By: Hannah Partridge
This summer, I was fortunate enough to be offered an Acquisitions Internship at Wiley Publishing in Fishers, Indiana. Specifically, I was an intern for the For Dummies brand. Most people are familiar with the iconic black and yellow reference guides, and over the summer I had the opportunity to see exactly how the company creates their books and maintains their global brand.
First things first, I have to say that I am unsure I would have received this internship had I not been a part of Jacket Copy Creative last year. The skills and experience I gained in that course filled up a blank space on my resume, and it was the first thing I was asked about in my interviews. When English faculty tells you to take immersive learning courses, and tells you they look good on resumes, they’re not kidding.
My internship was full time, 8:30-4:30 every day, and I commuted to the office from my apartment in Muncie. During my time at Wiley, I completed a variety of tasks and projects. I learned to use the company’s various online tools and programs to check data about their books, and put the results in various spreadsheets (Proficiency in Microsoft Excel is another great skill to have). I also worked with other interns to develop marketing tools and original content for dummies.com, and researched potential authors and topics for new For Dummies books. Using skills obtained in ENG 430, I used Adobe InDesign to design and format documents using For Dummies logos, icons, and other branded elements. My manager, Amy, wanted me to see all the inner workings of the publishing industry, so she had me sit in on various conference calls and weekly meetings to get a sense of everything that goes into creating a For Dummies book.
I had a large project list that had been created prior to the start of summer, but every once in a while Amy would give me a more spontaneous, small project. One day, she asked if I could edit and revise some web copy for a few upcoming For Dummies titles. Web copy is the description of the book you can find on websites such as Amazon. As a creative writing major, I considered this a fun project. Evidently, my Ball State English courses helped hone my editing ability, because Amy was impressed with my results. Soon I was getting emails from the other acquisitions editors asking me to revise their own web copy, and even write some from scratch. This is something that really impressed me about Wiley’s internship program: Once my manager began to see my strengths and skills, she began to give me more opportunities to use those specific skills and improve upon them.
Every week I attended proposal meetings, where each acquisitions editor would present a proposal for a new book they wanted to publish. For the final project of my internship, I had to create a hypothetical proposal and present it at this meeting, a For Dummies book on any topic I choose. This was where I put together all the knowledge I had gained over the summer. I researched potential authors, created charts predicting sales numbers and profits, developed marketing strategies, and even created a table of contents.
My internship at Wiley provided me with strong connections to individuals within the publishing industry, projects to include in my professional portfolio, and new skills and experiences that will help me in my future career. I’m thankful to the BSU English Department for equipping me with skills that prepared me for my internship, and I feel confident and excited to see where my English degree will take me after graduation.
Hannah Partridge is a senior Creative Writing major. She leads the design team of the Digital Literature Review, and works as a web editor for The Broken Plate.