A Week in the Life of an Editorial Intern

In December, I was an editorial intern with the Women’s Fiction editorial team at HarperCollins, sending mail-outs, learning about book covers and discovering the fast-paced world of commercial fiction.

I was asked to write for the HarperImpulse blog in order to promote their Christmas e-book push for sales. Here it is below:


What do interns get up to at HarperCollins? Ellen Davies walks us through her week in the Editorial department of Women’s Fiction and HarperImpulse.


I arrived at the glamourous-looking News Building bright and early on Monday morning. Equipped with a new security pass (and the bewildering knowledge that the lifts have no buttons), I was introduced to the lovely Editorial team in HarperFiction and settled in for an exciting week.

On my first morning, I got to sit in on an Editorial & Production Progress meeting. With all the talk of spot UV, embossed, soft touch, matt-lam, it was initially bewildering, until Martha (who’s the Commissioning Editor here, and also happens to make her own jeans) kindly talked me through all the kinds of different covers and embellishments, and the reasoning behind each cover. Who knew how much went into making a book?!

We left our desks at 12 pm to have a glass of Champagne with an author, and I was introduced to members of other teams – everyone here is really friendly and encouraging!

One of my main tasks of the day was assisting with a mail out of The Cows by Dawn O’Porter – a super exciting new book for HarperFiction, launching in spring 2017. Feeling inspired, I went home and read a copy of one of the stunning, black sprayed-edged proofs. I can’t wait to see the buzz Dawn O Porter’s book gets when it’s published in April.


Armed with my new found knowledge of covers, on Tuesday I got to proofread some ‘wet proof’ book covers and learn more about the production process. The rest of the day became filled up with reading: I followed up with an agent to get hold of an intriguing manuscript, and wrote a few book reports on submissions that had come in.

Mid-afternoon came around, and our team headed over to Publicity for (another) glass of Champagne, as it was someone’s last day. All in all, spending some time reading critically and drinking bubbly isn’t a bad way to pass the time!


My highlight from Wednesday was sitting in on the team meeting – I helped brainstorm for the coming months over a glass of (even more) Champagne and several boxes of chocolates from grateful authors! I could certainly get used to this lifestyle…

Kim Young, the Publisher, set me a task to think about social media ideas for HarperImpulse books, so I put my social media hat on and got to work.


On Thursday, I pitched my ideas for the HarperImpulse books to Kim, which seemed to go down quite well, and afterwards, we grabbed a coffee to talk about careers and routes into publishing. It was heartening to hear that, although it’s a very competitive industry, it’s filled with like-minded people who are passionate about their work.

At lunchtime, I went down to the canteen with Natalie, the Editorial Assistant, to make the most of the Christmas dinner. We had great fun working out what the Christmas cracker toys were meant to be (I still have no idea).

Buoyed by all the festive cheer, that afternoon I finally downloaded a copy of Christmas at the Comfort Food Café to read on the train home (at only 99p, who can resist some festive romance now that it’s nearing Christmas?). I completely fell in love with the characters, and I was so immersed that it made me oblivious to the smelly armpit of the man standing next to me. It really did put me in the Christmas spirit!


This morning, I turned up to work bedecked in a very festive Christmas jumper, ready to try and win the prize chocolate hamper!

Halfway through the day, I got an excited text to say that my sister might have gone into early labour! Cheers all round, and Kim made sure I got an enormous pile of baby books to take home for my sister – thank you HarperCollins!

I’ve had a really great week at HarperCollins and loved getting to know more about publishing and all the hard work that goes into making these books and e-books. Have a read of Debbie Johnson’s book and give her the Christmas gift of a review on amazon! 

From the HarperImpulse website

Cover photo © faungg’s blog 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s