Monday, 28 July 2014

Interning at Oldcastle Books - Weeks 3 & 4

Counting weeks three and four as two weeks feels a little bit like I'm cheating. You see, I've technically only worked six days, what with having two days off for my graduation and only working a four day week ordinarily anyway! However, short as it may have been, it was jam-packed with experience.

I've been working on a couple of projects; as I mentioned in my last post, I've written tweets to promote our #WWIhistory novels which are now scheduled to post over the month - follow @Oldcastlebooks for info and interesting #Onthisday1914 facts! I've also compiled tweets promoting our #Coffeeville Virtual Summer Road Trip which kicked off last week and got to relive some of the fun of arts & crafts at school by making a map to plot the locations of our blog tour stops:
Picture courtesy of Frances Teehan
Aside from drawing pretty coloured lines, I've been doing some hard-core marketing work i.e. contacting various editors and producers for reviews of our publications, and liaising with our distributors to get the books where they need to be.

I've also got a few tasks in the pipeline such as proofreading a new book we're publishing, thinking up ideas for press releases and, of course, more blogger research (which is essentially allowing me to do what I'd be doing at work!)

Tomorrow I've been invited to attend a PPC meeting with Frances which I'm really excited about - I can't wait to meet more people in the industry and hopefully learn lots! It's in London at the new Foyles which I haven't been to yet (gah!) so I'm super excited for that.

Although I'd always thought my ideal job would be in editorial, I'm really enjoying the marketing and publicity work that I've been doing here. In fact Oldcastle really is a great first step in my career path as I've been able to dip my feet into so many publishing ponds. (I feel like I've mixed up that analogy somewhere but let's just go with it!)

Anyway, the internship was supposed to be just for the month of July however Oldcastle have kindly invited me to stay on as a paid intern throughout August which I'm delighted about - I certainly feel like the longer I stay, the more I'll learn and the more I'll be able to contribute. One week or two week placements here and there are of course fantastic opportunities, but its really nice to think I'll be able to see one or two projects through to their end :)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Summer Reading Challenge 2014

This weekend the #SummerReadingChallenge kicks off in libraries nation-wide. The initiative, which has been in place for a number of years, seeks to enthuse children about reading. The challenge encourages children of all ages to read six books over the summer and chat to volunteers about what they've read, in exchange for stickers and prizes. Local libraries have been recruiting volunteers to help with the sign up and to record the childrens' reading throughout the summer and generally get them talking about the books. This year, the theme is #MythicalMaze - novels which are sure to inspire the childrens' imagination!

I went into my local library as soon as I came home from university to see about getting involved with the community in some way and when I heard about this summer-long project, I thought it was a great idea. As someone who spent her youth absorbed in Nancy Drew novels (while everyone else was reading Harry Potter), I think it's really important to allow children to develop their own reading tastes, but the most important thing is to firstly get them used to the idea that reading can be fun, enjoyable and cool! The reading challenge is open to everyone, regardless of age or reading level and with schools and parents on board, I'm sure it will be a great success!

I look forward to meeting the young readers and can't wait to hear what they have to say about the Mythical Maze books!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Interning at Oldcastle Books - Weeks 1 & 2

Everyone knows that graduating from university comes with that awful dreaded question 'what's next?'. I have to admit, I had little real idea of what kind of career I wanted until last year. Teaching was always an option right up until I spent a year doing it in France and realised it wasn't for me. But the time did give me a break from the studying routine and allowed me to reflect on where I could see myself happily working. The answer? Well, you can probably tell from this blog: publishing.

This realisation led to me undertaking a month-long internship at Atlantic Books in August 2013 which confirmed that this was the industry in which I want to work. However, final year beckoned and with it the fear of what would come when the comfort of returning to Uni in the autumn was no longer there...

Enter Oldcastle Books: An independent (possibly the smallest UK) publisher based in Harpenden and founded by Ion Mills, Oldcastle Books has several imprints including No Exit Press (crime), Kamera books/Creative Essentials (non-fiction film/tv) and Pulp! The Classics (marvellous re-vamps of Wilde/Shelley and the like). I can't tell you how happy I was when my interview resulted in an invitation to intern with them and we set July as the date - one week after I would complete my degree, perfect!

That means that I've just completed my second week there and I thought it would be a good idea to post a little summary of what I've been up to...

My responsibilities at Oldcastle have been hugely varied. I've done a lot of admin and editorial things - ranging from updating the daily sales figures report & festival database, to sending parcels & proofreading bookmarks. However, I've mainly been working on PR and marketing with the wonderfully bubbly Frances Teehan (one half of Franny & Perks: These tasks have included doing publicity research for our new titles, e.g. contacting fellow bloggers to organise our virtual blog tours (check out #Coffeeville next month!). I've also worked on our #IntCrimeMonth twitter campaign - an initiative launched by 4 independent publishing houses in the UK celebrating international crime fiction. The launch of this campaign took place at Waterstones Piccadilly on Weds 9th July and you can see my published write up of it on Book2Book here :  (exciting!) And I've been working on next month's WWI related tweets to promote two of our new titles - WWI at Sea (Carolan) and Short History of the First World War (Gerr), as well as contacting editors and authors to ask if they'd like to review our books.

I feel I've been given lots of responsibility from the outset which is fantastic because it means I'm learning so much and so far its been a really invaluable experience.
Next week is a very short week as I'm away for my graduation on Thursday and Friday - ahh! But I can't wait to learn more, do more, and work my way towards that fully paid role!