I was fortunate enough to spend two weeks doing work experience (or an unpaid internship, as I like to call it on my CV) with the publicity and marketing team in Penguin General. For anyone who doesn’t know the full history of Penguin Random House and all its divisions, there are three main adult divisions of Penguin: Penguin Press, Michael Joseph and Penguin General.
Penguin General is mainly responsible for literary fiction and non-fiction, with imprints Hamish Hamilton, Fig Tree and Viking, publishing authors such as Zadie Smith, Nick Hornby, Ali Smith and just this year breaking one of the most popular debut novelists Emma Healey (Elizabeth is Missing).
I knew I wanted to work in publishing the moment I stepped into the building at my unpaid internship at Hodder & Stoughton last year and I was surrounded by books, and more importantly, people who loved books as much as I did. Working with Penguin General allowed me to soak up even more information and resources and gain even more experience and skills about the industry I want to be part of and the career I intend to have.
Not only did I walk away with enough books to start my own independent bookstore – although I don’t really want to share any of them, especially not my signed Paul Murray – but I walked away knowing more than ever that I belong in a world of publishing and creativity and idea sharing.
The skills I already had and the skills that I’ve developed amalgamate perfectly for a career in publicity and marketing, where not only do you get to read excellent books, but it’s actually your job to share with the world how amazing your authors and their works are.
The team in Penguin General are some of the friendliest, liveliest and warmest people I’ve ever met, or had the pleasure to work with, and each of them have that personable nature and creative interest that I know is necessary for this specific job. I have to thank everyone in the team for welcoming me so openly, not being afraid to give me lots to do – even if I did come on the week of million mailings – and for answering any questions I had.
For the two weeks I was there, I never felt like the ‘work experience girl’, I always felt like part of the team and that the jobs I was doing really contributed to their work and helping them.
Publishing is a growing industry: growing in size, growing in popularity and growing in the realms of possibilities of just what it can do. I only want to grow and develop alongside it, growing and developing my skills, my passion and my abilities.
So thank you mainly to Steph for setting me up with these amazing two weeks, to Daisy for looking out for me throughout and to everyone at Penguin for only being supportive of my part in your team and my future in publishing. I believe this has been the most important step so far on my ladder towards the career I truly want… I can’t wait to keep climbing.