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On Interning at Island Press: Reading the Whole Book
In this installment, Publicity Intern Marcelene Sutter underestimates how much certain Islanders enjoy talking about the Oxford comma.
I can’t help flinching when hearing friends talk about internships that seem to consist solely of getting coffee and alphabetizing stacks of files, because my experience has been about as far from that as I could possibly imagine. Interning for Island Press is like hitting the jackpot—I found work that I’m passionate about in a setting conducive to learning more about the publishing business while expanding my skill set.
My favorite part of my internship has been drafting press material for upcoming titles. With Seven Modern Plagues, I ended up reading the entire book to create accurate and engaging targeted pitches for reporters working in specific medical areas. That experience gave me a full understanding of a book that I might not have read otherwise. Even though I’m an avid reader, I’ve never taken such a comprehensive look at books before, and I was happy to gain a new reading perspective this semester. Working on such an important and interesting project right off quelled any fear that I had about this being an ordinary internship; I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to do real work on projects that I care about.
Beyond exciting work, the atmosphere at Island Press is a huge part of what made this internship a positive experience. Everyone here has been so welcoming, and events like IP 101 day gave me the opportunity to meet everyone, while experiencing what life in the other departments is like. All of the Islanders are willing to stop and ask about my day or joke with me, and there’s always coffee brewing in the kitchen—this is the stuff of dream jobs. In conversation with friends, I learned that a lot of them don’t know their bosses, or are scared to talk to them or ask for help. I couldn’t ask for two better teachers to introduce me to the world of publishing. Jaime and Meghan have been so eager to share their knowledge of the industry with me, answering every question that I pose, even when they’re about the Oxford comma or how to placate the copy machine.
What I’ve learned this semester goes beyond the professional realm, although those skills will stay with me as I move forward. This internship changed my reading habits, shifted my perspective on processing the material in books when reading, and improved my problem solving and interpersonal skills. I never expected to get this much out of a job, and couldn’t have asked for a better semester.