Before starting at Busybird I had a rather small view of the publishing world and what work really went into creating the amazing books that line my shelves. I thought all the hard work for books came from authors who had to write and create the novel, drawing readers in and building a story from their own imaginations. Whereas publishers basically printed books; job done, book sold. How wrong I was.
Reading through the list of intern tasks, I was shocked to see how much was required to get a book into the world, and how much I’d have to learn. All these small things that are easily overlooked; things like registering an ISBN, inputting information for printing, choosing the paper a book is printed on, deciding on the right font (so many choices), and the constant adjusting of covers to make them perfect. But throughout this internship I have been able to experience all these small things that complete a published book. I have also learnt some things I never even knew had to go into publishing, like registering books with the National Library.
Coming into the internship, I was looking forward to editing people’s work, since that has always been a dream of mine, getting paid to read books. And I was not disappointed. I have been able to read some amazing stories from local authors, and, hopefully, I have been able to help make them the best they can be.
However, it hasn’t always run so smoothly. With COVID lockdowns preventing us from coming into the studio, interning from home was a must. While this meant being able to get a lot of editing and reading experience, which I loved, it wasn’t the same as being in the studio learning things properly and having Oscar sit at my feet or bring me a stick from his walks. Thankfully, Zoom was around so we could still learn things, although nothing is ever the same online.
Hearing that I could come in after lockdown was amazing, having only been in for a couple of days before having to work from home, but it was also a bit of an information overload. All these things that I had only seen Blaise do on her computer over Zoom were suddenly real and I was doing them, ahh! But playing around with them a couple of times, especially playing around with layout on InDesign, gave me some more confidence and continued to make me realise how much work publishing is, not just printing books at all.
Overall, interning with Busybird and learning from Blaise and Kev has been an eye-opening experience and one that has cemented my love for editing and grown my appreciation for all books. It has been an amazing experience to be a part of the process in creating the objects that have filled my bookshelves, imagination, and spare time my entire life.
Outgoing Publishing Intern