By Jamie Bytheway
I had several brief encounters with the MUP team prior to my work experience (at the Manchester Book Market) and therefore sort of knew what to expect; lots of books, a chance to learn new skills and maybe even a pint.
On my first day I was in the editorial department with Sarah Hunt and Tony Mason. First off, Tony made me a brew and then gave me more of an insight into what the press actually did and how they operate, with a quick tour round the office and all its Hogwartseque nooks and crannys. The press is much bigger than I realised and has a much higher output than I expected of is eighteen staff.
My work in the editorial department mainly consisted of researching reviewers for proposals. I found this extremely interesting as I got to look over about twenty book proposals from topics as wide ranging as Terrorism to Italian-American boxing to Renaissance art, and felt like I was gaining a sense of how books are conceived. I also got to look over completed manuscripts which were ready to handover to production to check nothing fundamental was missing at this stage. I would have really liked the chance to go to an editorial meeting, but unfortunately there wasn’t one scheduled during my time at MUP.
My day in production was probably the most challenging, yet valuable day of my work experience. In the morning I looked over a revise and compared it to the original in order to check for any mistakes and to check all the changes suggested had been incorporated by the copy-editor. In the afternoon I looked over a final proof, which was much more difficult as it was much more refined than the revise, luckily (for me) I still found a couple of mistakes! Production is a very challenging environment as it requires complete concentration, and when working on an interesting title there is the temptation to just read the words rather than to check them. However, it was also a very valuable experience as I learnt about the international proofing marks, the secret code of proof-readers!
My final day was spent upstairs in the marketing department. I spent the beginning of the morning compiling mail-outs for new authors to inform them of the marketing process. The morning finished with a meeting regarding the new website. I found this useful as it was my first experience of an official meeting in a work environment, and valuable experience for my current full-time job in marketing. Lunch consisted of a quick sandwich and a pint at the local pub, which proved a great chance to ask more in-depth questions, especially to staff I had not worked with directly. In the afternoon I helped consolidate a database of images for the new website. My day in marketing was enjoyable as I found the work was very varied.
I really enjoyed my time at MUP as it offered valuable, real work experience, and gave me the opportunity to develop essential industry skills. This kind of work experience is difficult to get within the publishing sector, and therefore I would like to take this opportunity to again thank the staff of MUP for letting me come and work alongside them.