Yay! Part 2 of my Publishing Intern series is a go. (Sorry for the delay. I’ve been experiencing some serious wi-fi issues at home.)
In this post I will talk about some of my responsibilities as a dual Marketing & Publicity/Editorial Intern. There’s a lot to share, so I hope you don’t mind a lengthy post! Because I’m mostly part of the marketing & publicity department, I’ve received an in-depth booklet detailing a lengthy list of responsibilities. So, I’ll have a much more extensive block of info to share. For editorial, however, I did not receive such a manual and so I’ll share what I’ve picked up on here and there.
Again, as a disclaimer, I don’t claim to know everything about the publishing industry nor do I claim to know everything about the departments in which I work. Every press and publishing company has a different programme for each department, and so my assigned duties may be quite different from duties assigned to another individuals in the same department at a different publication. However, I’d like to believe that the information I share in this post may be applied to most, if not all, literary presses.
While the two terms might sound the same in concept, marketing and publicity are quite different by definition. You can almost say that publicity is the outward facet of book promotion while marketing is the inward facet.
According to my Red Hen Press booklet, the publicity department is responsible for maintaining the public face of the publishing press by inspiring demand for press products (books) and creating a recognizable (and respectable) brand. This is accomplished by focusing on these four areas:
- Book Publicity: Sending ARCs to reviewers, submitting books for awards, book giveaways, involving authors in both domestic and international book events (Goodreads, Blogging, Tours, Readings, etc.)
- Press Publicity: Market and social media outreach, book project announcements, acknowledging trends, sharing news from the press, maintaining up-to-date website, etc.
- Events & Festivals: Hosting or participating press authors and other published authors in both domestic and international event series, submitting author appearances at literary/art festivals and fairs
- Social Media: Ties into the three areas above. Use social media and blogging platforms to create buzz, share news, and connect with your readership.
The marketing department is the behind-the-scenes counterpart to publicity in that it works to distribute books to middlemen suppliers–bookstores, libraries, wholesalers, and foreign publishers–who are then responsible for distributing publications through their own avenues (i.e. Amazon, B&N, independent bookstores, gift shops). These are the areas of focus:
- Distribution and Sales: Maintaining relations to distributors to press products, increasing availability and accessibility of books to a multitude of outlets, providing sales rep with the needed materials and timeline of book representation in the marketplace, recording backlist title data, acknowledging market trends, keeping track of inventory
- Market Outreach and Analysis: Promotional plans consistent of mailings, e-blasts, website features, and announcements
- Subsidiary Rights: Acquiring domestic and foreign rights to produce or publish a product in different formats
- Conferences: Participating in trade marketing conferences and international book fairs
My Day-to-Day Responsibilities
Book Award Promotions and Submissions
Within the M&P department, I’m specifically the book awards intern. Therefore, I’m solely responsible for managing the awards database. I’m responsible for frequently updating the database, confirming award deadlines, mailing books and fees well before the due date, sending accounting information/invoices to the accounting manager, keeping track of author payments to the press, and recording the finalization of book submissions.
ARC/Galley Mailings and Reviews
Before (and sometimes after) a book’s release, we send advanced reader copies (ARCs) to reviewers in exchange for an honest review–y’all know what I’m talkin’ ’bout 😉 We do this by pitching our book to well-known reviewers, such as Kirkus Reviews or L.A. Times, as well as academic readers, bloggers (*raise your hand*), freelance reviewers, and bookstores. Upon acceptance of our pitch/email, we mail them an ARC (or an e-book) and receive their review later. Then we process and file these reviews into our database and share them on the website and blog as well as other social media platforms (FB and Twitter, mostly).
Press Kits and Press Releases
Press kits are publicity documents that contain a book’s tagline, synopsis, author bio, blurbs/reviewer quotes, cover image, ordering information, specifications, and an excerpt. Press kits are almost always sent to reviewers and buyers in addition to a physical copy of the book. A press release is basically a document that announces a book’s release and it includes all the information included in a press kit with the exception to an excerpt and (at times) blurbs.
Events and Festival Management
There is an intern who is specifically responsible for this area. Basically, it’s up to this intern, and the department as a whole, to promote books and to increase author visibility by devising in-house events and by contacting event supervisors and coordinators of festivals and book fairs. We hope to gain booth spots and to take part in author panels, and to host and/or participate in both domestic and international event series, readings, and public appearances.
Social Media and Website Management
This is an area I think most bloggers would be able to succeed at exceedingly well. Every day I use social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to get the word out and interact with our readers. We share book release announcements, reviews, articles, event listings, readings, appearances, and so much more. We also give away galleys via, Twitter, FB, and good ‘ole Goodreads. I also help to maintain the company website in which we share all of the above and create dedicated author, book, and event pages.
E-blasts and Newsletters
At the end or the beginning of the month, a press might send out a newsletter to their mailing list in which they share upcoming events and releases, reviews and media representation, awards, and seasonal pitches.
And when we’re about a month or so from a book’s release date, we send e-blasts to an author’s personalized contact list, encouraging them to buy their newest book. An e-blast would include the same information included in a press kit and is designed to pitch the book to potential readers in an appealing manner.
There are a great number of smaller things I do while I’m working (compiling lists of agents, reviewers, editors, and e-book publishers, adjusting website material, changing cover images on social media, reading fiction submission on submittable etc., etc.) but the bulk of what I do is mentioned above.
Now for editing!
Casting Nets with Editing Sheets
As an intern, my main job is to copyedit. I look for grammar and punctuation mistakes, factual errors, inconsistencies, visual formatting issues, and other little textual things in order to help the quality of the text to be in the best condition that it can be. Our edits are all in accordance to the Chicago Manual of Style and the Oxford Dictionary.
Our editing process is done through sheets, or nets as I like to call them. At my press, we have 4 colored sheets to help indicate which stage the manuscript is currently at before completion. These sheets are designed to have several readers go over the same text two to three times to offer potential edits to the author before it is sent to the printing press. In order down:
- Blue Sheet: A sheet that lists a number of copyedit elements that are mostly focused on grammar/spelling, stylistic choices, punctuation usage, sentence structure, language clarity, and so on. Basically, line-editing.
- Green Sheet: The second stage of editing in which readers pay more attention to page number and chapter title placement, as well as the cover, copyright, table of contents, acknowledgements, and author bio pages (a.k.a. the information pages). We also look for font consistencies, line spacing, widows and orphans, ladders (a row of hyphens, or 1-2 letter words at the end of lines within a paragraph).
- Gold Sheet: I haven’t seen this sheet yet. I’m assuming it’s the last close look-through of all those elements listed in both the green and blue sheet.
- Purple Sheet: Once the proof (the digital copy of what the book would look like once printed) is sent back to us, we compare the final PDF version of the manuscript to the proof using the purple sheet. We just make sure the formatting is correct.
While we are making edits in the blue and green stage, we are also compiling a list of queries and potential edits that is sent to the author, who has the power to reject or accept some of our proposed changes, unless they must be changed under CMS regulations. And to help us with our edits, we sometimes make or are given a style sheet, which is basically an author’s rule book (check out this cool page I found for more info).
Besides the copyediting process, editorial interns are also responsible for composing and editing rejection and acceptance letters/emails to writers who have queried the editor, presenting books to pitch to the board of editors (and marketing team) during acquisitions meetings, and doing whatever else is needed by the managing intern, supervisor, or head of editing.
Whoa nelly, that was a lot of info. I’m definitely happy to share, though! I hope you somehow managed to trudge through all of that. There are some days I’m working non-stop and some days that are more chill than others. But there’s always something to do.
My hope is that some of this info will be the tiniest bit helpful if you’re hoping to snatch up some sort of publishing position in the editorial or even marketing/publicity department (which is much more interesting than I anticipated!!)
The third part of this series is scheduled to release this weekend, and that’ll be my “resource guide.” And don’t worry, it’ll be a whole lot shorter than this goliath of a post.
Until then, thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk to ya soon!