Ellen Duffer is one of the many Emerson undergrads who have seamlessly transitioned to employment at Emerson after graduation. As managing editor of Ploughshares, she oversees the marketing and production of the journal’s four annual print publications as well as its longer-form e-books, called Ploughshares Solos.
Her marketing duties include managing the marketing assistants, who create ad and social media campaigns for the journal and handling the direct mail campaigns and all subscription renewals. Using consumer data, she works to improve subscriber retention. In addition, she manages the production calendar and keeps the whole staff on track.
Duffer has also been in charge of the Ploughshares blog since 2014. With the assistance of an associate editor and blog intern, she publishes 15–20 posts each week. She assigns post topics to the 50 freelancers hired each year to contribute content. Once the writers submit the content, she does the substantive editing for about 60 percent of it.
She manages 10 other student workers who assist with editorial, marketing, operations, production, and blog responsibilities, and helps oversee 2 managers, delegating all work relating to the production of the journal.
One of her favorite things about working at Ploughshares and Emerson is the focus on innovation. As she explained it, the literary world is not known for embracing innovation. She noted that Ploughshares was one of the first publishers to publish longer-form e-books—even before the New Yorker and Penguin Random House.
She started at Ploughshares as an editorial intern while pursuing a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. In the fall semester of her senior year, after working for a few months as an editorial assistant, she became the interim managing editor. After graduating in May 2014, she transitioned to the full-time position. She took a semester off from school, and then started the MA in Integrated Marketing Communication program in January 2015, from which she graduated in August 2016.
Duffer was born in Natick, Massachusetts, and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. She currently lives in the South End with her cat, Bear. She enjoys writing short stories in her spare time and writes about publishing for Forbes.com. Yoga, movies, and traveling are other favorite pastimes. This summer, she will be traveling to Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark for the first time.
Nancy Howell (Marketing)