Image Credits: courtesy of Aryssa Damron
How She Got That Internship is a series that highlights conservative women’s internships in various organizations and positions to inspire the next generation of conservative women to lead. Did you, or a young woman that you know, have an internship experience you want to share with our readers? Submit it in this form and we will contact you if we think it would be a great fit for the series.
Summer is perhaps the best time for young leaders to invest in themselves by gaining valuable work experience, namely through internships. As summer comes to a close and fall looms ahead, FFL is sitting down with a number interns to reflect on this year’s highlights and encourage more young leaders to apply for next year’s internships.
Aryssa is a graduate student in library science at the University of Kentucky, but lives and works in Washington, D.C. She holds an undergraduate degree in English from Yale University. She got involved in FFL in college and has been a writer for the organization for three years. During her college career, she was also involved in the William F Buckley Jr Program, the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project, and the AIDS Walk New Haven.
How did you find out about the position, and why did you decide to apply?
I’ve always been interested in book publishing, and luckily this is a field where most of the positions are well advertised. I was simply looking on the career pages of different websites and applied through those same websites! I loved Simon and Schuster’s catalog of books and wanted to work with books I wanted to read too.
What was the driving force behind choosing to work as a Simon and Shuster Publishing intern?
I love reading books and being surrounded by books and wanted to see if I enjoyed playing a more active role in the book publishing process. I only had publicity experience with publishing before and wanted to try a new side of things.
Have you interned before? If so, where?
Yes. I’d interned at Regnery Publishing in DC which is where I learned about publishing as a career as well as Conservative Book Club and The Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute.
Describe a typical day at your internship.
Days started pretty early for me since I was commuting from New Haven to NYC, which was about a two hour train ride. I left my dorm at 5:40 am every morning and arrived at Grand Central around 8:10 each morning. I liked getting to the office before other people rolled in around 9 am so I could have my morning coffee, browse book news, and get settled. From there, I’d usually talk to the two editors I worked for and see what they had planned for me that day. Most days I worked on reading late draft manuscripts for final edits and clarity. I also regularly read manuscript submissions from agents and decided whether I not I saw it as a good fit for my editors and the company in general. I also made a LOT of trips to the take shelf around the corner from my desk,where editors and publicists put the extra books they don’t need anymore. It’s all up for grabs and you can get some good stuff there. Whenever a book was also finalized, that is the draft was set to go to advanced reading copies, I would file for copyright protection through the Library of Congress with those manuscripts.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working for Simon and Shuster Publishing?
I love being able to see the result of my work out in the real world. A book I worked on tagging the pictures for is being published this October as a movie tie-in edition, which is awesome to see. Another book I helped more on, a fiction piece,is being published April 2019 and I cannot wait to see it on shelves everywhere!
What was the biggest WOW moment of your internship?
I think that probably came on my first day in the office when I was given manuscript submissions to look over and my editors actually took my opinion into major consideration. I’d always been valued as an intern but I felt like I had earned that just by walking in and being hired at S&S. Also, all the free books and my fellow interns were a MAJOR bonus.
Looking back over your time in the internship, what’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a result of your time working for Simon and Shuster Publishing?
I really benefited from learning just how long the book publishing process is and gained a new respect for every aspect of the publishing process. Some of the books I worked on had been contracted over two years before, gone through numerous edits, cover changes, etc. THEN, and only then, does a managing editor get involved on formatting it and then it gets a publicist who makes sure people hear about it and a marketer who sets up ads, etc. It’s a HUGE process and not many people realize that.
Would you apply to work at Simon and Shuster Publishing again, and what advice would you give to future applicants?
I definitely would. It’s such an interactive and thriving environment and there are always new books to explore! Whenever you’re applying for publishing internships, I recommend being more creative in your resume and application. I got a ton of compliments from the HR department on my creative resume and the sample resumes they showed us also highlighted non-work book experience like reviewing books for sites such as FFL, on YouTube, or even on your personal blog.