Last summer, I did two weeks work experience at Penguin Random House and here is week two of my work diary. Check out this post to read all about week one of work experience at Penguin.
Unfortunately as this post was written retrospectively, the later days of the week are more than a little bit sketchy in my memory but I hope you enjoy this small glimpse into life in publishing.
So, onto week two of work experience at Penguin Random House. Time flies!
The day starts with some admin. Unfortunately, an inescapable part of office life.
It’s Puffin Virtually Live Day! I’ve never seen this show aired before so I must admit I don’t really know what happens, but as far as I’m aware, this show is broadcast all over the world and some pretty cool and exclusive bookish things that happen. At 1pm we head off to the theatre on Drury Road where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Musical is currently showing.
I thought we’d be busy shepherding children or handing out song sheets but turns out everything was pretty much sorted already so we had nothing to do except enjoy the show. I got a pretty good seat as I’m slap bang in the centre and on the first floor so I can see the whole stage. Woo!
Ex-Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton is hosting the show today and she has to keep the kids entertained for a good half hour before the show actually begins to stream. This is rather amusing as there’s one kid who is clearly a bit of a trouble maker and he keeps shouting (slightly) rude things out at Helen. All the adults in the room are laughing.
Books picked up: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, The Catastophic History of You And Me by Jess Rothenberg and How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid.
Mid-way through binding the 13th copy of Zoella’s ‘Girl Online‘ manuscript, I’m called away to Pengui General’s PR department where they’re really, really busy. We’re mailing out copies of Etta and Otto and Russell and James, their big Janurary 2015 release. The presentation for these press copies is absolutely beautiful. Each book is bound with special ‘map’ wrapping paper and there are some goodies inside as well such as a little model cow, a Canadian maple biscuit and a handwritten letter for Etta (you would understand this if you’d read it). It’s all so beautiful and so much time has to go into making and mailing these – I now realise just how hard it is to attract the attention of the journalists and reviewers.
I feel bad because although I’ve only been helping Penguin General out for about 45 minutes, I’m presented with a finished copy of both ‘To Rise Again At A Decent Hour‘ by Joshua Ferris and How To Be Both by Ali Smith, which were both nominated for the Man Booker prize and are supposedly amazing reads. I love this job.
Then I’m off to a 1 hour podcast with BBC radio presenter Ally McCrae, which was amusing.
An infinite sea of copies of The Infinite Sea have arrived. Time to pack them all into the envelopes I labelled yesterday – here we go again.
All 300 copies of The Infinite Sea have been sent off. Phew.
I have made a friend in the post room. My new friend is a 27 year old lady who has just come back from doing the Columbia Publisher Course in the USA (um, wow?) and she seems to be doing pretty much the same thing I’m doing – mailing. We both agree that even though we hate it, deep down we love it really. Maybe all aspiring employees of publishing houses are masochists.
Labelling and packing more review copies and press releases, this time for Snow Day – a children’s title. Weirdly enough, the woman who assigns this task to me is the same woman who has been sending me awesome review copies as part of her freelance publicist job. Small world, eh?
Showcards. are. a. nightmare. They’re those big cardboard posters of book covers with book event details on them that book stores hang around. I’ve never made one of these before but essentially what I had to do was stick 6 A4 sheets, each with a part of a picture on them, together to form a larger poster – first by cutting each sheet to size, then rolling it through the sticker machine and finally laying it down on the show board. Sounds simple right?
Oh and I’ve just remembered that I was in a lift with Graeme Simion last week. I haven’t actually read The Rosie Project yet, but I know it’s a pretty big deal and I was freaking the f*** out (on the inside). SQUEE.
Mailed some promo posters out.
Mailed some more promo posters out.
Books I picked up: The Shadow Puppet and The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin by Georges Simeon, To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris, How to be both by Ali Smith and The Master Builder and Other Plays by Henri Ibsen.
Books I picked up: Union J: Our Story, The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes, A Rough Guide To The Future by James Lovelock, This Child of Mine by Sinead Moriarty
Mailed more books out. I think I’ve grown to love mailing books out now.
Books I picked up: The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson and Tempting Fate by Jane Green.
Today is my last day and I’m SO sad to be going! Anami, my work experience bud keeps asking me why I look so sad because apparently it shows on my face and I look really subdued. On the plus side, Anami brought in a bag of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat and they are to die for. I steadily much my way through these all morning.
At the end of the day Anami hands me a chocolate lollipop from the Hotel Chocolat bag telling me to take it and it’s a massive round (chocolate) smiley face – too cute!
Books I picked up: Him & Me by Michael & Jack Whitehall, Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber, My Lynch’s Holiday by Catherine O’Flynn and The Origins of Sex by Faramez Dabhoiwala.
Voilà! That’s the end of my two week work experience diary at Penguin Random House. I had a thoroughly enjoyable experience there and would love to go back again one day. Have you done work experience anywhere interesting? Share your stories in the comments below!
If you haven’t already, check out my Penguin work experience diary for week one.
If you liked this post, check out these:
Reasons to Always Carry a Book With You
How to Declutter Your Bookshelves
How to Cut Down Your TBR Pile
Beautiful Bookshops in London
How to Create a Cosy Reading Corner