Publishing in the Time of Covid: My Virtual Internship at PRH

PRH Spring 2021-010721

Many of my fellow members of the Class of 2020 would probably agree that post-grad life did not begin the way we expected. Everyone had plans to go to graduate school, start a new job, spend the summer traveling, or move to a new city. I, for one, was excited to move to New York and make my way in the publishing industry.

That dream was unfortunately delayed due to the pandemic, but I was eventually able to begin my publishing journey by interning at Penguin Random House.

PRH titles I received at discount as part of my internship.

Because of social distancing protocols, Penguin Random House employees have been working from home for months, but that didn’t stop them from hiring a small group of interns for the fall semester. Getting the chance to intern at PRH, even virtually, was an amazing experience and the Sigma Tau Delta stipend secured my ability to pursue the internship.

From my home in California, I was able to complete an internship at a Big Five publishing house. Unlike previous PRH internships, this internship program was held entirely virtually and only lasted eight weeks, but my time there was full of concrete experience and wonderful memories. I was an editorial intern for Ballantine Bantam Dell, which publishes an array of fiction and non-fiction in hardcover and paperback. Some of their most notable authors include Jodi Picoult, Danielle Steel, and Alison Weir.

I spent the majority of my time reading agented manuscripts for multiple editors who specialize in an variety of genres spanning from women’s fiction to literary fiction to narrative non-fiction. Anyone could ask me to do anything at any time, and there was something quite exciting about that. One day, I would be reading a series of non-fiction proposals, and the next day I would be compiling a list of comparable titles for a new project and tracking sales for one of our authors.

One of the tasks I enjoyed the most was attending the editorial meetings. At these meetings, editors would come together to share new projects and progress on current ones. I even attended book jacket meetings where designers from the art department shared cover designs for upcoming books with the editors, and their talent and creativity always astounded me.

Something I quickly learned was that editors are involved in every single step of the production of a book, from acquisition to publicity, and I got to see, firsthand, what it takes to remain on top of multiple projects all the while staying up to date on the ongoings in the industry.

brown bag
The interns attended the Brown Bag Series, where we learned about the different departments within PRH

Every day, I got to interact with these passionate and talented editors and talk about books. What English major wouldn’t love to be in an environment where everyone talks about books?

In college, I always thought I would go into publishing and I envisioned myself in editorial, but I wanted to keep myself open to the possibility of pursuing another path, especially when editorial roles are so hard to come by. But this internship solidified my long-held desire to enter the publishing industry and become an editor. Even though I didn’t get a chance to work in Penguin Random House’s NYC office and meet everyone in person, this internship provided me with invaluable experience, guidance, and confidence that publishing is my path.

SCollins-headSydney Collins
Penguin Random House Internship Recipient, Fall 2020
Kappa Kappa Chapter, Alumna
University of Richmond, Richmond, VA


Penguin Random House Internships

Paid internship opportunities are available from Penguin Random House to provide interested undergraduate and graduate student members of Sigma Tau Delta with experience in the publishing industry.

Spring 2021

Applications due: January 18, 2021

With a full focus on marketing, this internship program offers candidates the opportunity to work in the Penguin Random House Adult & Children’s divisions, attend weekly professional development programming, and learn about the world of publishing. This program is intended to provide opportunities for racially/ethnically underrepresented groups in the publishing industry. Active chapter members and December 2020 graduates interested in learning about the world of marketing in book publishing are encouraged to apply. No prior publishing experience is required.

Similar to the Fall 2020 program, this program will be 100% remote and will run between March 22 – May 14, 2021.

During this eight week program, Spring interns will work 14 hours per week at a pay rate of $20/hr. Intern schedules will be flexible to account for candidates who may be located in a variety of time zones. An active student member of Sigma Tau Delta who applies through the process delineated below will receive an additional $350 stipend. Active members include undergraduate and graduate students, and students who graduated during the month of December 2020.

The Penguin Random House application deadline is January 18, 2021, 11:59 p.m. EST.


Not So Random Memories from My PRH Internship
Making Protagonist Choices: My Internship at PRH
Perfect is Penguin: My Internship at Penguin Random House
My 140 Hours Interning at PRH’s Razorbill
How an Internship Shaped my Career
Spending Summer in an Igloo: My Editorial Internship with Penguin Random House
Interning at Penguin: Life of a Book Nerd
The Halfway Point: Penguin Group (USA) Summer Internship

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