Cherie Baird interned at SUP in July 2021 as part of the Master of Publishing degree at the University of Sydney.
What have you been working on at SUP?
Some of the things I’ve been doing at SUP are proofreading manuscripts, writing blurbs and blog posts, promoting SUP’s books on social media, and metadata entry.
What has been the best part of the role? How about the most challenging?
The best part has been getting to know the team, and how willing they were to show me what they were working on and how things worked. I also really enjoyed getting to copyedit and proofread part of a manuscript on government policy – who would’ve guessed?
The most challenging thing has been learning a new technology for manuscript editing. SUP uses the digital publishing system Infogrid Pacific for typesetting manuscripts and it was difficult but incredibly rewarding to figure out. It involved a lot of trial and error!
Has anything surprised you about SUP/scholarly publishing?
The broad range of books they publish. Before my internship, I’d been under the misconception that scholarly publishing was mostly quite dry academic research. I can’t stress enough how untrue this is! SUP and scholarly publishing more generally are full of compelling stories and interesting perspectives covering a range of vital subject areas. The accessibility of the language used in their books surprised me, too.
I was also pleasantly surprised by how welcoming and forward-thinking the team at SUP is!
What skills have you used most during your internship?
While I’ve used my copywriting and research skills, the most important skill I’ve used at SUP was communication. It’s been critical to making the most of this experience that I’ve asked questions about what was expected of me, what other people’s roles were, and how different processes functioned. I’ve also had to be self-disciplined in order to work productively from home and complete detail-oriented tasks like proofreading.
What was your dream job when you were 12? What is your dream job now?
I think I told everyone I wanted to be a writer, but what I really wanted was a job that would pay me to read all day! Although that’s definitely not what publishing is, I love that it gives the opportunity to be involved with books all the way from manuscript acquisition, to design, to sales, to post-publication exploitation of rights.
My dream job now is in editorial. I enjoy the idea of being able to see the ideal shape of a manuscript, particularly memoir or creative nonfiction, and help an author make their work the best it can be.
You have to take a week-long road trip with a fictional or historical character. Who do you choose and why?
Strangely enough, I’d love to go on a road trip with Basil Hallward. Not only would we be able to talk about aesthetics and philosophy, but I think he’d appreciate the value of taking in our surroundings quietly. Hopefully he’d stick to painting the landscape and not me, though.
What are you planning to do next?
Apply for jobs in publishing! I’m really excited to keep doing some of the things I’ve been lucky enough to learn at SUP. I’m particularly interested in editorial, but also really open to working in production or marketing.
Cherie Baird is a graduate of the Master of Publishing at the University of Sydney. She has published various poems including ‘Passer-by’, which was a winner of the 2021 Ultimo Prize.