The following is a guest post from intern Laura Coby, a graduate student in English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For the past three years, we’ve partnered with the English department to provide a graduate student a comprehensive experience of scholarly publishing. Students start in journals, and then move through acquisitions, editorial, design, and production, and marketing. Read Laura’s reflections on the process below to learn more.
Throughout my undergraduate and graduate career, I have worked in many of the departments involved in running an academic press—editorial, production, design, and even some small-scale marketing. However, these isolated experiences were all performed at separate presses. When I heard about the Round-the-Press internship, I became very excited at the prospect of seeing how all the various departments come together to work as a unit.
I began my internship in the Press’s journals department. During this stage of my internship, I performed mostly editorial tasks, such as prepping files for the copyeditor with type-marking codes and revising page proofs. I was overwhelmed and highly impressed by the amount of journals that come out of the UI Press and how efficiently each stage of the publishing process is facilitated with each publication.
I moved next to acquisitions, where my internship began to mimicking the life cycle of a book. During the acquisitions portion of my internship, I gained an understanding of how books are acquired by the UI Press. I went over manuscript proposal material and peer review packets with acquisitions editors, and they highlighted ideal qualities of each. I also attended internal and transmittal meetings—giving me a better idea of acquisitions’ role in the grand scheme of things. Because this was the department I had the least experience with, I held several informational interviews with the acquisitions editors to provide a better understanding of what the day-to-day workload is like.
The EDP (editorial, production, and design) portion of my internship began in editorial. Here, I copyedited partial manuscripts, copyedited marketing copy, edited an index, and checked a set of revised page proofs. From there, I went to production where I used InDesign to typeset the interior of a book. Afterwards, I revised the page proofs for that title to ensure there were no style errors. I, then, moved to design where I learned some of the ins and outs of Photoshop—culminating in my design of a back cover for one of our books. My favorite parts of working in EDP were the incredibly tangible tasks I was given to complete; I felt a sense of accomplishment producing work that would benefit the department.
The last stage of my internship landed me in marketing. I learned a great deal about all of the different avenues for promoting and selling scholarly books. I wrote and edited copy for book covers and the catalog for the season. I also pulled quotes from reviews for promotional materials and wrote a blog post for one of our titles. I really enjoyed ending my internship in marketing because—as I traveled through my internship—I was able to see marketing’s influence through an acquisitions or EDP lens, and now, I could finally see all of the other departments through a marketing lens, tying the whole experience together.
Through my experience with the Round-the-Press internship, I have been able to sharpen previous publishing skills and learn new ones. This internship has allowed me to paint a picture of how each department at an academic press works together to form one, cohesive operation and has increased my excitement of future publishing opportunities to come.