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Internships

My week-long internship at Palimpsest

May 24th, 2017 by isabella_pioli | Posted in Blog, Internships | Comments Off on My week-long internship at Palimpsest
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In all honesty, this was my first internship. Understandably, I was nervous, so much so that my internal monologue on the way to the first day of my internship was, “You cannot possibly mess up so terribly that they don’t want you to come back.” I prepared myself for all the clichés of internships, but I must be the luckiest person because my internship was a godsend. Everyone was so nice and friendly and encouraging. It wasn’t the coffee-fetching nightmare most internship stories seem to prepare you for – I was the one offered tea. So aside from the societal niceties, the internship was a learning experience. I asked questions about the programs and how they were used. I asked about day to day stressors, personal motivation, and whether the work was rewarding. I had the mind-altering revelation that when so many people are working on a book, a lot of people have to keep the plot a secret, and are usually legally obligated to do so. Overall, the best thing I learned is that my past work experience and my education can easily be applied to many aspects of the work done at Palimpsest. Learning that I am actually employable is a huge relief. So what exactly is it that Palimpsest does? I figure the best way to explain that is to tell you about my week.

Monday was typesetting. Not the old fashioned kind that I had training in from undergrad, but typesetting digitally via InDesign. The page layout is specified by the publisher (margin measurements, line count, where the page number should be). The text is then inserted into the document and it is then that the text is formatted (paragraph styles, flush-left openers). I forgot to bring a notebook the first day, which was a huge mistake because learning from someone who knows the ins and outs of typesetting like I know the plot of Pride and Prejudice means that there was a lot of detail and shortcuts that I could have been writing down. That was the first big lesson. BRING A NOTEBOOK. You may look like an overachiever, you may look too eager, but you will be the most prepared. Thankfully, I already knew the basics. After a one-on-one lesson, I was given a desk and a job spec and sent off to try and apply what I had just learned. Again, I must repeat this would have been easier had I brought a notebook. Palimpsest has paragraph styles for every inevitability and they are a time-saver. It’s just figuring out which one to use and when to use them that was a struggle. By the afternoon, I was given a massive manuscript full of editor’s corrections and had to input them into the text of another project. That was quite a bit of fun. Deciphering an editor’s handwriting is a new form of code-breaking. The standard editor marks are used, but text insertion is just a lot of eye-squinting and hoping for the best. But really, if the editor’s handwriting cannot be understood, the proofreaders can usually figure it out, and if the words are still unintelligible, an email is sent to the editor to clarify. That was my first day done.

Tuesday was digital publishing, and yes, I brought a notebook. There is certainly a more technical aspect to the digital publishing process, but my describing it would be lacking. My brain may have gone into overload as soon as I realized that coding was involved. What I can explain is the process of checking the document before and after uploading it to ePub conversion website. Trying to explain this makes me feel extremely inept, but I’ll forge on. While the original typeset document was made in a more recent version of InDesign, the file gets converted into an IDML so that it can be read by earlier versions. The file is then opened in an older version of InDesign. The paragraph styles are checked. The copyright page is double-checked for being the e-book version, not the physical edition. URLs are hyperlinked, images are embedded, and the color is checked as RGB not CMKY. After all this, the file is then uploaded and converted to ePub. Then the ePub is checked for errors and if there are any the process is done again. Digital publishing is an involved process and while it was being explained, it sounded doable. I am one of the most technologically inept people ever. I’m not a grandma who doesn’t understand the internet or how to use “The Facebook”, but I struggle. This is a process that I could eventually learn, but it was certainly the most trying part of the week, well outside my comfort zone. In the afternoon, I went to work with customer service and it was here that I realized that my past work experience is applicable to publishing. Emailing vendors, inputting job information, staying on top of incoming emails – been there, done that. The nicest part of this form of customer service is that there is no person-to-person aspect of it. No fake smiles, or earnest customer service personas, just emails and data entry. It’s like raking a zen garden for me.

Wednesday was proofreading and I was given a checklist. I love checklists. It was an ebook checklist. Basically, the ebook creation of Tuesday was then corrected on Wednesday. Is the copyright page accurate? Is there a hyperlink to the publisher’s website? Is the body text justified? Does the linking in the book work? When you click on a footnote does the ebook take you there? When you get to the footnote can you go back to your place in the text? Do all the formats work on the differing devices: Kindle, ePub, Apple? Like I said, I love checklists. In the afternoon, there was more proofreading. It was nice, but the level of attention to detail is certainly a learned skill. Also, trying to not read the books I was proofreading was really difficult. The easiest way to not read the book was to realize that if I had a choice, I would never read some of these books. Once the plot was dismissed, it became easier to pay attention to hyphenation, spacing, and stacking. I also learned that proofreaders have to depend on the aesthetic decisions of editors. To all, widows are never welcome, but orphans are fickle things (please read this as the typographical terminology, not humanitarian terminology). Some editors don’t mind if three lines end on the letter e whereas other editors circle every stack they see. Double stacks are forgivable if only one word, triple stacks are unacceptable. So on and so forth. It is a lot of detail and when I closed my eyes that night, I dreamed of stacks I had missed.

Thursday started with operational management. If you think about what keeps a company going, operational management is that. Keeping the office supplied, mailing and receiving packages, scanning in books, dealing with outsourcing, and general office management. It was a lot of singular responsibilities that culminated into a very busy job. Having to juggle multiple responsibilities can be exhausting, I learned that a few years ago being the bookkeeper/office manager/customer-service person at a small company. I was taught the various aspects of the job and then got to scan in a book which would later be outsourced for keying. Then I went back to proofreading where I went through a few more manuscripts. I found most of the mistakes, but I still need a lot more practice.

Friday, I was supposed to start in proofreading and then go back to typesetting later in the day to enter more editor corrections. However, Friday was chaotic and very stressful in the office. But that was another kind of learning experience. How a company handles pressure and treats its employees during stressful times is important. I’ve had jobs where the stress in the office impacted everyone negatively. If anything, I thought that was how stressful moments were typically handled in a work atmosphere. Palimpsest seemed to become stronger. They were kinder, more considerate towards one another. They took a step back, re-assessed, re-prioritized, and pulled through. It was impressive to say the least.

After a week of working at Palimpsest, I realized that I could be very happy working in book production. However, I’m still going to keep my options open. Trying new things can be scary, but asking questions can help mitigate those fears. Honestly, the hardest part was waking up early to make the bus on time. The people at Palimpsest were what I hope to find in my future employment – kind, supportive peers. The work was stimulating and feeling like a part of a bigger picture was the ultimate reward.

by Isabella Pioli

Internship at Think Publishing

April 21st, 2017 by Sharna | Posted in Internships | Comments Off on Internship at Think Publishing
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Towards the beginning of the year, I applied for and was offered an editorial internship with Think Publishing, a membership communications agency. If you’re not sure what ‘membership communications agency’ really means (which I didn’t until I did some pre-application research!) it just means that they create publications on behalf of professional membership organisations, charities and corporations. These are usually magazines, books, e-newsletters, and online content channels.

Before I started, I was advised that my time as an editorial intern would include: article research and writing, phone interviews, interview transcription, image research and proof reading. Through the course of the internship, I did complete all of these tasks except for phone interviews, which I guess is a bit of a blessing because I don’t know how I would have fared at that.

The first big issue that I had to deal with on arrival, was an iMac. I purposefully do not use macs because I can’t get my head around them, they make no sense to me, and windows forever! But that’s all I had, so I had to just work around it, and quickly! But it was not as bad I expected it to be even considering the fact that one particular day the keyboard and InDesign stopped working. But apart from that.. spot on! (insert slightly sceptical face here).

 

I had the wonderful opportunity to actually work on a variety tasks for different organisations. This meant that my work load was different every day which, obviously, kept things far more interesting than reading the same publication day in/day out. The changes in tasks also helped me to develop more practical skills. Previously I had been an editorial intern (there’s clearly a theme here) at Sweet & Maxwell in London, and, yeah, I had different sections of work to do, but all I was doing was reading legal jargon and doing copy- and structural edits. At Think I got to write articles, do image and article research, as well as copy-editing and proofing. As much as copy-editing is my ambition, it was nice to put some of my other skills to use as well.

All in all, working at Think was a great experience! The whole experience allowed me to take in some of the new things I’ve learned on the course and it was so interesting to me that I found myself enjoying the other parts of publishing almost as much as my main interests (okay, maybe not as much, but pretty high up there!) I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone at Think, firstly for giving me the opportunity, and for being helpful when I needed help and being very supportive of me in general.

by Sharna Vincent

Internship at Stirling Council Library Headquarters

April 21st, 2017 by helene_fosse | Posted in Internships | Comments Off on Internship at Stirling Council Library Headquarters
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Hi, I’m Helene. I’m interning at the Library HQ. Yeah, the HQ, yeah. It’s really cool, it’s the HQ you know, such a cool word. Am I James Bond? I might as well be.

I could actually have 3D printed myself a cool gun (in secret obviously, don’t think anyone at the library would have been very pleased if they found out, and obviously it would be for the sole purpose of pretending to be James Bond) to look like James Bond. That was actually part of my job, creating things on Tinkercad and finding cool designs on www.thingiverse.com and 3D printing it.

More often though, I could be found hogging my mentor, Ray’s, computer, designing posters, flyers, web banners, training programme resources, websites and booklists. Most of Stirling Libraries’ materials seems to be on MS Word, which doesn’t exactly lend itself to great design. A big chunk of my job making most of these things was extracting information out of old MS Word documents and putting them into InDesign and zhuzhing it up. Some of the materials hadn’t been updated for eons (circa the year 2007) and had explanatory screengrabs that did not make sense because they were from the time when everyone used Windows XP. Other times it was just a 57-page long Word document with nothing but text on it that had to be separated into nice pages with pictures to go along, so I did some picture research as well.

For the most time, I was given more or less complete artistic freedom. The booklists, the webpage and Taste IT (the training programme) came with few – if any – instructions, which can be intimidating at first. But I jumped into it and ended up learning a lot. When there are no instructions, you have to trust your own instinct. Also, when there is no one else to blame but yourself if something isn’t popular, you have to be sure in your project and be willing to stand behind it. Take constructive criticism though. As nice as it is to have complete control over something, it is easy to find yourself becoming completely lost in one thing and overlooking something else. A second, third and fourth opinion can never hurt.

There is always something to do at HQ. Ray is constantly running about, doing about a million jobs at a time and I cannot for the life of me comprehend how he gets anything done if he is doing that plus all the work that I have been doing as well. If I finish the task I have been set for that day, there is always mountains of booklists to compile and website design to do.

Overall, it has been a great experience which has mainly taught me to trust myself and my own instinct when it comes to design and to not be afraid to stand up for something that I have made when it meets criticism, but also to be open to other input and change. I have also learned that teaching yourself how to use software such as InDesign and Photoshop from scratch is just as valuable as having professional training. It’s different, yes, don’t get me wrong. But Ray was constantly showing me how to do things, and it was often the simple things that you might not learn from training, like how to group objects in InDesign or how to paste in place instead of just paste. Equally, I feel like I gave Ray some pointers. On my first day, first project, I set up a new document and added guides. Ray looked over and said, “Whoa, what’s all those crazy lines?!”, and I told him all about them being there to help you align things.

I feel like I have come out of this internship with a stronger set of skills in design, but also in picture research, proofreading, editing and quality control, which I am very grateful for.

Internship: Scottish Book Trust

March 30th, 2017 by therese_campbell | Posted in Blog, Internships | Comments Off on Internship: Scottish Book Trust
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Over the past few months, I have been fortunate enough to be a member of the Scottish Book Trust’s editorial board for their new online magazine, What’s Your Story?, which focuses on supporting and developing the creative writing talents of young people in Scotland. What’s Your Story? offers free support and advice to those under 18 who have an interest in creating content, be it poetry, short-stories, plays, or illustrations.

The internship is undertaken remotely, and as one of six editorial board members, it entails reading over submissions, offering feedback on each, and choosing a select few to be included in the magazine. My role on the editorial board mostly involves reading young people’s work and offering critical, yet encouraging feedback. For each creative piece I receive, I am required to comment on two things the writer or artist did successfully, while also highlighting a ‘wish’ which refers to something the author or artist could alter to improve their work. It is my responsibility as an editor to express my feedback in a way that will not deter or upset the author or artist, but rather that will encourage them to persevere and keep creating. The Scottish Book Trust hopes that What’s Your Story? will inspire and encourage young writers and artists who may not receive support elsewhere, and it is definitely eye opening to read submissions from young people from all over Scotland.

The training day for the role, which was held in Edinburgh on the 5th November, was particularly insightful and helped me understand the aim of the magazine and my role as one of the editorial board members. Organised by Nicole Brandon – Young Writers Co-Ordinator for Scottish Book Trust – we were guided through all that was required of us, and were given talks by YA author Keith Grey, as well as author and journalist, Kaite Welsh. While Keith Grey spoke of creativity outside educational boundaries, Kaite Welsh focused on how we might craft our feedback effectively when critiquing submissions. These talks were thought-provoking and definitely essential for us as new editorial members.

Since the training day, I have worked on two magazine issues for the What’s Your Story? website, with each issue covering a different theme. While this is a remote internship, we do get paid for each issue we work on (yay!) and I have found the process engaging. Each submission has made me realise that creativity is boundless, with each piece offering refreshing and unique perspectives. I have also been able to read submissions with an editor’s eye and offer helpful, yet direct comments which will – hopefully – help the authors improve their work and encourage them to continue writing. Each submission I have read has exposed me to a variety of genres and subject-matter, and by delivering useful feedback and advice, I am helping guide young writers who are just beginning to realise their potential.

What’s Your Story? is a new magazine for the Scottish Book Trust and it has been exciting to be a part of the project from the beginning. It has allowed me to exercise my editorial skills – such as proof-reading, editing and critiquing – and this will aid me in my chosen career. It has also taught me not to have preconceived ideas regarding authorship and writing, and that, no matter how young an author or creator may be, they can offer a variety of different perspectives, experiences and styles of writing. I often find myself surprised by the submissions I read, which present ideas and life-experiences in comical, shocking and often eloquent ways, and being exposed to a variety of creative writing has definitely been the highlight of the internship.

by Therese Campbell

Internship at Saraband

March 27th, 2017 by claire_furey | Posted in Blog, Internships | Comments Off on Internship at Saraband
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I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to land an internship with Saraband. Cream of the UK indie publishing world in 2016; perhaps due to a book called His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Man-Booker-shortlisted title?! (If you haven’t already, go read it; it’s wonderful.) This internship involved mostly working from home, which has benefits (working in pyjamas! No travel!) and drawbacks (not so easy to ask for guidance, written instructions are more open to interpretation than face-to-face). Plus, as it is my very first internship, it would have been nice to have an office presence. On the other hand, I ultimately want to be a freelancer, so having the experience of motivating myself from home is invaluable, as well as learning to communicate in that instance.

The task I learned the most from was one of the novels I proofread. It was a new, unpublished manuscript and I carefully read through it and marked off all the things I believed should be changed using MS Word Track Changes and sent it back quite satisfied with myself. After some time, I received an email: could I check all the proposed changes had been made to this manuscript when it was typeset? There it was. A shockingly long list of things I’d missed that another proofreader had picked up.

Some were genuine mistakes, like ‘proceed’ instead of ‘precede’. Others were changes I would not have made. For example, ‘carpark’ I had left as one word. It was now changed to two words. After looking it up, (I live to find out small details like that. No seriously. My mom says I’m cool…) I found out the two-word version is the more common one, particularly in the UK. Who knew? Not me, clearly.

Buildings in the UK have ‘two storeys’ not ‘two stories’. That was news to me. Some of the dialogue, written in a heavy Scottish accent, was altered, which at first I thought was outrageous but then I could understand why. To an extent. It was mostly a case of out-of-place apostrophes, but I do feel the accent of the character concerned changed in a way that I wouldn’t have wanted it to with certain changes.

There were one or two things that niggled at me slightly at the time of reading, but I didn’t flag them. The experienced proofreader caught them. For instance, the metaphor ‘… the anger coursed through his veins like cancer.’ That just doesn’t make sense. But grammatically – how I was looking at it – it’s fine.

I learned so much from this mystery proofreader, even if I was rather indignant with the changes at first! But internships are a learning curve and this was a fantastic chance for me to realise the sheer level of detail and thought I need to put into a proofreading task. Nothing can be left to chance. This was a fantastic experience and Sara herself has been incredibly patient and supportive throughout the internship. I really couldn’t have asked for a better first internship.

by Claire Furey

Luath Press Internship

March 9th, 2017 by emma_morgan | Posted in Blog, Internships | Comments Off on Luath Press Internship
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I went to work at Luath Press for a week during the University’s reading week, and it was definitely a different experience to other office experience that I had.  Operating from a house on the Royal Mile, with a window looking up to the Castle, it’s about as central as it’s possible to be.  I got there early on day one, thinking that it would probably take me a while to find it and this was a good idea because I took the most awkward, indirect route to get to the office, made even worse by the fact that I walked by the entrance twice before I found it.

Luath Press is a Edinburgh-based publisher of generally Scottish-centric fiction, non-fiction and they have produced a wide range of titles and genres in their decades of operation.  I was keen to find out how they operated, since the breadth of their titles and the length of time they had been in business seemed quite unique to me.

I was interested to see what this particular publishing office would look like, and it involved as many piles of books as I had hoped.  The staff were lovely, and busy, and so it was straight to work on day one.  I had hoped to gain some experience in editing since this was something I had quite enjoyed this during the publishing course.  I got to read multiple manuscripts, and mark up changes to be made in them.  There was also a few envelopes to be stuffed with invitations and promotion, which I have plenty of experience in from various past internships (publishing and otherwise).

I think what this internship highlighted for me was the importance of paying very close attention and double-checking your work.  While this was obviously something I knew before, I got to see the level of personal attention which can be offered by an editor on staff of a small publisher to an author and a book, and the importance of being willing to pay this level of attention and devote that time was clear throughout the week at Luath.

I also enjoyed the broad range of duties and roles which were taken on by the people involved.  I liked the idea of working with a small publisher because of the ability to gain experience across a range of departments, and I think this was clear at Luath.  Everyone was involved and their opinions considered, and while each person had a clear role that they were tasked with, I liked the supportive atmosphere which I think is far more common at small publishers than large businesses.

It was lovely to work in Edinburgh, but I was very quickly aware of the hidden cost of working on the Royal Mile, right next to the castle.  Bagpipes.  Hour after hour of bagpipes.  This was however, a small price to pay for a really fun and hands-on internship in which I learned a lot about manuscripts and the role of editor.  It was great to see how a publisher of this size and scale related to their authors and how they operated.  I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to do this internship and feel like I got chances to do a lot more and sample far greater areas than I would have expected in just a week.

My Internship with Barrington Stoke

February 2nd, 2017 by evangelia_kyriazi-perri | Posted in Blog, Internships | Comments Off on My Internship with Barrington Stoke
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2017 could not have started better for me, as I was offered an internship at Barrington Stoke. Barrington Stoke is a children’s and YA publisher, founded by Patience Thomson and Lucy Juckes, a mother and daughter-in-law team with personal experience of the way that dyslexia can lock children out of the world of books and reading. They came up with the idea of books that would open the door to more young people.  They developed a dyslexia-friendly font, pioneered the use of tinted paper and began to commission short, achievable books from an amazing range of authors.

The Perks of Being a Publishing Intern!

Over the years, the company has gained many awards, such as Children’s Publisher of the Year, and many supporters due to their collaborations with exceptional and award-winning authors and illustrators. Working for a children’s publisher for 5 weeks is an amazing experience. Currently being in the middle of my time there, I received valuable guidance, advice and the chance to develop my editorial, social media and design skills, as I’m responsible for updating the company’s blog to a great extent, using WordPress.

Working in an office is one of the best experiences I could have gained, because I always wanted to work in this environment, collaborating with other workmates and get an insight into working for a publisher. Barrington Stoke  is small but very friendly company, with many tasks and responsibilities for the staff. As an intern, I’ve undertaken various tasks so far, helping by completing office administrative tasks such as mailing the new book catalogues to booksellers such as Waterstones. My favourite task was definitely blogging, because I own my own food and lifestyle blog, so it was interesting to create blogs about book titles and mini author interviews called ‘Five Questions’.

Working on blog posts for the book titles!

 

During my internship so far, I’ve been using Indesign and Photoshop tools, to edit pictures and create banners for the blog posts I was responsible to create. This helped me very much to practise my design skills and familiasize myself with design tools, which will help me in my future career. At Barrington Stoke, I’ve also been responsible for proof-reading some of the book catalogues and stock lists, and have explored the editorial department.

I consider myself lucky to have worked at Barrington Stoke and I believe this internship strengthened my passion for social media and digital marketing, helping me pursuing a career after my postgrad.

 

By Elina Kyriazi-Perri

My Internship with Freight Books

April 8th, 2016 by Patrizia Striowsky | Posted in Internships | Comments Off on My Internship with Freight Books

Freight-Books-logo-largeI have had the opportunity to work as a marketing and editorial intern for Freight Books, winner of the 2015 Saltire Society Publisher of the Year Award, since January this year. Freight Books are an independent publisher based in Glasgow who publish a range of titles including literary fiction, crime, non-fiction, and humour. The team consists of Adrian Searle, publisher and commissioning editor; Robbie Guillory, assistant publisher; and Laura Waddell, digital marketing executive as full-time workers as well as part-time worker Fiona Brownlee who manages foreign rights. Archie, the office dog, provides motivation and happiness throughout a stressful working day.

 

The team of Freight Books share their office with their sister company Freight Design, who are responsible for all things design-y at Freight! This includes designing covers (based on constant feedback from Adrian) and typesetting all of Freight’s books. For me, this meant that I was not able to gain experience in the design process of publishing, but as an intern in two departments, I have certainly gained a lot of hands-on experience!

 

My tasks ranged from packaging and mailing proofs to proof-reading publications, such as Gutter, Freight’s magazine of new Scottish writing. I also read an unsolicited manuscript and wrote a reader report, analysing strengths and weaknesses and stating whether I would publish it and why (or why not). In the marketing 28931288department, I have compiled spreadsheets over spreadsheets of marketing research, including an analysis of competitors’ online marketing campaigns or lists of contacts for possible reviews of forthcoming titles. At the moment, I use OmniPage 18 to digitalize two novels; this means scanning every page, converting it into a text document, and then going through it manually to correct all mistakes in both spelling and format.

 

My time at Freight Books has given me invaluable experience and great insight into the everyday working life of a small, independent publisher. It has highlighted my key skills – concentrated, independent working, and my close eye for detail – but it has also shown me which skills I still need to improve on, for example not changing the format of poetry too much while proof-reading, or how important knowledge of Scots is when working for a Scottish publisher! (The last part is something that, for a German native speaker, does not come naturally…)

 

The team at Freight has been very open and welcoming, and have given me support and advice whenever I asked. I am very thankful for the opportunity to work with Freight Books, and the positive feedback I have received has given me confidence in my abilities. This internship has certainly shown me that I have chosen the right career path, and I am excited for my future in publishing!