The last time I wrote anything like this was way back in high school when I had to write an essay on my work experience with an insurance firm in Ipswich. I couldn’t find the essay now but, from what I remember, there was a lot of filing involved. I think I got to stamp bits of paper too.
Fast forwarding just over twenty years since that time…
I’ve been out of work for a while now (apart from a three-month contract that ended in July) and I thought it was way past time that I tried my hand at a little work experience in publishing. If you love reading books then you can’t help but wonder if publishing is where you’re meant to be and I’ve wondered this for a while. There’s only one way to find out and there’s no better time to do it when you’re out of work with free time on your hands. A flurry of emails later and I was lucky enough to find myself all set for a week with the editorial team at Tor UK. Thanks to Bella and Julie for arranging it and thanks also to Louise for taking time out of her (very busy) schedule to talk me through what needed to be done.
I’m going to get straight to the point; I really enjoyed the last week and I’m already planning how to get more work experience with other publishers. If you’re a publisher then it’s likely that you’ll be hearing from me soon!
There’s only so much that you can fit into one week but the tasks I carried out gave me a pretty good idea of the kind of things that happen on a daily basis. I had a go at rewriting the blurb for Peter F. Hamilton’s ‘A Second Chance at Eden’. This was harder than it looked, as the original blurb was pretty succinct, but I made a few changes though. I wrote cover copy for the first draft of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s ‘Warmaster’s Gate’ which was a lot of fun as it meant I had to read through the book first. ‘Warmaster’s Gate’ still needs to be edited but I can confidently say that fans have got a lot to look forward to here; it has spurred me on to get caught up on the rest of the series (I’m four books behind). I was also the man reporting on unagented submissions which is basically book reviews; I love writing book reviews if you hadn’t already noticed :o) I even spent an enjoyable half hour comparing the ‘Great North Road’ audio-book script with its manuscript counterpart; something that has (again) inspired me to finally kick on and read more Peter F. Hamilton.
I’m not going to lie… There was filing, an abortive attempt to bend Wikipedia to my will and a lot of tracking down author agents on Google. If you’re working with something that you’re passionate about though, it doesn’t seem quite so soul destroying as it would do otherwise. I want a job like that, at the very least I want more work experience like that. We’ll see how it goes.
P.S. The best coffee machine in London can be found in the depths of the Pan Macmillan building. I’m missing that coffee machine already.