In November 2015, I undertook a two week work experience placement in the publicity department of Vintage Books at Penguin Random House in London. I am very grateful for the Kent Work Experience Bursary as it meant that I was able to undertake this valuable experience as it subsidised the expense of travelling between Canterbury and London for two weeks. I was placed in the Publicity department of Vintage, so I got to know and worked with various publicists. I gained an insight into their roles and how a book is publicised. From sending mail outs of book proofs to newspapers, journalists and bloggers, to organising book launches.
During my time at Vintage, I was given many and various tasks to do. I particularly enjoyed the more hands on or research based tasks, for example creating press releases and show cards. I collated a quote sheet of book reviews for Umberto Eco’s Numero Zero. I also collated and assembled allocation documents which details all of the publishing details of Vintage’s new book releases for 2016. For these kinds of tasks I quickly learnt how to use Biblio, a program used across the Publishing industry. I also had to listen in on a book club meeting on Iris Murdoch, The Bell and take notes to be used in an article written by one of the publicists.
Of course I had to take on tasks that are part and parcel of being an intern, such as mail outs and filing. But of course I very much appreciated that these tasks are something that probably everyone in publishing had to do at some time or another. Being placed in the middle of a busy office certainly meant that while I was filing I got to know the people around me and note what kind of jobs and conversations were going on around me, all of which gave me a valuable insight of publicising a book. Nevertheless, filing newspaper cuttings meant that I got to read a lot of book reviews and articles.
Something that was also a perk of my work experience was being surrounded by such a great selection of books. It was very exciting to see the array of authors that Vintage work with and publish. Very excitingly I got a great peek of new releases that will be published in 2016. In addition to that I was definitely encouraged to take home a lot of books, both brand new releases, and also some proof copies. Indeed, on my last day, my colleagues were piling book recommendations on my desk, all of which I had to drag home on the tube across London and back to Canterbury.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Vintage, and I think that having work experience at Penguin down on my CV will certainly be invaluable as I pursue a career in Publishing. I learnt a lot about the publishing industry and I certainly feel that I have been given the confidence in knowing how and where to pursue my future career.
– Hannah Geranio, a 3rd year English and American Literature Student.