At the beginning of my college career, I was so sure I wanted to be a journalist. As time passed and my interests changed, I finally realized the field I really wanted to go into: book publishing. As a journalism major with a lot of newsroom experience, the closest I’d gotten to a book job was working at my university’s library. That’s when I went looking for internships and came across Island Press.
When I first started reading about Island Press two things caught my eye: their focus on environmental publishing and their non-profit status. The more I read about Island Press, the more I became intrigued with their slogan “solutions that inspire change.” It was everywhere I searched about Island Press and their books. At the time, I thought it was catchy and well-fitting for an environmental book publisher, especially since I’ve been a longtime supporter of environmental sustainability and protection. So I applied to be a Web & Social Media Intern and hoped for the best.
On my first day, I was nervous and not sure what to expect. I was pretty confident in my web, HTML and social media skills, but I was well aware that I knew close to nothing about marketing. Nevertheless, with some guidance I jumped in head first. In my first week I was drafting tweets for the company’s Twitter page and drafting questions for authors to answer on the company blog. Soon I was reposting blog posts from the Urban Resilience Project to the Island Press Field Notes Blog and changing book prices in TMM, the company’s title management system.
Throughout my internship, my tasks included drafting tweets, reposting blog posts, and posting events to the website. I also drafted questions for authors to answer in blog posts and created images for social media that advertised free e-books. Before each new type of assignment, I was always given training, whether it was a group training for a computer program like TMM or one-on-one training for formatting pages on the website and newsletter. And when I did make a mistake or forget to follow Island Press style, I was always shown how to improve.
I never expected to be given detailed trainings about each department and how the company works as a whole. I was hoping to pick up nuances here and there but I was simply glad to have some exposure. Yet, the IP 101s (Island Press 101 sessions) were one of the best parts of the whole experience. Each department gave an introductory session about what they do and how it contributes to the publishing process as a whole. I got to learn about everything – from the production department to understanding the company’s non-profit status. And, I was included in the blog, book and marketing meetings with the team.
I’m really glad I got the chance to intern at Island Press. I’ve learned a lot more about book publishing than I anticipated and I was given real responsibilities. Not to mention, I felt like I was a part of spreading the “solutions that inspire change” by creating and tracking social media posts, ads for free e-books and spreading environmental news and change.
I don’t think I truly understood how far Island Press’s reach was until I was given a different kind of assignment. I was asked to create a collage on the wall of nice tweets and things people had said about Island Press for all of the employees to read. I thought it was a cool idea and a nice view for employees to see on their walk to their desk. Little did I know, people were tweeting from Detroit, Canada, and different parts of Europe thanking Island Press for their books, webinars, events, and knowledge. Knowing how much of an impact Island Press was making around the world made the whole experience even more worthwhile.