In Fall 2017, I began frantically looking for an internship when I realized I could graduate a semester early. When I first heard about the internship opportunity at Scout Books & Media from Professor Jane Kinney-Denning, I had no idea what book packagers were or what they did. But after some research, a great phone interview, and a lovely meeting, I was happy to be hired because it has been a great opportunity to explore all aspects of the publishing industry. Plus, a 16 hours/week internship at Scout Books & Media works well with my 20 hours/week graduate assistantship at Pace University.
Scout Books & Media, a member of the American Book Producers Association (ABPA), is an independent book packager, brand developer, and publishing consultant. Book packagers (also known as book producers) make books for publishers, corporations, non-profits, and others in the publishing industry. They “perform all of the creative and production functions commonly performed by agents and publishing houses, with the exception of marketing, sales, and distribution” (ABPA).
Scout Books & Media specializes in producing adult nonfiction, children’s fiction and nonfiction, and reference books. Founded by Susan Knopf in 2011, Scout Books & Media “creates original projects, brings publishers’ concepts to life, develops series and brands, and provides consulting services” (read more from Susan’s interview with Kirkus Review). Some of its clients include Time Inc. Books, Scholastic, and Barnes & Noble.
“I established Scout Books & Media in early 2011 with a goal of creating books that put the reader’s experience first. Our clients do the heavy lifting of getting books to market, allowing us to focus on bringing enthusiasm and expertise to every project we do, from adult nonfiction to children’s books of all kinds, as well as brand development and consulting.” — Susan Knopf
As an intern, I work closely with Susan and Associate Editor Brittany Gialanella, an M.S. in Publishing alumna. The internship has been a great learning experience because they both make an effort to teach me why and how tasks are done within the industry. Plus, Susan and Brittany have been so open and welcoming that when I have questions about a project, I don’t feel hesitant about asking, knowing they will provide insightful answers.
“I’m an inveterate generalist with a passion for learning new things—which is obvious from the range of our projects (from picture books, mystery chapter books, pop star bios, to reference titles and recently a 700-page memoir). I also love teaching and encouraging the next generation of publishing talent. Bringing on an intern is a wonderful way to share my enthusiasm, learn from a student whose mind is open and experiences may be different, and show from the inside out how books are made. Of course an intern joins the team efforts here, but it’s also my responsibility to make it a good learning experience for the intern.” — Susan Knopf
My responsibilities mainly involve helping to read and edit manuscripts, research topics for book ideas and proposals, conduct photo research for upcoming projects, and attend panels on topics and trends happening within the book packaging industry. One of the most interesting parts about the internship has been researching book ideas and preparing proposals. This has taught me to not only consider what a book should include, but how it should be sold to the publisher (and eventually the consumer). In addition to these editorial and production experiences, I have been dabbling in some design, helping with logos for the Women’s National Book Association Pannell Award, and assisting with Scout Books & Media’s new website. Overall, my journey with Scout Books & Media has been educational and overwhelmingly positive.
For anyone unsure about what area of publishing they want to pursue, I would definitely recommend working for a book packager because you get to learn about different aspects of publishing. This could help you find the right path for you and your future.