Emma's work experience at Miles Kelly

July 03, 2015

My name is Emma and I am a year 10 student; I came to Miles Kelly Publishing for my work experience. When I first heard about my placement, I was a little concerned that going to work in an office wouldn’t be of any interest to me, especially as I had never worked in that kind of environment before. I didn’t expect to be doing anything really fun due to lack of experience. However, I was pleasantly surprised on my first day as I was given a list with a range of tasks for me to do throughout the week, which all intrigued and excited me.

What have you done this week?
I’ve done a lot of different projects this week. On my first day, I was doing some market and cover research for the front cover of a Kings and Queens fact book, which was fun but quite challenging as the topic was so specific. I have also written the back cover copy of a children’s story book, renumbered an index for a Q&A Animals book, and written the cover artwork brief for a children’s book about firefighters, which I enjoyed a great deal. My main project this week however, has been replanning an encyclopedia of sharks. 

Encyclopedia of sharks project
Almost every day this week, I have worked on replanning a shark fact book as it was being changed into a 512-page book by adding 64 new double-page spreads of pictures. I started by using Excel to decide where the new spreads would be positioned in the new book, which was quite challenging as they had to be evenly spaced, not following on from one another and relevant to the topics on the surrounding pages. I then did some picture, cover and market research for the front cover and new pages, which was really interesting. After I had found the images, I had a meeting with Belinda, Sarah and Jo, and they told me how I could improve what I had done.

What did you enjoy?
My favourite part was definitely writing the cover artwork briefs for the firefighter book. I enjoyed seeing how the book would be developed from initial rough sketches to a complete book to be sold, and being part of that process. I also liked doing the picture research for sharks as I learned lots about them and came across some really interesting pictures.

What was difficult?
Initially, learning how to use the Apple Mac was challenging as I had never used one before and it was very different to computers I had used before at home and in school, but after the first day, it didn’t take me long to adjust. I also found the Kings and Queens research difficult after a while as it was a very limited subject with not many pictures that would be eye-catching to customers wanting to buy the book.

What have you learned?
I learned what life in the workplace is really like, as it was very different to what I was expecting and I’ve really enjoyed it! I have also learned what a long process book publishing is, which I had never previously considered. Also, during my research, I have learned many facts about sharks!

Did it meet your expectations of children’s publishing?
Absolutely not, because I was expecting a strict, quiet office with an unfriendly atmosphere. Instead, Miles Kelly offered me a friendly and relaxed environment, where everyone was very keen to help with any problems I faced. Everyone was so helpful and friendly and I will miss them when I have to go back to school!

Has it influenced your possible career choices for the future?
Although I’ve always been very indecisive when choosing a career path to follow, I have always been keen on writing stories of my own so I was really pleased to get the chance to see the process of making them for myself. From my experience at Miles Kelly, I have gained a real insight as to what the general workplace is like and I have really enjoyed it! I feel I have gained necessary skills during this week, such as time management, working independently and perseverance with things I find challenging. Although I am still unsure as to what career I will be pursuing, I am very glad I came to Miles Kelly Publishing as it taught me a lot about life in the workplace and what a career in editing has to offer.

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