My Summer At HarperCollins Publishers

In the second semester of my senior year at Georgetown I had no idea what I was going to do after college. The only thing I did know was I wanted to move to L.A. I totally blame my friend for getting this idea in my head in the first place but still. I knew what I wanted and that’s where I wanted to go. I still do actually but maybe next year I’ll make the big move.

The point is I had no intention of going back home to New York. I knew if I had to I would but it wasn’t my first choice. Additionally, neither was publishing. I’ve never had anything against publishing. If you haven’t noticed yet I really love books. Like a lot. I just never thought of being an editor before.

I wanted to write. Either books or articles or something. I love to write. That’s what I do. What in the world does an editor do? I thought at the time. Just edit? I had no clue. It had never occurred to me before. However, I think a lot of recent grads can attest to the fact that when it’s getting down to the wire and you still don’t have a job you start looking everywhere. Suddenly I wasn’t just applying for journalism positions, I was trying for publishing too. I figured, what do I have to lose?

Thinking along those same lines I figured go big or go home, so I applied strictly to the big five: HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Simon and Schuster. Macmillian and Hachette somehow slipped my mind so I missed those two.

At first when I was applying everything just blurred together. Editorial Assistant, Editorial Intern, Assistant Editor, Associate Editor, blah blah blah. It all sounded the same to me just different types of books. So, of course, I applied to them all.

It wasn’t until I already applied to five different types of internships at HarperCollins that I stumbled upon the Editorial Intern position at the Dey Street Books imprint. Qualifications? Loves books? Check. Obsessed with pop culture? Check. Keeps up to date on celebrity news and culture? Triple check.

And suddenly I found the perfect job for me. You know how you apply for something and you’re just going through the motions? You think, “I guess this job sounds okay,” and you write your generic cover letter along with the same copy of your resume you’ve already sent everywhere. Well, this was nothing like that.

Writing this cover letter came easy. I knew exactly what I wanted to say because I actually really wanted to get this job. But this job wasn’t in L.A. and I was in the process of being interviewed for a BuzzFeed fellowship in L.A. which I also really wanted.

Therefore when I was offered the internship at Dey Street Books (in New York, by the way) I hesitated. I wanted it but I also wanted L.A. Thankfully the decision was made for me when BuzzFeed turned me down for the position. Even though I was excited to work at Dey Street I was still devastated. A part of me knew my BuzzFeed interview didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked but I was still hoping it would happen.

Truthfully though, I’m glad it didn’t.

My friend oddly enough put it perfectly although at a much later time when I was applying for the BuzzFeed fellowship for the second time. He said I should leave room for the possibility that maybe there was something better for me out there.

I think this was the case this summer. Had I gotten into BuzzFeed L.A. I probably would’ve had a great time and it would’ve been awesome. But then I would’ve missed so much.

I would’ve missed the opportunity to see how a big name book publisher really works. I would’ve never got to pitch my ideas for books or help edit manuscripts and give my opinions on proposals. I wouldn’t have made all the connections I made with editors, marketers, and publicists. I definitely wouldn’t have had workshops that talked about applying for jobs in publishing or listen to an author and agent discuss the process of making a book into an actual book.

More importantly I wouldn’t have met some of the most amazing and creative people I’ve ever known. I wouldn’t have gotten to work with an amazing team of people who are so dedicated and passionate about their books they’ll fight for them. And my fellow interns who came from not just across the U.S. but across the globe as well who were friendly, funny, and shared my insane passion for books. Especially, my friends in the fish bowl where we had some of the strangest conversations in my life and then some more serious ones too. These are the people I would’ve never met if one door hadn’t closed and another opened. And for that I am most grateful.

HarperCollins wasn’t just the place I worked for the summer; it was my home. I will miss being surrounded by books and wonderful people each day but I’m excited for what’s to come next. Thank you Carrie and Sean for everything I learned from you. Thank you Chloe for helping me be Sean for my last week. Thank you Emily for getting me so many free books; I plan to read each and every one. Thank you to the interns for making this internship so much fun! And lastly thanks to Carolyn and the whole HR team who made this internship the best internship program I’ve ever been a part of. It was a blast!

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