More Than Editing

It is my last week at Beaufort and Spencer Hill, and naturally, I’m reflecting on the last four months I’ve spent here. I’ve learned a lot about the publishing industry, from the major aspects down to the smallest details. Sitting at my desk between two editors has helped me see how a book comes to life and moves from one step to the next: from submissions, to editing and proofreading, to sales and marketing, printing, distribution—each realm adding more to the book and refining it, preparing it to be placed in the hands of readers. What has surprised me is the multitude of small projects that go into creating a book, and how an editor does so much more than editing.

I’ve been assigned many tasks over the past few months, many of which involve research and data compiling. I researched the original copyrights of poems and songs quoted in our manuscripts, looked up potential fan base locations for an upcoming book, searched for grants and scholarships for writers, and put together lists of contact information for promotions. I found bookstores within a particular area and learned about Goodreads’ promotion programs. My Microsoft Excel skills grew with a plethora of spreadsheet projects, organizing inventory reports, ISBNs and authors, submission reviews, and royalty reports. Oddly enough, while I used to cringe at the idea of research and data work—I may have even used the phrase “I hate researching” before—these have been some of my favorite tasks. Learning and organizing information is something I enjoy, and it has been rewarding to grow in this skill set in relation to books.

Book publishing also involves upkeep. Managing social media and updating websites—mainly in book descriptions and hyperlinks—kept me very busy. Several behind-the-scenes details, like registering a copyright and inputting keywords to increase the quality of the metadata, were new territory for me. These kinds of details can easily slip through the cracks and go unnoticed, so it was interesting to be involved with the work that seems trivial but is incredibly important to the book’s success.

Finally, of course, there is the intern’s dream—assisting with submissions and manuscript edits. While I was not into helping with submissions as much as I had expected, I loved working on copy edits and corrections. Manuscripts, covers, and descriptions must be checked over and over, being checked on the tiniest details before going to print. Proofreading was a particular favorite task of mine—I like fixing the mistakes and getting everything formatted. This was the area I knew most about when coming to this internship, but clearly it is only a fraction of what goes into producing a book.

A managing editor does much more than edit a book. They oversee so much of the production of a book, and they work with a lot of different people to bring that book to readers. I had always toyed with the idea of being an editor, and now I realize how much more there is to that position than I had ever known, and I certainly wouldn’t have known without being in a publishing office and working with editors themselves. This internship has been such a valuable experience, and I know with certainty that whatever I do next, I owe to my experience at Beaufort and Spencer Hill.


~Sara Beaureilles

This is a shared blog post for Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press.