Writers and New York go together like peanuts and paydays but it’s often hard to imagine what that lifestyle actually entails. What is it like to work for a magazine and live in New York? What is the purpose of each position in a literary magazine? It can be intimidating and thrilling to take a leap and attempt what could be your future career but it truly is the best way to learn and understand more about yourself. A Public Space (APS) is an independent nonprofit literary magazine that provides an excellent internship opportunity and creates an understanding of those questions. At A Public Space, you truly are seeing all of the in’s and out’s of publishing. It’s a time to learn, observe and participate in art from start to finish. APS aims to discover overlooked and unclassifiable work to push beyond the confines of most literary magazines. Located in Boerum Hill Brooklyn, New York, interns benefit from hands-on learning in the literary world of magazines and book publishing. The internship consists of work with social media, promotion, research and copyediting, with the guiding help of working in the office.
Check out how to land an internship with a real publishing company, A Public Space.
What It’s Actually Like
In a small office with friendly faces, the environment at APS embodies a welcoming community of supportive people. During the summer, the intern’s schedule usually ranges from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (with an hour lunch break) on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Your days are spent, for the most part, reading submissions, working on the website, updating social media and helping with current projects. You may be assigned to look into images for a story that will appear in the next magazine or find yourself searching through a Chicago manual style guide as you edit a piece. Stumble upon beautiful stories that you can vouch for and learn how to work with writers to improve their work. “What felt unique and special that APS provided was how much they valued the voice of their interns. From allowing us to give detailed feedback on all of the submissions to sitting down with us and having conversations that were mutually generative, there felt to be a democratic approach to the writing that APS received,” former APS Intern Wen Zhuang said. Your time here can fluctuate from conversational moments with fellow interns, to quiet moments listening to music while you read literary gems.
Cool Stuff You Get to Do
Enjoy a unique experience exploring what it’s like to post for the social media account of a literary magazine at APS. “Interning at APS was a perfect introduction to the New York literary scene. I learned so much from the attentive, supportive staff, and the small office allowed me to get a sense of many different aspects of the magazine publishing process,” former APS Intern Hannah Nash said. You may find yourself typing clever tweets on the latest literary event in New York or walking around Brooklyn taking photos for their Instagram. “In our downtime, we read through lists of submissions through Submittable and submitted weekly round-ups of going-ons and news in and around Brooklyn and greater New York—these events were then compiled by the marketing director at APS, Lauren Cerand, and made into ‘Monday Memo’s,'” Zhuang said. Further than interactions with the intricate world of social media, you also get to go through submissions and vouch for the ones that you feel are discoveries of greatness.
What You’ll Learn
The best part about the internship lies within the hands-on experience. You are there when they discuss the writing, how it works, why they chose it and how they promote it. “It was really great to work at a small magazine because I got a sense of the different components of a literary magazine,” former APS intern Emory McCool said. It’s an opportunity for an inside look into the literary magazine world where you can participate and are encouraged to give your opinion. Want to write for literary magazines? Take note of why pieces are chosen and why others aren’t. Express your creative mind with an outlet you’ve always wanted to explore such as website design. Let your artistic side explore their web design and practice new designs of your own. Are you interested in editing but never truly had the chance to work further on this skill? Jump at the opportunity to edit, research and discuss with the people around you.
How to Prepare Your Application
As intimidating as applying for a job may be, the process isn’t as stressful as you may think. Applications are submitted through Submittable. You will need to submit a cover letter, resume and answer questions about your writing experience, what you’ve read recently that interests you and thoughts on an article you’ve read from A Public Space. “If you’re interested in interning at a literary magazine but aren’t sure how to get started, I recommend reading lots of magazines to finds ones you like, keeping an eye on their websites for job postings (as well as other literary job boards, like Publishers’ Marketplace) and reaching out to their editors,” Nash said. Ask trustworthy teachers or bosses to write you a recommendation. Take your time researching and getting to know the magazine. Show them that you care about the magazine.
Skills that Impress
Flaunt your knowledge in social media, research and writing through your application. Simple things like showing your passion for literary magazines or writing separate you from other job candidates. If you’re low on experience, apply your academic background to the application. “Don’t hesitate to highlight your unique interests, even if you don’t have as much experience as some people might,” McCool said. Show them you know how to run social media through your own personal branding. Take the time to mention their values and apply them to yourself. Show how you’re passionate about what you do, and that you will work hard.
New York City is a dream place for many but also an intimidating one. This is the time to discover if living in the city works for you. But you can also take the time to enjoy the many benefits New York offers. You will definitely have time to step out of the office and explore the city and discover things about yourself. With delicious food, easily accessible transportation and art that will inspire, New York will teach you unexpected things. Hopefully, the city will feed you its energy as you venture to work each day and have the opportunity to take notes of the things that reflect your own personal desires. Experience the city, work in a creative setting and truly experience what it’s like working for a magazine.
An unpaid internship with a three-month commitment may be a bit of a stress on your bank account but with the proper saving tactics, help from friends and family (i.e. if you know someone in New York who’s willing to let you stay with them don’t be afraid to ask) and the confidence in yourself to make it happen then it will. If you’ve always wondered what having a publishing career in a big city would entail, this internship will give you a taste of what it’s like before you commit to the career post-graduation.
Ready to start your career journey by nailing that summer internship? Check out four steps that make it easy here.