As some of you may be aware, these past four months I’ve been doing an Erasmus+ internship at Parthian Books. The internship is part of my master’s degree in English back home in Denmark, and I hoped it would help further my career in publishing. I had not, however, expected to feel quite so at home at Parthian.
From the moment I was picked up at the airport, I was given a warm welcome and a whirlwind introduction to the company, the office, and the other members – I say ‘members,’ because ‘staff’ just never seemed to cut it. To me, Parthian has always felt rather like a not-so-exclusive club, a network of book lovers.
As an intern, I was struck by the flat hierarchy and the way even a ‘lowly intern’ like myself was invited to participate actively in editorial meetings and encouraged to brainstorm ideas. It has been lovely to be given so much influence and responsibility and to be allowed to grow out of my comfort zone and into an active and valuable team member. My internship started in the not-so-busy season so there was plenty of time for me to learn the ropes and get a feel for the job.
I was based in the cosy, little Swansea office and assisted Maria and Eddie with marketing and administration. On a day-to-day basis this included managing the company’s Instagram and Goodreads accounts, assisting with Facebook and Twitter, updating the website, and writing about our books and events here on the Intern Blog. I also created three seasonal newsletters and played graphic designer as I created marketing-banners for our events and new releases. I learned about the struggles of InDesign and the importance of layers and resolution.
Faithful followers of this blog will know that I traveled far and wide on Parthian’s behalf. Camera and pen in hand, I attended several book-launches and literary events to promote our brilliant authors on social media. This also gave me the chance to practice my non-fiction writing, and I am grateful to Richard and Eddie for all their insightful feedback, which has helped me hone my skills.
My Danish language skills and knowledge of the Danish publishing industry came in handy when Parthian decided to buy the translation rights for a Danish novel. This decision was actually made before I even came along, but what a fortuitous development. So, I got to reading; my first time reading a Danish novel with a view to publishing. A lot was at stake here, right? I had to make sure this novel was representative of my home country and fit for my new, albeit temporary, home here in Wales. And it was, luckily, so we got negotiations going.
When it became apparent that I was interested in editing, too, Richard gave me plenty of opportunities to try my hand at the editorial side of publishing. This didn’t just mean screening new manuscripts and writing reader reports, though. I also proof-read, commented and did light copy-editing on some of our works in progress; a task I was happy to be trusted with. There is a special kind of feeling to reading unfinished books for the first time – you really get to see the work in progress, and all the time you imagine what it will be like as a finished, printed book. Having loved books all my life, this little insight into book magic was especially valuable to me.
My internship was very versatile, and they allowed me plenty of opportunities to try everything out at least once to help me better understand in which parts of publishing I preferred working. I ended up loving every little bit of it, though.
As such my Parthian internship has been an amazing learning experience, and it has helped me grow in so many ways, both as an employee, as an aspiring publisher, and as a person. For these opportunities I am very grateful.