Publishing Internships: Expert Career Advice for Publishing Internships

Intern Avenue provide you with an insight into a career in Publishing.

How to get a publishing internship?
What to expect from a publishing internship?
Which qualifications and skills are necessary to succeed in a publishing internship?
Summer internships in publishing
Who are the UK’s largest publishing groups?
Background to the UK publishing industry
What are the best methods of finding a paid publishing internship?

How to get a publishing internship?

Are you a literary lover? Looking to delve into the exciting world of publishing and kick-start your career in one of the most popular industries there is?

An internship is an invaluable way to gain experience, learn on the job and make important connections. Sound good? The following advice will provide you with everything you need to know to secure your dream internship.

What to expect from a publishing internship?

Publishing is an incredibly broad and varied sector and tasks will vary depending on which department you are working in. As a general overview you can expect your day-to-day tasks to include:

  • Reviewing new submissions from authors.
  • Assisting with editorial, creative and business tasks.
  • Reading manuscripts.
  • Editing and providing feedback on content.
  • Liaising with authors and different departments.
  • Carrying out initial stages of research on projects.

Publishing Internships

More specifically, here is a breakdown of the different departments and what day-to-day tasks consist of:


  • General administrative tasks related to the commission of work to freelance writers, illustrators, photographers, and picture researchers.
  • Reading and editing manuscripts.
  • Liaising with other in-house departments, writers, printers, designers, production staff and photographers and managing the time scales of projects.
  • Dealing with phone and email enquiries.
  • Researching projects.
  • Providing support to editorial staff.


  • Brainstorming and developing innovative marketing strategies.
  • Helping to direct campaigns and engage a particular audience.
  • Working to maintain and develop key author brands.
  • Work on promotional material to generate interest in new titles.


  • Assisting with the process of turning a manuscript into a book.
  • Providing initial costing figures.
  • Assisting with the organisation of the printing, binding and delivery of the final product.


  • Contacting and working with local and national newspaper and magazine journalists to promote new titles and garner media attention.
  • Working to establish new contacts.
  • Assisting with events planning.
  • Attending meetings with journalists.
  • Helping with the drafting of publicity mailings.
  • Monitoring the press for mention of specific authors.


  • Working to maximise the profitability of a book by negotiating the sale of rights
  • Meeting with journalists and publishers
  • Working closely with the publishing department in planning and organising the sale of merchandising, book club, serial or even potentially film rights.


  • Providing support with administration.
  • Working closely with other in-house departments to follow the progress and success of titles.
  • Providing customer care support.


  • Working on cover designs to meet specific briefs set by the editor.
  • Sourcing images, commissioning illustrators, booking photo shoots or creating original material.
  • Liaising with other departments such as sales, editorial, production and marketing on special design requests or requirements.

Which qualifications and skills are necessary to succeed in a publishing internship?

The growing popularity and demand for internships and entry level jobs in the publishing sector means that it is a highly competitive industry to break into. So generally, a degree qualification is a minimum requirement for a publishing internship.

As publishing is such a broad industry (there are books about everything and anything), having a degree in English is not essential. Having knowledge about other topics is useful, however, a degree discipline that requires strong writing skills is a vital requirement for most publishing intern roles.

When it comes to skills, it almost goes without saying that to succeed in a publishing role your writing skills need to be exceptional. If you don’t know your ‘there’s from your ‘theirs’ or the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ a career in the publishing industry is not for you.

Organisation and time management skills are key to this role as you will be required to balance a number of projects at the same time and work to tight deadlines.

Excellent communications skills are also important for a publishing intern role, especially if you are hoping to work in the sales or marketing department.

Summer internships in publishing

Summer internships in publishing

If you think that a publishing internship is the perfect match for you and want a taste of the industry before you graduate, summer internships are a great option. The summer holidays between your first and second year at uni or second and third year are the perfect time to get an internship.

At Intern Avenue you can find 10-12 week paid publishing internships to kick-start your publishing career. And, if working in an exciting industry you’re passionate about isn’t enough, you’ll also get paid and gain a range of fantastic skills to help you stand out to a future employer. Seems like a smart idea!

Who are the UK’s largest publishing groups?

Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House is a global publishing house for both adult and children’s books. They offer paid publishing internships in a number of divisions, including editorial, marketing, production, contracts and finance. The duration of their internship is 10 weeks and run throughout the year with opportunities available in spring, summer and autumn.

Hachette Livre

Hachette Livre is the UK’s leading publisher. The company run a number of different paid publishing internship programmes every year across divisions such as editorial, marketing, sales, and production to name a few.

Harper Collins

Harper Collins is one of the world’s largest publishers and have over 9000 employees across the UK! Throughout the year they offer three 10-week paid publishing internship in editorial, design, publicity, marketing and managerial editorial. Their summer internships run from June-mid August.

Simon & Schuster

Simon & Schuster have sister companies in India, the US, Canada and Australia.The company run three 10-week programmes during the summer, spring, and autumn months. They place interns based on their experience, academic work and the demands of the individual divisions.

Open book publishing

Background to the UK publishing industry

Did you know that the UK publishing industry is the second largest in Europe after Germany? And it’s ever-growing! In 2016, the UK publishing industry had grown to a phenomenal £4.4billion. There are around 8,000 publishers in the UK! London and the South East form the UK’s publishing hub with over half of all publishers based there.
In more recent years., the meaning of ‘publishing’ has evolved to incorporate the vast rise in internet use and electronic devices. ‘Publishing’ now comprises of emails, websites, blog posts and computer games as well as more traditional means such as books and newspapers.

What are the best methods of finding a paid publishing internship?

Make sure your CV is up to date and tailored towards the publishing industry by listing skills you have which are suited to the role and any relevant work experience you have completed. Your enthusiasm for the industry needs to come across; if you don’t sound interested in the industry a potential employer looking at your CV won’t be interested in you! It’s extremely important to proofread your CV thoroughly and check that it is free of mistakes. Any spelling or grammar errors will be picked up and your application will be dismissed.

Building a writing portfolio of your university work is also a fantastic way to show potential employers your writing capabilities and demonstrate your suitability for a job in the publishing industry.

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