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My first week as a publishing intern

Sunday, 21 May 2017

It may come as a shock to you; that as a psychology student, my desired career path takes a more, at the risk of sounding cliche, “creative” path. I have always loved to write. I used to write numerous short stories as a child, which turned into blog posts as an adult, and then dipping my toe a little more into the world of fiction writing this year, to see if the water was any warmer. And what do you do when you love to read but aren’t at the stage you could consider yourself a writer of sorts; well, you look at publishing. I had no idea of what publishing entailed before my revelation, the moment I found myself saying: hey, yeah - I’d love a crack at that. And so, in my final year of university, I set my sights on my new-found career path, and I applied for an internship at a small independent publishing house in Scarborough - Valley Press. Long story short, I got the internship! And I’m writing this post on my train journey home, after my first week as a publishing intern!

The three days I have worked there this week have been the most exciting, productive days and I have loved every minute of it. Despite the fact I’ve had to wake up at 6 am every morning for a two-hour commute to Scarborough, followed by a two hour commute back home (where I collapse onto my bed… so far, the real world has proved to be tiring), I have been anticipating getting back to the modest little office and learning more about the world of publishing. My first day, Thursday, was filled with proof-reading a final edit of a collection of micro-essays, editing a poem, and sitting in on a web-design meeting! The day ended with myself and my two colleagues eating fish and chips for tea - when in Scarborough, hey? - before they headed off to an exciting book reading, and I headed for my two-hour commute home.

Friday, I met one of the authors of many books published by Valley Press; Norah Hanson, and had the opportunity to sit in on an audio recording of one of her poetry books, Sparks (see above photo). It was so great to see the behind the scenes process of what happens to get a book from its printed form to your earphones. Insider info: it involves a lot of re-takes, a whole lot of sitting stiffly to avoid any background noise being picked up by the mic; tea breaks with cakes, stifling laughter at the poems that are designed to make you laugh, some more re-takes, and a whole lotta editing. I was added to the credits as one of the directors, which I am so grateful for! So, if you ever find yourself listening to this particular poem book, listen out for my name at the end. Saturday’s working day ended up with me testing my video-editing skills, as I edited together a recording from the previous night’s book reading; somehow, it turned out OK.

Saturday, the day to tackle the overwhelming number of submissions received. This has been the toughest part so far because every submission is unique in its own way; you can tell a lot of time has been dedicated to its crafting, and so refusing it, well, it’s tough. But, it has to be done because there aren't enough bookshelves in the world to accommodate for every hopeful writer. Saturday involved lots of reading, which is always great… to be paid to read, oh the dream.

My first week at Valley Press has made me all that more motivated to stick on the road of publishing and make a career out of it. As I’ve discovered in such a short amount of time, no day is ever the same, and it feels ridiculous to refer to publishing as work because you’re actually excited to get there every morning - even if it does take a long commute. A final point: I have found myself surrounded by, and working with, some of the most inspiring, creative people I have ever crossed paths with. I am, and will forever be, grateful for this opportunity.

Until next week,