Working in world of Publishing never was a career I had considered, until it dawned on me as a final year I should think about what kinds of careers my degree in English would lead to, therefore I decided to apply to the Work Experience programme run by Penguin Random House and was thrilled to be chosen. I was to undertake two weeks of unpaid internship experience at the World’s Largest English Trade Publisher and I was really ecstatic to gain an insight into the world of publishing having spent many years growing up with the much loved books published by the company.
I was based in the office in Pimlico, as Penguin and Random House merged in 2013 (the other office is on the Strand, and can be seen as a huge clock from Waterloo bridge). I remember being very nervous n my first day, but I was soon relaxed when my mentor Cat met me in the foyer. I was told what the publishing houses do, and it was straight into work as soon as we finished the introduction. I was really excited to be paired with a Senior Press Officer, who was working on Irvine Welsh’s latest novel ‘The Blade Artist’ and this was my mentor for the week (I was given two over the course of the placement).
This was a nice way to introduce me to the different staff members who are busy mailing out proofs and many nearly-ready copies of the books to the international press – these went out as far as Australia, New York and Dubai! (How cool!) I was really excited to learn how each novel is carefully presented as an idea (along with manuscript) and the publisher’s job is to bring the book to life and ensure that as many copies are sold. It often felt like a business, and that was not what I really expected from a Publishing House. It was a great way to see how the success is achieved – and it is a focussed and concentrated environment, which was very creative.
The bursary has been absolutely crucial to my future job prospects, for it enabled for me to have an insight into the Publishing Industry. I was very grateful to be a recipient to the bursary for it allowed me to travel to London, as well as it giving me financial support to stay in London. I also used the bursary to also purchase smart work attire, which allowed me to fulfil my potential within the working office environment (which was very different to that of a student!).
I felt a valued member of the team I was working alongside, as well as allowing me to look professional and ready to work. I have learnt many skills, including verbal and written communication, time management and writing press releases. I have also learnt how to make show cards, and promotional materials for author tours around the UK. The work I have done often included daily tasks such as press filing on the publishing house’s brand authors: these included Irvine Welsh (know for ‘Trainspotting) as well as Salman Rushdie. I would recommend anyone, regardless of degree (there were also Historians amongst the talented publicists I worked alongside) and would definitely recommend it if you love working with stories.
– Are you thinking of doing unpaid work experience? Apply for a B-KEW bursary to contribute towards your out-of-pocket expenses.