Every morning, I try to get up early enough to eat breakfast.
It never really happens. I don’t intentionally sleep through my first alarm, but there’s a reason I always set more than one. On the average work morning, I leave my flat just in time to catch the crowded rush hour Piccadilly train from Earl’s Court to Russell Square. Combined with the walk to and from the station, it takes me about one Avett Brothers album to get to work in the morning.
Simon and Schuster’s UK office is the most spectacular business environment I’ve ever been in. Walking through the doors, the reception area looks almost like a bookstore. All of our current and top titles are displayed across the shelves that line the walls, organized and ordered beautifully. The rest of the office is a bit more chaotic about book arrangements.
Desks have stacks of books on either side. Shelves separate each department, stuffed completely with titles, extra copies of titles, and different editions. Books hide in cupboards, sit in boxes on the floor, overflow windowsills and tuck away in backs of drawers. Just as quickly as books are sent out, more arrive, and it’s a constant battle to keep everything manageable, but luckily, we have an incredible team that takes care of everything, and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it.
After getting my first cup of tea, I sit down at my desk and check my emails. I get the normal things – daily sales, building maintenance notices, updates on our Movember team. I also get manuscripts emailed from the fiction editors, and this is one of my favorite parts of my job. Because we only accept manuscripts from agents, we read everything we receive. Considering there are less than ten of us in the Fiction Editorial department, this is never an easy task. The stories I get vary from romance to crime and anything in between. Some have been amazing, others, not as much.
As the day progresses, I’ll get more tasks as they pop up. I write summaries to go on the backs of books we’re going to publish. I mail early editions of books to authors, reviewers, marketing teams, and book clubs. I check manuscripts to make sure edits have been made by the typesetter. I spend forty-five minutes trying to make Jimmy (the big printer that’s as long as a car) cooperate. I organize the communal bookshelves and add quotes to Amazon and do anything else that needs to be done. And I absolutely adore every part of it.
I’ve spent my life reading. Books did just as much to raise me as my own parents. They taught me morals, they showed me magic, they gave me something to believe in. They were my friends when I didn’t have any, and they were my escape when I needed to get away from the world. Books have made me strong, and they’ve made me happy to be myself. Working in a publishing company doesn’t feel like work to me, and that’s exactly why I want to pursue it.
I usually find a way to kill some time after work so I can avoid the rush hour trains of the afternoon. Sometimes I wander the neighborhoods around Grey’s Inn Road and discover new restaurants to try the next day on my lunch break. Sometimes I walk around shops at the Brunswick and look at pretty clothes that I’ll probably never buy. Sometimes I’ll peruse the shelves of Skoob Books, because it turns out I can’t get sick of books, no matter how much time I spend with them.
On the train home a few days ago, I realized I only have another month left of working at Simon and Schuster. I really hate to think about having to leave, but the experience I’ve gained through this internship is so much more than something else to put on my résumé. I’ve found something that I would be happy to do for the rest of my life, and it’s one of the best feelings in the world.