As I’m sure many English majors will attest, it can be difficult to find internship programs that are comprised of more than just coffee runs and busy work. Internships that provide educational experience as well as hands-on work experience can at times feel like a rarity. When I interviewed with the production department at Island Press, it was immediately clear that this would be an opportunity for both. My first week on board, I hit the ground running with the guidance of Sharis, the Senior Production Editor, who carefully walked me through each and every step of a book’s life in production from the moment the copyedited manuscript is transmitted over to production to the final printed product, available for the public to read and engage with.
Initially, getting the hang of this process was a bit daunting! Tasks like completing a castoff and creating a master copy of the manuscript require accurate and precise attention to detail. Something like the creation of a castoff, which requires accounting for each character and art-based element within the book files, is crucial for determining any potential problems with the book’s printing, pricing, and other factors. Because the final stages of a book's life occur in production, it is important to be meticulous and thorough and ensure you are creating as close to perfect as possible of a final product. The opportunity to do this work was invaluable, and every step of the way there was something new to learn and a skill to be gained.
As we made our way through these initial stages of training and learning, Sharis eventually gave me the opportunity to work with manuscripts independently. This in particular has been a tremendously gratifying experience, as I’ve been able to work on individual projects as they make their way through various stages of production and be responsible for the completion of each of these stages. I feel lucky to be entrusted to work on with these manuscripts in particular, knowing that they will go on to amplify the voices of authors who are shining a spotlight on environmental issues and their solutions.
There is rarely a dull moment interning with production. Each day brings new challenges and in turn, a new learning opportunity.