Friday, August 13, 2010

Abrams and Chronicles Intern chat to MFB

I "met" Kat when she kindly emailed MFB about some books to review. I was naturally thrilled to be approached by Abrams & Chronicle Books and of course said yes. She kindly let me have a stack of books, one of which is Troy High (review) and some others which I'm lining up for September. Kat and I got on really well and I decided to ask her to write a small post about what she got up to as an intern and this is her response:

Liz at MFB very nicely asked me to write a review, unfortunately not of a book, but of my time spent as an intern at Abrams & Chronicle Books. Firstly, to quickly introduce myself, my name’s Kat, I’m 20, about to go into my 3rd year at Manchester University, and for the last 6 weeks I’ve been an intern at Abrams & Chronicle Books in London.

I should start off explaining how I got the internship. I’ve had quite a bit of work experience with general PR companies over the last 5 years; however I didn’t find it extremely interesting when I didn’t enjoy the client I was promoting. Books, on the other hand, I can be extremely interested in promoting! In January this year I emailed loads and loads and loads (I could go on) of publishing houses and didn’t hear a peep! So in April, time to take action, I decided to go to The London Book Fair at Earls Court. Although a Marketing and Sales Show, I thought I’d just go, wave my contact details under people’s noses and generally show some enthusiasm. What had I got to lose? I met Chuck Lang (the Managing Director of Abrams & Chronicle Books), very briefly, and we talked about why I was there and the work experiences I had had. He gave me his card and I didn’t really think anything of it. However, at home, I emailed everyone that I got cards from at the book fair. A little while later, Chuck emailed me back, and he offered me a job for 6 weeks starting June 5th. Progress!

Throughout the past 6 weeks I’ve been working with the Publicity Team and I have been involved with numerous activities surrounding A&C’s authors and clients.

I was initiated and have been mentored by Jane Pickett (Publicity & Marketing Manager) who went through all 5 catalogues and introduced me to all the Autumn 2010 titles.

Due to the recent merger of Abrams Books and Chronicle in London they had no fully functioning social networks. In my time spent there I’ve set up Twitter (@AbramsChronicle), Facebook and YouTube accounts, which are now all pretty active and hopefully well received by the literary online community. Before this internship, I had never really step foot into the Land of Tweets and now, very much to my surprise, I love it! I’ve now got a much better understanding of how the three social networks interact and generally I’ve learnt what makes Tweeters tick, what Tweeters actually like and that the shameless plugging of a book most definitely doesn’t get the most clicks!
I’ve also delved into the world of YA literary bloggers. Honestly, it shocked me. These blogs, MFB being a perfect example, are so dedicated in writing their reviews and have such a dedicated fan base, which is so unheard of if you’re outside the loop, its amazing! Publishers need to sit up and see this, relatively new, platform as a key publicity tool and use it effectively (but of course, not corruptly!). No matter if it’s a blog involving YA fiction, foodies or crafters, I certainly won't be underestimating them from now on!

I’ve spent a lot of the last 6 weeks also doing general admin and filing, which is indeed a part of any internship. I’ve also been writing many press releases, mailing blads (if you don’t know what these are – they are basically a small hard copy sample of the book) , sending out press releases, pdfs and books to media types (all via the use of some fancy company programmes).

I have indeed been out the office a few times. I’ve been to an events meeting at a particularly nice department store and a book launch in Covent Garden. Both, probably being perks of the job. I’ve also been in contact with the US offices in New York and San Francisco quite a bit, which has been really good and gets you thinking out of the London box you sometimes feel yourself falling into.

Every Monday I read all the weekend papers. As a student I barely read 2 papers a week and here I’ve had a news overload which has, in retrospect, been really good for me. Keeping up on all the publishing news is really useful for any publishing house, from finding out about the latest e-book news to what your fellow competitors are up to. Never underestimate the power of the printed press!

So, that’s pretty much it! The people I’ve been working with have all been lovely, given me lots to do and actually listened to my opinions, which has been really nice. I’ve found my time here really rewarding and it’s given me a real insight into how publicity in publishing ,and generally how publishing houses, work. Thankfully, working at Abrams & Chronicle Books my passion for books hasn’t been squashed (which was a worry!) and I am most definitely glad that I jumped on a train down to Earls Court last April, leaving rainy Manchester behind me.


Fantastic write-up, thanks Kat. It is so glad to see someone new to the industry take to it like a fish to water. It is also flattering to see how quickly Kat realised how hard us bloggers worked at getting the word out there about cool books.
And speaking of cool books - this is one that Kat sent along (amongst others) which I am incredibly excited about. Isn't it just delicious looking? We wish Kat the best of luck with the rest of her interning at another publisher's house and I hope we'll be able to hear from her again soon.


Caroline said...

Cool post, it is fascinating to see how publishing companies work from the inside!
Thank you guys for sharing :)

Ynysawdre Elderly Residents Association said...

Thanks for that post. Really great to see it from an insiders POV.