Apply for a Milkweed Editions Fall Internship (If You Dare!)07/10/2012
Grueling hours. Cranky authors. No money for rent. No money for food. Not even enough money to get a cup of coffee with your mother (who misses you and is worried about your health, by the way). Even your cat has a more robust social life. There must be some reason to work in publishing. Right?
Unsure why anyone would want to put themselves through it—yet endlessly appreciative of their help—we asked our interns a bit about why they were taking their first steps into a living nightmare. If their testimonies persuade you otherwise, you can apply for a Fall 2012 publishing internship at Milkweed Editions (or pass the information on to an acquaintance). All the information you could ever need about the publishing internship can be found here. The deadline is Sunday, July 15.
Interns at Milkweed Editions can apply to help with editorial, marketing, and or development. What drew you to your department?
Kayla Kohanek (Editorial): Editors actively play a role in a book’s life from before acquisition to final publication. I got to work with one of the editors on a project that involved reading a hard copy of a manuscript with his editing marks and entering the changes in the live document. I got to see firsthand how an author’s writing can evolve with the help of an editor. In the end, the finished product was elegant, polished, and truly looked like a book.
Graham Sutherland (Marketing): Marketing and publicity are essential for making sure that all the hard work put in to making a book is worth it. It’s such an important part of getting the right book to the right reader, which is what I love about publishing.
Rosie Szychalski (Development): Development is an essential component to any non-profit, and I feel that the skills I am developing at Milkweed will lay the foundation for my career in the literary world. It’s exciting to think that the things I am learning now will be of use to me many years down the line. The development internship in particular was appealing to me because of its purpose: paving the way to fund the publication of great books.
Describe a typical day in the life of a Milkweed intern…
Tony Armstrong (Editorial): A Milkweed editorial intern will arrive at his workspace at 9:00 a.m. (and not one minute later). After feebly resisting the urge to check his Facebook, he will inevitably succumb to his cyber addiction. After brooding at the fact that no one has written on his wall in the past month, he starts reading, proofreading, and fact-checking newly submitted manuscripts. These are the most common tasks that he will complete. However, an editorial intern will also always be ready to assist his development and marketing comrades whenever his help is needed, like during mass mailing sessions. Before an editorial intern can say “nonprofit independent book publisher,” it’s five o’clock and time to head home.
What do you find to the most challenging? The most enjoyable?
Beth Hanson (Editorial): In a lot of ways, the challenging aspects are the most enjoyable. At the front desk, fielding questions that I’m uncertain how to answer is a challenge, but it teaches me something new about Milkweed in finding the answer. It can be challenging fact-checking a manuscript; but it’s also a rewarding learning experience. That’s the beauty of a Milkweed Editions internship: You learn a tremendous amount about different facets of publishing and have a fantastic time doing it.
Sammy Shaw (Marketing): Most challenging: Getting everything done. I am always excited to help out anyone who needs it and sometimes end up with a little too much on my plate. Most enjoyable: Finishing up a large project. Currently, I am researching media contacts on the East coast and in the Midwest that might be interested covering an upcoming author tour. It is satisfying to know that I am playing an essential role in the promotion of this tour, something that makes me feel truly valuable as an intern.
What is the “slush pile”? How many manuscripts do you read a day?
RS: Ah, the slush pile. One of the most inspiring things about Milkweed is that we accept and encourage submissions from the public. We have two open submission periods per year, and during that time we receive several thousand manuscripts that we, as interns, spend quite a bit of time reviewing. Some days I read as many as four or five manuscripts (and I’m pretty sure there are some super speedy intern readers that could double that number).
KK: I’ve read many manuscripts written by extremely talented authors, and it is one of the best parts of this internship. I never know when I click “open” on the file attachment if what I’m about to read is going to be in the hands of thousands of readers next year.
How does interning at a nonprofit differ from interning at other, for-profit businesses?
GS: For me the biggest difference between nonprofit and for-profit is the general attitude of the staff. No one is in publishing for the money, but especially not people at independent, nonprofit publishers. What you end up with is a small group of engaged (and engaging) people who really care about books.
Do you feel more engaged in the local literary arts scene?
SS: The thriving literary-arts scene was one of the main reasons I decided to move to the Twin Cities. One of the events I learned about thanks to Milkweed was Northern Spark, a nightlong arts-oriented extravaganza that spans the city.
KK: Milkweed has literary friends all over the country, and being a part of Milkweed means being a supporter of local literary arts and publishing. Milkweed’s neighbor, The Loft Literary Center, for example, holds classes for both children and adult writers. The adult classes delve into the worlds of publishing, copywriting, poetry, and they even have a class that teaches students how to write about wars and battle scenes. So cool.
What Milkweed book would you recommend to readers?
BH: Danielle Sosin’s The Long-Shining Waters is rich in historical detail and portrays three fantastic women: one in 1622, one in 1902, and one in 2000.
KK: I recommend Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles by Kira Henehan, for if you’re in the mood for something delightfully wacky and slightly off its rocker.
TA: Fiction on a Stick, a collection of short stories written by authors who live in Minnesota, deserves to be read for its catchy title alone.
SS: I would recommend The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty by Marilyn Chin. I would also recommend anything by Katrina Vandenberg; her poems are exquisite.
GS: I really loved The Tarball Chronicles. I don’t normally read book-length nonfiction, but David Gessner does a fantastic job at placing the Gulf Oil Spill in relation to larger aspects of our society.
RS: The Alphabet Not Unlike the World by Katrina Vandenberg. Read it, and see her read it, if you can. Beautiful poetry.
Don’t forget to apply for a Fall 2012 publishing internship at Milkweed Editions. The deadline is Sunday, July 15.