This January I had the opportunity to participate in a short online internship with Bard Press. Although I worked with Todd Sattersten, the publisher, for just under a month, I was surprised by how much I learned in that short amount of time. So, I wanted to write a blog post about my experience with Bard Press.
To give a bit of background, I am currently a junior at a liberal arts college in north Texas. I am double majoring in English Literature and Spanish with a minor in Art, and was seeking to gain some practical experience in the English field. The college I attend has a January Term where we either focus on one class for the entire month, or take part in an in-person or remote Career Study Off Campus (CSOC), which is essentially an internship. I started reaching out to publishing and journalism companies hoping someone would be interested in “mentoring” me for the month of January, and that’s how I ended up with Bard!
For anyone interested in what it’s like being an intern for Bard Press, here’s how it went down:
Todd Sattersten, the publisher at Bard Press, and I met over Zoom several times before the internship officially started to discuss expectations and create a plan for what we wanted to accomplish during the short time we would have together. Then in January, we jumped right in. We would meet for about 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a quick stand-up to discuss what we would work on that day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we would have a longer meeting, about 1-2 hours to discuss our larger projects.
I had no experience in publishing coming into this internship. Luckily, while interning with Bard, I was able to work on a wide range of projects that I feel expanded my understanding of the responsibilities of a publishing company. Here is a short description of each of the projects I worked on:
- Manuscript Review: I read over a manuscript that Bard Press is thinking about publishing. After reading the entire book I gave Todd feedback on what I thought was working, not working, and what could be improved. I also brainstormed potential subtitles for the book.
- Website Maintenance – I edited the website with a focus on the Blog Posts. This may seem like a mundane task, but it gave me the chance to hone my proofreading and editing skills. I also learned a lot about the business book and self-help market and interesting things happening in the book world from reading Todd’s blog posts.
- Research Project – Todd was interested in seeing if price, specifically price changes, has an effect on sales. We focused on books from the top 100 best selling business books of 2020 and I used Keepa, an Amazon price tracker, to gather data on the price changes of each book, and NPD BookScan to gather weekly sales numbers from each book. Although it has only been a few weeks of collecting and analyzing the data, we have found that a price change does have an effect on sales, for some books. This is just the start of this research project, so there is much more information needed to come to a proper conclusion.
- Full Shelf – As many of you know, Todd posts a blog called “Full Shelf” each month that contains links he thinks would be interesting for authors. This month, I got to gather the links and write about them. This actually proved to be a bit more difficult than I thought because I do not regularly seek news about the goings-on in the literary world. However, I found what I thought were some interesting articles and hope y’all enjoy them too.
- Backlist – I created a backlist of all the books that Bard Press has published. There are only 6 books listed on the website with extensive information about each one, but Bard has published more than 30 books. Todd wanted a page with the complete list of books, so with the help of a spreadsheet with abbreviations of each title, another list with ISBNs, and the internet, I compiled a list.
- Blog post about the internship – Finally, this is my last project. I was originally going to write a book review for one of the business books that Todd sent me, but it was taking longer than I expected to finish the book because of the other projects I was also working on. So instead, we decided that I would write this blog post, for anyone interested in what it looks like to be an intern for Bard Press.
In addition to these projects, our longer discussions were incredibly helpful. I learned things like what the Q12 is, Todd’s method of measuring a good business book, how retail price came to be printed on books, and much more.
I am so grateful that Bard Press gave me this opportunity, especially considering I didn’t have any previous publishing experience and was (and still am) a newbie to the business and self-help genre. This was a perfect opportunity for me to explore this field and help out where I could, and I even found myself genuinely enjoying business/self-help books. I have already recommended the books to my family and some friends, and am making my way through The Gift of Struggle by Bobby Herrera. This surprised me because I have always been most interested in fiction, but as I read through some of the books that Todd sent me, I realized that these books do not only apply to business people, but can help me in my everyday life.
I would like to give one more thank you to Todd Sattersten for taking a chance on me and being a great mentor. There is a lot more to publishing than I thought and I am so thankful for this opportunity.