Posted 25.10.17 by Cassie Leung
This summer, I took part in a Communications and Editorial Internship with Penguin Life. I had just finished my university degree in English Literature and Psychology, and in the mid-exam flurry applying for the PRH summer internships seemed the perfect way to procrastinate!
I applied for four of the internships on offer as they all sounded fantastic, but I was particularly delighted to be shortlisted for Penguin Life’s, as their books are so inspiring. The second stage was a video interview through Penguin’s HireVue programme, followed by a final interview in person. Pretty soon I was packing my bags and leaving Ireland to begin! I think it’s important to only apply if you’re passionate about the type of books an imprint publishes. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate this passion in your interviews, and in any case you’ll have a much more rewarding time there if you’re working on books you really love!
During my time at Penguin Life, I worked primarily on social media for upcoming books and authors, scheduling posts and figuring out the best platforms for them to reach their audience. This involved lots of research on social media and websites, seeing which audiences were engaging with the content we put out, and finding ways to target our posts to even more closely match their interests.
I designed gifs and quote-cards (a great chance to improve my Photoshop skills!) wrote copy for posts, and talked authors through the best ways to use their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to increase their popularity. On the editorial side, I got the chance to help with preliminary work for books – creating samplers to send out to journalists in advance of publication, offering cover feedback, and helping to put pitch documents together to bring to leading figures we wanted to write for us. There were also many very fun trips shepherding authors to photoshoots, book signings and the BBC studios in the mix!
One of the most interesting projects I had was planning a Consumer Connect Away Day for my team. We were working on two upcoming titles and needed a really in-depth understanding of the audiences who would be likely to buy them. So, I organised a research day out of the office, putting together two routes which visited the shops and restaurants these consumers would be likely to frequent. We followed the routes, making notes and taking photos and taking time to actually experience a day in the life of these consumers. I had been doing so much online research prior to this, and it was fascinating to more literally “walk in the footsteps” of people, and really get a feel for what their lives and interests were like.
The internship was a fantastic opportunity to learn as much as I could about publishing and communications – I was able to sit in on planning and brainstorming meetings, offer my own suggestions, and I even got the chance to take a course improving my presentation skills.
I had plenty of freedom to come up with my own promotional strategies for the books I was working on, while always being able to ask for advice when I needed it. I’d advise anyone on similar internships to take every opportunity you can while there – I wish I’d done even more now that it’s over.