Time is coming for our summer intern, James, to head back to school and for a new Fall intern to start. I know Beth is looking at internship prospects right now.
As I’m preparing for James’s departure I’m thinking of the work that goes into having an intern, and the advantages too.
Having another person in the office is always an asset. It’s great having another hand to get things done. More than that though, an intern really challenges us and helps us to see things differently. He asks questions that make us think about the way we do things and consider whether another way might be better. He tests our knowledge of the industry and, through his questions, encourages discussion that allows us to learn from each other. Discussions like how publishing houses work, what an editorial meeting is like or what we look for in a certain submission.
One of an intern’s primary tasks is helping us read submissions. We will often pass a handful of requested materials on to the intern and ask the intern to write a reader’s report. It doesn’t end there though. When reading the report we will each give feedback, to let the intern know what worked with the report, what didn’t work and explain what we’re looking for. Most publishing job interviews will require a reader’s report so our hope is that we’re building that intern’s resume and teaching him to strengthen his skills. Sometimes this requires me to read the report and the material before giving feedback. It’s not necessarily a time saver.
As James’s internship winds down I’m working to make sure I get him the feedback he deserves on all of his reports as well as fill out an exit evaluation. James will receive one of these from each of us. Ultimately, it’s like his internship report card. We will give him feedback on his strengths and weaknesses in different areas of importance to us and hopeful advice on what he needs to work on as well as the areas that will help him succeed in a publishing career, or any career.
I enjoy having interns, but I especially enjoy the interns who make themselves a part of our team. In the short few months James was here he’s become a valuable asset to BookEnds and he will definitely be missed.