General Internship, Minneapolis, MN
Milkweed Editions is an independent, non-profit publisher focused on artistic excellence. Because they’re a non-profit, it’s less about sales and more about books they love. They also value engaging the community around them and caring for the environment. Interns get a well-rounded experience of what it’s like to work at a publishing house, trying on different literary-world hats such as publicity and editing.
What it’s actually like
Since Milkweed is a smaller press, there are certain advantages over interning at a big publisher with mazes of cubicles. Patrick Thomas, managing director at Milkweed, said there is more flexibility at Milkweed’s internship. “At a larger organization you don’t really see a lot of the other areas. [At Milkweed] you get to touch every part of the process,” Thomas said.
Cool stuff you get to do
Interns will have direct access to content through the editorial department, and authors through the marketing department. “Everyone wants to do editorial,” said Thomas. “Interns are surprised at how monotonous it can be sometimes. In marketing there are opportunities to work with authors more often. In editorial you tend to be working a couple steps removed from the author.”
What you’ll learn
At Milkweed, you get the opportunity to work in and learn about multiple areas in publishing. “When the interns come in, they’re trained and given an education session on each department. There are standard projects in each area that interns will get,” Thomas said. As the internship goes on, interns will have the ability to work on projects in other departments. “Typically by the end of the internship each intern has a specialty,” he said. They will know what they’re good at and what area they most want to pursue in publishing.
How to prepare for your application
Thomas said, “Bone up on what’s happening in world of publishing.” He suggested looking at sites like Publisher’s Weekly and the Moby Lives blog at Melville House. Also, you should actually read a few of Milkweed’s books. Thomas warned, “Some people come into the internship and don’t really know what we do.”
Skills that impress them
People who are up-to-date on technology used in publishing houses have a way better shot. According to Thomas, “Capabilities in Adobe applications like Photoshop and InDesign is becoming more and more important. Most college have classes in those tools. Take advantage of taking one of those classes.” Milkweed also looks for candidates with attention to detail – sometimes they receive applications from candidates who claimed to have that trait, but also had a typo in the next sentence!
Since Milkweed is so small, you will get to know everyone in the office. This means stronger connections with people in the industry and better references from them when you’re applying to publishing industry jobs. You also get to learn more about their individual stories about what a publishing career is like. “There are seven staff members. It’s impossible to not get to know them all,” Thomas said.
If you get the internship, it’s a twenty-four hour per week commitment for four months. There are three internship sessions:
Spring session (January through mid-May)
Summer session (mid-May through early September)
Fall session (September through December)
And three application due dates:
March 15: Summer session
July 15: Fall session
November 15: Spring session
Were you a Milkweed intern? Share your internship experience in the comments below.
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