Q & A with Elizabeth Jo

Elizabeth Jo is in her last semester of the Master of Publishing degree at the University of Sydney. As part of the degree, Elizabeth interned at SUP from March to June 2021.

Colour photo of a young woman wearing a black jacket, white shirt and sunglasses, her hair tied back, looking at the camera. Behind her is a green landscape including a castle and blue sky.

What have you been working on at SUP?

The best thing about SUP is that I got to try a bit of everything. I focused more on marketing, so I’ve compiled media contact lists, written a few press releases, posted some content for SUP’s Instagram, and come up with questions for author Q&As. I’ve also had a hand at filling in metadata for backlist titles, attempted indexing, and a little bit of proofreading. 

What has been the best part of the role? How about the most challenging?

I don’t want to be cliché but everything! Getting firsthand experience at a press, seeing how everybody functions independently and collaboratively and watching a book go from its early stage to physical product has been really rewarding.

Because SUP tends to publish quite niche, academic texts, it was sometimes challenging to find suitable marketing angles or even just finding punchy quotes from the text that could be used for blurbs, social media or press releases.

Has anything surprised you about SUP/scholarly publishing?

It may seem obvious to some but with SUP/other small presses I didn’t realise how people’s roles overlap so much. Whoever worked closely with a certain book will probably do the indexing, everyone pitches in to do a bit of social media, books get passed around for different stages of editing or typesetting. Like I said, it’s been one of the best parts to see and try a bit of everything. If I had gone to a large publisher for the internship, I may have been assigned to just one specific department.

What skills have you used most during your internship?

Research and writing skills but with marketing in mind! I’ve obviously used these before (mainly for uni work) but it’s quite different for example when you’re writing a press release that needs to hook specific people in so they read or review the book. 

What was your dream job when you were 12? What is your dream job now?

I think I wanted to be a teacher or thought I could start a business out of jewellery untangling because it was a ‘skill’ I had. Now, I’m not too sure but something that’s fulfilling but also funds my dream of moving to a ranch in the middle of nowhere with some animals.

You have to take a week-long road trip with a fictional or historical character. Who do you choose and why?

Most of the books I’ve read happen to be about some pretty terrible protagonists that would make even worse road trip companions: Raoul Duke I’m looking at you. Maybe Samwise Gamgee? He’s reliable and loyal and our trip would be a lot less stressful than the quest to save Middle Earth.

What are you planning to do next?

Just trying to survive the last few weeks of the semester, all the assignment due dates are piling up.