My Publishing Internship in London



hey everyone so today I'm going to talk about my personal experiences doing an internship at a publishing house in London I know in the bookish world it's quite a coveted thing to do so I want to talk to you today about my experiences and some of my opinions on pros and cons of doing a publishing internship so let's start with my personal details because let's be honest no two internships are going to be the same so mine was unpaid controversial in and of itself but it was an unpaid internship it was two weeks long and it was at a small independent publisher called icon books you might be wondering why I decided to do an internship and the reason was because I didn't know what to do after my English undergrad I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and I didn't know what what comes next do I want to be a teacher or not really do I want to go into publishing maybe do I want to go into creative fields I don't know so I decided let's do an internship that could give me some information it was an information finding session while I was there I wrote a list this is in my journal I wrote this big list of everything I did while I was there and I'm really glad that I did this because now it's been a few months since I did my internship and I'm already starting to forget what all of the tasks were some of the tasks really menial the things you would kind of expect an intern to do I packaged a lot of books I addressed and sent off a lot of books I answered the phone once I owe this was another thing research I did a lot of research so the marketing person would be like hey I need you to look into this can you do that and I'm like yeah and I'd look into it I'd google it and another person would say hey do you know anything about prices for this thing I'd be like yeah let me just look into it so I did a lot of research I also did a lot of spreadsheets oh my god so any spreadsheet I was just filling in lots of information I got to do some neat things like buying a book and build a fake cover so that we could see what of the the actual hardcover would look like I went to enter the town and I bought milk for the teeth that we were all having constantly and I went out and bought a copy of the newspaper so that we could see the review for one of the books that was being published the two most important things that I did though were one listening I did a lot of listening I got to sit in on meetings I also because it was a small publishing house I was in the midst of it all I think they have 11 full-time employees and the main room where my desk was was an open-plan room where the there's I think five or six people working in this room and I could hear everything and the second thing I did was insert my own skills into as many scenarios as possible this internship is about me it's about me learning how I fit in with the publishing world so when I say that I inserted my skills I noticed that icon bookses instagram hadn't been used in like a year or something and i'm i love taking photos of books i know stuff about bookish social media so i was like hey do you guys mind if I take some photos and post them on your Instagram and they were like zombie so of course we'd love that none of us do that so if you would do that that'd be great and so I started doing that and they were really excited and I was excited because I was understanding like okay social media is a thing that maybe I could work with in publishing and then an opportunity came up where they were talking about videos they were talking about like maybe doing a little video project here and I was like how about I just do it for you guys how about I make this video for you and I was a lot of work and I did it all for free like I said this was an unpaid internship but I did it because I needed to understand how my skills work within publishing and so I made this video was like I said it was a lot of work and I even worked on it at home which is not expected of me like you don't need to do that but I wanted to so that I was using this internship fully and I did this video and I got feedback from them and they were so happy and so excited and I was able to understand what it is that like I bring to the table another thing was I made sure to be super optimistic energetic and outgoing I usually am anyway I am quite a like boisterous person but I really realize this internship is two weeks long if I want to get the full experience of it I need to be talking with everyone and asking questions and feeling comfortable in the office and that means I'm not gonna have a few weeks to get to know everybody no starting day one I only have ten days of this internship so I better start being everyone's friend and I think that really helped because I made a really positive environment it made it a place where I could ask loads of questions where people wanted to talk to me or I got to hang out with everybody in a comfortable way and that way I was able to learn so much more the other thing I really recommend and I'm not kidding this is probably the most valuable thing that came out of this internship looking at the lifestyle so yes going into this publishing internship I learned a lot about the publishing industry I learned what does a marketing director do what does a publicity manager do what do the editors do I got to learn about all of these places and especially because I was I really actually recommend going to a small internship like a small publishing house because I got to talk to everyone I was in the middle of everything whereas if I've done one at like Penguin heck I think it would be really cool and really valuable as well but I would only be in one department I would only get to talk to the marketing team because they're so big or as with this small place I was able to really learn about everything and help everyone and I was doing tasks for everyone yes I got to learn the ins and outs of publishing but I also got to learn what my lifestyle would be like if I worked in a publishing house what is it like to have one hour lunch what is it like to commute an hour in an hour out every single day what's it like to have to wake up at 7 a.m. every single day without fail and be home again not until 6 p.m. every day yourself dinner maybe watch some TV and then fall asleep this was so valuable to me obviously I've had routines in my life like when I was in grade school I was at school from like 9:00 to 3:00 every day but that's really lost in university because you could have a one class on Monday and then no classes Tuesday and then full day on Wednesday like it's completely messed up schedule for these two weeks and this was such a sample you know it's such a little sample but for these two weeks I could never be late and I had to be there the whole time and I couldn't like I'll just take an extra half-hour for lunch no you get an hour for like this was probably the most valuable part of that experience getting to know what the actual lifestyle would be because it made me realize I don't want to work that lifestyle and I'm not saying that is a bad lifestyle I'm not saying that I'm above that lifestyle I'm just saying that I did not function well I didn't realized wow this doesn't work for me and I'm so glad I got to learn that um I understand that I like freelance it was a real wake-up for me and and a real enough freeing understanding like finally understanding okay you've always kind of fantasized about doing freelance now you know that is actually what you really want it's not that I never want to do have anything to do with publishing it just made me realize I need to find the ways that I fit in with publishing and by doing those extra things by working there Instagram by making videos for them by like consulting with them about social media and publishing I did learn ways that I could work with them and from that I've gotten freelance jobs with publishing industries for companies because now I understand the ways that I fit in so those are some of my experiences working on publishing house I've got to give a huge shout out to all of my pals over at icon books I had so much fun like yeah it was grueling I did not like waking up that early every day and getting home so late every day and realizing I don't have time to work on my own heart um but oh the time I had there so much fun I learned so much I got to do so many things I never would have gotten to do I really got to the routine of like making tea and having my friends in the office bring me tea and having my office and like my having my desk and getting to know everyone so thank you so much to the team it was such a valuable experience like I said as an information-gathering session as an opportunity for me to go in and get the maximum out of it and that was being outgoing it was inserting my own personal skills into it and giving it my all just I worked so hard during that internship and I didn't need to you know and I like talking with the friends that I made there I really learned that they've had a lot of interns that come in and just do the tasks they're assigned say by the end of day and leave but I worked extra hard to really learn for myself how would I fit in in this environment I don't think it's a necessary thing that you must do to ever get a job in publishing but if it is a thing that you'd like to do are thinking about doing or have the possibility and option to do I do recommend it simply like I said as an information gathering session as a way for you to learn about the industry without getting all of your hopes and dreams wrapped up in something you aren't really even sure of yet I hope that you guys enjoy this video and I will see you in my next one but

41 thoughts on “My Publishing Internship in London

  1. i dont know how to tell you this but ALOT of jobs, if not ALL jobs are like that. routine routine routine. cant be late, have to be there people depend on you. and over time is a GOOD thing.

  2. You have inspired me with this video.
    Im 30, Ive worked ENT in NHS for a decade and I have just "put up" with it.
    I am gonna persevere with writing and look for literary agents x
    Thank you x

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  4. Why are you doing an internship after graduation I've been interning 2-3 to 5 days a week while in school since sophomore year

  5. This is glorious, I've been looking for "publishing online books" for a while now, and I think this has helped. Ever heard of – Quonor Publish Peneplanation – (Have a quick look on google cant remember the place now ) ? Ive heard some amazing things about it and my brother in law got excellent results with it.

  6. I find it so interesting how things change from country to country. I live in Brazil and have recently got a BA in Portuguese with concentration on Translation and Interpreting, and here in Brazil, if you don't study in a public university, which is mostly the case, you have to work to pay your own fee or to help at home or just because you like to be financially independent, you know (if the public uni has a regular schedule, students also work). The thing is, on one side, I love how in other countries it is easier to just dedicate yourself 100% to academic life. I believe this motivates research and allows the students to really dive into what they chose to study without being so tired because of work, commuting and all of this. On the other side, I love how studying in a university that has the same schedule everyday helps you search jobs and get into the industry from an early point. In my second year of college, I started a 2-year internship in a translation agency and it taught me so much! I left university already feeling as an actual translator and a proofreader and this was so important to me, this empowered me. On freelancing, I was able to try that too, which comes rather naturally when you are a translator. I've only been a freelance translator for 3 months for personal reasons, but I really hope you can be successful in your journey.
    P.S.: I love binge-watching your videos and I'm really looking forward your book, whenever it comes out. Greetings from São Paulo 🙂

  7. Good video! But don't be put off by taking an internship because you're worried the company won't let you move around. While you're interviewing, ask if there's a possibility to see how different functions work. At my job, our interns get the opportunity to work with each department.

  8. I'm almost finishing my degree in Literature and I would like to do an internship in a publishing house so I was wondering what kind of research did you do to find companies and how long before you finished your degree did you start looking?

  9. Mazel Tov to you for such an accomplishment!! I am sure it enlightened you in the end. I appreciate the advice given!

  10. Ariel, I can relate to this video so much, although I didn't do my internship at publishing firm. I am feeling better watching this video, because I felt like I am thinking that way. 🙂

  11. I really enjoyed this! How did you go about freelancing with other companies once you finished the internship? Did you find job listings somewhere or did you approach more independent publishers like the one you interned for and asked to do something for them? 🙂 <3

  12. Ariel, I'm usually more of the "silent viewer" kind but today (even if I've been a subscriber for years now n_n') I knew I had to comment. Your words in this video came just in time for me. I just started working part-time (while studying at uni) and I have to do all of those lifestyle-related things you talked about, and I kind of hate it xD I've worked similar jobs before and I felt unhappy with all of them before. And after a lot of thinking, I realized that just isn't for me. But of course, I can't tell this to many people because then they think that I believe I'm better than most people with normal 9 to 5 jobs or that I'm just lazy. I get deeply misunderstood, and I end up feeling like if there's something wrong with me. So listening to you say out loud the exact words I was looking for to express what I feel it's been really comforting and surprising to me. Thank you, Ariel 🙂 Hope you have a great day today! You made mine a little better 😉

  13. I just found your channel today so I should look into your videos first but just in case I'll ask anyway. How do I get started in publishing my own book? What should I do? Who should I connect with? What are important things that I'm probably overlooking?

  14. This video is like….sent from above, literally, I've just finished high school and am now struggling with the whole WHAT-DO-I-DO-NEXT PHASE of my life, like do I go to college, what do I study, what job do I want…I love books and writing, and I've considered a job in the publishing business before, but even with all the googling and research I did, no one was answering the reality of the LIFE STYLE involved with the job. I'm currently working full time retail, and I LOATHE it because there's no time for me to read or draw or write or play my music! So yeah. Really insightful and valuable video, THANK YOU!!!!!

  15. But it is just 2 weeks! It is not enough to make any conclusions! You still can get used to it and find it comfortable 🙂

  16. I think two weeks of an unpaid internship would definitely be a valuable learning experience without completely draining a person financially (since it's a short-term commitment). How did you find this particular opportunity? Also, did you need a visa of some kind since you're not from the UK/EU? I'd love to do something like that and just wondered about the logistics 🙂

  17. I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do when I leave university and working in a publisher was always on my mind…
    I LOVED this video so much and I consider you a lucky girl! Wish you the very best x

  18. Ahhh Ariel, I did my internship at Icon Books in February and I totally agree it is so rewarding to get an insight of the industry through a smaller publisher. I struggled more with being outspoken and kept a bit more quiet in general in the office as I was too scared to annoy everyone else doing work, so well done on asking loads of questions and being proactive! In the second week, I got a bit more confident and when one of the editors explained a book project to me, I mentioned something that might be relevant to the content of the book. After that, I suggested I could do some individual research for them about it and the author ended up including my idea in the book and thanked me by mentioning my name in the Acknowledgements which I was super excited about. In terms of the life style, I actually had the opposite reaction, I was so excited every day to have a commute I can read on and be in the hustle and bustle of the city. It made me realise that I do really want to try and work within that industry. Anyway, thanks for making the video, loved hearing what your experience was like. (Also, omg the building their office is in, maybe it was just me but I got lost in it sooo many times!)

  19. The exact same thing happened to me. I did work experience and was like no way am I working a full time job. Freelance all the way

  20. this is random, but I noticed when you were counting off your fingers, you made the ASL version of 3, with your thumb rather than with your ring finger. do you know or have you taken ASL? or is that just how you count with your fingers?

  21. I'm doing an internship at a law firm and doing masters in evening. it's tough I think but pays good. also I get to better myself in education u have to take a stand sometimes u know and make ur priorities straight. to live well

  22. Hey Ariel, did you apply for the internship or did you approach the publishing house about taking you on as an intern for 2 weeks?

  23. It was so helpful to hear your perspective. Thank you for such a detailed account of your experience. I've been looking into doing this as well, and your advice and stories are invaluable!

  24. Such a great video and such a wonderful experience you had. I love the energy and commitment you had approaching the internship and this video. (pssst. You should consider using this for job interviews, not even joking, as I've been on the other side of job interviews and sort of have a sense of what employers look for and this is top notch, just sayin')
    But yes, the lifestyle bit is important you start to realise how much time "work" consumes from your day which is why it's important to pursue something you enjoy.

  25. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Do you mind if I ask how you went about finding/applying for your internship?

  26. Ooh, this was such a good video. I liked this one a lot, while not in the near-near future, but hopefully one day I'd like to seek out the opportunity that is a publishing internship. And this video, feels like one step closer to that.

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