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On Interning at Island Press: Publicity in Practice
In this installment, Ali Ziegler, Publicity Intern, writes about her position's challenges and advantages (which include baked goods).
At previous internships, I’ve made copies, run errands, and stared blankly at a computer screen for lack of anything more productive to do. Not at Island Press, though: my projects here as the Publicity Intern are both interesting and challenging, and provide me with invaluable experience. I’m currently in my last year at American University, where I study Public Communication and Creative Writing. A lifelong love of reading, writing, and books in general inspired me to apply for this internship, a position that allows me to blend these interests with my education. Interning for Island Press has really allowed me to grasp the entire process of publicizing a book.
One of the important parts of my job is writing – and I do a lot of it. Specifically, I tailor e-mail pitch letters to specific audiences and draft press releases. Although I consider myself an environmentally-conscious person, my academic pursuits are far from scientific; so, becoming familiar with books that cover a wide range of environmental and scientific topics is a fascinating challenge. I’m learning the most effective and appropriate language to use when promoting these books, and it’s always exciting to receive positive responses.
Monitoring media coverage is another important part of my job. I read and record all the reviews and mentions of our books that appear online, in newspapers, and in journals. It’s rewarding to see in print a positive review of a book I helped promote.
I also do a lot of research and help compile contact lists. Doing the latter sometimes leads me on deep searches through the internet to find elusive email addresses. Identifying and finding appropriate contacts for a certain book are definitely important skills I’ve honed in this position.
The perks of interning here – aside from the obvious one, experience – are vast and unexpected. One day I helped out at an event for Pavan Sudhkev’s Corporation 2020 at the World Resources Institute; another, I attended a riveting lecture about North Korea and deforestation by Keith Bowers. I also get to work with a dedicated, friendly team. Sometimes, there are delicious homemade cookies in the kitchen.
I’ve already gained so much during my first few months here; I look forward to what my next semester at Island Press will offer.