One of the reasons that I applied to the MSc Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier is that securing a work placement is a core part of the second trimester. As a publishing hopeful keen to get any experience I can get while learning about the publishing industry, this new challenge excited me, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little nervous too. How do you approach publishers and other publishing professionals? Is my past experience enough? Honestly, I didn’t know where to start – but I knew one thing: I wanted to gain experience in marketing, because sharing good stories is something I love doing.

With my CV polished up and ready to go, I began sending it out to publishers I thought I would like to intern with. I think one of the key lessons I’ve learned from this whole process is how to deal with rejections – you simply cannot take it personally. While many publishers are so busy with their own deadlines to reply to every request, those who did really made the process easier, and in all honesty getting a rejection email was better than not hearing anything at all. However, with the weeks ticking on and still no placement secured, I decided to rethink where I wanted to work, and one day while I was hunting for more places to contact on Twitter I saw a name pop up: Rachel Quin. 

I had spoken to Rachel before when she was offering mentoring to publishing hopefuls, and I knew that she had worked in a number of different marketing roles over the years, with experience working for Harper Collins, Canongate, and Penguin across print, digital, and audio. Last year, she decided to go freelance and set up Rachel Quin Marketing, offering her services and extensive knowledge to clients seeking help with digital marketing, social media strategy, copywriting, and even training.

Check out Rachel’s website to see some of the amazing projects she’s worked on!

Really, her resumé is scarily impressive. Nonetheless, I thought that I would reach out to Rachel again, and see if by any chance she would be interested in taking on an intern for ten weeks. To my delight she agreed to meet, and after discussing what my goals were for a placement and how I could help her out, she decided to take me on – to say I was thrilled would be an understatement. 

Over the last 8 weeks, I have been helping Rachel with a number of different tasks, gaining experience in all different areas of marketing including planning content ideas and writing copy for some of the campaigns she’s been working on, having a go at thinking of my own marketing campaign ideas, and even trying to find birthday cake flavoured chocolate for a book launch! This placement has really shown me what a creative area of publishing marketing is, and if I have learned anything it’s to expect the unexpected! Marketers are constantly using their imaginations to come up with new ways to share exciting new launches with us, and no two days are the same as I found out on my placement. From copywriting one day to planning social media campaigns the next – this placement has given me valuable experience that I’ll carry with me as I start my own journey into publishing. Rachel has been a fantastic mentor, and learning about the industry from someone as experienced as her has been a real privilege, and honestly, I couldn’t have wished for a better first experience working in publishing.