I believe the number one community-building beverage in the publishing workplace is tea. Every day a cup is offered, drank, refilled. And every day the ritual of filling the kettle and delivering boiling cups of tea around the office brings the staff (and intern) closer together.
At Black and White Publishing, tea is the first beverage distributed in the morning (though some days I’m sure we wish there could be something stronger in our cups!) and the last beverage to drain into our mouths before grabbing our jackets and heading out for the day.
I’ve noticed that tea builds our sense of community because it is at these times of the day when we uncoil from the desk, look away from the manuscript or latest cover design on our computer screens, and relax into each others’ company. For a few minutes every few hours each day tea brings us together and encourages our social natures.
There are other times we speak to each other, of course, but I believe at tea breaks we socialise in a way that we do not at other times of the day. Here we tell stories from our lives outside the workplace, share memories about crazy Scottish weather, or discuss the latest breaking news according to Twitter.
However, tea is only one of the great parts about working at Black and White. There are other perks to the placement as well. For instance, Black and White has offered a great opportunity to complete the placement over the course of two months as opposed to ten days. During my time there, I have developed experience in a variety of areas, including rights, editorial, and marketing.
My tasks thus far have included reading and evaluating manuscripts for submission, organising marketing campaigns for forthcoming titles, and researching various editors in the US to whom B&W can direct some of their titles and arrange for these companies to purchase US rights. These opportunities have been central to forming my understanding of the publishing industry in Scotland and the UK as a whole.
I appreciate every learning experience that has been presented to me, and more importantly, I appreciate every member of staff who has helped me develop my own abilities and knowledge of the current publishing industry. I look forward to continuing my placement at Black and White, and I am very grateful for every opportunity presented to me there, and everyone who’s offered me a cup of tea.