As someone who will hopefully be employed as a professor in the not-too-distant future, I have a vested interest in the publishing of academic research. Interning at Syracuse University Press has helped me see the workings of a very important part of academic research that I had not previously understood, the actual work of making someone else’s work available to a wide audience. I have been fortunate to work in both Acquisitions and in Marketing, and doing so has given me a nice perspective on the publishing process, from manuscript to sold book. Seeing the practical outcomes of other authors’ choices of organization, topic, style, and audience, reminds me of the importance of these factors for making one’s work accessible and appealing to others. This is especially helpful when I am lost in my own, sometimes abstract, thoughts about my research. Though I don’t think scholarship should be guided by marketability, the ease of writing a catalog description or of drafting a publication proposal for editorial review is often a sign of the work’s clarity and attention to perspective audience. Working at the Press has provided me with clear examples of the way that academic work does not exist in a vacuum, and it makes me think (concretely, not just based on abstract advice from others) of how best to attend to concerns such as audience and style from the very first draft.
This isn’t my first internship, but it’s been the most relevant in terms of what I want to do after graduation. I’m hoping to eventually find an entry level publishing job in editorial or acquisitions, and I think my time at SU Press has really helped me toward that goal, because I’ve learned so much about the acquisitions process and the world of publishing in general.
I think it’s great that I’ve been able to do worthwhile tasks here. At some of my other internships I’ve felt like I’ve been doing busy work – but I’ve never felt like that here. During my first few weeks I was drafting (admittedly somewhat rough!) publication proposals, formatting manuscripts and communicating with professors at the top of their fields.
My favorite projects are the ones where I’m able to work closely with manuscripts – whether it’s combing through them and checking for permissions or trying to find suitable readers. Since I’ve been here since September, it’s been fun to see how much of the process I’ve internalized. During my first few weeks I asked questions about every tiny detail but now I’m a lot more independent. I generally understand how things work… even though I know I have so much more to learn!
This internship definitely confirmed the interest I already had in a publishing career, and it’s a great feeling to read the job description for an editorial assistant position and realize that you’re comfortable and familiar with all of the listed responsibilities!