Tuesday 19 January 2010


Work Experience with Simon & Schuster UK

For a while now, it has been my dream to work in publishing. I have been applying for work placements and internships at various publishers, but haven't got anywhere, so I decided to try using my contacts, and emailed Simon & Schuster UK - and got a placement for this week! You have no idea how excited I have been about this placement! I'm so thrilled, and I feel so lucky! The guys at S&S UK have no idea how much I appreciate this placement!

I started the placement with the Children's Marketing and Publicity department yesterday, and most of my work is admin based, but it's great! It's so cool to be able to watch the people - mainly in the department I'm working in - on the publishing side of things go about their work, it's so interesting!

So here's what I have been doing over the last two days. Yesterday:

  • Photocopied several copies of a Vampirates manuscript.
  • Bound said manuscripts using binding machine.
  • Stamp a fair amount of bags and filled 21 with Sophie McKenzie promotional material.
  • Filled and addressed 39 envelopes with 137 competition prizes (A Mummy for Owen/Spiderwick Chronicles/The Time Quake).

  • Photocopied and filed press cuttings.
  • Saved extract quotes in a doc from cuttings for future use.
  • Coded 400 The Medusa Project postcards.
  • Created six showcards for The Medusa Project event on xyron machine.
  • Filled and addressed four envelopes with the postcards and showcards for four different locations.
  • Filled and addressed three envelopes with 24 competition prizes (Spiderwick Chronicles).
  • Filled and addressed four envelopes with new promotional bookmarks to authors.
I may not have been doing the most amazing jobs, but I've enjoyed it! The Children's Marketing and Publicity department is only three people strong, so I'm doing what they would have to do themselves. What's unbelievable is is that thes publicists are so busy, yet I've also been busy; I can't imagine what their day is like having to do what they have been doing, PLUS what I've been doing. Seriously, I have had something to do all day, on both days; they're not having to find tasks for me to do to help me out, they're giving me their own tasks to help me out, and lighten their own workloads. These people work so hard!

It's been really good so far! I've enjoyed meeting everyone, and the experience of working in the publishing environment. I'll edit this post over the next few days with what I do next.

UPDATE - 20/01/10:

You know, I came to a realisation yesterday; while I'm working there, I now have a S&S log in for a computer, and I get emailed by Kat with addresses, etc for the work I do, and it occurred to me that I now have - though temporarily - a Simon & Schuster email address! I got all excited when I realised it! Haha. Here's a list of things I did today:
  • Sent the press cuttings from yesterday to authors and agents.
  • Sent certificates to the new members of the Beastly Boys website, with promo materials.
  • Sent a lot of Beastly Boys promo material to a school librarian who requested some.
  • Created three showcards for a Neal Shusterman event next week.
  • Went out to buy some place cards for the Shusterman event, and then named them.
  • Photocopied another Vampirates manuscript, bound it, and sent it on.
  • Photocopied press cuttings for Vampirates: Black Heart for Justin Somper for appointment tomorrow.
  • Emailed competition winners, and arranged address labels.
Another cool day! It was quite cool when I had a list of tasks to complete, and was able to do it as I knew where to find things and how to use certain software, so points 3 - 5 I was able to just get on with without asking Kat anything once I got started. It was great to be able to know I could do it and get on with it, to have the confidence to do it, even though it was nothing major in the great scheme of things. It was a good day! :) Another update will come tomorrow.

UPDATE - 21/01/10:

Another brilliant day at S&S UK today! I was fortunate enough to be allowed to sit in on the Children's Publishing Meeting this morning, and it was so interesting! I didn't understand most of it, but it was great to learn a little more about what is involved in getting just one book on the shelves in the bookshops. Rights, Design, Editorial, Marketing, etc, all teaming together to discuss what they think as a whole is the way to go about things for a book. It was just so great! Here's a list of what I did today:
  • Printed 24 posters - 12 each of Malcolm Rose's Hurricane Force and The Death Gene - and sent them to 12 libraries for a Malcolm Rose tour.
  • Sent around 13 stock teen posters to a school library.
  • Sent 5 bundles of various stock bookmarks to a (different) school library.
  • Sent out the 60 prizes to the Facebook group winners, who I emailed and sorted labels out for yesterday.
  • Created press releases for Scandal by Kate Brian, Stunt Bunny: A Showbiz Sensation by Tamsyn Murray, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (paperback version), Hush, Hush by Becca Fiztpatrick (paperback version), The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan, and The Medusa Project: The Rescue by Sophie McKenzie.
So at some point in the future, the S&S UK reviewers may receive a book with a press release that I put together! I asked Children's Marketing & Publicity team some general advice questions about getting into publicity, what I can do to help myself, and was told to keep going with my blog, get as much work experience as I can, and be pushy/bold about it. I also asked about whether the London Book Fair would be a good idea, and it would be, just to see how many publishers there are out there, big and small, and to pick up catalogues from them to see what kind of books they publish. I also found out that a Proof Reading and Copy Editing course that I had seen advertised isn't as well known as it claims to be, and was advised to try another one instead, by someone from the Children's Editorial department. Aaaand, you are now reading the blog of a Simon & Schuster UK Children's Marketing & Publicity volunteer! I'll be going in one day a week from now on, doing things like I have been doing over the last few days, and I am SO chuffed! It's going to look good on my CV, an it'll be really helpful to them too to have someone coming in fairly regularly to do some of the marketing/publicity admin. I was also told today that I've done brilliantly over the past week, and I've been a great help to them all, which is just so cool! I am a happy, happy girl! I'll give the final update tomorrow! :)

UPDATE 22/01/10:

Today was a pretty good day, though busier than the others. As it was my final day of work experience, I decided to say thank you with a box of chocolates, though only one of the team were in today. And funnily enough, I was bought a box of chocolates to say cheers to me too! We swapped chocolates :) Here's a list of what I did today:
  • Sent booksmark and postcards to someone for three sixth form colleges.
  • Made two showcards, and printed five posters and sent them, along with two bundles of bookmarks, for a Sarah Singleton event at a school.
  • Sent Hush, Hush competition prizes to 30 people.
  • Sent Sophie McKenzie bookmarks to a school for World Book Day.
  • Sent 1,000 Sophie McKenzie bookmarks, 500 SM postcards, and 20 copies of reading notes, and 500 Justin Somper bookmarks to a WHSmith branch for World Book Day.
  • Photocopied 12 copies of a Vampirates manuscript (same one as before), and sent six copies to reviewers, one with a copy of Black Heart, and another with the full series.
  • Sent press releases of the book to the reviewers from last point once they were ready to go.
  • Sent picture books to a reviewer.
  • Sent Justin Somper promo matierial to a library for a four school event.
  • Sent some review copies to a certain book reviewer I chat to fairly often ;)
Busy busy! But it was pretty cool to chat generally about books, whether or not certain books were enjoyed, etc. Was great! Organised what day I'll be going in for my voluntary work, which will be Fridays. Also, I forgot to say yesterday that I saw two authors! Justin Somper came in for a meeting, and I saw him on his way out, and I had to help make tea and coffee for a meeting with Cathy Hopkins! Pretty cool, eh? Well, I think so. I ended the day by writing an email to all three of the people I was working with, to say thank you for eerything they'd done and for giving me a chance.

So that's the end of my work experience, but the beginning of my voluntary work! It's been absolutely brilliant, and I'm really looking forward to continuing working there.


  1. *SIGH* You are SO lucky! Tremendously happy for you! You are living the dream...or at the very least, the first step. Congratulations! I look forward to hearing more about your days there in upcoming posts! =0)

  2. GMR - I know! It's been so great, and I am so grateful to S&S UK for alloweing me to work with them! It's been so good, and they're all so lovely! It's going to be great for me in the future!

    Becky - Thank you! :D

  3. So interesting! I'm published by S&S, so really appreciate this peak inside the very important Publicity Dept! Thanks!

  4. Oh, that's so cool! Thank you for commenting! Things may work differently in the US, I'm not sure, but I think it's really cool here! I'm enjoying my work with S&S UK!

  5. I'm so jealous! Congratulations!

  6. How fun to get a glimpse in the world of publishing, and everything you're doing sounds so fun to me! Haha. Hope you continue to enjoy it! :)

  7. This is just so amazing! What a great opportunity! It's always nice to be in a work environment you want to be in, even if it's not doing exactly what you want to be doing it still makes it enjoyable. I'm so jealous, but so excited for you! Yay!

  8. Cara - Thank you! I'm so glad S&S UK let me come and work with them!

    Meg - So do I, but I'm sure I will! I'm enjoying it so far!

    1st - Cheers! Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't dislike the jobs I'm doing, I've just been told they're not the most interesting of jobs. I'm still enjoying myself!

  9. Wow, so cool! I would love to work at a publisher's! *green with envy* But also so excited for you! Hopefully more details to come??

  10. Most definately! I'll be updating this post each day with what's been happening, clearly marked with the date - and I'll tweet about the updates. Thanks! I'm having a great time!

  11. Oh, it sounds great! I'm lucky enough to have been behind the scenes a couple of times myself, and I always find it absolutely thrilling to see all the book-related things! I'm so glad you're enjoying it. Thanks for telling us all about it, and I'm really looking forward to future updates!

  12. It sounds like you've been incredibly productive and helpful - they'd be crazy to let you go!

  13. Jo, you are SO LUCKY. Seriously. I wish I lived in London!

    I'm glad you're enjoying it, and I can't wait to hear about the rest of your amazing week!

  14. Luisa - It's just so awesome! I'm having such a good time! I'm looking forward to the rest of my time at S&S UK! It's fascinating seeing the publishing people work, isn't it? I love it!

    Keren - Oh, well, it's just work experience, they're helping me out here. I'm sure they manage normally. But I am enjoying it!

    Jenny - I know! I'm just so thrilled! And pretty amazed that all it took was an email - though my CV and a cover letter were attached. It's amazing that There are all these forms, etc to fill in for other publishers that advertise work experience/internships on their sites and I get nothing, but one email with S&S UK, and it's fine. I'm incredibly lucky, I think.
    Yup yup, more updates from the rest of the week will make their way here! :)

  15. Sounds like you're having a great time! I hope you enjoy the rest of the week & I'll look forward to reading your updates :o)

  16. Congratulations! That's a book lover's dream place to work. I hope everything works out for the best at your job at S&S. :)

  17. Melissa - Thank you! It's just awesome!

    Sarah - It's great here! Yup, updates will be coming, another one tonight!

    Donna - Cheers! Not an actual job, just work experience :) But it'll help me along my way!

  18. Cool! You must be having so much fun :)

  19. Woah! How lucky are you?! Glad you're enjoying yourself as my work experience in year 10 was at a bank. So uninteresting!

  20. That is so awesome!! Congratulations on that and for sharing a bit of what you're doing and the wonderful job S&S does with us.

  21. Congrats, Jo! How fabulous that you're pursuing your dream job--good luck!

  22. Jessica - I'm having such a great time, you have no idea!

    Sophie - I know! Very lucky! Ah, my year 10 work experience was at my Dad's office, doing general admin; not too different from what I'm doing now, but I'm more interested in this!

    Mundi Moms - Thank you, and you're welcome! S&S UK is really awesome!

    Blaize - Thank you! :D One step closer to the dream job! :)

  23. Wow, that sounds like an incredible experience! And thanks for giving us a little peep into what goes on inside the children's publicity department.

  24. It is so awesome! It's no problem! I'm really enjoying it, I'm a little sad that it's ending in two days. Ah well! But it's been good!

  25. Glad to hear you're enjoying this! You're very lucky and it sounds like you're having a great time. Good luck for the future too! :)

  26. I am so lucky, I'm loving it! Cheers! It's so awesome!

  27. Sounds like an interesting experience! I look forward to reading more about it.

    I've got something for you here:

  28. Ohh, thank you! I'll check it out now! :)

  29. Just catching up on the "updates" to this post...it sounds like you had a wonderful time and it will definitely look good on your "experience"! Congratulations once again and good luck on the continued volunteer venture! =0)

  30. Sounds like you're having a great time. Good for you, taking action like that!

  31. Gina - Thank you! It's been just awesome, I've really loved it!

    Lauren - Thanks! :) I've had such a good time!

  32. Oh, it all sounds so good! Thank you for all the fabulous updates. :)

  33. You're welcome! It's been so great! And you were the blogger I sent books to! :D Hope you enjoy them!

  34. Wow! Jo this is awesome! Especially about the volunteering. You've definitely got a foot in the door now :)

    *squeals at new Vampirates!*

    Must go and get the rest of the series first (only read book 1...)

  35. Thank you! :D It's been so good! And I am sooo over the moon at being allowed to volunteer!
    I've not read any of the Vampirates books; I was told they're for young readers and aren't exactly YA. I decided to steer clear.

  36. Congratulations Jo and what sounds like a hugely successful week. I am so pleased for you and I'm sure the experience will prove to be the key to more successes. Vampirates are definitely for the 8 - 12 age group. I have them in my library. It is so funny to hear you talk about sending stuff out for world book day. It is full steam ahead for me at school with the planning for book week. It is very exciting.

  37. Thank you! It's been great, and will help me so much!
    Ahh, Vampirates doesn't sound like my sort of thing then, I prefer my YA slightly older.
    Ohh, that's cool! I hope it's a great event for you and you're school!

  38. Congratulations, you are so lucky to work for S&S x

  39. Cheers! Just voluntary now, though. I'm not getting paid. But I'm still so chuffed!

  40. This sounds like such a great experience, and I'm always happy to see other YA bloggers doing publishing-related things :)

    I'm currently writing applications to do work experience with a bunch of different publishers - could you tell me how you applied to S&S UK? They don't have any info on work experience on their site (unless I just can't find it), so I'm wondering if I should just email and ask, or how you went about it... Thanks for any info :)

    1. I actually just asked my contact in the publicity department if they would be willing to consider me. There isn't anything of the website - or there wasn't at the time. I just got lucky, I think - plus a good cover letter (more professional than the friendly manner in which I'd normally speak to this publicist in blog related emails) and a fiarly good CV. Sorry I can't be more helpful! I'd suggest just emailing to see, but I couldn't guarantee anything, I'm afraid.