Just get out into the world

James O’Hagan was a Sales and Marketing Intern at Heyday during the summer of 2012.

When offered the opportunity to work as an intern at Heyday, I was excited for the chance to gain experience and insight into the publishing industry. With the end of my time as an undergraduate student approaching, I am faced with the difficult task of choosing a career to pursue, and I have learned that when struggling with indecision, one solution is to gather as much information as possible. One of the best ways to do this was encapsulated very well by the message of “just get out into the world.” This sound advice was given by the founder and publisher of Heyday, Malcolm Margolin, as I worked as a Sales and Marketing Intern this summer. The key point is that there are invaluable lessons to be learned from every new experience, and it’s important to extend ourselves whenever possible. I certainly feel this was achieved during my internship at Heyday working with Natalie Mulford, the Marketing and Publicity Director, and Lillian Fleer, the Events and Outreach Director. Throughout my internship, I picked up many useful career tips and practical information regarding how an organization like Heyday promotes and markets their upcoming books to the public.

One of the most valuable parts of this internship was the ability to observe some of the critical processes involved in a successful publishing company. It is clear that networking and forming connections with authors, other publications, and the general public play a vital role when promoting upcoming books. Developing and maintaining these contacts requires focus and effort from many members of the organization. I had the chance to attend a meeting with Natalie Mulford and the authors of Valley of Shadows and Dreams, Ken and Melanie Light, as they discussed the promotion of their new book with a representative of the Oakland Museum of California. These types of meetings occur frequently during the marketing process of a book, and are an effective way of maintaining personal relationships with authors. In order to manage the thousands of contacts that Heyday has developed, a database system is used to efficiently access their information. One of my responsibilities was working with this database to categorize or add contacts—a new experience—and I found it interesting to see how many organizations Heyday is in touch with throughout California, from universities to local magazines.

It was also interesting to see other methods that are used to promote new books. I was involved in the process of sending samples of Rose Hill, by Carlos Cortés, to various journals and magazines in order for the book to be reviewed in their publications. This is important for generating coverage and awareness of an upcoming book. I also assisted in gathering contact information of local public readings in bookstores and other venues, which is another great way to advertise an author’s work. Doing this I was able to use Microsoft Excel for the first time, a skill I’m sure I will need in the future regardless of which career I choose.

Overall, I would say I had a great experience at Heyday and was very impressed with everyone I met as well as with the culture of the organization. Not only did everyone seem to enjoy their work, but they were approachable, incredibly helpful, and fun to be around. Being a shy person, the friendliness of the staff really helped me feel comfortable and enjoy being there. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be an intern at Heyday this summer, and I appreciate the advice and help that everyone gave me!