The Momentum Blog

Confessions of a Publishing Intern Part II: I Didn’t Know Money Was Real

Posted June 21, 2012 by Alex

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From March to May this year I was a publishing intern at Pan Macmillan Australia and Momentum Books. I debunked the myth of intern slave labour  purported by the media. I was looked after, gained insights into the publishing industry, taught skills I’d need for an editing career, and given invaluable contacts.

I interned as a part of my Communications studies at UTS for credit points towards my degree. My tutor was blown away with my portfolio submission of all the work I’d done. So, was that the end of my stint in the publishing world? Had my hours of unpaid experience been limited to helping my uni degree, with no chance of furthering my career?

It turned out to be just the beginning.

The stupendous Editorial Assistant at Pan Macmillan, who had been managing a lot of my work during the internship, was going on maternity leave and a fifteen month contract was advertised. Joel Naoum brought it to my attention and told me to go for it. I applied at the start of May. A month later I’m called in for an interview. The next business day, I was formally offered the job.

There is no question that my experience at Pan Macmillan made it all possible. Without the chance to show my skills and prove my suitability to the team, I would just be another applicant. The internship gave me the skills and connections to realise the dream; I’ve begun a career in the publishing industry. I start next Monday.

In my last blog, I touted all the fun I was having as an intern. Writing a follow-up entry to say I’ve gone from interning to paid work feels like a dream. So get out there, and give yourselves up as slave labour. You never know where it will lead.


Follow Alex on twitter at @AlexDNLloyd.

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Confessions of a Publishing Intern

Posted April 30, 2012 by Alex

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I’m an intern at Pan Macmillan and Momentum Books. Am I being abused, exploited and treated like slave labour? If you read Clay Lucas’ article in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 11, you may be worried for my wellbeing.

I’m studying Communications at the University of Technology, Sydney, and elected to undertake professional placement in my third year.

The pros?

  • Credit points that go towards my degree
  • An extra line on the resume
  • Contacts
  • Taking a step towards realising my dream of working in the arts industry. For money.

The cons?

  • Potential torture.

Was I doomed to a semester of slavery? Would I find myself becoming a Barista Master for my publishing overlords? Should I have taken it as an ill omen when I saw my desk was the closest one to the photocopier?

Not a chance.

I’m writing this on my seventh day of the internship. I’m counting down the days until it’s over, but not out of anticipation. I don’t want it to end.

I’ve read through dozens of first chapter submissions for unsolicited manuscripts and edited page proofs of books nearly ready for printing. I went with a sales rep on the road to bookstores to promote upcoming titles to the owners. I’ve helped decide the fate of books. Those are just the highlights.

At the end of my first day, I turned to the assistant editors sitting in the desks next to me. I said, in my most awestruck tone, “you get paid to do this?” – they smiled, lucky and knowing it.

I haven’t been a filing grunt, a photocopy slave or a coffee waiter. The staff have taken great efforts to teach me. I’m regularly asked if I’m enjoying myself, if I’m learning. They even apologised if things were boring. I was speechless at that question. I was asked to photocopy a manuscript last week. They’re still apologising to me about it.

For all those out there dying for a way into your chosen field, don’t despair. The word “internship” isn’t a euphemism for slavery. You can find unpaid work that gives you invaluable experience and teaches you about your desired industry. No, I’m not been held at gunpoint to write this either.

So don’t be afraid of an internship. Give it a go. You might just find yourself having as much fun as I am.

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