Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together: My PRH Internship

The Penguin Random House Internship program is returning to an in-person internship at their Broadway offices in New York City starting summer 2022. Sigma Tau Delta Priority Candidate applications for the summer internships will be accepted February 28 – March 14.

For a perfectionist who has planned every aspect of their life since childhood, interning remotely has taught me to adapt with patience and enthusiasm. I initially applied to intern at Penguin Random House (PRH) in 2020, expecting to spend my summer days in an office and summer nights attending festivals and panels. The internship was postponed till this summer due to the pandemic. Though I was nervous about the expectations of a virtual experience, the support of PRH and the Sigma Tau Delta stipend made my reality more secure than anticipated. I was a publicity intern for Random House Children’s Books (RHCB), the kids and teens division with notable authors like Dr. Seuss, Mary Pope Osbourne, Nic Stone, Kwame Mbalia, and Karen M. McManus.

Publicity is the sum of two key ingredients: what a book is about and why it should matter. In the time of COVID-19, publicity has shifted gears in how to get the word out, from virtual bookstore panels to Instagram Lives. As I helped the senior publicists track invites to upcoming virtual book festivals, like the Brooklyn Book Festival and Decatur Book Festival, I sat in on the launch meetings focused on the approaching publication seasons and how hybrid openings would affect their scheduling. This contingency planning showed me how critically engaged publicists were in the lifespan of a book: from birth to publication, it’s never too early to gain traction.

What’s remained consistent virtually has been written media. I spent a majority of my time crafting press releases, galley letters, media pitches, and roundups for multiple publicists. It’s a fast-paced environment: one day, I’d write galley letters for children’s Christmas-themed picture books and the next day I’d draft up a roundup of licensed titles from previous seasons. There’s always an exciting angle to take; whether it was for a Latinx children’s fantasy or the spectacular conclusion to a space thriller series, I learned that—with the right words—publicity is a never-ending puzzle you play with all sorts of audiences.

I witnessed this puzzle firsthand this past August, when Victoria Lee‘s A Lesson in Vengeance was published and received magnanimous reviews for its ingenuity and sprawling horror. I compiled a media list of LGBTQ+ friendly outlets to send pitches and took note of Lee’s upcoming author panels. Lee’s writing was phenomenal, but their pitch of “lesbian dark academia with murder” ensnared readers into its universe. Watching books like A Lesson in Vengeance bloom in present time not only unveiled how many people gravitated toward them, but clarified the methodology behind reaching the right readership.

Not only was I immersed in publicity, I was introduced to other departments through PRH’s Internship Teach Week series. Directors, designers, and associates hopped on Zoom, with presentations explaining their roles and what challenges might arise in their areas. Departments like editorial production and subsidiary rights exposed a side of publishing I wasn’t familiar with. I was surprised by how much I especially enjoyed learning about consumer insights, a department that uses data to identify specific audiences across all demographics—like publicity. These Teach Week sessions expressed how symbiotic publishing must be to achieve a successful publication.

Although mine was not a traditional internship, it was simply thrilling. Every day felt like a behind-the-scenes look at a world I’d only dreamed about entering. My time with the publicity team at RHCB only confirmed that I’m on the right path: surrounded by books, working alongside people just as passionate about them. As I complete my MA in English at The College of New Jersey this year, I’ll take with me the experience and confidence I gained in my internship, and look forward to pursuing publishing post-grad.

Ambar Grullón
Penguin Random House Internship Recipient, Summer 2021
Alpha Epsilon Alpha Chapter
The College of New Jersey, NJ


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.

Summer 2022

Application due dates:

  • Application to Sigma Tau Delta for priority consideration: March 14, 2022
  • Full application to Penguin Random House: April 1, 2022

With focuses on Editorial, Marketing, Publicity, Sales, and Finance/IT, 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 interested in learning about the world of marketing in book publishing are encouraged to apply. No prior publishing experience is required.

During this summer 10 week program, the intern will work 28 hours per week at a pay rate of $20/hr. Opportunities are available in Penguin Random House’s Broadway offices in New York City and will run between June 13, 2022 – August 19, 2022. Active, eligible student members of Sigma Tau Delta who are chosen by Penguin Random House for the internship program will receive an additional $1,500 stipend from Sigma Tau Delta. Active members include undergraduate and graduate students, and students who graduate in spring 2022.

Past Penguin Internship Recipient Blogs

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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