By: Kristen Joseph
Flashback to a couple years ago: I’m sitting at my desk waiting for my teacher to start regaling the class with all her tales about the wonders of algebra. I grab the Harry Potter book that I’m currently reading (Half-Blood Prince, I think? It’s been a while…) and start to skim a page to occupy my time. So far, I’m enjoying it, and I’m just about to fully immerse myself in the story when I find something within the pages that will stick with me for the rest of my life – a mistake.
Normally, when I find a small grammatical error in a book I’m able to get over it quickly, after cringing a bit. But that time, I just couldn’t. Percy— one of many Weasley brothers — was the main topic of discussion in the small section I had been reading. His name was mentioned at least five times on a single page. Percy, Percy, Percy, Perry, Percy… Wait, what? Perry? That’s not right, that is completely 100% wrong, how did no one catch the misspelling of this character’s name even though it’s mentioned four other times on the page?!?
Yeah, that was my reaction. And that small inaccuracy, — an r instead of a c — marked the beginning of my journey into the publishing industry.
Working with books was —and still is — my dream, but I was also considering a law career, a more feasible and reliable career choice. I assumed it would take me at least ten years to actually work in the publishing field, if the fates would allow me to pursue my dream job. So when I was looking for summer internships a couple months ago, with the plan to send resumes to half the law offices in town, the last thing that I expected to find was a publishing company, in my hometown, that actually accepted interns!
I was incredibly excited and nervous about this job prospect with Atlantic (because there’s always the chance that you won’t be hired for a position that you’ve applied for, and you’ll have to begin your job search all over again). Luckily, the application process was incredibly pleasant and easy-going, and I got the job!
I’ve been here for a mere ten weeks, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it, even the less exciting tasks. I always have a range of assignments to accomplish, so if I start getting tired of doing one thing I can switch to another. Editing, proofreading, placing photos in books, creating indexes (which falls under the category of “less exciting tasks”), researching future book topics – I now have experience with each of these topics, and so many more.
The most unexpected part about this internship has been learning so much about marketing, a side of the publishing world I hadn’t really considered. I had anticipated a lot of reading and fact-checking, maybe some editing; I never thought that I would learn how to create and manage Amazon ads, and now I’ve made a bunch of them! Watching the sales increase for products I’ve made ads for is honestly one of the most rewarding feelings. I know that all of the editorial work that I do for the company helps them out, but it’s really great to see tangible results from my contributions to the company.
Nonfiction books typically aren’t my genre-of-choice when I’m reading, but I’ve sincerely enjoyed working at a small nonfiction book publisher. I learn so many new things everyday – from the books I’m prepping, the various projects I’m working on, and from all of the great people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Thank you all so much for helping me to take this wonderful first step into the world of publishing. I can’t wait to keep on traveling through it!