Posted 25.08.21 by Bella Williams
HI, I’m Aoifke, and this year I was one of the nine interns working at Penguin Random House on their summer internship scheme.
It’s super exciting and every day is different. Some titles that I’ve been working on include ‘Hill House Living’ by Hill House Vintage, Jon Sopel’s ‘UnPresidented’ paperback release, and ‘Jane’s Patisserie’ by Jane Dunn- to name a few. For these titles, I helped create A+ pages for Amazon, sorted influencer mailing lists, designed promotional content and joined discussions in acquisitions meetings where teams discussed whether or not we should publish a certain book, and looked at current trends in the Arts to inform our decision-making.
Working at Penguin has always been a dream of mine and so to say I’ve had fun is an understatement. Some highlights include a Communications brainstorm for Michaela Coel’s ‘Misfits’ (one of my idols!), researching cottage-core brands to acquire partnerships for a book’s release, and most excitedly- being sent lots of books to read through! Titles like Caitlin Moran’s ‘More Than a Woman’, Rachel Ama’s ‘Vegan Eats’ and more- not only are they fantastic works but they also help me understand marketing techniques and the publishing industry overall.
I’ve never worked in publishing before- my only experience is being Comms Officer of Society of Young Publishers’ North branch- nor have I worked in an office environment. I was really nervous to start but honestly, everybody is SO nice! Whilst it may seem intimidating- as this is the biggest publishing house in the world- the Ebury team have been so supportive and have guided me through the placement.
I was never afraid to ask for help or clarification and they were all so accommodating to my interests, making sure to prioritise certain titles that they thought might suit my passions. This really helped when it came to my project; for my placement I was assigned the task of creating an Influencer Strategy for Ebury. I researched current trends, the rise of Tiktok, and engagement on social media within different categories like lifestyle, cooking, parenting. I decided that my strategy should be to focus on mailing lists in compliance with GPDR- how we can reach out to agents with titles we think their clients would enjoy whilst being beneficial in the time spent on the marketing campaign overall. I’ve really enjoyed the creative freedom and independence given- it made me feel really valued on the team!
I know it can seem daunting to apply for the internship, especially because of the amount of applicants, never mind the fact that it’s for such a great company! Don’t be scared to apply as you will certainly regret not going for it.
Make sure to research lots about the different departments within publishing- many people think they want to work in editorial but you might find that Communications, Sales or Rights are more for you. If you research that, you may find you prefer a different role in the industry- and so your passion will really shine through on your application. Most of all: be confident and keep trying! I almost didn’t apply as I was certain I’d never ever get accepted- but now here I am, genuinely sad about leaving and already researching vacancies for when I graduate next year.
Aoifke’s Twitter @keatslyre
Aofike’s Bookstagram @aoifkeswords