Parthian have always caught my eye. With their striking covers and their mesmerising stories, they found their way into my life. I had the chance to witness the behind-the-scenes work of the publishing industry. The Open University who helped me to set this placement up have also been essential to being accepted in this way. I am used to working remotely due to the nature of my study, working to deadlines, and communicating openly.
This opportunity came as a massive sign to me that my writing was valid. It has been a marvellous experience for me to understand my weaknesses as well as what I do best. I have a deep and passionate love of storytelling and the most exciting element about the internship has been the ability to discuss the wonderfully diverse narratives that Parthian offers and beyond.
As a young girl, I dreamt of writing and producing my own work through any means necessary. I was often found with my head stuck in a book, I was the black sheep, but I always felt safest in the illustrious sanctuaries of Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson, and Lewis Carroll. At 12, I produced a play that I have always thought about as one of my best achievements. North Wales hasn’t been recognised for its wealth of opportunities in this field of the arts and to feel represented has been something I have always wanted.
I think as someone who graduated after the age of 21 as is considered ‘normal’, my path as a writer has been developed in an unusual way. As the last two years have taught us, normal has no place in society, we are to make our own path as writers, there is no-one quite like you. It is important to remember the unique voice is something that is tangible and therefore marketable to an audience. We are interested in the new and unexplored so I will strive for that with each word I write. The perspective I have gained through loss and pain gives my writing a unique filter on the world. I spent so much time attempting to pastiche others, believing that a readership wouldn’t want to hear what I had to say.
I have had a varied array of tasks including in my first week being able to organise an event and portray a programme within this Covid climate. It was decided that I could first work on setting up an event that required in-person practicalities handled, I assisted with social media outreach, collaborated with the team on distribution and writing copy that would be digested by the readership.
I was also given the opportunity to participate in online exclusive events on the future of publishing, focussing on the changing evolution of readings, book launches and events. This is enhanced by promoting the events through inclusive social media and being mindful of the audience. I have been trusted to read through authors work and write up blogs regarding their work including reviews from renowned sources. I also pitched a Christmas themed collection of posts using Twitter which made me think in a limited space of word count, so I became conscious of how I communicated visually as well as framing the works I spoke about. I learnt a great deal about how different social media generated a certain type of response to content.
We would have weekly Zoom updates where they could discuss the upcoming events and I would feel listened to and included by any suggestions I made regarding implementing my own skills that could be used. Throughout the placement, it has given me a true sense of expressing my true self, being able to talk openly about a wide-ranging number of subjects that are essential and necessary at such an unprecedented time.
I was able to proofread a marvellous and unique work which I found due my own background I wanted to experiment with recording a chapter of The Herring Man with an expectation that this would be dismissed out of hand, the results of which were fruitful and met with kindness and understanding.
I was taught to write stylistic summaries inline with the house style that would be provisionally used as the framework for feedback. This involved reading the manuscript and highlighting themes that the work really focused on and then deciding on a couple of stylistic directions that the author could use to bring the overall story together and to make constructive comments for improvement.
I was reviewing manuscripts, and writing reports for the various pieces that had been submitted. This gave me a valuable insight into the literature written around the world, with some submissions being sent from other countries and continents. The new releases alone consist of a range of genres, and it was so interesting to see each author's interests to portray where their imagination took them.
This level of collaboration was used throughout their approach to marketing and their submissions from writers. This included book launches, author panels and interviews, and reviews that referenced the books Parthian have published or events they support. I particularly enjoyed writing blogposts and a number of interviews with authors. As I oversaw and contributed to the social media updates, I improvised and was able to supply and create digital graphics for the newsletter and the review round-up for Autumn releases from original images after realising the format needed such content. I was always able to contact a member of staff when necessary and I was quickly rectified.
The ability to interview authors about their work was a further insight into the headspace of asking the questions I particularly wanted to know the answers to It was a testament to being inquisitive and finding myself truly immersed in the way their worldbuilding worked.
In my final week, I have been learning about the unknown branches of the hidden underbelly of distribution, pirate sites.
The way I would tailor any improvements to the internship process would be to implement a progressive training programme to allow graduates to work in publishing and to enhance their skills on a shadowing basis. To allow for a widening of roles in the publishing business for more roles to enhance marketing of authors to writers looking to get more experience.
For publishers to make applications more accessible for experience-based work as I found it difficult to be given roles of this manner to combine an array of tasks that have been far-reaching and have allowed me access to authors who were incredibly giving with their time. There has been an insight into the making and deliberations of their work which I particularly enjoy.
Despite the difficulty of working remotely, they were such a supportive team to be working with, offering me publishing skills and career advice as well as helping guide me and I can’t thank the Parthian team enough for having me involved with their work. As the placement came to end, I realised that I didn’t want to leave this realm of imagination! Overall, the internship has been successful and as we move into 2022, I do hope that these opportunities continue with verve and vigour.