I am nearing the end of my twelve-week Publicity and Marketing internship at McClelland & Stewart, and I’ll be genuinely sad to go. I work with some amazing, talented, and hilarious people, and as cliche as it sounds, I’ve learned so much. Today, for example, I learned that scrawling “write blog” on a to-do list does not necessarily inspire creativity and wit, even after I’ve mailed all the book launch invitations, sent review copies to Vancouver, and filed this week’s press clippings.
You see, I wanted to write a little blurb describing my experiences at M&S thus far, but these experiences are never quite the same. I can spend full days keeping to myself, scouring newspapers for reviews of M&S titles and mailing review copies to journalists, but I’ve also attended some fabulous book launches and literary events. On my second day as an intern, Elizabeth Hay caught me when I slipped on the sidewalk on our way to a book signing; Michael Ondaatje was definitely standing outside my office a few weeks ago, while I pretended not to be flustered and star-struck. “Flustered” and “star-struck” are not desirable descriptions of publicity interns, but really, someone could have warned me.
Interning has been a bewildering experience. On one hand, I’m certainly an employee: I have my own projects, I go to meetings, in the mornings I gripe with coworkers about the TTC and the office coffee… but I am also very much a student here. Sometimes I’m sure I know exactly what I’m doing, and I’ll ask what I think is a very informed question (using publishing slang and acronyms whenever possible, of course) and I’ll learn that I do not, in fact, know what I’m doing, and this particular project is something I know nothing about. It can be humbling, to say the least.
There are times when it happens all at once: every mailing needs to be send out before 1pm, the press-releases need to be edited and printed right this moment, and there’s a list of 100 more people who need an invitation to that launch/ a copy of that galley/ a new press kit… followed by an event at night which makes both staying late and sleep not an option. It is these times, oddly enough, when I know I’m in the right area of publishing. I make my to-do list and get to it, and those are the days when I thrive.