I want to work in the book publishing industry when I graduate, so this January I was thrilled to attend my first work experience placement with a real book publisher!
Icon Books are an independent non-fiction publisher with lots of brilliant titles, so I was very excited to be let into their offices to see what happens ‘behind the scenes’.
Simply being in the office was useful in itself as I’ve never actually been to a book publisher before, and I was able to overhear conversations between the staff, sit in on meetings and get a general feel for what publishing is about and how the specific company works. Plus everyone there was really lovely and eager to answer any questions that I had about the industry to make sure that I got the most out of my fortnight with them.
There was never a shortage of tasks for me to do, and as I was based in the Publicity, Marketing and Sales office, the majority of them came from these three departments. Sometimes I would be mailing out shiny new books to journalists or completing sales spreadsheets, and other times compiling a list of blogs to send books to or updating their database of press contacts. I was also able to write the January newsletter that was sent out to their mailing list, and assisted an editor with organising a raw manuscript into different categories.
While I was there I also learnt a lot about programmes and websites specific to the industry such as Booksonix, Gorkana and Bookscan, which will definitely be useful for the future.
My placement was unpaid and based in London, so the University of Kent Work Experience Bursary has been absolutely invaluable as it covered pretty much all of my rail fares from Canterbury into the city. This was ideal as it meant that I could concentrate on getting the most out of my placement without worrying too much about the financial implications. I feel like I now have a better understanding of the different job roles available in publishing and know for sure that this is what I want to do with my future.
– Julia Mitchell is a 3rd year English Language and Linguistics student.