Hannah’s internship at Orion really helped her understand what it takes to work in editorial and she’s now working as an Editorial Assistant within another division within the Hachette group!
What made you apply for our Fresh Chapters internship?
I’ve wanted to get into publishing for years, but kept running up against the ‘experience required’ section of job descriptions. The Hachette Fresh Chapters scheme offers interns positions that are paid: we all receive the London Living Wage. I think this is a fantastic and very important development in internship culture. It’s important for large organisations to recognise that it’s not possible for everyone to pay their dues by working for free, particularly as competition for permanent jobs becomes ever-fiercer. I also loved that the internship placement was for eight weeks, rather than just one or two. When you’re only at an organisation for a short time, you never really get past the ‘who do I ask about my email password?’ and ‘where do you keep the envelopes?’ stage. Being at Hachette for two months has allowed me to work on some real projects and feel like I’ve found my feet enough to be useful to the team I am working with.
What do you do in a typical day as editorial intern?
I don’t actually think any two days have been the same thing I started working at Orion. Of course, as an intern, you have to be prepared to muck in and be as helpful as you can to the people around you, so I’ve volunteered for all sorts of tasks. Generally, I’m given little projects from members of the editorial team, and I’ll spend a couple of days on each one before moving on to the next thing. I’ve made a database to organise recipes from a series of books, completed a metadata audit for selected titles on Biblio, done pieces of research into possible acquisitions and pitches, read submissions and written reader’s reports for my boss, done pieces of proofreading and copy-editing, helped out with pictures and posts for social media… I’ve been really lucky to have had the chance to get involved in all sorts of areas.
What has been the most interesting thing you’ve learnt so far?
As a life-long voracious reader, it’s been fascinating to see just how much work goes in to creating and selling a book. From the outside, you tend to think of a book as something produced by an author. In fact, after a very short time at Hachette, I understood that the work an author does – while, of course, vital – is the tip of the iceberg. Each book is supported by so much hard work from agents, editors, publishers, designers, publicists… the list goes on.
What has been the highlight of your internship?
I have adored the absolutely unprecedented (for me, anyway) access I have had to books. From shelves of free books in the office (‘Really?’ I kept asking ‘You can just… take them!?’) to the delight of reading manuscripts before they hit the shelves and then seeing a book you’ve loved thrive on publication day: it’s amazing to have access to the behind-the-scenes world of books.
What’s the best thing about working at Hachette?
As Hachette is comprised of lots of publishers, working here means you get to be part of a huge network. The company attracts some incredible authors, and it’s a real privilege working in an organisation that’s published so many of my literary heroes. Also, the people are absolutely lovely. And I still haven’t gotten over the view from the roof terrace.
What advice would you give to future applicants and Fresh Chapters interns?
Working at Hachette, even if only temporarily, gives you an incredible amount of access to knowledge, experiences, and people. Make the most of your eight weeks: it will go more quickly than you think. Talk to as many people as you can. Make connections. Ask questions. Be a sponge and soak up all the information around you. Throw yourself into the work: no job is too big or too small. Enjoy it!