I’ve known for quite a while now that I want to pursue a career in publishing, I also know that it is quite a competitive field of work to get into. Around half way through second year I decided I should probably look for some work experience, which is crucial in the industry and considering I had no idea what working in publishing is like would definitely be beneficial to ensure that it is definitely the path I want to take. I also wanted to have an idea about what aspect of publishing I want to go into e.g. editing, marketing, publicity.
I went for a career’s appointment at uni which was really helpful, they gave me advice on how to start looking for work experience and the best places to find them. I started by looking at the most obvious companies such as Penguin, Bloomsbury and Harper Collins as these are ones that do work experience programmes. The only one that offered placements year round and had an application open was Penguin so that was the only one I applied for. I knew Penguin would obviously be a competitive placement so I didn’t think I would get it but I did and I completed a 2 week placement at the end of may.
I was working in the marketing and publicity department of Michael Joseph, so it meant I spent a lot of my time in the first week putting together PR packages. However, I really didn’t mind as I was too overwhelmingly happy at the fact I was even spending 2 weeks at Penguin they could’ve asked me to do anything and I would have eagerly accepted it. By the end of the second week I had been given so many interesting tasks and more responsibility, which I wasn’t expecting at all. I learnt so much about the industry from this experience, such as the general marketing and publicity techniques used when publishing a book, how the work is divided in departments and about the working environment and atmosphere at Penguin. Not only was this such a valuable experience for me but I ended it with great feedback, incredible contacts for the future and something that is extremely valuable for my CV and job applications. It also helped me decide that the marketing/publicity side of publishing is the route I want to go down as opposed to something like editing.
My only regret for this experience was that I hadn’t applied for placements sooner. I have now completed a few drafts of my CV which I want to take in to the career’s department when term starts again, so hopefully I will be able to get at least another placement before the end of the academic year!