Part two: Vintage Books
So I was lucky enough to do two weeks of work experience with Vintage Books in Penguin Random House’s Vauxhall offices. Honestly incredible, and I was so excited to finally be able to work in a publishing house, even if it was only for ten days. I spent a lot of money on an Airbnb for the two weeks, I won’t say how much but it pretty much exhausted my savings, and I travelled up to London from Wales still in awe that I was getting to work with one of my favourite imprints.
I worked in the marketing department, with their lovely team, and was ready to get busy but it didn’t quite work out like that. The first two days were fantastic! I’d been asked to research Liverpool fan clubs for an upcoming release, and the historian in me was positively gleeful. After I’d finished this , and completed a few mail outs, I was left to my own devices for the next few days. I read an incredible amount of Bookseller and Guardian articles, and got incredibly excited anytime I got an email giving me a job. I was desperate to get stuck in, but for obvious reasons, these guys couldn’t just let me do anything.
The latter part of the first week and the second were significantly better. I got to attend a brainstorming meeting for an upcoming release, update spreadsheets, and get more familiar with Gorkana and Biblio. I know some of this may seem silly but at the time I was overjoyed at being trusted, they were giving me some responsibility and I loved it. Finally, I was getting a taste of the industry, and even the most monotonous tasks seemed terrific! The team at Vintage were also incredible, I couldn’t have asked for better people to teach me the ropes. We got to scoff doughnuts and drink wine together, so by the end of the two weeks I really didn’t want to go.
It was a wonderful experience and set my heart on marketing and publicity, but I think you should be aware that even though it’s paid the experience is still going to cost you. My advice would be to plan ahead; unlike me, who found out rather suddenly that I’d managed to snag this placement, you should have a fair bit of notice so here’s a little advice from me to you:
- Use Spareroom! This is especially useful if you’ve gotten a placement over the summer, as students often rent their rooms, and sometimes people are looking for someone to stay in their flat while they are away. Be cautious though, just like Airbnb, make sure you know what you’re getting into before you arrive.
- The Spare Room Project is a fantastic project that places aspiring publishing professionals with people already in the industry! It seems like such a great idea, and I wish I’d know about it before I’d finished my placement.
- Airbnb is a pretty good choice too, and what I ended up doing! mine was pretty darn expensive because I booked it the week before I left, but if you book early enough I bet you could find some seriously good deals.
- Try and avoid using the tube! I managed to snag an Airbnb just a forty minute walk from the office in Vauxhall, so I walked everywhere. It may have only saved me a few pounds a day, but they were definitely pounds I needed!
- Get yourself a place with a kitchen, or at least a kettle! I managed to live in London for over two weeks and managed to spend less than £100, this included spending an ill-advised £2.50 on Ben and Jerry’s because I can’t resist a deal. Being able to cook my own food meant I ate well, and didn’t end up spending my spare cash on takeout.
- Eat in the restaurant at the Vauxhall office! The food is incredible, and heavily discounted; it’s a win, win.
Well, this ended up being rather long, but I feel like it’s pretty comprehensive! I had a fantastic time at Vintage I just left wishing I could have done more, but with a bit of luck I’ll snag a longer placement and get to learn even more wonderful publishing things.
My list of publishing houses offering Work Experience