Internships are important not only to get hands-on experience with a job but to also test your potentials and figure out where your interest truly lies.
For a while now I had been looking for an opportunity to do an internship somewhere, preferably in a publishing house because I’ve always wanted to do something with books. Now sadly I live in Kolkata, which in theory is considered India’s literary hub, but houses none of the publishing giants like Penguin, Bloomsbury, HarperCollins etc, which publishes the kind of books I love: Fiction.
The next best thing that was available for me was Orient BlackSwan. A name that is huge when it comes to academic books. Applying for an internship with them was extremely convenient; everything was done in a few clicks. I didn’t have to write a cover letter (which I hate) or figure out who the right person to email would be or even go to their office for an interview. All I did was fill in my details on their website, uploaded my resume and hit send.
They called back a few months later, letting me know that I had been selected. Obviously, I was very very excited. The first month of 2019 was going to start with me doing something I had never done before. Waking up early every day, spending 8 hours staring at a computer screen and editing unpublished manuscripts was all very challenging but totally worth it, not only because I learnt so many things about a publishing house, their style, their work ethics, and all the hard work that goes into making a book but also because now I know that I don’t really want to go ahead in the field of editing. I couldn’t, even if I tried.
The job of an editor is a little mundane and extremely difficult, the office environment especially at OBS was really not something I would love working in and while my real problem was with the fact that they only work with textbooks, so most of the time I was editing stuff I did not even understand, I also realized I might not exactly love this routine even if it was with fiction books. There’s so much repetition, you have to read the same manuscript a billion times with so much attention until it is ready to get published. I mean, I always knew that. But what I didn’t know was that it might not exactly be the kind of job I wake up excited for every day.
I love to read and I love to write. I have always been in love with the idea of rearranging simple words to express complex emotions. But I guess I am just not meant to edit someone else’s sentences.
That being said, I feel that this internship was a perfect start. I learnt a lot in one month that I spent there. A lot of technical knowledge about editing and proofreading, some awesome Microsoft word hacks, from teaching us how to find copy-right free images and extracts to the correct way to pitch and sell a book to University HOD’s, OBS tries to give their interns an overall view of how the firm works by dividing the days with different departments. It’s also a great way to meet like minded people, I was lucky to have worked along some amazing souls and made a friend I am going to remember for a lifetime.
I personally feel that if you are looking for an internship simply to gain some new experience or to add a little weight to your resume, you should definitely apply at Orient BlackSwan, especially if you are a literature student. It’s just a one month commitment and while there’s no stipend, they do provide some amount that basically covers your daily travel expenses. They have their offices in most of the major cities and entertain interns everywhere. You can apply here between the months of June and July or November and December.