McRae Intern says UPM's "fast-paced environment" will prove useful in future

The following is a guest post from Kristi Ezernack. Kristi worked at UPM as editorial intern and then this spring as the McRae publishing intern. The McRae Publishing Internship, supported by the Richard and Selby McRae Foundation, offers a singular educational opportunity to young men and women interested in book publishing to start their careers as interns and gain valuable practical knowledge about the publishing industry.

Below Kristi talks about her interest in publishing and her experiences at UPM.

Long before graduating from the Mississippi University for Women with an English degree last May, there was a lot I didn't know about what career I wanted to pursue or where to begin after college. When I entered my senior year, I unfortunately still hadn't figured it out. As graduation approached, it felt more and more like I was about to be shoved off an impossibly high cliff. Luckily, however,  it was then that the opportunity to apply for this internship came around.

I soon realized publishing was the only direction that made sense for me. I first started at UPM as an editorial intern last summer, and I will be forever glad that I did. Because of this, I was able to hit the ground running as the McRae intern. I already had a sense of the kind of work I would be doing and the people that I would be working with, which made the transition and the job that much easier.

I've had experience as an editor and reviewer for both my high school and college literary magazines, most recently I was co-editor of MUW's The Dilettanti, and I enjoyed it very much. I took a lot of joy out of working deeply with the material that was going into the magazines, doing things such as proofreading and copy editing.

While my responsibilities as McRae intern didn't include a lot of proofreading or copy editing, I got to see how a book is made on a variety of different levels. Some days I would be contacting readers for manuscripts, reading indexes, creating cost estimates, and preparing contracts for readers and authors. Other days I would be preparing materials for launch and board meetings.

The main thing that I've learned during my internship is that in this business, hand-holding is not an option. I had to learn not only how to do things quickly, but effectively. I think learning how to deal with this kind of fast-paced environment will help me in any job that I will have in the future.

I mostly worked with the Editorial Associate, Katie Keene, and the Assistant Director/Editor-in-Chief, Craig Gill. I also worked with the Production Manager, Shane Gong-Stewart and the Acquisitions Editor, Vijay Shah. The staff here  made sure that I knew not only how to do something, but why I was doing it.  This willingness by the staff to guide me through the process made my time as the McRae intern one of the most valuable experiences I will have in my career.

One other major thing that I have learned during my time at UPM is that publishing is a business that involves working with an assortment of people, all of whom need, want, and demand different things. Not knowing how to do everything comes along with the job, but it’s also one of the reasons why this business is so exciting. It was interesting to see that even people that have been working here for decades still faced new problems all the time. All in all, I am walking away from this experience with a lot more confidence and certainty about where I’ll be going in the future.