Our intrepid summer intern, Margo, left the Publishing Trends/Trendsetter offices last week to return to University of Chicago. She was a huge help to us this summer – as you’ll see below – helping keep Trendsetter full of content and putting together one of Publishing Trends’ most popular and important features. Margo shared with us some of her favorite parts of the summer, and with this we thank her for all of her hard work and bid her a fond farewell.
What specific tasks or projects completed across the semester do you feel were most valuable to your professional development?
My professional development benefited greatly from my work on Publishing Trend’s Annual Contact Sheet. This project, which involved massive data collection, improved my understanding of how publishers and their imprints function as a conglomerate. Now, when an imprint is mentioned, I am better able to immediately mentally-identify its parent-publisher.
With this project along with my work on People Round-Up, I also gained a better understanding of the hierarchy that exists within individual branches of the publishing industry. For example, when reporting on job-updates for People Round-Up, I learned which job-titles are more senior and which are more intermediate. Additionally, in my (often fruitless) attempts at contacting employees for the Annual Contact Sheet, I learned who is most likely to respond to contact requests and business inquiries.
What parts of the internship surprised you? And why?
This summer, I was surprised to learn the fluidity with which professionals are able to move between subfields in the publishing industry. While doing research for Publishing Trends’ People Round-up, I observed that those in the book business do sometimes switch from jobs in Publicity to Editorial, or from Marketing to Distribution, etcetera. When I first began this internship, this surprised me, because I did not imagine the industry would be so forgiving of such changes in one’s specific job-track.
I also experienced surprise at how much can be learned about the book business by simply keeping track of publishing news. Since starting my internship, I have begun following many publishing newsletters (including Shelf Awareness, Publishers Lunch, DBW Daily), and through such reading, I have developed a much deeper understanding of how to keep track of what is being published right now and what general trends in book sales currently look like.
How can you see your mark on Publishing Trendsetter now that you reflect upon it?
During my internship, I have greatly enjoyed being able to contribute to Publishing Trendsetter. Having authored a couple articles and contributed to other posts, I can physically see the mark I have made on the website, but I also feel that I have put forth content that fits with its intended audience, young professionals (<10 yrs work experience) in the book business, because I wrote with an informative edge. As someone who actually belongs to Publishing Trendsetter’s intended audience, I understand the importance of studying the insights put forth by experienced professionals; thus, the articles I wrote were based on meticulous research rather than personal musing.
Did Trendsetter change your understanding of publishing? How?
Definitely! In researching for potential Trendsetter article-topics, I learned just how much the book business is an evolving industry. Publishing is influenced by so many factors: politics, the economy, cultural trends, and etcetera. For example, the Brexit “leave”-vote was cast at the beginning of my internship, so I have been able to follow articles, as they appear, that detail how this decision is affecting the publishing industry. Though many long-term consequences of the British vote are still yet to be identified, it is undeniable that such political decisions affect the book business, as I continue to read in many articles (besides my own). Editor’s note: Margo wrote a great piece about what Brexit means for publishing.
What projects or goals will you embark on next?
Post-internship, I am even more certain that I visualize my future in the book business. But for now, I will return for my final year of undergraduate study at the University of Chicago. In Chicago, I plan to continue networking, following publishing news, and reading voraciously, and after graduation in 2017, I hope to find work in the publishing field. Hopefully, one day, you will see my name listed on Publishing Trends’ People Round-up!