I’m Alaina Leary, a Boston-based “Swiss Army knife” of publishing and digital media skills. I’m a creator and a storyteller across all forms of media with a particular focus in intersectional feminism, social justice, LGBTQIA and disability rights, and diverse representation.
Since I was young, I’ve been asking the question, “How can I make this happen?” If something existed, I wanted to improve it. If something didn’t exist, I wanted to be the one to create it. In seventh grade, I began my own freelance business making graphics and web layouts, and I wrote, edited, and produced my own 365-page book, which ended up winning a local award.
I’m an intersectional feminist activist. You can find a lot of my work on these topics here. My goal as a publishing and media professional is on diversifying the authentic, inclusive voices across all aspects of the industry, from the staff members we hire to the creative works we publish and create. In my social media work for We Need Diverse Books, I regularly plan and moderate Twitter chats about diversity in publishing with authors, illustrators, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals. I also co-hosted a #CripLit Twitter Chat in conjunction with Alice Wong (of the Disability Visibility Project) and Nicola Griffith. In October 2016, I was a panelist for Bookbuilders of Boston‘s panel, “How Do We Make Publishing More Inclusive?” about the state of diversity in the industry. I also received a Bookbuilders of Boston scholarship in 2017 for my dedication to diversity and marginalized voices in my work.
Personally, I dislike the traditional bio structure because it emphasizes professional experience, awards, and publications, but here it is for the curious folk. I’m an editor, a book publicist, and a social media assistant for We Need Diverse Books. I edit for Her Campus, Luna Luna Magazine, The Deaf Poets Society, Germ Magazine, and several other publications, and I’m a regular writer for Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Rooted in Rights. I’m also a sensitivity reader, and you can contact me to have work up to full-length book manuscripts read. I’ve had work published in Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, Boston Globe Magazine, Seventeen, Marie Claire, Chicago Tribune, Allure, Bustle, Everyday Feminism, The Rumpus, HelloGiggles, Racked, Bust, The Establishment, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Brooklyn Magazine, AfterEllen, BlogHer, Culture: the word on cheese, Ravishly, The Fem Literary Magazine, and more.
I have been featured in Autostraddle‘s Queer Crip Love Fest and this #DisabledAndCute photo gallery, on the Minorities in Publishing podcast, in Her Campus‘s “7 Habits of Wildly Successful Women,” as an interview subject for The Odyssey, on an episode of Disability After Dark, profiled in Dear English Major, in Focus Magazine for my project advocating for a WSU Veterans’ Center, and in The Westfield Voice for my work with Dear Hope.
My work has been consistently featured in Top 10 best national lists. My social media and content campaigns have garnered up to 20K readers and 5K social shares within hours. My essay “My Dad Taught Me How to Shave My Legs” was featured on Cosmopolitan‘s Snapchat in July 2016. As an editor, I have managed up to 100 writers and 150-300 stories concurrently. I represented the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books at BookCon 2016 as a social media and publicity assistant, and live-tweeted our panel about loss in young adult literature. As a publicity assistant, I have secured coverage for books and magazines in BuzzFeed, Bust Magazine, Rolling Stone, Vice, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The Boston Globe, AARP Magazine, The Millions, The Rumpus, The Washington Times, Paste Magazine and more. I have managed and publicized events with attendance of 500 guests.
Rather than listing all my accomplishments and responsibilities, my favorite bio method is a list of fun facts that you probably wouldn’t get from a simple introduction. Just a little something beyond, “Where did you attend college?” and “Where did you grow up?”
Fun Facts About Me: I was born without a sense of smell, and so were both my parents, making me an ideal candidate for any smelly tasks that need to be delegated. My favorite authors as a child were Joanne Rowling, Kate DiCamillo, Walter Dean Myers, Patricia Reilly Giff, Louis Sachar, Jacqueline Woodson, Judy Blume, and Barbara Parks. I wanted to be a veterinarian until my junior year of high school, and even studied vet science at an agricultural high school. I never know what my favorite book or movie is when asked, but my favorite television series is always Gilmore Girls. I’m allergic to plums and I don’t eat any red meat. In high school, I was famously known as “The Tutu Girl,” for wearing outrageously colorful outfits accented by a signature tulle skirt.
I live with my girlfriend of 7 years in the Boston area, and our book-loving kitties Blue and Gansey (yes, absolutely named after Maggie Stiefvater’s characters), who are generally curled up on the bookshelf beside me while I read. I’m passionate about decorating everything in my life, from the outfits I wear to the interior decorating in my home to my Erin Condren life planner. I’m a creative combination of a Pisces, an ENFP, and a Gryffindor. I spend most of my time writing, reading all the books, obsessing over fictional characters, putting glitter on everything, and wishing for summer.