I wasn’t planning on being an intern… It was the beginning of the second semester of my junior year, and I was already drowning in schoolwork. As an English major, I was reading a book and a half per week. I told myself I didn’t need an internship because I was already learning all about the publishing industry inside the classroom (at least that was what I was telling myself at the time).
Last year, I enrolled in a course called Genre Fiction. In this class, we studied how genre fiction functioned in the publishing industry today and throughout history. Eloisa James, a HarperCollins / Avon Books author who recently wrote The Ugly Duchess, taught this course.
Early in the semester, she posted a list of available book jobs and internship opportunities. A HarperCollins publicity internship jumped out at me, and I applied online that night. Basically, what it came down to is this: I couldn’t stay away from the publishing world. I already knew that book publicity was what I wanted to do. In order to eventually get a job at a competitive publishing house, I knew the more internships I had, the better.
During my time at HarperCollins, I worked in the publicity departments for the Harper, Harper Perennial, and Ecco imprints. I learned how to write press releases, pitch letters, and galley letters (a lot of what a book publicist does). I was even able to sit in on book launch meetings, where the next season of releases are planned.
After interning at three different publishing houses, I can say that HarperCollins is a terrific place to work. I was exposed to different book genres and I interacted with a group of people who were equally enthusiastic about the publishing world.
My internship was a lot of fun and it will surely help me land an ideal job in this dynamic field. I would encourage anyone who aspires to work in publishing to consider applying for an internship.
Alexandra Coumbis is currently a senior at Fordham University studying English and Communications. After college, she plans to go into book publicity.