by Meg Rady
Last Tuesday evening, Undergraduate Students for Publishing, better known as Pub Club, hosted their annual internship panel for students, by students. The event is welcome to anyone who is interested in publishing and is curious about starting in the industry. If you did not have a chance to make it, this article will detail everything discussed during the event.
The three panelists this year were Hadera Mckay ‘24, Rebecca Verill ‘25, and Teresa Moritz ‘24. All three of them have had multiple internships with various publishers with a mix of in person and fully remote work. The companies covered by the panelists are as follows:
Penguin Random House
Lived Places Publishing
Q: How did they hear about the internships?
All panelists heard about it thorough either the college (Ploughshares is based at Emerson College) or through job posting websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Bookjobs.com, and Handshake. If your looking for internships, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on these cites, so you are always the first to know about a opening. The panelists all had differing experiences during their interview processes, but some common questions they were asked were what they read and why did you apply or want to work here. Pretty simple, but foundational for interviews, so it’s good to formulate responses for those beforehand.
Q: What does a day at your internship look like?
No two responses were the same and no two days were the same according to the panelists.. Since they all had varying interests within publishing like editorial, marketing, sales, publicity, etc. their day to day ranged from looking at spreadsheets, sending hundreds of emails a day or reading through several manuscripts in a given week. The three panelists were not hesitant to point out the grunt work of interning where you often are assigned the work no one else wants to do. Some panelists expressed how they felt that the workload they had did not equate their compensation, which is often an issue with internships. Hadera noted that even though interns often do a lot of busy work, you should know your worth.
Q: What is the biggest thing you learned?
Rebecca and Teresa emphasized how their time at their internships taught them how important networking is. It’s probably one of the biggest advantages of having an internship, the access to so many other people in the industry. Along with networking, you need to put yourself out there to make those connections, even if you aren’t very extroverted. The more social you are, the more you gain. Teresa said the biggest thing she learned was what she loved (and did not love) doing. She loves the marketing side of publishing. Rebecca also agreed, saying editorial was not for her. Hedera noted that, “climbing up the ladder is a matter of trust,” and Teresa said your commitment shows how dedicated you are; the more work they will entrust you with. A way to show your dedication and commitment to the company is acknowledging your understanding of current publishing news. For example, Teresa talked about how surprised her supervisor was when she knew about the recent fatal boating accident Bloomsbury CEO was involved in. Additionally, showing genuine interest and understanding in publishing trends can also be useful in interviews.
Q: How did/do the companies you interned at incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion?
All three panelists admit that the publishing industry is still predominantly inhabited by white men and women. More specifically, women dominate the lower levels, and the men dominate the upper levels. Internships pay very little (sometimes not at all) and it’s almost impossible for international students to get an internship. All in all, publishing houses have a long way to go, but it’s not all bad. Teresa said Candlewick Press out of all the internships she had, actively worked to create diverse stories and diverse workspace.
Those were all the questions from the moderator, which wrapped up the event for the evening. I would like to extend my gratitude to Teresa, Rebecca, and Hadera for taking their time to participate in the panel and share their experiences. For those who didn’t get a chance to attend, but want to break into the industry and get your own internships, I hope you found this helpful!