When we arrived at the office of the Rutgers University Press the morning of the first day of our Princeternship, we noticed there were fans blowing everywhere, and big plastic curtains separating the entryways. Apparently, due to freezing weather conditions, the ceiling pipes had burst just that weekend, soaking a large part of the building, including the office of our Princeternship host, Acquisitions Editor Dana Dreibelbis ‘78. Nevertheless, he (and everyone else in the office) was unbelievably accommodating, and did not let the inconvenience get in the way of letting us see the publishing process.
Our first day was primarily informational. We were shown around the office, visited both editing and publishing offices, and admired the stacks of books. The Press keeps a copy of every book they’ve ever published, which was pretty amazing to witness. We spoke with both Dana and a member of the production team to get a better sense for what a normal day for a Press employee might look like and spent some time browsing the catalogs to see what kind of books are published by an academic press, as well as how they are marketed, packaged and sold.
On the second day, we got to sit in on a full staff meeting, which I think was the most valuable part of the Princeternship for me. We were able to follow along on budget sheets and agendas that were handed out to us, as well as to the staff, as the heads of the various departments made their presentations. The office is relatively small—only seventeen people—so it was easy to figure out who everyone was, and what the inter-department relationships are like.
I came into the week interested in editing, but knowing nothing about the production or business aspects of the publishing business. I was surprised by how interested I was in layout and design, as well as by the thought processes that go into marketing and publicizing a book. These two days shadowing Mr. Dreibelbis were really informative, and I would recommend this Princeternship to anyone who thinks they might be interested in publishing (from copy editing to layout to sales) as a way to learn more about the overall process. For me, it solidified publishing as a possible and exciting career for me after graduation.