By Anna B.
Free Spirit has an active internship program. We invited one of our publishing interns, Anna B., to write a post reflecting on her experience at Free Spirit.
This summer, I turned 20 years old. A new decade—how exciting! But fear-inspiring clichés about the “terrible 20s” have me and many fellow young adults wondering how we’ll navigate the demands of the “real world.” Career counselors, parents, professors, and friends offer a plethora of advice on this question, and it’s hard to know what to take and what to leave. One suggestion that I did heed this summer: get an internship.
My lifelong interest in reading and writing led me to apply for publishing internships, and I ended up at Free Spirit Publishing, where I’ve spent the last three months learning about all that goes into the process of creating a book. During my time at Free Spirit, I’ve ticked the boxes that the aforementioned advice-givers would consider proof of a successful internship: I’ve learned and grown, developed useful skills, and taken a step forward in preparing for a future career.
These accomplishments are incredibly valuable, and I’m so grateful for the practical knowledge I’ve gained. But there’s another reason why I’m glad I did an internship . . . I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve loved coming into work each day, excited about the prospect of working with wonderful books and smart (and funny) colleagues. The moments of joy and fulfillment are what I’ll remember most about my time here, and it’s this enjoyment that I want to reflect on.
So, without further ado, here are the things I’ve loved most about being an intern at Free Spirit:
- The comprehensiveness. This summer, I worked as a general publishing intern. Being unconfined to a specific role means that I’ve gotten to work on a variety of tasks in both the editorial and sales & marketing departments, which has allowed me to expand both the breadth and depth of my knowledge. As I consider pursuing a career in publishing—an industry that is increasingly requiring innovation and cross-departmental skills—I feel confident that my time at Free Spirit has equipped me with the ability to synthesize and apply my various skills to whatever future projects I work on.
- The meetings (I’m serious!). Another perk of my general publishing intern role is that I’ve gotten to attend meetings in multiple departments, which has helped me understand how an editor’s job relates to that of the creative director or the publicist. It’s in the conference room that I’ve witnessed the pieces of the publishing puzzle fit together during conversations about sales and marketing, blog scheduling, cover design, and more. And the best part? Meetings at Free Spirit aren’t monotonous or a waste of time—they are active, productive, and meaningful. Editors, designers, and marketers speak their minds about what they think is the best way to ensure the success of our books. In meetings, my opinion is valued amongst professionals with years of experience—so much so that they trusted my fellow intern and me to each lead a meeting to discuss unsolicited submissions. At Free Spirit, interns’ voices are heard.
- The stories and resources. I love working with words, and I’ve read a lot of them at Free Spirit. Whether I’m reviewing a new submission, the third draft of a manuscript, or an eBook, getting to interact directly with our books is energizing and rewarding. Plus, performing a task that will help bring a book to life makes me feel connected to our readers—the people we don’t get to see, but who make our work possible.
- The Free Spirit mission. Free Spirit is seriously pro-kid, and it shows—our books are amazing! During my internship, I’ve not only learned about the publishing industry, but also contributed to an organization that is super important and necessary. During lunch breaks, I’ve thumbed through our books, thinking, “I wish I had read this when I was little!” And I’m not the only one: I frequently find myself bragging to my friends and family about how awesome our books are. When I tell them about a specific release that I’m excited about, I often hear, “That’s such an important message . . . in fact, I really needed to hear that!” Free Spirit books are truly changing the way kids (and maybe even adults!) relate to one another and to themselves.
- And . . . the dogs. While writing copy on a deadline can be hectic, nothing eases the stress more than cuddling with a four-legged Free Spirit!
To all my fellow 20-somethings: I know this is a tumultuous time, full of excitement, frustration, and worry. But if my first few months into the terrible 20s are any indication, then they might not be so terrible after all. So far, I have one piece of advice to give: if you can, get an internship. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up at a place like Free Spirit, where you’ll not only get to work—you’ll also have a lot of fun doing it.
Anna B. was a summer 2019 publishing intern at Free Spirit Publishing and is a junior at a nearby university where she is double majoring in English and religion with a concentration in women’s and gender studies.
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