By Madelaine F.
Free Spirit has an active internship program. We invited our fall 2019 publishing intern Madelaine F. to write a post reflecting on her experience at Free Spirit.
As the fall semester washed me into my senior year of college, I found myself faced with the crunch of time and thoughts of trying to find a career. I had already had three internships, both in marketing and editorial, at journalistic publishers and a film and arts magazine. Even with three internships completed and my internship credit fulfilled for school, I found myself still feeling unprepared for the real world.
I talked to my academic advisor and friends about how I was applying to book publishing internships and how I wanted to try out that world. I received the same surprised reactions from everyone and reminders that I had already had an internship. Ignoring the shocked reactions I received, I scoured the open internships in Minnesota and was delighted when I was offered the position at Free Spirit Publishing this fall.
For these past three months, I’ve been so lucky to work with and learn from creative, personable, and genuinely nice colleagues. I’ve loved coming into the office (even on Mondays) and being able to work with inspiring and original books. The mix between marketing and editorial tasks has made this internship more all-encompassing of the publishing industry than I’ve experienced before in other internships. My love for books has overflowed with new vigor this semester, and I’m excited to graduate in the spring and hopefully find a job that will allow me to exercise my creativity and build upon my excitement to learn the way I have at Free Spirit.
I’m so glad I plowed ahead and found another internship that allowed me to take the time to learn something new in a field I’ve found I’m passionate about. Looking back on my time, here are a few things that I’ll take with me from the Free Spirit Publishing internship:
The Books and Tools
Going into Free Spirit, I knew that they published books that gave tools to kids and adults who care for them, but I didn’t realize the variety of tools they truly shared. Each book I worked with was a new topic and allowed me to open my mind to new needs and problems kids may face. Whether it was the going-veg guide Living on the Veg (I secretly wrote down a recipe from the cookbook section for a green pasta sauce to try later) or something more complex, like Fighting Invisible Tigers, I could count on the shelves at Free Spirit to always have something that made me proud to work there.
Free Thinking and Meetings
As an intern, I was able to participate in marketing and creative meetings. I found myself in these meetings, sitting there in awe and wondering how so many intelligent and imaginative people could work in one place. Any part of business that was talked about, I was instantly enthralled as if I were watching my own personal publishing documentary. Each detail of publishing was open to me to ask questions and learn about, such as how to decide on the front cover of a new book, marketing to different audiences, and how authors can market themselves along with their book. It was fascinating to be on the other end and help authors publish their talents, passions, and messages. The meetings affirmed my passion for publishing and made me want to dive further into the industry.
Every Day Is a New Day
As a general publishing intern, I was able to get extensive training in both marketing and editorial tasks. I was never bored. I found I could see how each side looked at each book differently. I got to see how different audiences would look at the material of a book, and I strengthened my writing in ways I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been a general publishing intern.
Did I Mention the People (and Dogs)?
Nothing makes writers block go away faster than a dog running up to your desk. Even as I write this, I took a needed minute (or maybe three) to pet an attention-seeking dog. It’s not only the dogs that make me smile every time I enter the Free Spirit office. It’s also the people who wish me a good morning, tell stories about their lives in the kitchen, and advise me. Their guidance through each task is enough for me to feel secure yet free enough to make mistakes and learn without discouraging my growth.
Be advised, my fellow class-worn students, there’s no such thing as too many internships. Classes can be nice, but I’ve learned the most about myself and where I want to be through internships. As I’ve found while at Free Spirit, learning and gaining new tools can happen at any age and any time. I feel more prepared and at ease as graduation and the real world rush toward me. I hope everyone is able to, at some point in their life, work at a place like Free Spirit—it’ll be enriching and so, so much fun.
Madelaine F. was the fall 2019 intern at Free Spirit Publishing. She is a senior at Hamline University, majoring in creative writing and minoring in business.
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