The Internship Experience

My internship at Ford Street Publishing began with a book launch – the moment editors work towards. The next week, I was at the very beginning of the process with a manuscript and a bunch of nerves.

I was approaching the second half of my studies in editing and publishing at the University of Melbourne when I emailed Paul Collins about the possibility of an internship. I was looking for real-world practical experience with a book publisher, and children’s and young adult publishing is where I hope to be. I found myself in book publishing out of a passion for reading. Not an original answer, I know. My favourite novel is The Princess Bride. I borrowed it so many times from the school library that my parents bought me my own copy.

Internships tend to get a bad rep. Teen movies have created the perception that interns miss out on the fun stuff and fetch coffee for the office. But it’s the invaluable industry experience and the mentorship that you will take away. An internship is a way to break into the industry and figure out if it’s the right fit for you.

While interning, I was given a range of tasks across the different elements of book production – editorial, design and marketing on social media. Perhaps the most exciting part was seeing a manuscript right through from the manuscript’s acceptance to its publication. I was also involved in book launches and school visits. I started most mornings by reading manuscripts and writing up an appraisal report for the author. I was surprised to find that picture books were the trickiest to appraise! It was just one skill of many that the internship allowed me to improve on in a truly supportive environment.

An internship is a process of self-discovery and exploration. There are many roles in publishing – editorial, cover design, permissions, marketing, royalties. It is a chance to try out different roles and see what suits you best. You might even enjoy a role of which you thought; No way! I wouldn’t like that!

I have learned so much as an intern at Ford Street Publishing. The knowledge I have gained about book production and the publishing industry is invaluable. On a personal level, it has reaffirmed my passion for working in this industry and with authors. My advice is to be open to any experience, paid or unpaid, that will strengthen your skills and confidence

~ Abigail Cini

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