Here are some things that I have learned from my first week as an intern. I know that I am supposed to be learning more about how a publishing company works, particularly from a publicity perspective, but… you’ll see.
Day One: Always wear comfortable shoes as you never know what you’ll end up doing. Such as grocery shopping for a meeting or book launch, running back and forth delivering books between offices, photocopying by the bajillions, and mailing millions of manuscripts and books.
Day Two: Forget wearing nail polish and bring lots of band-aids. Your pretty polish cannot survive the seemingly easy work of paper pushing, as it just chips away to almost nothing within hours. What you do get is a lot of papercuts so you’ll want to have something that will prevent blood stains on press kits, bound manuscripts, and books.
Day Three: If you are requesting a book from the publisher, here is a little tip to follow. In the body of the email have the book title, the author’s name, and the isbn on separate lines, one after the other. The only exception is when you are requesting more than one book, then you do one book’s info per line. Also write your mailing address exactly as it should appear on the envelope. This makes it far easier for the intern to order your book if need be, and also write the correct mailing address. You wouldn’t believe the confusing way people email their book requests and write their addresses.
Day Four: Ask questions. Even really, really stupid ones such as “does it matter if this page of the press kit printed on two pages or must it be a double sided page?” because consistency in appearance can be important or “how would you like your press kit to be placed? In the front, middle, or back of the book, on top of the book within the envelope, or in a press kit folder?” because publicists have a different preference.
Day Five: Always make sure you think you will like the people you are working with before going to work for them. If you believe you will like them, then you will like them and they will like you. Plus, they will be awesome and invite you to lunch with their publishing friends or let you leave work early to beat rush hour street-car traffic.