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Q & A with Nikole Evans, Publishing Intern

Nikole Evans has been working with Sydney University Press over the past three months, first as an intern and now as a marketing assistant. She has a BA in French and Art History and is just about to complete her Master of Publishing at the University of Sydney. In her spare time you’ll find her reading fantasy, talking about fantasy, or talking about reading fantasy.

A photo of Nikole Evans

What have you been working on at SUP?

A range of projects! Working with a small academic press, I’ve really had a chance to try my hand and gain experience in a multitude of areas ­– from editorial to marketing, with a hint of design. The area where I’ve gained the most experience (and had the most fun!) is with formatting and converting eBooks. Formatting and converting the 2018 Sydney Uni Student Anthology was a cathartic and rewarding experience for me, as I’d worked on this publication as a designer and editor the previous year. I’ve dabbled in designing Australian Book Review banners, writing and sending review copy letters and proofreading. I’ve learned so much about the publishing process through these tasks and have gained practical and valuable knowledge concerning academic publishing.

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

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but it would have to be the flexibility and variety of work available at any one time. I was given a different task in a different area of publishing every few weeks, so there was never a dull moment. I feel like I’m coming out with a range of digital, editorial and marketing skills that I didn’t have before, along with a concrete knowledge of how to apply these skills to book publishing.

I think the challenges I faced regarding this role concerned a lack of practical experience. Having (almost) completed a Master of Publishing, I really thought I had a grounded understanding of the processes and skills necessary to succeed and excel, however, theory and academia can only take you so far. I’ve really learned the value of being able to think on your feet and asking questions when you’re unsure about something.

Has anything surprised you about SUP/scholarly publishing?

How much knowledge academic editors need to have in regards to referencing systems/conventions and the amount of work they put in to tidying up extensive reference lists. There was a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style on every desk – and I definitely flicked through it more than a few times. I seriously wish I had completed this internship prior to my degree(s) because my referencing would be impeccable!

What skills have you used most during your internship?

Those skills would definitely have to include patience, an attention to detail and problem solving. When proofreading a manuscript, it is so important to be precise and thorough but efficient. Making sure commas are where they should be, correcting any miniscule errors and making sure that conventions are adhering to style guides – you don’t want that stuff printed!

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

That’s a hard one! At that age my dream job would change almost daily! I was just entering a gymnastics phase at that point in my life so probably thought I was going to be a famous Olympic gymnast or something. Now, my goals are much more realistic – I would be over the moon to be working on young adult fiction/fantasy at a publishing house … hopefully in editorial, but I’d be happy to even just touch the books for one minute.

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

Frodo Baggins. I reckon he’s got his step count up way past the standard goal of 10,000 steps and I’m desperate to go on that journey to peak fitness with him.

What are you planning to do next?

My kingdom for a clue! A.k.a. I haven’t planned anything yet. In my mind it goes something like this: take some time off and go travelling; look for dream job in editing young adult fiction/fantasy at a publishing house; get aforementioned dream job in editing young adult fiction/fantasy at a publishing house; live happily ever after; the end.