This post is a part of Thoughts By J’s #BloggersGivingBack Christmas gift, where we share tips regarding books, blogging and the publishing industry. Make sure you don’t miss out on the Christmas Giveaway!
Do you have a longing to work in the publishing industry? Well have no fear; we’re here to give you the deets on how you can score yourself a kick ass internship at your favourite book publisher.
You’re probably sitting here asking… well how do they know all this stuff about internships? How can I trust them? (We’re trustworthy! Promise!)
Both of us have been fortunate enough to score multiple internships in this industry… and we’re super keen to share some of our first-hand knowledge for all those future interns out there! (And hopefully future employees)
So do I have to sell my soul for a publishing internship?
Of course not! However, you should keep these in mind:
First of all, you’ve got to be a university student. Although it IS possible to get an internship without a university degree, most work environments prefer to take on university students as credit for their degree or greater experience for the end of their degree. They will take on interns who are recent graduates, but they do prefer some kind of study or history of study in a similar field.
Second, you need to determine what area you would like to intern in. If it’s a big publishing house and you’re doing a Creative Writing course or an Arts course you might want to look at interning in the Editing department. Or if you’re doing a Public Relations or Marketing course, you might want to think about the Publicity and Marketing department and so on for the various other departments. If it’s a small firm, you might work for all departments, as they’d need help in every section.
Third, take a look on career or job websites. If you’re currently completing a university degree, they’ll generally have a careers and internship website within their system. I’ve found the following websites really helpful in looking for internships:
My best advice to you is to choose 3 publishing houses you’d love to intern for and research them. Find who the best person is to contact and shoot them an email expressing your interest for work experience at the publishing house. Through my own experience, I’ve found that a lot of the time they won’t advertise for interns unless they’re really desperate. So you’ve got a greater chance at getting an internship by emailing your resume and cover letter than you do if you just wait until they advertise. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no? That’s okay… then send an email to another place!
Chime from Joy: When you apply for a position, whether it be an internship or job, make sure you call up the company and ask who to address the cover letter to. This shows initiative (research) and it’s polite to address the HR person directly. Trust me, you’ll stand out from the slush pile of ‘Dear whom this may concern’. Follow up your application with a phone call, using your own judgement as to when to call (depends on when applications close if there is an ad). Once again, it shows you’re determined and eager to jump on board and sets you apart from everyone else. This method have been tried and tested, and it works!
OMGOSH I got through the first stage! Now what?
What’s that? You’ve got an interview? That’s fantastic! The trick now is to treat the interview like a job interview. Research the company, its employees and the authors and titles it has published or will publish (if you don’t already know already). It pays to show interest and knowledge of an organisation. Ask questions. What will you be doing? What are the hours? These show you’re keen. Generally though they’ll be so happy they’re getting free work you might not even have an interview! (YAY for you!)
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to intern at Random House Australia and Bloomsbury Australia while I was studying at university. I found the internship through Student Internships and then contacted the person in charge of internships at my uni to help set up the internship. I was at Random House for about 4 months in their Publicity Department. A lot of what I was doing was related to obtaining media clippings, creating media releases and pitches, updating databases, sending books out, fact-checking and revising media contacts as well as creating tweets for their Twitter account. These are all really important tasks for someone working in Publicity. For my Bloomsbury internship, one of my friends was interning there and gave me the email address of the person she worked for. And that’s how I got it (after an interview). I was there for about a month and I was in charge of creating press releases, fact-checking titles, mailing books and other tasks.
Both were fantastic experiences that I loved (plus the free books didn’t hurt) and I feel really fortunate to have had such experiences in an industry that I’ve wanted to work in since I was a little girl.
Last year I was very fortunate to be offered a position at the awesome Onion HQ…Allen & Unwin for all you uncultured people. JUST KIDDING, I LOVE YOU ALL. 😛 I interned in the marketing department and found the internship through The Loop. A&U continues to advertise their internship positions AND full-time work positions through The Loop, so make sure you keep an eye out on that website. So how did I get that role, you ask? Well…I was persistent. I made a lot of follow-up calls to the head of the marketing department asking about the role until she relented and asked me to come in for an interview. HA! Nagging does work sometimes. But honestly, just show how much you want the role and most often than not, they’ll offer it to the person that shows excitement rather than the person who cannot care less.
During my time at Allen & Unwin, I created digital assets, organised a competition for the book ‘Friendship Makes the Heart Grow Fonder’, and helped sort through Friday Pitch submissions for the publishing department. I’ve also accompanied the team to film a promotional video with Roxy Jacenko for her new book ‘The Rumour Mill’. AND, I did a lot of mail outs. Did you receive a book from A&U during the end of 2013? I probably packaged that so you should thank me. Seriously. 😉
In January this year, I also interned at Bloomsbury Australia for a month. In this role, I was responsible for invoice filing, the creation of press releases for upcoming titles, the approval of online Advanced Reader Copy distribution as well as other routine office duties. I didn’t stay there for long but the experience was still awesome and Bloomsbury has a great team.
What can you take away from all this info?
The key advice we would give is to be courageous and persistent. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
Latest posts by Alana (see all)
- Book Subscription Box Review: The Best Damn Book Box – Game of Thrones - September 6, 2016
- Happy 4th Birthday to Thoughts by J! - August 16, 2016
- Discussion: Would you take an eReader or paperbacks on a holiday? - June 21, 2016