Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m going to be taking a break from my usual bookish posts, and instead I’ll be talking to you all about something a little different. A few months back, I was offered a fantastic opportunity to do work experience in London for two weeks with the book publishers Penguin Random House UK. And a couple of weeks ago, I completed that experience. To find out more, keep reading…
Any of you who have been following my blog for some time, or indeed know me personally, will know that my dream for quite some time was to go into Journalism after finishing my university degree (English Literature and Creative Writing). I’ve just began my final year of my degree course, and I’ve been thinking long and hard about the future beyond university.
After a lot of careful consideration, and some good and bad experiences working in the Journalism field, I have now turned my focus towards the publishing world. Reading has become such a massive part of my life in the last year or so, including studying a lot of contemporary literature at university, and I’d love to be working behind the scenes publishing those books. I’m regularly being sent books to read and review for my blog, taking part in blog tours and helping to get the message out about upcoming, and existing, book releases. I’d love to be on the other end of this process – sending books myself to bloggers and promoting them via social media!
Working with Penguin Random House UK.
What I did:
I had a jam-packed two weeks with Penguin Random House. I was placed in the Marketing team for Penguin Press, who publish a lot of non-fiction titles and classics. Every day was full of different activities and tasks, and it was brilliant to get stuck in.
Some of the things I got involved with:
- Attending various team meetings and brainstorms
- Using the book database system to input/search for book data
- Searching the web for bloggers/Youtubers to send new releases to
- Mailing books to various people
- Attending multiple author events
- Organising and arranging books
- Checking various email accounts and replying to queries
- Helping to look after The Happy Reader (Penguins Classic magazine subscription service)
- Writing articles to appear on the Penguin website
- Sending out blogger mail
- Creating presentations to be used in meetings
… and so much more!
What I learnt:
Working with Penguin Press taught me some extremely valuable skills, which I’m sure will not only aid me in my career in the publishing industry, but will also be useful to everyday life.
Skills I learnt/developed:
- Communication. I gained an insight into working within a small team, and as part of a bigger team. I also helped respond to customer queries and communicate with members of the public via email.
- Organisation. I needed to stay organised and keep on top of what was happening in my team.
- Time-management. I needed to keep up with what was going on and manage my time effectively, to ensure that certain tasks were done to a given deadline. I also needed to prioritise different tasks at different times.
- Listening. I sat in on various meetings, which could be challenging at times. I needed to pay attention to what was being said around me and try my best to keep up. I also needed to listen carefully to instructions given to me.
- Creative. I worked on a specific upcoming project and needed to utilise my creative skills, working hard to create and be part of a successful campaign.
- Marketing. This one goes without saying, but I learnt a lot about how books are promoted and marketed at Penguin Random House., and how successful campaigns are created.
- Business. I sat in on meetings which various sections of the business attended, such as Publicity, Marketing and Sales. I discovered many facts about how the business works, and working in an office environment definitely aided this skill.
… and much more!
Beating my Anxiety.
I was under no illusion that these two weeks would be the easiest of my life, due to my history with anxiety and other illnesses. There were many new changes that I experienced during this time, and it was an extremely challenging (but rewarding) experience.
During this time, I had to adjust to many new experiences. For example, I was required to live by myself for two weeks near to London, as I do not live nearby. I have never been in a house by myself before. I was required to commute and use public transport every day, including the London Underground. Before this time, I’d only ever been on the tube once! I had to cook, clean, and shop for myself; all of which I’d never done previously. All of these things, along with being in an office for 8 hours per day for two weeks, became pretty overwhelming at times.
I’m immensely proud of myself for completing the two weeks with Penguin Random House. At times, I was very close to giving up and going home. I was exhausted, anxious, scared and lonely a lot of the time, and it took a lot of willpower and determination to get through that. Looking back now, I’m so glad I stuck at it and kept going. I really feel like I’ve taken a massive step in the right direction to getting control of, and in some ways beating, my anxiety. I didn’t let it get the better of me!
For those of you wishing to go into the publishing world, I’d urge you to get as much experience in the field as you possibly can. Email local publishing houses, apply for work experience with Penguin Random House – any experience will be valuable and rewarding, and will make you stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs.
Spend some time working on a good CV. Make sure it expresses your passion for reading, or writing, or blogging, or publishing books – whatever it is that you’re interested in. Make your CV specific to the field/job you’re applying to, and think about what could make you stand out from others.
Read as much as you possibly can. Read new books. Read old books. Read books of different genres. Read fiction and non-fiction. Read classics. Read magazines. Read comics. Read anything you can!
Keep up-to-date with the contemporary book world. Read up on the latest book campaigns. Check out new book reviews. Attend book and author talks. Become engaged with the contemporary book world on social media.
Be passionate. Find out about your likes and dislikes in terms of books, and be passionate and engaged in the books you like. Be passionate about wanting to deliver those same positive reading experiences that you’ve felt to others.
Be informed. Do lots of research, not just on publishing as a whole, or even Penguin Random Random House. Research the specific job title and the specific division of the job you’re going for, and show off your knowledge in an interview!
If any of you have any feedback on this blog post, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments down below if you enjoyed this post or not, and what you’d like to see from me in future. Get in touch!
Happy reading 🙂