Monday, May 30, 2011

Because Pictures Say A Thousand Words

It's sadly now time to end my BK experience, my time in San Francisco and along with it my blog. Rather than getting all sentimental here, I've decided to end with a collection of my favourite photographs taken over the last 3 months. So (in no particular order), I'll begin...

The picture below is hard evidence that I embraced the slightly crazy cultural side of SF. Here, Dana (my supervisor at Children's Book Press) and I are getting involved in an interactive drag art instillation we went to see at City Hall as part of the SF's Ethnic Dance Festival. Just a normal lunch time in SF really.

This photo was taken on one of my first nights in SF at the Top Of The Mark. Amazing views, live music and cocktails.

When my bf came to visit we went over the Golden Gate Bridge on a beautiful (but freezing day):

This is the standard photograph that everyone who visits Vegas takes...I won 79 cents in the casinos.
For some reason we thought it'd be a good idea while in Vegas to get into a teeny tiny plane and fly very high over the Grand Canyon...uuurgh, great views but it's something you only need to do once. I don't think anyone on our bus looked the normal colour afterwards. This video gives you a sense of the ridiculously small size and the ridiculously loud noise of the plane:

Really amazing view from hotel room in Santa Cruz (to make up for the dreary Greyhound coach on the way down):

Jeevan (the smartest dressed man in publishing and supervisor extraordinaire):

Bonnie hanging out with the BK interns...

The parentals came to stay!

On my last weekend I road-tripped down the coast to Carmel and Big Sur with my housemate Martina and her friend, Gozzy, not a bad way to end my trip...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Beginning Of The End

It's almost time to take down my Guernsey teddy and other Guernsey memrobila that has been cluttering up my BK desk for the last 3 months...(photographs of Gsy cows, cuddly toys of Gsy cows etc etc) (Gsy is famous for its cows in case you were wondering, I don't have some weird cow-obsession, my mum kinda took the one idea and ran when I asked her to send me some things from home...).

Anyway, this week I have had the task of training the new editorial intern, Chloe, and passing on the metaphorical editorial gauntlet to her. I found this a bit sad at first, but then I realised I could also pass along the very real pile of proposals to be looked at as well...which didn't feel half as bad. 

Training went well, although I had planned a full day of stuff which I managed to get through in about 2hrs, but I'm told this we just chatted a lot and I told her other important editorial intern stuff like how to handle Jeevans pre-lunch grumpiness, and which BK events she would be guaranteed complimentary food at etc. I also enjoyed asserting my power and allowing Chloe (and myself) to both go home a bit early as a first day treat ;o) The joys of being in charge...

Had my farewell editorial lunch today as well, and now there is only one Author Day left and I'm gone from the BK world forever (although I may well take up David's suggestion of becoming the BK London correspondent...!, or more realistically doing some blogging for BK from time to time)

For those who are interested: the Guernsey cow is fawn and white in colour, and known for the rich flavour of it's milk, it's hardiness and docile disposition:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

MTV Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations of Life as an American Intern

During my first week in San Francisco, I stayed in a downtown hostel while searching for accommodation. It was a perfect location and great to have finally made it to San Francisco.

However, it was also tedious, stressful at times, and the hostel was overrun with excited computer geeks attending some mysterious conference in the city (don’t you agree there are some people who can DO animation, and there are some people who are GIFTED at animation?...and other such compelling debates took over all common areas).

As I was trudging up the stairs back to my sixth floor hostel room, after another evening apartment viewing, I couldn’t help but compare the beginning of my internship experience with that of Lauren Conrad’s in The Hills (please don’t laugh, I'm heading towards a point...).

Lauren had arrived in LA to begin her internship and had driven straight to her fully furnished apartment (I bet she even had a washer and dryer – gold dust in American rentals), to find her best friend waiting for her by the communal swimming pool (!)

Lauren’s placement began and she soon became BFFs with a fellow intern, with whom she shared a private office and therefore the two never had to worry about any interruptions from pesky supervisors actually giving them any work.

Not only this, but Lauren’s entire friendship group suddenly appeared to have moved to the same city, and she went partying pretty much every night with no concerns over money/ people to hang out with/preparation work for the next day.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my internship at BK, where I have gained invaluable experience and had a lot of responsibility. However, if I have one complaint it's that my internship has been rather lacking in the ‘drama’ and glamour that MTV and Lauren Conrad portrayed as a pre-requisite for any internship worth its salt in the US workplace.

It is a sad fact that alongside the useful publishing skills I’ve gained from my internship, I have also learned that MTV somewhat exaggerated in their portrayal of American internships.

In my heart of hearts I guess I always knew this was the case. But I do find myself sometimes sitting at my desk, still hopeful that one day another intern’s glamorous ex-boyfriend will charge into the office, make an awful scene, cause a massive fight and restore my faith in MTV.   

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Authors Say the Nicest Things...

Lately I've reviewed several proposals from places far far away, and therefore have emailed (rather than called) several authors with my feedback (to save BK phone bills, and also to ensure I'm not waking authors up with my feedback at 3am, which would be a bit weird...)

As a result I've had a number of very friendly emails back from authors which (I'll admit it) I keep re-reading every now and again. 

However, they're beginning to annoy me now and clutter up my inbox so before I delete them forever I want to share some snippets with you:

1.) Dear Holly,

Your informative answer shows that Berrett-Koehler is different. I would certainly like to write about you some day. You are right we should have a big name... Thank you again. Let us hope we can cooperate someday.
Best regards

2.) Dear Holly:

Thank you so much for your prompt and extremely insightful reply to my proposal.  You have really helped me.

While I am naturally disappointed not to have the opportunity to work with you at this time, the points you raise about breaking into the US market are valid and I can see your logic...

Again, thank you for your feedback.  One day, I hope to publish with Berrett-Koehler – it’s a publisher I really admire because I love your values as a company and the unique business model that you have evolved.

Kind Regards

3.) Dear Holly and Jeevan,
I want to thank you for your letter, Holly, and for the communications I received from both you and Jeevan. I can honestly say of the half dozen or so publishing companies I have been in communication with you really stand out from the rest in key ways. Firstly in your prompt response to approach from author. Remarkable, within about 24 hrs. Nextly, in your personal follow through and phone call inquiry, within the next 24 hrs or so. Your brisk, friendly and respectful approach is welcome and reflects well upon your company. Your taking the time to write a personal note of further explanation about your decision is most appreciated too. In other words, you really handle people well. That aspect of your company shines. It says a lot about you and what you care about.

Thank you again so much, I am really positively impressed with your company and will look for opportunities to speak well of you and refer people to you when I can,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The American Resume and The English CV

This week I've been working on (and stressing out about) my English CV to send out to people in London. It hasn't helped that my most recent CV at the moment is in the style of an American resume, which could not be more different from its English counterpart if it tried. 

Apparently, also, this is not a commonly known cultural difference. I learned this after receiving several baffled emails back in response to my American resume, which I'd sent out to English acquaintances to read over....why is it only a page?, (they'd ask) why have you not put your A-levels on? (they'd be horrified) Why have you listed what you did in each placement rather than the skills you learned? why? why? WHY?

I personally didn't have any idea about the differences myself until I began initial research. But I didn't care back then, why would I get stressed about re-writing my CV when I was about to go off on an adventure to a sunnier climate, where the clothes were so much cheaper, and the junk food was so much better?

Now, however, as the prospect looms of going home, finding a real job, and putting my currency converter away for good (I just love how everything feels cheaper when you converter it), I'm finding the whole resume to CV thing a bit more trying...luckily there are lots of freshly baked cookies everywhere to cheer me up :o)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hayek vs Keynes (the rap)

As well as learning about publishing, Jeevan likes to ensure his interns engage with discussion of broader issues, such as: the nearest Starbucks to the BK office, the superiority of English over American tailoring (this one could have been just for me), and the economy. In terms of the economy Jeevan argues that all economic debate boils down to the argument between Hayek and Keynes.

Luckily Jeevan has had 10 years experience at training and trying to keep the attention of interns, so has some tricks up his sleeve. This YouTube rap video perfectly outlines the economic debate we were discussing, and (as economic rap videos go) is pretty funny:

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's Time To Call An Author...R-E-L-A-X

Probably one of the tasks I find most intimidating at BK is having to phone up the authors and explain why we won't be publishing their book. This is not common practise in publishing (I understand why, authors looooove to talk on the phone, no-one would ever get anything done if publishers just spoke to authors all day), but it's all good experience for me. In fact, now I'm over the absolute fear I had at the beginning, I have to admit I'm actually beginning to enjoy my chats with the authors and find them considerably less intimidating. Mainly for the following reasons: 

a.) Authors are so grateful that a publisher has contacted them, let alone phoned them up to offer feedback. When authors have worked so hard on a manuscript it is nice to at least acknowledge it. 

b.) Although authors are often extremely successful in their field, they generally know nothing about the publishing industry. Therefore I've learnt not to fear them quizzing me on their business book, but am instead now confident we'll just discuss publishing

c.) Authors in general are very interesting people who love to talk. I've ended up discussing topics as obscure as the best sight-seeing places in London to the benefits of a healthy morning routine to the latest film releases.

Therefore when it's time to ring an author, I've learnt it's time to relax and enjoy.