Photo Credit: SER Texas A&M Student Association - Bastrop Park Fire Restoration

On Interning at Island Press: Striving for Perfection

As exciting as it was to see my first correction in a set of proofs, it was doubly mortifying to notice my first mistake. For some reason, minor errors seem much more serious on a typeset page. Part of the job of the production team, with the help of freelance proofreaders and copy editors, is to pare down these mistakes until the book is as close perfect as possible. Over the course of my internship, I’ve learned that it takes a whole team to print a book, and that, even with all of this hard work, every book will have at least one error. At first, I was terrified that, due to a careless eye or an unclear proofreading mark, that error could be mine.

Although this inevitability made my first few weeks somewhat nerve-racking, it’s also a sign of the degree of responsibility interns at Island Press are granted. That's not to say that interns are left without guidance. I've learned more from our Senior Production Editor and the rest of the team in the first month than I thought possible, and I continue to learn every day. 

Island Press has given me an exciting and thorough introduction into the world of publishing. Over the course of my internship, I have become intimately familiar with the production process, from transmittal to printing. I've learned proofreaders' marks and how to navigate the Chicago Manual of Style. I now catch errors that I never would have noticed before my internship at IP.

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to read another book without noticing an errant comma or missing apostrophe or misplaced page number, but I'll also never be able to read another book without being reminded of the team of editors, proofreaders, typesetters, cover designers, and even interns who got that book as close to perfect as possible.