book club so you can talk about books. Write your relatives and friends real letters and tell them the details that don't make it onto Facebook. Develop your creative story-telling abilities. All of life is about telling stories in many forms.
"You should go into political science or law because you have drive and are a compelling communicator. If you're an English major you can be a teacher, but you'll never make any money."