Monday, June 28, 2010

Intern Adventures Continued

Today Intern Michael returns with an update on what he has been working on this summer as a member of Overlook’s publicity team.

Overlook author Robert Forbes poses with a friend at ALA '10 in Washington DC

Last week marked the completion of my first full month as an intern at Overlook, and in the short amount of time that I've spent working here I've learned some valuable lessons about the ins-and-outs of book publishing. Let me share some with you.

1.) When it comes to visiting authors, interns are to be seen and not heard.

Just kidding. Before starting at Overlook I couldn’t have guessed the number of visits that a publishing house receives from visiting authors. Between meetings with editors and layovers on book tours, Overlook has a steady stream of writers coming and going on a weekly basis. Since the beginning of June I’ve met a handful of Overlook authors including Peter Quinn, the author of THE MAN WHO NEVER RETURNED, and next week I eagerly expect an introduction to R.J. Ellory during the launch party for his latest novel, THE ANNIVERSARY MAN on July 7th at Partners & Crime in the west village. Everyone that I’ve met so far has been incredibly friendly and if I have any bitterness it’s only because I wasn’t invited to lunch when Katie Arnoldi (POINT DUME) came to visit last week.

2.) Everybody gets free books.

You would be amazed by the number of requests for review and desk copies Overlook receives on a daily basis. On any given day I can expect to collect, package, and ship anywhere between five and fifty titles for reviewers, bloggers, journalists, and teachers. If I wasn’t working so hard as an intern (and if I wasn’t able to pilfer materials from the library for myself from time to time) I would definitely get into the business of book media. These people must have more books in their collections than the New York public library. Jokes aside, I’ve also learned how important this relationship is in book publishing, between publishers and media. Without reviewers (that is, the people who really really love to read) there wouldn’t be any way for us to sustain this industry.

3.) Write Write Write Write Write

If you thought that authors pen a lot of words, you would be surprised by the amount of material that publicists write during a normal work day. Between press releases, promos, pitches, galley letters, and media correspondence, my bosses type away at their computers for what seems like hours on end. Recently they’ve entrusted me with the responsibility of writing some original copy and I think I’m getting the hang of it! Today I will be reading galley copies of Susan Hill’s upcoming release SHADOWS IN THE STREET and a new nonfiction title SOUTH AFRICA'S BRAVE NEW WORLD and then taking a stab at writing up some press materials to send out later this week.

While it may not appear that the life of a publishing intern is all fun and games (especially since the US got eliminated from the World Cup and no one will be sneaking off to watch games during lunch breaks) there is certainly more excitement to be found at Overlook beyond book mailings and media outlet research. As I write this post my bosses are out of office on assignment at ALA in Washington DC, and I can only imagine the fun they must be having hob-knobbing with fellow book nerds. If the stresses and rigors of travelling become too much for them to handle, I’d be more than happy to cover the next out of state convention (Frankfurt in October anyone?).

Robert Forbes with copies of his Overlook books BEASTLY FEASTS and LET'S HAVE A BITE

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