I first applied to Island Press in the midst of a job-hunting fury that surrounded me like a cloud of smoke. Island Press stood out from the rest because not only was it a publisher, but also a non-profit. I loved the idea of being able to work at a place that combined the two types of organizations that I was most passionate about. I’ve always believed in the power of books and the impact of good non-profits, and after reading the Island Press mission it really did feel like the perfect fit.
One of the best parts of my production internship at Island Press is the knowledge that the work I’m doing matters. Sharis, the Senior Production Editor, told me when I started that this wouldn’t be a “running to get coffee” type of internship. Each day this has proven to be true. I’m doing work that not only is helping the other members of the production department, but that is helping work towards meaningful goals to try to help people and issues related to the environment.
The most surprising aspect of this internship has been how many different ways I get to work with the book before it is done and sent to the printer. Coming in as an intern I only had a general understanding of the production process. I hadn’t realized I’d be given this much responsibility so quickly and get the chance to work with a book at so many different stages, but it’s these daily opportunities that make interning at Island Press such a valuable experience.
When we first get a new book I create a cast off, which requires that I go through all of the text and illustrative files to get total estimates of character count, page count, and an idea of what additional elements will be included. This initial estimation of the book helps determine if the chosen trim size and interior design will work, a potential book price, possible problems, and more. Beyond the cast off, I go through each proof of the book we receive to check corrections a freelancer or author made, and even make corrections of my own. Initially this was definitely the most nerve-wracking task I had. But I’ve found as a detail-oriented person that completing this type of work with the cast off and page proofs is actually pretty rewarding.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work closely with Caroline, the Manufacturing & Database Administrator, and learn about the tasks that go into creating eBooks and working with printers. It has been invaluable to spend time training with Sharis and Caroline, because I’m getting a look at so many different aspects of the production department. I have a much better understanding of the overall process and the specific jobs each member of a production team does.
Interning at Island Press has been a big benefit to me, because it feels like the daily work I do helps to move projects forward and the potential for learning is always available to me. I’ve been at Island Press for less than two months and no two days have been the same, which has made the internship really engaging. And whether it’s the daily work assignments or even just bowling at the holiday party, everyone at Island Press tries to make interns feel valued and included, which has made the work environment pretty ideal.