So, in September after only my first time applying I was offered 2 weeks paid Work Experience at Penguin Random House in London between 4th – 15th December. Working with books has been something that I’d been considering for a while and after going to Penguin’s Job Hack Event in Norwich in July I knew it was something that I was interested in. As, although I have two degrees (a BA Hons in Photography and a MA in Creative, Digital and Professional Writing) I didn’t know what career path to take. I knew this work experience would give me an idea of what it would be like to work in a publishing house and I was really excited. Like, majorly.
- Your availability
- The department/division you want to work in
- Answer three simple questions (but this doesn’t have any factor in if you get a placement)
What I got up to
Anyway, as Marketing/Publicity is all about creating a buzz about a book I did a lot of things to help with this. These included;
- Mailing out books to bloggers/librarians/competition winners etc. I got to be part of the big mail out of the upcoming debut novel by Andrew Zurcher called Twelve Nights which is out in April (I got given a copy to say thanks and that was just one of many perks)
- Checking the Jacqueline Wilson fanmail email inbox and monitoring her fansite. I love Jacqueline Wilson so I’ll admit I did get a tad bit excited about doing this.
- Photo Tasks. I got given a few photo tasks to do by various members of the team. The photos I was taking were for competitions, social media and fansites. My favourite was taking Christmassy photos of Father Christmas’ Fake Beard by Terry Pratchett.
- Using Biblio to look up information about a certain book. Biblio is the system that Penguin Random House use to keep information about all the books they publish.
- Research Tasks. I did a few research based tasks during my two weeks to help with upcoming campaigns. This was probably my favourite thing to do as I love researching, especially when it’s about things I adore.
- Sitting in on meetings. I sat in on a few meetings with the whole team. I’d never been in a meeting before so it was really interesting to see how they work. It was also great to hear about what the department had been up too.
- Checking emails on a daily basis. I had to check emails with general enquiries each day.
- Using my creativity. I got to use my creativity to the full and as an already creative person I was in my element.
- General admin work like printing, restocking office supplies, taking post to the post room etc (this does sound boring but it is a big help to the team!)
What I learnt/perks
- How to manage my time. Each day I would be given several tasks to complete and I had to figure out how to get them all done. This involved planning and splitting up my time perfectly.
- What really goes on in a publishing house. I learnt all about how much work goes into getting a book into a bookshop. Despite doing my placement in Marketing & Publicity I managed to speak to people from Editorial, Production and Rights. Which was really interesting and mind opening.
- How I work with others. I learnt that I am a very big team player. I was always willing to help my team out with anything.
- What it’s like to work full time. As I’ve only worked part time to go into full time was a bit of a shock. I was coming home each day shattered but not in a bad way.
- Free books. Each day I was allowed to take two books home from the pulp shelf. I usually went at the end of the day as books were added throughout. I also got given a few ARC’s from the team I was working with which was amazing (I think I ended up going home with 30 books overall!)
- Free hot drinks. The hot drinks machine was amazing. I ended up going to it many times a day. The hot chocolate was to die for.
- Being in London. I LOVE London so to be back for a few weeks was just the best.