Over the month of January former Buena Vista University student Haylie Book joined Hot Dish over a skype call to talk about her experience in the publishing world. Here are some of her comments about the oppotunity.
Why did you decide to pursue an internship? What were you hoping to get out of it?
I knew I had money saved up from my Dean’s Fellows, and I wanted to use it to get some kind of cool experience, whether it be traveling abroad, a J-term class, or some internship experience. I started talking to Dr. Gwen Hart about internship opportunities, and I really liked the idea of getting involved with a publishing company. It sounded really cool because I love books and reading, so I wanted to learn more about the other side of it.
How many internships did you apply to originally? Why did you apply to those places specifically? What was your strategy in presenting yourself in internship applications?
I applied to many internships, probably around 10 or so. I had a longer list, but then decided I wanted to be in the Minneapolis area, so I shortened it to fit that. I chose that area because there are so many publishing companies around. When applying, I tried to show each place that I was interested in their publishing company, specifically. I had a template for my cover letter and other submission materials, but I would diversify it for each company I applied for, in order to direct it specifically to their company. This meant including their values, specific pieces of work they’ve published, etc. Just trying to show each one that I had really done my research on their company.
When and where did your internship take place? (Company, city, dates, etc.)
The Creative Company is located in Mankato, Minnesota. I started in the first week of September, all the way through the third week of December. I would be in-house once a week and work from home the rest of the week.
What kind of work did you do at your internship?
There were many types of work that I was doing. It began with simple editing and proofreading of shorter works. I then would work on fact-checking those works, to ensure every “fact” in the manuscript was correct. I then would move to longer manuscripts. I also looked over their marketing materials for errors and continuity. I would enter data for potential customers to look over, such as ISBN numbers, authors, age ranges, grade ranges, etc. Towards the end, they began letting me be the first eye on a fresh new manuscript, meaning I was the first person to read through and edit/proofread/fact-check it, which was pretty cool. Another fun task they gave me was to go back through older manuscripts, and re-fact check them (in case any facts had changed) and then remove up to 40% of the material and enter in new information or stories. This allowed them to republish the materials to fit the times a bit more.
What was your favorite experience at your internship? Least favorite?
My favorite experience was being the first eye on a manuscript. It could be a bit intimidating, but it would be pretty cool to be the first one to look at this manuscript. At that point, there are so many changes that can be made. I like being the person to suggest those changes, especially when you would see those changes made in future drafts. My least favorite was the editing of shorter manuscripts. Many of them were kindergarten level, so barely any words on a page. You could do it in a total of two minutes; it just didn’t always seem as important as the other work I was doing.
Overall, what do you think was the benefit of performing this internship? What do you think you got out of it?
I learned so much about working in a professional environment. Having to communicate with my supervisor, the other editors, the designers, etc. was pretty eye-opening into the world of the publishing industry. There is constantly so much happening, and dates that need to be met. They’re a smaller company, so I was really able to learn all of the inner-workings of the publishing industry and learn how vital communication between all parties is. I would say my communication skills definitely improved, especially since I was only in-house once a week. I had to communicate over technology often, which was something I maybe wasn’t so sure of before this internship. I also just learned so much about the publishing industry, including the ways that they market materials, their processes for editing/proofreading, and even how they distribute their books. Overall, it was a pretty neat introduction to the publishing world, but also gave me many benefits into the world of being an adult and working with a company.
Is there any advice you would give to other students (college or high school) about either the value of an internship or how to get one?
I think an internship can be so helpful, first of all to show you if you truly enjoy the work in that specific industry. It can also be nice to learn about working in a professional environment and helping you gather/strengthen the skills you’ve been learning in the classroom. I think every student should complete at least one internship during their time at BV, especially considering how willing BV is to help and accommodate students before and during their experience. It can be so eye-opening to actually be put into the work you’ve been studying and practicing for, and you’ll learn pretty quick if it’s what you really want to be doing or not. As far as getting an internship, I think it’s important to really research the places you are applying to and diversify your materials to show that company that you actually know them and what to work for them. It sets you apart from people who don’t diversify their work, and I think companies can definitely tell when you send in the same cover letter/other materials to many different companies. Show that company that you are interested in them specifically and tell them why you are interested in them.