Publishing Intern Diaries: Bookmarking the Need-To-Knows
August 30, 2018
Five months ago I was almost certain I wouldn't find an internship, and here I sit at my second internship, taking on the unexpected and fun opportunity to write about my experiences. Let me introduce you to the warm and welcoming world of book publishing.
My first internship was that of a production assistant. A very different gig altogether from this summer internship with the Literary Press Group of Canada; two very different companies, extremely different locations, and undoubtedly, two very different jobs. You know the weird bit? Neither of them were my primary focus when I started studying publishing. You learn very soon in publishing that being a jack-of-all-trades is a valuable skill. And that what you want to do is not always what you enjoy or you're good at. These past five months have been a monumental part of the learning experiences I’ve had since I decided to travel 12,480 kms in search for a fresh start. So thanks to All Lit Up, I’ve decided to pull out a few things my friends and I have learned.
Before the internship
Interview as much as you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re not entirely sure of the position or if you already have an offer from a company, apply for that position and go for that interview. People will remember you that way! If I hadn’t done that, I would not have had the great opportunity of working at LPG. If there is something available and is remotely related to what interests you, go for it! The more you interview, the better you get at it. In fact, here’s a hot tip: interview at a couple of places to build up your confidence before you go for the one you’re very keen on.
Ask questions. Never walk away from an interview without asking questions about the job, the company, and the industry. This opportunity impacts your life and you must be curious about it before you jump into it (if given the offer). Research well beforehand to come up with these questions.
During the internship
Everyone feels overwhelmed and nervous at the beginning. It's normal. Remember to treat your internship as an interview. It is one of the best advices I received about internships. However long they last, you’re creating an impression and putting yourself forward for a job opportunity that may arise within or outside the company. People need to remember your strengths and recall them when the time is right.
It's never routine. You're never going to be bored. In a book publishing company projects are usually long term and progress slowly but there so much else to do while that happens. You learn something new everyday. So get ready to get challenged.
When you get assigned work, ask who you should report back to or turn to for queries. Ask for deadlines if not provided. If you don't get assigned work, ask for it. If you find a little extra time on your hands, step beyond your duties and offer help with other projects that might interest you. Be aware of all the work that’s going on in the company even if you’re not part of it. If you don’t know what people are talking about ASK! No shame in asking questions.
Checking in with your supervisoris always a good idea. Every two weeks or so get a little feedback on your progress, strengths, and shortcomings. Ask them what you could do to work on your weaknesses or if there is a project available to refine your strengths.
Those book perks you've been dreaming do all come true. I've been here a little over a month and I've already read three new Canadian books back to back while reading a book from my own 2018 list (my 2017 list judges me from my bookshelf).
After the internship
Publishing events and gatherings are a lot of fun. Go for these events!The publishing industry in Canada is small and this is a lovely way to network; the setting is casual and you need only enjoy and talk about everything under the sun. This industry is mostly filled with introverts but we love to talk when we're under one roof. It’s important that you ask your superiors to introduce you to people at the event. Talk about what you’re doing and what you’d like to explore and learn. And guess what? We never really tire talking about books.
If you’ve already completed an internship and an opportunity arises for a second one, take it. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if it’s different from the previous one. But careful, I’d consider drawing the line at two, more than two internships might not look good on your profile/résumé. For learning purposes, two is a good number.
Stay in touch and stay updated. If there is someone you met who you admire a great deal and you want to learn more from them, ask them if you could pick their brain over a lunch/coffee. If you plan to stay in the industry, don’t let people forget you. If you have other questions about internships, you can even ask me in the comments below and I'd be more than happy to answer.
Most importantly, just have fun. You're here because you love books, so give your all and tackle it one page at a time.
All Lit Up is produced by the Literary Press Group and LitDistCo. LPG and LitDistCo acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council.
All views expressed by bloggers and contributors to the All Lit Up blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of All Lit Up or the Literary Press Group.
All Lit Up acknowledges we are hosted on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat. We also recognize the enduring presence of all First Nations, Métis and the Inuit people, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to meet and work on this territory.