Last week we bid a sad goodbye to our publicity intern of the last three months, Martha Rush - but not before she wrote about her experience with us. If you want to get a first-hand glimpse into the world of an Irish independent publishing house (and discover just how unglamorous we are!) read on.
When my plane from the United States landed in Dublin, I knew that in a week I would be starting my new internship at some publishing house in Terenure – wherever that was. I was told by the woman in my study program who places interns, Claire, that I wouldn’t just be photocopying and making tea – which made everything more daunting as I’m quite good at those things.
I requested placement in publishing because I love books. I anticipated getting placed at a newspaper or magazine because really, who knows anyone who’s a publisher? I was surprised, but happy, when I was assigned to Liberties Press; so happy, in fact, I e-mailed my mother to brag that the company where I would be working published books by the Irish President. I imagined fetching expensive coffee for high-profile, sophisticated people – I would leave with the ability to publish a book written by Barack Obama.
Liberties Press is not the massive, powerhouse publishing company I expected. It’s an office with eight desks, concealed behind shelves of a bookshop. No one is going to meetings at five-star hotels and restaurants with J.K. Rowling-famous authors or fancy red-carpet parties. People are working at their desks, sometimes quietly, sometimes swapping funny stories. It’s a low-key atmosphere of people who are here because they love books – just like me.
I worked with the Publicity & Marketing team at Liberties, another area in which I’ve always had an interest. I’ve done a variety of tasks, from writing blog posts and press releases to e-mailing publications to discuss feature articles and reviews of our books, and I’ve only had to go to the shop to get milk once. Claire meant what she said – I am not the intern I would have been in the United States. While I’m just an assistant that works two days a week, the things I do here matter; a draft of a press release, a preliminary e-mail, a blog post, a newsletter – things written by me that will be read by an editor, a group of booksellers, or the book lovers who follow us. I am truly a part of the Liberties Press team.
Since I’m returning to the United States in two weeks, my time with Liberties is drawing to a close – and it’s absolutely bittersweet. I’ve had an amazing time uncovering the lengthy and, at times, difficult process of taking a manuscript from a typo-riddled PDF to a brightly coloured, spell-checked, shiny book (complete with new book smell!). Publishing requires more time and effort than people know, made all the more difficult with the tight finances of independent publishing. But this industry plays host to a group of people far too dedicated to the continuation of quality Irish literature to let something as silly as money hold them back.
I’ve learned loads of valuable skills in the past three months. While I’m sad to leave, I’m excited to go back to America and leverage my new experience into a new job (or at least a pay rise at my old one). And when Barack Obama does inevitably choose me to publish his first book, I’ll be ready.