As a final year university student, graduation into the ‘real world’ is a looming reality for me at the moment. Gaining real experience in a world full of [entry-level – one year of experience required] is a nightmare. In fact, gaining that experience is so important that I sacrificed my reading week for it. Enter Sweet Cherry Publishing – my saviour in this regard – armed with a whole host of all-inclusive and exciting tasks for me to undertake in a week’s worth of work experience. When I enquired about possible work experience I expected and prepared for a week of monotonous training and background work that had no real meaning – imagine my surprise when I was greeted with a vibrant, enthusiastic staff and ‘live’, useful projects to take on. Marketing, publicity, foreign rights, you name it; all my interests were catered for at Sweet Cherry who gave me an all-around experience.

From the moment I entered the office on Monday, I was greeted with lots of cheerful smiles and introductions. Here I gained the first hint of the enjoyment I would experience over my week here. After my tour and induction, I was invited to sit in on a meeting that would discuss and evaluate an exciting new concept (no spoilers!) and made to feel like part of the team, and this ethos continued over the entirety of my time here.

 My greatest passion is for books (reading and writing) and a great deal of what shaped me was the amount of time I spent reading books as a child with my mum, so to see the inner-workings of texts published for children was an awesome experience for me and I like to think my work in publicity here has helped at least one child gain the same enjoyment as I did.

 I liaised with Jess (Publicity and Sales Executive) in order to produce exciting social media and blog posts, trying out my skills with photographing books and learning a great deal about the ins and outs of publicity along the way. I had little clue as to how much difference a little flair on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter could make when publishing books, and Jess and I worked together to provide some interesting and artistic posts for social media. I also worked on some fancy review graphics to polish my rusty Photoshop skills (with plenty of hand-holding from Daniel the Marketing and Sales Executive) and I learnt much about the publishing industry as a whole through the completion of online workshops.

 It was not all fun and games however; my brief time at Sweet Cherry has given me an insight into just how much work and dedication is required in order to publish and publicise a book. I spent several hours meticulously scanning and entering data useful to upcoming events and for the use of Foreign Rights under Lara (Head of Sales and Foreign Rights), where I learnt a great deal about the importance of negotiation and presentation internationally.    

 I found Sweet Cherry to be full of ambitious, self-motivated people with genuine warmth and incredible love of books – a far-stretch from many cold, profit-obsessed companies that abound these days. They put care into all their work as though the children on the receiving end of their projects were their own – I wasn’t forced to say this I promise!

 This is, by far, the most satisfaction and enjoyment I have ever had from work experience, with the feeling that I have achieved certain objectives that have real results. I am sad I have to say goodbye and plunge back into the whirlwind of assignments and exams but I shall remember this time fondly and I hope to keep in contact with Sweet Cherry and see the results of all their hard work. 

 My thanks to Abdul and the team for everything!

 Jack Ridge is a fourth-year English and French student at the University of Leicester.