After one week at Storey, the sight of a book on a bookstore shelf has our new publishing intern thinking more about the work it took to get it there.
Anne Hackman, a lifelong book lover and a college student curious about publishing, recently arrived at Storey for a mini internship. During her time with us, she’ll be learning as much as she can about the publishing process, as well as how books are marketed in the digital age. Here, she shares a little behind-the-scenes peek at life in the Storey offices. Welcome, Anne!
As an avid knitter who grew up in rural Pennsylvania, I have spent my entire life learning from the types of books Storey publishes. That, coupled with a lifelong love of books, is why I jumped at the chance to be an intern here. I’ll be writing a few articles to share what I’m learning, and what’s surprising to me about publishing.
My first week at Storey gave me the chance to observe books in different stages of editing and design. The first meeting I sat in on was a regular Monday morning check-in, where members of the editorial department report on the current status of every book in production. I left overwhelmed by the sheer number of titles we had covered.
To situate myself, I grabbed a copy of Storey’s Spring 2017 catalog and started flipping through, hoping to familiarize myself with at least a few of Storey’s most recently published books. But to my surprise, I found that many of the books with cover designs and full descriptions in the spring catalog were books we had just discussed in the meeting — books that might be anywhere in the production process, from ready to go to the printer to far from being finalized. I wondered how Storey could be preparing to sell books that were not even close to completion.
As the week wore on, I started to realize that the marketing process begins even before a book is designed, with meetings between the editorial, design, marketing and publicity, and sales departments to help clarify the goal of a book and who it will be for. For example, for a book on raising chickens, is the intended audience people thinking about buying chickens? People who just bought chickens? People who have been raising chickens for years and want to update their methods? Does this winemaking book contain beginner-oriented instructions or does it assume background knowledge and jump right in with recipes? I was struck by the amount of communication and trust needed to ensure that everyone working on a book has the same idea of what the book will be and can accurately represent the final product to the world, even before the final product exists.
After spending the week seeing books in their various formats — manuscripts, sample pages, and dummy copies (which are exact replicas of what the book will look like on the outside, completely blank except for the cover) — it was a little bit of a shock to walk into a bookstore over the weekend and see the Storey logo on the spine of a printed book. But it was also a reminder that each book I saw a snippet of during my first week here will one day be a real book, one that you can hold in your hands and flip through, dog-ear the pages of, or drip cake batter on.
Even though I am only at Storey for three weeks — way too short a time to see anything but a small portion of the process each book goes through — I am already looking forward to the day I walk into a bookstore and find one of the books I heard about in that first Monday meeting. I know I’ll have a little bit more appreciation for all the work that goes into getting it on the shelf.