In the summer before I started university, I was lucky enough to get two weeks work experience at Penguin Random House. I was to spend the time in Penguin Children’s marketing department and I was so excited! Working in marketing books had been a dream job of mine and I hoped it would live up to my expectations.
Work experience in publishing can be hard to come by so I thought I’d share my day-to-day tasks and overall experience with you all. Here’s what I got up to during week one of my work experience with Penguin.
I have arrived way too early. I decide to awkwardly wander up and down the streets into random shops until a more suitable time. I finally pluck up the courage to enter the tall, tall, glassy building and I enter the Penguin reception. I pick up my visitor badge and take a seat. Next to me is a friendly looking woman who turns out to be doing two weeks work experience in the Publicity and Marketing Department of Penguin Children’s too! I have a found a friend – good start.
My new friend, Anami, has already done work experience at Penguin before so she knows the ropes and gives me a tour of our floor. Of course, this includes the ‘Pulp shelf’ which is where you’re allowed to take two free books per day. BEST THING EVER. When I read this line of my contract I was incredibly excited, who doesn’t love free books?
And now to work. We begin by updating the Puffin display board with some new newspaper clippings about Roald Dahl and his books which involves much printing and guillotining, but it’s quite fun. Then, we are presented with a huge (and I mean huge) stack of boxes that are full of ARCs of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – the new big young adult release. If you’re one of the lucky people I’ve just sent a package out then I’m so jealous of you!
I randomly receive an email from the Publicity officer, who’d found out I was a book blogger, asking me to participate in The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave sequel) blogger campaign. Um… yes?! I need to create a post detailing what I’d pack in my apocalypse survival backpack in order to qualify for an ARC (advance-reader-copy) of The Infinite Sea which is heavily embargoed. Yayay!
That’s pretty much it for day one. There was much posting and printing but I think I’m getting the hang of things now so it’s only up from here!
Still packing All The Bright Places but we’re onto the last batch of the day and finally we’re finished! I know there are more to come, but that’s a problem for later. I actually rather enjoy packing the books into bags. It makes me feel like Santa’s Little Helper, bringing joy to bloggers and reviewers all over the country!
I was then given the very important task of going to Tesco to buy two bars of Green & Blacks chocolate. I think they were to send to a *famous chef* to persuade him to get in on a Penguin campaign, which seems like a pretty good idea because who can resist a bit of chocolate?
Chapter 1 of Half Wild by Sally Green needs to be sent out to lots of bookish people so I get to work on putting these neat little scrolls into tubes and I try (and fail) and try (and fail) and try (and fail) to create these cool Half Wild address labels to stick on the tubes. After what seems like hours, I give up and move onto the next task. I’ve wasted quite a lot of sticky labels but I’m at my wits end with this project and can’t figure out what to do. (Even Google didn’t help).
I finally got the labels right! Rejoice! I think I may have jammed the printer, but when I come back a bit later, someone seems to have fixed it. After some time, I manage to get to the printer and get my labels all printed out. Stuck them all to the tubes and they’re ready to go!
Now I need to note down all the important dates for our social media channels e.g. holidays, bookish events etc. Sounds easy but it’s actually pretty difficult trying to find the official dates of a lot of events and whether they’re for the UK or whether they’re international. I’ve arranged them all into a spreadsheet but it looks rather messy so I play around with this for a while.
Revisions of my calendar of dates again. Will I ever get it right?! I must admit the way I laid it out was not entirely logical but now I’ve sorted that out it should all be fine.
A box of biscuits from The Biscuiteers, to be used as a competition prize, came in today. They are all Charlie and the Chocolate Factory related and they’re SO cool and they smell amazing!
I then had the exciting (and daunting!) task of going out and about in Covent Garden to quiz people about what books they read as a child and what stories they’ll pass down to their children etc.
I had to wear these big headphones and carry a Penguin microphone which was all rather cool, but very clunky, and it probably looked quite intimidating to the people I spoke to! There was a very varied response from people with some people very willing to share their stories with me and others who clearly wanted me to clear off.
In the end I think I got about 6 or 7 good stories and managed to have a good chat with people about children’s books which was nice. It was certainly a nerve-wracking experience but it was cool I must admit! Everyone in the office has run off to a meeting so I wrote my Half Bad book review, which I wasn’t that taken with but it was an ok read.
Then I helped Anami, my fellow work experience buddy, fold up lots of song sheets for the upcoming Roald Dahl event next Monday. Attaching pens to the song sheets was an absolute nightmare because they kept falling off.
Today I need to print twenty manuscripts for ‘Girl Online‘, YouTuber Zoella’s autobiography which is coming out in November this year. The printing takes forever and then I had to punch holes in the pages and then load them all onto the binding machine.
I eventually managed to squeeze all the pages onto the binding machine and get the ring to shut but it’s such a tight fit that I’m afraid all the pages will tumble out when their recipients get them. I order in bigger binders. The copies are still printing.
Other people in the office seem frustrated because the manuscripts are taking so long to print and the other printer is out of toner. Whoops? I’m off back down to Mark in the stationery store again to order in some binders and card.
I cut and paste lots of competition entries to the Roald Dahl invention competition that Penguin are running. Some of the entries were so cute, but some were just plain weird if I’m being completely honest.
The Spinebreakers requests are in! Spinebreakers is one of Penguin’s clubs for young reviewers. It was so nice to be able to do something Spinebreakers-related as I’ve been a Spinebreaker myself for a number of years. I’m still so sad that the scheme is ending after all this time! To all you Spinebreakers reading this, your books are on their way!
Packed a big box of promo materials for goodie bags for the upcoming Bath Festival. If you’re attending, then you’ll no doubt be receiving one of these awesome bags with an assortment of bookish/Puffin related goodies!
Back to folding Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Cards and attaching pens. I also had to make question cards for the show next Monday but I get this tragically wrong and end up doing it again and again and again. And still getting it wrong. By this point I have run out of card and the stationery store is closed…
So that’s it guys! The first week of my Penguin work experience was pretty awesome. It’s so cool seeing what goes on behind the scenes of the publisher that worked on pretty much all of my favourite titles. I think I did a lot more than what I detailed above, but I hope that gives you an idea of what to expect from work experience at Penguin. I’ve picked up loads of new books to read to read over the weekend and I’m looking forward to what next week brings!
Read about my Penguin work experience week 2 here!
To apply for work experience with Penguin in London, check out this page here.
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