Last week I was fortunate enough to undertake a week of work experience within John Murray Press, specifically the publicity and marketing department. I don’t want to say too much about it, or the specifics at least, as I think that’s rather unprofessional.

I just feel like noting down how much I enjoyed the opportunity. I wish I’d been able to help out there for longer than a week, and I did actually get the feeling that my presence was somewhat useful rather than in the way. I got to do everything: from the important-but-less-glamorous stuffing of envelopes, to going out and finding presents for an author to celebrate publication, and of course… putting toppers on mini-cupcakes. I carried out tasks for quite a few people on the team, from the publicity, communications, and marketing managers, to editorial assistants. They were all really appreciative as well, I wasn’t expecting so many ‘thank you’s, as far as I was aware all of the work I was doing was only going to be helping me, as something I could put on my CV. In fact, I learned just how integral work experience (‘workies’) can be to the office environment, I suppose having me there freed up a lot of valuable time in others’ days and they could get on with the bigger tasks. There’s a real sense of satisfaction in that, knowing you’re helping other people, even if it’s only for a few days. I also got to sit in on a couple of meetings, a team meeting and acquisitions meeting, and they really shone a light on how the different departments gel together, and how a book can go from pitch to publication. All in all, I feel much more aware of the process, online research doesn’t do the actual thing justice.

Before this week I was pretty dead-set on going into the editorial side of publishing. I was intending on trying to get as much experience in as many departments as possible anyway, but I assumed that was the way I was always going to lean. I think now that publicity is definitely something that might suit me. There’s a good balance between the behind-the-scenes making-everything-work jobs and the exciting things like book-launches and author events, festivals, signings, that kind of thing. There’s also the fact that a lot of the job is being enthusiastic and talking about how amazing books are over and over again, in order to get press, interviews, reviews, author feature articles. The whole point of publicity is to create a (positive!) buzz around the titles and drive sales, and I think I’d really enjoy that. Not only am I pretty chatty and love to talk to people but, if it wasn’t obvious, I love to talk about books. Quite the perfect role for me, don’t you agree?

The plan is to keep on doing work experience, hopefully for longer periods, in all departments, if I can. I might find something else I could be good at, but publicity is looking rather good from where I’m standing (sitting, with a blanket around me). Hopefully soon I’ll be able to find paid work experience/internships, but until then, I’ll be as broke as I am now. Oh well! The things you do for love your dream career.

Before I finish, I also really should mention how generous everyone was with copies of John Murray books they were all too happy to hand me. A few times throughout the week I showed interest in some of the titles and they just handed me a copy for free, I wasn’t expecting such generosity at all. At the end of play Friday, I was taken around the office and allowed to take home so many books (it was like carrying two bags of bricks, getting them home from the book launch that night, but obviously worth it!), it was probably the happiest I’ve felt in a good few weeks. Now I have more great books I can’t wait to get into, and of course – less shelf space.

Now, I’m off to apply for more work experience! And to read, obviously.


One thought on “My week of work experience. [1/?]

  1. Congrats! That sounds like a wonderful week. I think one of the best things about work experience is that you get a glimpse of where in the big publishing picture you’d fit best and where you’d be able to help the most. I’m chasing a couple of placements too. Here’s to the both of us finding our way in this big book world! ^.^

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