Summer internship breakdown

Caleigh Minshall
This is my second-last week at the Quill (well, the physical Quill shop, at least), and I thought it might be interesting to look at how I’ve spent my hours at the shop since I started working full-time in May. Tim and Elke use a really smart timesheet system that requires keeping track of everything you do during a work day, down to the fifteen-minute mark, and so I have one and a half notebooks filled up with (almost) every detail of every day I came in for work.

I’ve (very) roughly consolidated all the information down into this handy and easy-to-use chart so that all of you publishing careerists out there can see what a publishing internship is really like. I’ve also scattered some links here and there to related, older Porcupette blogs, so that we can reminisce together about my lost innocence as a new intern in Canadian publishing. 😉

May (roughly 140 hours total)

  • Typesetting Kaleidoscope – 26.5 hours
  • Fall 2010 catalogue trimming, stapling & mailing – 24 hours
  • Production for other books (reprints, DA, etc.) – 18.25 hours
  • Digital pre-press for Book of Hours -16.25 hours
  • Grant-related things (OAC & Canada Council) – 15.75 hours
  • Markup for Fine Incisions – 11.75 hours
  • Uploading backlist titles to Abebooks – 11.75 hours
  • Personalized sales emails to American libraries – 3.5 hours

Those were the big categories. Every Friday I also helped to clean up the shop for about half an hour, and I also did various mailings, emails, other miscellaneous things. Kaleidoscope took forever to typeset because that book is, you know, enormous, and the catalogue also took a lot of time because there was a rush to get them out of the shop and the other woman who works at the Quill, Jill, only works a few days every week.

June (roughly 131 hours total)

  • Typesetting of all kinds! – 42.5 hours
  • Writing things (tip sheets & CBBAG article) – 12.75 hours
  • Grant things – 11.75 hours
  • Publicity things (Doors Open, Culture Days, website updates) – 11.75 hours
  • Inventory – 11.25 hours
  • Small Press Fair – 5 hours
  • Upload backlist titles to Abebooks – 4.75 hours
  • Sales emails to American libraries – 1 hour
  • Herding cats* – 1 hour

June’s priorities were obviously very different from May’s. By this point I think we all realized that my skills, such as they are, did not lie in book production but on the computer – hence the typesetting. Books I helped to typeset in June included Mystery Stories, Fine Incisions, Kaleidoscope, Book of Hours and The Essential Margaret Avison. We were also in some rush at this point to get all of our books typeset in order to send the first round of proofs to our copyeditor Doris Cowan – she is leaving for Japan very shortly, and we wanted her to finish copyediting as many of our Fall 2010 books as possible. This rush cut into my time spent on less deadline-motivated projects, like Abebooks and my American library emails.

* Herding cats: When Tim and Elke were vacationing in Italy, it fell to Jill and I to wrangle the kitties back into the shop for the night. Some days it took longer than others … (They’re feisty!)

July (roughly 133 hours)

  • SFU Publishing Immersion – 70 hours
  • Typesetting – 47.5 hours
  • Website things – 2.5 hours
  • Scan images from Modern Encyclopedia – 1.5 hours

And many other various things in small doses – mailing, tip sheets, etc.

August (roughly 147 hours, excluding all hours worked from home)

I decided not to include my evening hours because, well, I’m lazy, and those hours are written in a different booklet so I’d have to go back and add things again – however, to briefly summarize, since last Friday I’ve worked approximately 4-5 hours every weeknight after work, and I’ve spent practically all of that time updating PExOD and, occasionally, on a blog. The good news is that in August I finally finished uploading our entire backlist to AbeBooks and finished placing Buy buttons on all of the web pages of our in-print books – yay! And just last night, actually, I finished uploading all of the obsolete HTML content from our old website to our new website – as well as translating that content into XML. My next PExOD project is updating all of our author biographies, which I started last night, too.

I spent the first week and a half in August almost entirely on typesetting Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, because it has such a funky and unpredictable page layout, but since then most of my time has been spent catching up on projects or starting projects that I’ll be able to continue while in France.

Tomorrow, the first day of September, will mean another huge change in my timesheet: a massive and renewed focus on emailing American libraries. The OMDC grant we received to pay for my digital marketing & sales efforts stipulates that I need to work ~183 hours on emailing individual American libraries about our titles, via WorldCat, and I figure the sooner I can get those hours out of the way, the better!

Other remaining projects include getting our GoogleBooks account entirely up-to-date, thinking about an e-book strategy as George A. Walker starts converting our backlist to pdfs for Zinio, spending (wisely) $1000 on Google AdWords as per our OMDC grant, continuing this blog, attracting 1500 visitors per month to the site, writing tip sheets & catalogue copy for Spring 2011 and Fall 2011 titles, categorizing & tagging old blogs, and … well, that’s all I can think of right now, but I’m sure I’m forgetting some!

This is great news for you because I can already foresee some stellar blog ideas …! Until next time, my intrepid readers.

About Caleigh

Intern at the Porcupine's Quill.
This entry was posted in Letters from the Porcupette (the Intern's Blog) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Summer internship breakdown

  1. Juice says:

    Sounds like you’re a busy bee! Keep up the good work. Can’t wait for the next update in the life and times of the Porcupette.

  2. Serial Key says:

    Salut! Can I quote piece of the information from your blog if I provide a linkback to your website?

  3. Pingback: The Porcupine’s Quill


The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.