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Kimbearlea-Smith.jpgWe have been thrilled this year to have as part of our team Kimberlea Smith, who joined us as a publishing intern through the Australian Publishers Association Internship Program, funded by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. Since joining SUP in July, Kimberlea has worked across our list on a range of marketing, editorial and production tasks, all with incredible energy, meticulousness and curiosity. It has been fantastic for us to have an extra pair of hands and eyes -- and her questions and insights have helped us to see our publishing practices afresh. Kimberlea's internship finishes this week. As we say thanks and good luck, we asked her to tell us about her experience as a publishing intern, her plans for the future, and her dream literary road-trip companion.

What have you been working on at SUP?
I’ve really had the opportunity to see all aspects of publishing, from proposal to publication. I started my internship doing some publicity and marketing work, doing things like writing press releases, doing research for events, hunting down contacts, and contributing to the SUP catalogue. I eventually moved into production, working on Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Communicated Disease and The Ebb and Flow of the Ghūrid Empire. I don’t have any experience in production at all, so I was surprised how much I enjoyed that side of the publishing process! There can be a lot of trial and error, but it’s also really satisfying to see everything come together. I was also able to do a little editorial work. Of all the things I did during my graduate certificate course, I found editing to be the most daunting. If nothing else, this internship has made me (slightly) more comfortable with looking at a manuscript critically and giving an author constructive criticism.

What has been the best part of the role? How about the most challenging?
I think working in such a small team was one of the best things about this role – if I had finished my assigned work early, I could walk up to a member of the team and ask, ‘Do you need help with anything?’ I developed some skills in areas of publishing that I had never really thought about before. Everyone on the team was always friendly and responsive to any questions I had, no matter how small or stupid (people may say there’s no such thing as a stupid question, but I assure you – I asked them frequently).
One of the most challenging things about the role would be having to pick things up quickly (I don’t know if I would recommend any of my practices when using Adobe InDesign, but I got the results I wanted so I’m counting it as a win). There’s a lot more thinking on your feet than I anticipated – if the images in a manuscript aren’t flowing with the text, for example, you’ve got to find a way to make it work – especially when you’ve got a deadline to get pages to an author by a certain date, or to the printer by a certain time.

Has anything surprised you about SUP/scholarly publishing?
Definitely! Having previously interned at an independent publisher, I assumed that scholarly publishing would operate in the same manner, so I was surprised to find out that a board governed the publishing program and editorial policies. Sitting in on an editorial advisory board meeting was quite interesting, and I really enjoyed it. Everybody comes from different disciplines and backgrounds, and they all have a multitude of ideas and recommendations to improve SUP’s publishing program!

What skills have you used most during your internship?
Not necessarily a skill, but I was constantly looking at what I was doing with a critical eye, regardless of whether I was doing publicity/marketing, editing, or production. Now I can’t stop!

What was your dream job when you were 12? What is your dream job now?
I don’t think I ever had something concrete like, ‘I’m going to be a doctor so I can save people’s lives!’ As is to be expected, I was constantly reading throughout my childhood and had lofty dreams of having some kind of job where I would be paid to read books (the mechanics of how or why never came into it). Publishing is kind of adjacent to someone throwing money at me to read only books I enjoy, right?

You have to take a week-long road trip with a fictional character. Who do you choose and why?
The first two characters that came to mind are Lucy Snowe from Charlotte Brontë’s Villette and Emma Woodhouse from Jane Austen’s Emma, because they are two of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever come across and I kept thinking about them long after I’ve finished the book. However, both would make terrible road trip companions. Lucy is quite prickly and distant, so she isn’t exactly someone you’d want to be stuck in the car with for a week; Emma is so used to running the show that she’d probably plan the itinerary without acknowledging any of your suggestions. If I had to pick between the two, I’d probably go with Emma – I can be incredibly indecisive, and the road trip would probably have better chances of being a success if someone else took care of the logistics.

What are you planning to do next?
Catching up on my ‘to-be-read’ pile over the Christmas break. After that, who knows?

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Literary road trip: Lucy Snowe vs Emma Woodhouse (Charlotte Bronte by George Richmond; still from Clueless

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