I must admit, until this year I did not know much about Black & White Publishing in Leith. After spending six wonderful weeks with them for my work experience placement, I can now say with absolute confidence that they are a brilliant company with a varied and exciting list. During my time there I was made to feel like one of the team and not just an intern. I was pleasantly surprised at how much they were willing to entrust to me and it was with delight that I received my first project on my induction day: researching and compiling a database of craft and wool shops in the UK. This was a marketing project for Knit Your Own Britain, the follow-up to the hugely successful Knit Your Own Scotland, which Black & White published last year. I had a lot of fun scoring the land for craft stores, and it certainly put my research skills to the test! It also introduced me to the complexities of Microsoft Excel. I had a very brief relationship with Excel prior to my placement, but now I know it like the back of my hand. While at Black & White I was able to draw up databases for all manner of things, including book review bloggers and American sci-fi imprints. This was a great insight into the departments of marketing and rights and helped me put some of my own knowledge to good use, especially when it came to book blogs. As well as this, I was allowed to sit in on a discussion of author interviews and offer my input. It was nice to be included and to be seen as contributing something. I can’t wait to see how the interview turns out!
The highlight of my placement, however, was proofreading a children’s picture book, Magpies and Mischief. I love children’s books and it was brilliant to get the chance to work with one. This was the first time I had worked on a picture book and I found it a real test of the editorial skills I’ve developed this year, especially checking that the illustrations were all in the correct order. I also spent a lot of time working with submissions, including the important task of logging them and keeping track of the dates rejection letters were sent. I love nothing more than a good read, so I thoroughly enjoyed going through the slush pile. There was a lot of interesting concepts in there and one or two that I genuinely thought had potential. I’ll be watching out to see if they are published one day. The whole experience has given me a better understanding of the publishing industry and sharpened the skills I have acquired over the course of the year. It was the quickest six weeks of my life and I can’t thank everyone at Black & White enough for giving me such a valuable opportunity.