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Hidden Heroes: Working as a Production Editorial Intern at Penguin Random House

As an avid reader and lover of captivating stories, I grew up knowing I wanted to work with words. I spent time writing poetry, learning the ins and outs of journalism, and editing for academic journals. Still, it wasn’t until the first semester of my senior year of college that I discovered my true calling: production editorial.

My Production Editorial Internship at Penguin Random House gave me hands-on experience in the behind-the-scenes world of book publishing. Working alongside production editors, managing editors, and designers, I watched both fiction and nonfiction books come to life through a cycle of editing passes.

With the incredible support and confidence invested in me by my mentors, I was able to perform first, second, and third passes on real books, making grammatical edits and suggestions along the way. This kind of editing is one I hadn’t done before, but one that helped nurture the skills I already possessed to hone them for book publishing.

As a child and young adult, I would have never imagined that the books I was reading would one day be books I would have a hand in editing, and yet here I was, reading cover copies, checking eBooks for errors, and getting glimpses at some future New York Times bestsellers.

Even now, a few weeks after the internship has concluded, I am waiting patiently for the day I walk into a Barnes and Noble, see a book on the shelf, and say, “Hey, I had a hand in editing that book.”

To be a part of the incredible team at PRH was a one-of-a-kind experience. I worked day in and day out with my supervisor who never hesitated to answer my questions, hop on meetings with me, and give me more assignments. It was her trust in me that fueled my confidence in my editing skills, allowing me to catch errors on books that no one else had.

Before participating in this internship, I never knew this sector of publishing existed. Production editors are truly the hidden heroes of book publishing. From catching the tiniest of errors to demonstrating diligence and meticulousness, production editors often go undetected by readers, who know the publishing industry in limited parts—authors, editors, publishers. What goes on between the lines, between the pages, that is the truest mystery.

“If no one knows we exist, that means we’re doing our job right.”

“If no one knows we exist, that means we’re doing our job right.”

That’s what one of my mentors said to me in my first week. This makes me proud to have been part of the production editorial department. These are people who possess a superpower others dream of having—invisibility. And while I know the department deserves massive recognition for all that they do, there is something about working under the radar, tidying up books, and perfecting them for readers—something about this made me fall in love with production editing.

A huge part of the “something” I refer to is the people I worked with. I had tons of meetings every week with new people in the department, all of whom spent thirty minutes of their day teaching me about their jobs, giving me advice, and totally “geeking out” with me about words.

I fell in love with production editorial not only because of the importance of the work that they do, but because of the passion they possess. Everyone I worked with had the same thing in common—a love for books. This made the internship, even at its busiest moments, the best time of my life.

All the PEs at PRH have the same passion for words and reading that I have had since childhood. They are living their dreams each day by working with words. This is something I wholeheartedly hope I can say for myself post-graduation.

Brianna Lopez
Penguin Random House Fall Internship Recipient, 2021
Alpha Alpha Xi Chapter
Barry University, Miami Shores, FL


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.

Fall 2024/Spring 2025 Internship

The Penguin Random House 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 interested in learning about the world of marketing in book publishing are encouraged to apply. No prior publishing experience is required.

Fall/spring interns will work remote for 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.

  • Fall 2024/Spring 2025 PRH Internships Likely Offered: Marketing and Publicity
  • Internship Dates: ten weeks in fall 2024 and ten weeks in spring 2025

To apply for priority consideration, applicants must apply BOTH to Sigma Tau Delta’s AwardSpring platform AND Penguin Random House’s Application portal by the following due dates:

  • Application to Sigma Tau Delta for priority consideration: February 5 at 11:59 p.m. CDT
  • Full application to Penguin Random House: TBA

Past Penguin Internship Recipient Blogs

Interning at Penguin Random House through Sigma Tau Delta
An Internship Like No Other: Perseverance and Publishing at PRH
Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together: My PRH Internship
The One Where I Remotely Interned at Penguin Random House
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome to Apply for a PRH Internship
Saying ‘Why Not’ to a Career at Penguin Random House
Publishing in the Time of Covid: My Virtual Internship at PRH
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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