Hello again, it’s Mina! I’m back with another post to recap what I’ve learnt over the past six months as my internship comes to an end. Since starting in March, I’ve gained a wealth of expertise and guidance that has lifted the veil on what is commonly seen as a mystifying industry. From having assisted in a big auction, attending the London Book Fair, to pitching projects to major production companies – I have been a part of so much at the MM Agency and had a real hands-on experience.
One of the best parts about the New Draft Internship is that I was always made to feel part of the team despite being a complete newbie; there was always room for my voice to be heard, whether it was sharing my thoughts on a recent submission, asking questions, or attending meetings across the different departments. I never felt like a spare part as an intern and no question that I had was ever too trivial, or too naïve. I received so many great training sessions across departments too – from how to approach readers reports, negotiation advice, to how international rights are sold – these sessions provided me with an important foundational understanding of the industry which I’ve been able to build on over time.
Like any new job, there were areas that I found challenging: answering the phone was probably the most intimidating task, particularly when I first started out. It can be quite daunting being the first person of contact for people who want to know more about the industry, especially when you’re still learning yourself! But overtime it became easier to address these queries and it felt rewarding to be able to guide people through the submissions process. Answering the phone and covering reception improved my interpersonal skills significantly and really boosted my confidence.
This internship was also my first experience in an office environment, which is quite the transition to make from university. It’s a scary process trying to find your voice in a new environment, but the MM Agency team were an amazing support network and encouraged me every step of the way.
So, what’s next for me? Well, I’m excited to say that I have a position at Bonnier Books as a Rights Assistant! While I was working with the International Rights Department, I spent a lot of time carrying out admin-based tasks. This ranged from updating deals on the main database system (Bradbury Philips), keeping records of the different tax forms required per territory, processing international royalty statements, and identifying any due payments. Having an awareness of what information to look out for and the ways it can be stored (whether through spreadsheets, word documents, or a publishing database) allowed me to demonstrate in interviews that I am highly organised and meticulous – skills that employers are always looking out for. I was also able to exhibit my industry knowledge on other logistical areas such as contract writing and the process from submission to acquisition. Understanding what terms are negotiated on in a contract (e.g., the author payment breakdown, royalty rates, sub-rights, the expected delivery and publication dates) really helped me to shine in my interview, and it has been invaluable learning this during my internship.
I couldn’t be more thankful to the MM Agency for giving me the opportunity to enter the world of publishing. Seeing how a story is brought to life and all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes is just as magical as reading a novel, and it’s been truly rewarding to be part of that here. It’s a very bittersweet moment saying goodbye to everyone, but I’m leaving with a full heart and plenty of confidence that I know will carry me forward as I start my new position.
If you’d like to read my previous post about my experiences half way through my internship, please click here.