Posted 07.09.21 by Bella Williams
The Non-Trade Sales team works to bring books into a wide range of non-traditional retailers, like Urban Outfitters and B&M, and carries out brand partnerships. For example, they conducted an amazing partnership with Vivienne Westwood and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland; I’d highly encourage you to check out the bespoke cover made exclusively for the fashion brand.
I had the time of my life working with the Non-Trade team: being able to partake in the work they do was a dream come true!
The application process for the Summer Internship programme is very straightforward.
My process began with answering three questions. I was worried that you would need some expertise as I really didn’t know much about the publishing world before I applied. However, this was not the case. The application questions explore your skills, not your knowledge.
After that stage, we answered a few more questions in a video format online (these were just for the careers team to match us with a particular project).
Then came the interviews. To be honest, this was the part of the process I was most scared of. Luckily, my fears did not come true: the interviews were informal and easy-going, genuinely more like a chat! I had a great time and really enjoyed them. Advice-wise, just be yourself and show that you would be a great person to work with.
After a couple of weeks, I got the call, and on the 5th of July began as one of the 9 Summer Interns.
The beginning of my internship was exciting and a whirlwind of meeting new people, getting used to systems and learning publishing terminology (the world of publishing really does operate in its own language).
I then got to work on my projects, which varied massively from week to week. Some weeks I’d be pitching newly published books to different brands, making suggestions as to how they could create a new exclusive book cover, and then use it to promote things like customer loyalty, or to drive-up sales of a particular product. I especially loved doing this as I enjoyed the creativity and innovation needed to come up with new ideas for each partnership.
I also got the opportunity to choose books for book subscription boxes, create presentations on upcoming trends to send to existing and potential accounts, and compile materials to be sent to the whole of Penguin Random House on things the non-trade team got up to (for example store visits) and upcoming key titles.
I loved all my projects, and through doing them had the invaluable realisation that publishing is the career path for me!
Other highlights included going into the office, chatting with co-workers, and receiving lots of exciting emails each day on things like new acquisitions, marketing campaigns and upcoming releases.
Going to the office was nothing short of amazing. The entrance staircase filled with books, where you can get a free copy of Penguin’s ‘Book of the Month’, is remarkable, and the view from my desk was one of the best I’ve seen in London. I really enjoyed working at my desk whilst sipping coffee and enjoying a great view of Battersea. Meeting my colleagues in person was also great, and I am so lucky to say that I leave this experience with friends.
The first thing I learnt throughout my internship is the power of communication within a publishing house. Books come to life and get put onto shelves and into hands mainly through the communication between all the different divisions: editorial, production, marketing, publicity, and sales amongst many others (I’m not exaggerating, there really are so many divisions!).
I would really recommend to any future interns to have chats with people across every division and in each different imprint, so that you can understand how they all work together and how imprints differ from each other.
Another thing I’ve learnt is to not be afraid to ask for help, as people will always be happy to answer any queries you have. Everyone at Penguin Random House really is kind, helpful, welcoming, and supportive.
Overall, I’ve absolutely loved my time here and would highly encourage people to apply. It’s such a great program and I’ve felt supported by the HR team, my colleagues, and the other interns. In fact, I’ve loved it so much that I am staying on in the temporary role of Internal Communications Assistant, and I can’t wait for this new journey to begin.
Some final advice I’d give for next years interns is to make the most out of the two months, they fly by fast. Talk to as many people as you can, soak in as much information as you can, and most importantly, enjoy it!