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A Day in the Life of an Editorial Intern

By Kristen Joseph

Often when people hear the term “intern” they think of a young adult whose life consists of doing coffee runs for the office or occasional menial tasks like filing paperwork or creating endless spreadsheets.

Thankfully, being an intern at Atlantic is comprised of far more interesting tasks (though from time to time, I’m still asked to do a spreadsheet).

On most days, I can be found preparing a book for layout. While this sounds like it may be a simple one-step task, prepping a book for layout actually requires many detailed steps. I usually begin by scrolling through the document to make sure that all of the headings are formatted correctly; this is necessary for the production of an accurate table of contents so readers don’t have to furiously flip through the book trying to find the section they’re looking for because they don’t have an exact page number.

Once I’ve formatted the headings and table of contents, I begin to read through the book one final time. This is the most time-consuming part of layout prep. The manuscript has already been edited and proofread, but I still look over it carefully to find any little mistakes that may have slipped through the cracks: a ‘then’ where a ‘than’ should be, or ‘on’ instead of ‘in’. While this last editorial check is incredibly important, I’m mainly reading through the book to figure out where pictures should be placed and which words should go in the index. I skim through, and when I come across a term or a name that a reader might go looking for other instances of,  I add it to a separate document that will be formatted into a proper index by the book’s designer. Every few pages, I’ll come across a topic that would be greatly enhanced if a photo accompanied it, so I’ll search for applicable stock photos or photos that are in the public domain, download them in a specific folder for the book, and make a note in red within the document to pinpoint where the designer should insert the photo. I also do any last-minute fact checking to make sure that everything is referenced correctly.

If I’m not prepping a book for layout, I can be found working on various other tasks. Sometimes I’m doing the absolute final proofread of a book after it’s already been sent to the designer and it’s just about to go to print. As mentioned earlier, I create a few exciting spreadsheets while I’m here, like a list of our 2018 book releases. Every week or so, I’ll write a blog post about the industry or about our book of the week spotlight (or a post about my daily activities!). And, on occasion, I have to compile multiple files into one document and make sure that each part of the final document is formatted correctly; it’s a bit tedious, but seeing the final product that comes from the jumbled mess always leaves me feeling accomplished.

Every now and then, I do a bit of marketing for the company as well. This typically takes the form of creating ad campaigns for our books on Amazon, or making one of those  aforementioned book spotlight posts, which typically contain a link to purchase the book on Amazon.

My days at Atlantic are categorized by tasks that are integral to creating the best possible final product for our authors and readers. Each assignment is far from menial, and I love taking part in the creation of a published work.