This internship began with a long email to an unknown (to me) English publisher in Hong Kong (whom I found by googling “English publisher Hong Kong”), and a desperate hope that said unknown publisher would respond and give me some work experience in the summer. But as the days wore on, and the weeks, which then turned into two months, came and passed without a reply, that hope was squashed, and I resigned myself to look for some other work experience. But then, miraculously, and this is not an exaggeration, two months after I had sent my email to this unknown publisher, the very night I was looking online for other work in the summer, I received an email from the publisher, apologizing for the late reply and asking if I had found some other work in the summer yet. Of course I jumped at the opportunity, emailing back straight away that I had indeed not found any other work in the summer, and that I’d still be extremely happy to intern for the work experience.
A few months later, with said internship coming to a tear-inducing, sad, satisfying close, here I am. Still extremely grateful that I had a chance to work here, and happy at the tasks that I’ve completed and the knowledge that I’ve gained. It’s been a good month and a half at Blacksmith Books, and, like much of the good things in life, I’ll be simultaneously sad and happy to see it go.
Things that I’ve learned and enjoyed:
- Despite what you may have learned in school, or perhaps, more realistically, in spite of what you may have learned in school, authors put more than three commas in sentences all the time, and, surprisingly, despairingly, and despondently enough, the sentence still reads well, and thus the editor may look at a paragraph that consists of merely a sentence and leave it be, for fear of interfering with its flow.
- Being given a novel to edit is awesome and exhilarating if you are a first-time intern with little to no previous experience, but only take it on if you are interested in what said novel is about, or overwhelming boredom might consume you and spit you out in the days it takes to edit said novel.
- Editing experience is awesome.
- Interacting with authors is always nice, as the passion that they hold for their book will always make you smile and appreciate how long it must have taken them to write it. Additionally, even if you don’t meet an author in person, it’s always nice to interact with them through email, because even then you get a feel for their voice and personality, which may uncannily also be the exact same voice they use in their books.
- Writing press releases may be a little tedious, especially for books that may not tickle your fancy, but very satisfying when your boss reads said press release and commends you for doing a good job.
- Do not get into publishing for the money. Get into it only if you love it, for that is where you’ll draw your satisfaction.
- Vanity publishing, where the author has to pay the publisher in order for their book to be published, is despicable. Authors: please look further than this if you want to be published. Vanity publishing is unethical and will inevitably rip you off. Hint: Blacksmith Books is not and will never be a vanity publisher (wink, wink).
- Even though this may seem contradictory, there is more reading involved in an editorial internship than one might initially think.
- Do not apply for an internship at a publishing company if you don’t like reading. That is an automatic death sentence.
- Reading is fun.
- Blacksmith Books’ books are fun.
- Reading Blacksmith Books’ books = fun2 = something to do in the summer/anytime = buy a Blacksmith Books book and have the time of your life.
- Flexible working hours are awesome.
- Getting free books because you are an intern is awesome.
- Reading free books is very satisfying and awesome.
I give all my thanks to Pete for giving me this opportunity and also a resume. I hope we stay in touch in the future (which we may well do if I need a job next summer, at the mercy of Pete, of course.)
— Samuel Rossiter