Books and Baked Goods: A Pantera Press Intern Story post image

Books and Baked Goods: A Pantera Press Intern Story

As a reader and writer, I have always been curious about what happens behind the closed doors of a publishing ­­house. How does a writer’s story end up in Dymocks and then in my own hands? I wanted to understand and become involved in this magical process, and so it was with great excitement that I became a Pantera Press intern.

Nervous speculations fill my head as I catch the train to my first day of interning:

  • Is there an actual slush pile? I envision a pile of manuscripts standing taller than myself, constantly teetering but never actually falling. It’s obvious that the papers at the bottom have been there for years, as indicated by the mould.
  • Are the publishers dressed in black with horn-rimmed glasses and big red pens just writing NO on manuscript after manuscript?
  • Will my sole job be to continually fuel these intimidating red-pen people with coffee?
  • Are all these people incredibly good at spelling and grammar? What happens if they ask me to write something and I mistakenly use a semi-colon instead of a colon, because no matter how many times someone explains it, I don’t understand when ; is applicable?

Thankfully, none of these bizarre and unfounded suspicions came to fruition.

The reality:

  • I was welcomed into an incredible space, surrounded by people passionate about telling stories.
  • Everyone who works here is a reader and conversations frequently wind their way back to books. It’s amazing.
  • There is no slush pile, though there is a manuscript submissions inbox and an ordered system of reading. They read each submission all the way through, persistently in pursuit of great storytelling.
  • There was not a black suit in sight. No one wears horn-rimmed glasses. And though I have seen red pens in the office, no one uses them as a weapon.
  • I was invited into their morning meetings. I got to witness the many different cogs of a publishing house, all working together over fresh scones and tea.
  • There are frequent ping pong matches.
  • They have a reading room with bean bags, and sometimes my job was to sit on said bean bags and read.
  • I was welcomed into acquisitions meetings, where the team discussed potential books for publishing and I was privy to an incredible process of analysing and assessing what each book needed to go the next step (more scones and baked goods were consumed).
  • I was invited to help with some of the marketing aspects of publishing. Sometimes, more traditionally, I’d send off copies of books to journalists for reviews, and other times, with a more digital lens, I’d connect with bookstagrammers and YouTubers who influence readers and promote stories online.
  • And, so far … no one has mentioned my spelling or my grammar.



Written by Amie McNee


Image Credit: LinkedIn