Work experience: it fills most uni students with dread. Visions of being the perpetual cupboard-organiser and tea-maker haunt our nightmares. So, you can imagine my relief when I arrived at Sweet Cherry Publishing to find an office full of lovely colleagues ready and waiting with a list of interesting tasks for me to complete. From foreign rights to editing, I was lucky enough to get involved with every aspect of the publishing industry during my two-week placement.
When I arrived at the Sweet Cherry office on Wednesday 30th September, I was welcomed by Lara Clift, head of the sales team, who introduced me to her colleagues and gave me an overview of the business. Unlike most work experience students, I was able to adapt my placement to my own interests, as Lara and I discussed which areas of the publishing industry intrigued me the most.
I am a keen writer and currently produce articles for a student newspaper at my university, so was eager to develop these skills during my time at Sweet Cherry. Producing a blog post was one of the first jobs which Jess, the publicity and sales executive, asked me to complete. I really enjoyed researching the children’s books currently at the top of the bestseller lists, as well as reminiscing about some of my own childhood favourites! I was also grateful for the opportunity to write for a younger audience than my articles are usually aimed at. Towards the end of my first week, I had the chance to write two press releases for titles Sweet Cherry are publishing in the next few months. It was really exciting to be writing about up-and-coming releases and to know that my work would be sent out to journalists, bookshop owners and bloggers all around the country!
Jess also gave me the opportunity to utilise another strand of my creative energy as we photographed books for the Sweet Cherry Instagram account. After taking and editing my photographs, I uploaded them onto Instagram and Twitter, adding my own catchy headings. Jess is looking to expand Sweet Cherry’s presence on Instagram, and I worked with her as she interacted with customers and bloggers online. Like most young people, social media has an important role in my life. I had no idea, however, just how crucial a part it plays in business; the success of a new book really can depend on Instagram likes or a glowing blog post!
Sweet Cherry are an ambitious and forward-thinking publishing house and, as well as making full use of social media, they embrace some of the more ’traditional’ publicity methods. By contacting independent bookshops (‘indies’) and local primary schools, I helped the team expand their sales opportunities and develop their mission to bring books to children from less advantaged backgrounds.
As I come to the end of my placement, I shall be sorry to say goodbye to everyone at Sweet Cherry. I feel very lucky to have found a publishing team so open to my own input and ready to give me an insight into the ‘real’ world of publishing – and not a messy cupboard in sight!
Thank you Sweet Cherry!