Bookish Degree: The Doings of a Marketing Publishing Intern

Bookish Degree

Due to my undying love of books, I have decided to pursue a Publishing MA degree at Kingston University.  My Bookish Degree feature covers everything from things I’ve learned on my studies, work placements I have done in the industry, and publishing events I have attended.


The Doings of a Marketing Publishing Intern

At one point during the past year, my lovely co-blogger Leanne made a comment on one of my Bookish Degree posts that she would like to know more about what I do when I’m completing my work placements at various publishers in London. Now that I’ve completed three separate work placements with three different publishing companies, I’ve decided now would be a good time to share what sort of tasks I completed at each one.


Random House Children's Publishers, Work Placement, Intern, MarketingRandom House Children’s Publishers
Children’s Marketing Department
28 Oct – 8 Nov 2013

  • I helped moderate Jacqueline Wilson’s website.
  • I did tons of mail outs for giveaways, schools, and sales reps.
  • I moderated the Facebook Giveaways. We had different giveaways up daily for Halloween so each day I would go through and select a winner, contact them for their address, and then send them their prize.
  • I wrote blog posts for their teen site Totally Random Books (TRB).
  • I pulled quotes from books to use in social media campaigns.
  • I reviewed a book. (When I read that this was one of my required tasks, I giggled.)
  • I created and implemented a social media plan for both the TRB and RHCP Twitter accounts. This involved brainstorming ideas, scheduling the tweets, and reflecting on the results. I was actually sort of disappointed with the lack of interaction I received from my campaign. It made me realize using Twitter is not as straightforward as one might think!
  • I researched how competing publishers were utilizing social media to target their teen readers and compared those to ones TRB was using.
  • I uploaded videos to the TRB website (which was actually quite easy to do since they were using WordPress!).
  • I created social media images for Wonder Anti-Bullying Week campaign using a template that was provided.
  • I moderated the RHCP YouTube comments and removed any SPAM (which is always present on YouTube).

Little Brown, Work placement, OfficeLittle, Brown
Marketing Department
8 Jan – 16 Jan 2014

  • I completed mail outs here as well, primarily for giveaways.
  • I filled in a proof grid recording which media outlets reviewed proofs of our books that we sent them.
  • I researched possible third parties to use for competitions based on provided areas of interest (spas, hotels, day trips, etc.).
  • I created PowerPoint slides for Sales meetings using a template and slides provided.
  • I added author events to the Little, Brown site.
  • I changed ePub covers to include an advanced copy disclaimer for their use on NetGalley. I then uploaded the completed ePubs onto NetGalley.
  • I prepped showcards for author events.
  • I helped the Sales Supports team with data cleansing. This involved taking their older physical books and comparing them with their systems online to ensure all the information from the book was inputted correctly (including the title and subtitle, the back copy, and the review quotes on and in the book).
  • I attended numerous meetings and wrote up the minutes for them.
  • I researched open source  / creative commons images which could be used as backgrounds or borders for future projects.

Bloomsbury Publishing, Work Placement, Intern, MarketingBloomsbury Children’s
Children’s Marketing Department
3 Feb – 28 Feb 2014

  • I completed more mail outs for giveaways and sales reps.
  • I brainstormed social media ideas for upcoming publications.
  • I created and edited PowerPoint slides for a Sales Conference.
  • I wrote letters to The Bookseller for books being published in June using a template that was provided to me.
  • I checked the accuracy of information on order forms, catalogues, and other material created by the marketing department.
  • I burned files onto hundreds of USB sticks for a presentation ( – one of my less fun tasks).
  • I reorganized the marketing bookcase and pulled unneeded copies to donate to charity.
  • I wrote a design brief for an activity kit for a future children’s picture book that was being published. (It included a maze, coloring sheet, and spot the difference activity.)
  • I created a teacher survey on Survey Monkey using questions provided.
  • I designed social media graphics for social media campaigns for upcoming publications and various sales that were happening on the website at the time.
  • I brainstormed ideas to reuse images from an abandoned sticker sheet for one of our publications. I ended up reworking them as puppets that you could cut out and tape to pens for your own puppet show!
  • I created an Excel document containing all the authors published in 2013 and 2014 by Bloomsbury along with their Twitter handles, if they had one.

As you can see, each Marketing work experience placement I completed came with its own variety of tasks and responsibilities. I think the only one thing that I did for all three placements without fail was completing mail outs, but that is to be expected when there are so many giveaways and promotions that need to be taken care of!

I think the interesting thing is that the tasks I were given didn’t affect my enjoyment of each placement as much as the work environment did. Looking back, I’ve noticed that at some placements I didn’t do as much as I thought I did, but I had such an amazing time because the people I was working with were so lovely and welcoming. Working on these placements has helped me realize that even if each job is similar (marketing and publishing), the experience can be completing different depending on who you’re working with and the environment they create.


Your Turn

Were there any tasks I completed that you were surprised by? Do you want to know anything else about my experiences in publishing? Let me know what you think!

Asti

Read 44 comments

  1. I want in-depth! And I want to know if you met any of the publisher’s authors? If you did, I HATE YOU. And I bet you got to fondle lots of pretty awesome stuff while you were there.

    And where did you study again? I mean, in what region, and what is near those publisher’s? My own internship has me hyperaware of commuting these days.

    • I can’t go in-depth on most things because I signed a confidentiality agreement at each placement.

      I only met authors at Random House, but even then it was just like a normal signing you go to at author events.

      I study at Kingston University and the publishers I’ve worked with have been in various parts of London. Depending on where they’re located and the transportation it takes me to get there, it usually takes between a half hour or two hours to get to these various publishers from where I live.

  2. WOAH JACQUELINE WILSON. I used to devour her books when I was a kid so I’m kinda in awe haha.

    I think most of the things you did were what I expected that would be asked of an intern at a publisher. I was a little surprised you had to moderate the spam comments on RHCP’s Youtube Channel. It makes sense to do so but it never really occurred to me that they would actually get someone to check it. Surprisingly even though a lot of these sound a little mundane such as sending out mail, the thought of it gets me really excited!

    • I didn’t even know who Jacqueline Wilson was before I moved here! I was told to help moderate her site and whatnot and realized that she is this HUGE thing for a lot of kids! I had no idea. I almost feel like my childhood was incomplete because I didn’t read her books.

      Ah yes, even their YouTube site needs moderation, even though they pretty much just put up book trailers. There’s usually only just one or two comments a day so it’s not that big of a deal. It can be a bit mundane at times, but it’s totally worth it. Even if you’re not necessarily working on big things yourself, you do get to see what everyone else is working on. (And with RHCP they’re great at giving you more hands on tasks. I’ve spent the last week working on blog posts for their TRB website!)

  3. Soooo Jealous!! Seriously it’s my dream job to work in publishing, and I did a bunch of internships while I was in college. It just sucks because until I move to a place that has more publishing companies, I’m basically out of luck. But very informative post because I mostly worked in the editorial department, but I’ve been considering looking into the marketing/events departments in the future. Thanks!

    • Glad this post was of help to you Jordin! It does suck that publishing is sort of limited to certain areas. Once my Student Visa expires I will either have to try and stay here or go back to the States, and if I go back to the States I’ll probably have to aim for moving to New York since that’s where most of the publishers are there! It’s all too complicated. :P

      I have never had any desire in the editorial department. I’d assume most of the tasks involve proofreading or going through the slush pile. I don’t have enough patience for that! But cheers to those who do!

  4. Ooh wow, Asti, thanks for sharing this! I never really thought about all the different tasks such a job would entail, so it’s really interesting to see. Sounds like a great variety.

    Also, I love that you got to see the ‘other side’ of Netgalley, so to speak!

  5. That was so interesting! I’ve always been really interested in what exactly you did and all the placements you did sound so much fun! I’m starting to think of taking up a job in the publishing industry now too… Especially marketing because it sounds so much fun! Keep us updated, Asti!

  6. Okay, so this is one of the few posts that I didn’t sneak a peek at before it went live, and I’m somehow surprised by how much I loved it! Almost all of the tasks you had to do amongst all three of these work assignments? They sound so familiar. I have had to do a lot of similar things at my job, which is technically not even in the publishing industry (and I am definitely not an intern :P).

    Each one of these sounded like they would have bee fun for me, which actually makes me even more interested in looking into this industry! It’s so true, though, about the atmosphere/environment of the workplace making such an impact on your experience there. It sucks when you enjoy the work but the people make it miserable. I think that might be worse than the other way around, when you love the people but dislike the work. At least that way, you can connect with people and have someone to vent to about the work you dislike, lol.

    Sounds like you’ve had a lot of valuable experiences so far, which pleases me. So one thing you didn’t really touch on in the post, but I’m curious about now: how has this (if at all) impacted your desires for a job once you get your degree?

    • Yes, I do think the best thing about the publishing industry is that it’s one that almost anyone can work their way into if they’re determined enough. So even if you don’t have a publishing degree or any previous publishing experience, you usually have related skills that will make you a potential candidate if you want to try and work your way in!

      To answer your question, I think my placements have made me want to work in publishing MORE. My degree is nice and all, but while in classes you are sort focusing on the broad overview of everything. It’s been much more of a valuable experience for me to see how actual companies are run and sort of get involved with a specific department. So it’s impacted it quite a bit! I also think my work experiences will actually be more beneficial towards helping my find a job than my degree, which is a bit crazy.

      • That’s really awesome to know that these work placements have made you want it more. I think that sort of thing is really important because a lot of students don’t really know what they’re getting into and could either be turned off before they get the chance to experience it, or get to test the waters with an internship and realize it’s not for them. I love that you’re getting to experience and learn so much about the industry. You’ve got so much valuable insight that I like to pick your brain about! ;P (And I have a feeling that you will be able to find a job pretty easily, since you seem to have made a good impression at quite a few of your placements so far!)

    • Oh, it wasn’t anything too crazy. I was pretty much allowed to come up with tweets saying whatever I wanted for both RHCP and TRB (their teen twitter account). My RHCP tweets focused on the holidays that were happening at the time and connecting them to the books. (For example, Movember – I cut out little mustaches and put them on book covers and posted it on Twitter). For TRB tweets I attempted to use blog memes to try and connect to the community (Waiting on Wednesday, Top Ten Tuesdays, etc.) in the tweets to see what would happen there (but it didn’t do much).

  7. I find it really fascinating that your tasks varied greatly between companies despite the fact that you had the same general title. I think it’s cool to see the other side of things and I’m sure you learned a lot! Blogging is in many ways trial and error, too, especially for social media, but even then, blogging doesn’t seem like it equates with your tasks.

    • Yes, the variety has definitely been one of my favorite things about completing these placements. It means I get to work on a variety of skills and talk about my variety of experiences when applying for publishing jobs. :) All the social media bits are definitely a bit of trial and error for me. I think it’s just easier for me with blogging because you can be more personal. But when you’re using it as a company you sort of lose that personal touch I feel like. Definitely something I want to work on more!

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  9. I love love LOVE this feature because it’s so interesting to read what it’s like to be an intern for publishers. It’s kind of like a “behind the scenes” in a way haha. Now I’m kind of thinking if I shall double major…there’s no way I’m giving up Computer Science though because it’s been my dream… but man, working for publishers would be so awesome. I’m just surprised that the work that you had to do were like random. It wasn’t just like you had to stay in the office and do one specific job. I find it really cool that you get to work with more than one task and just curious, what was the most difficult task for you? Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Ah yes, the variety is my favorite thing about publishing! There is always eight hundred things that need to be done and it’s never all the same.

      The best thing about publishing is that a publishing degree isn’t required to work there! Your experience elsewhere will usually apply to publishing. All you have to do is try and get yourself a work placement with a company and see what it’s like, and that will help you see how your skills apply!

      The most difficult task for me? I honestly think it’s the social media, which is a bit weird. As a blogger and individual I have no problem using social media, but as a publishing company it has many challenges. You want to be personal but always want to promote your books. You have to be careful because what you say doesn’t just represent you but the entire company as a whole. And even if you think your social media plan is perfect and will have a lot of interaction, it may not happen. It’s my favorite part of working with a publishing company though so I hope to keep working on it! :)

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  11. Oh, that sounds kind of fun…I mean, I think I’d be overwhelmed (I always mess up my own emails, so I can’t imagine doing it for a publisher!) but it must be really interesting knowing what goes on “behind the scenes”.

    • Haha yes, I have to double check everything I do like four times to make sure there’s no typos or mistakes before putting it out on the world when working at a publisher’s. If it’s just my own accounts, it’s okay because it happens. But people expect a publisher to do it right! :P

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  13. Wow, it sounds like you’ve had some really amazing opportunities with your work placements! I’m especially impressed with how much writing hands-on work you got to do at Random House. Everything you’ve learned will really help you as you start job hunting.

  14. Woah, Asti! Sounds like you had tonnes of fun and exposure at your 3 placements!

    I have a feeling you won’t have trouble job hunting ’cause you have lots of valuable experience. Love this, Asti-Thank you very much for sharing! It’s quite nice to hear the inner workings of the publishing industry. :)

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  17. It is so much fun to see an insider perspective on the publishing world Asti! I’m curious about if there are things that you realized/learned at these experiences that have influenced how you think about blogging or the publisher/blogger interaction (future post perhaps? :D)

    • Hmm… I primarily worked with the marketing department. I think if I were to give it a go in the publicity department that would change my opinion on the blogging/publisher relationship more since that department is primarily in charge in working with bloggers.

      I do think bloggers and social media in general is gaining importance for publishers more each year since budgets are constantly being cut and they need to look at cheap and/or free ways of getting the word out about books.

      Honestly, my biggest thing is that I really would like to somehow create an event for publishers and bloggers to promote the relationship between the two sometime in the future. Just to sort of encourage the relationship between the two.

    • My favorite internship was with Random House! I think it was a split between the activities I did (I really liked that they allowed me to work on social media and their site since those are my main areas of interest) and the people there were fabulous. They invited me to lunch and treated me as a real person instead of just some loser work experience, haha. But the other two were great experiences as well. :)

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  19. This comment is so late but I wanted to say I really enjoyed reading about all of this! It looks like you got to do some fun stuff! And probably some tedious stuff too, but there’s probably tedious things that go with any type of work. I’m glad you shared this! I’m sure environment does have a huge impact, and it’s nice to know that the right people can make things go a lot better!

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