大約一個月之前，我來到Carlton Publishing Group擔任版權部門實習生；而今天卻已經是我最後一次走進這棟位在Mortimer Street的大樓了。
全職(國際)研究生和實習生雙重身分加在一起，偶爾真的蠻吃不消的，好幾個晚上都抱著手機或盯著skype哭著跟逵說要回台灣 😛 但如果你問我，重來一次還要不要這樣逼死自己，我還是會斬釘截鐵地回答你﹝「那當然」。
後來有一陣子，我們的mentor (Chie) 跑去中國參加上海兒童書展(羨慕啊)，在這段期間，Mathilde派給我們兩個聽起來容易，做起來卻完全相反的小任務。一是做某個主題在亞洲國家的市場調查、二是和中港台三地合作出版社聯繫，尋求續約的可能。
任務一真的是不做不知道它這麼紅，research期間還不小心被燒到，覺得好想買一點周邊回家收藏 😀 任務二其實非常有趣，而且可以學到很多，不過中國出版社網站實在是…加油好嗎？我覺得最有意思的，倒不是看作品在中國被翻譯、重新包裝之後的樣子，而是探究新舊版本差異之後的原因，是趕上潮流嗎？還是吸引不同客群呢？思考這些讓被中國網站氣到的我，心情瞬間level up。
謝謝Chie, Mathilde, Jordi, Laura, Aurelie, Silvia, Bianca, Karen (總覺得我人生跟Karen脫不了關係哈哈), Collis, Jonathan, Martin, Alex, Carol和所有幫過我們的人(包括幫我們開門的所有人)。謝謝你們的卡片、禮物、祝福和每天的餅乾糖果，今天就是我的聖誕節。
About a month ago, I started my work placement as a foreign rights intern at Carlton Publishing Group. And all of a sudden, my final day was here. Yesterday was the last time I walked into the building on Mortimer Street.
To be honest, being a full time international MA student, and an intern at the same time was really stressful. There were more than one night that I just couldn’t help but tell my boyfriend (in tears) that I wanna go home. However, I am not at all regretful. If time reversed, I will still make the same decision.
When I was in Taiwan, the word ‘intern’ was not as ‘glorious’ as it may have sounded. Many companies use the name of ‘internship’ to attract naive students who have no idea that what they’ll be doing is making coffee for full time employees, or the endless copying/printing tasks. In these cases, internship is not for learning, but for making other employees’ lives easier. Well, of course, ‘righteous’ employers do exist. There are companies that treat interns as future colleagues, and provide them with corresponding training. But the thing I just mentioned is also a fact.
Thankfully, things were totally different at Carlton. Even if I only received £5 for lunch and some travel funding, what I learned here was far worthier than that.
When I first joined Carlton, Frankfurt Book Fair had just ended. Therefore, my job as an intern was to help put together the hightail links for the customers. Though it was just a very straightforward copy-and-paste kind of work, I somehow found it interesting to look at the books customers from all over the world asked for. The tastes can be really different even between two countries sitting right next to each other.
(I can’t remember the correct sequence of the things I’ve done, so I’ll just talk about whatever comes to my mind from now on.)
I still remember the week we talked about AI in Author Management. And it was the same week that I was asked to help create the hightail links, which include cover/jacket, spreads and AI sheet! It was exciting to see what I learned in class came to life.
And after we kind of finished the follow-up works for the book fair, we were assigned our first major project─collecting Taiwanese publishers’ contact information, and summarising their main publication genres. (The ‘we’ here refers to me and Sherry, who was the other intern working alongside with me. She’s from China, so obviously, she focused on Chinese market.)
I was lucky enough to get hold of a Taiwanese catalogue from Frankfurt Book Fair, which already told me some main publishers’ information. So that’s why my work went through smoothly. But for Sherry, it was a totally different story. I was guessing that maybe Chinese publishers went to the fair on their own, instead of as a group, and so that Sherry got several catalogues without complete information either in the catalogues or on the websites. However, even if she had a tough time gathering the information, she still did a great job and received several reply from the publishers! (Unlike me who heard nothing from Taiwan.)
Whilst doing this project, we were sent to the children’s department as well as the editorial department for different experiences, which I cannot be more thankful for. That afternoon I spent with children’s department was one of the most amazing time I had throughout the month. The 1001 possibilities of children’s books made me feel SO excited. And I can’t stop smiling simply by imaging kids reading or playing with the books. The experience assures me that making children’s books is all I want for the future.
In mid November, our mentor Chie went to China for Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair. And during then, Mathilde gave us two more projects to work on. One is to do a market research on a specific topic, and the other is to contact Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese publishers whose contracts were expiring, and see if there was any chance of renewing them.
I love doing market research because it allows me to see what people from different parts of the world are liking. Therefore, I had a lot of fun doing project #1. Project #2 was interesting as well, but please, Chinese publishers, IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITES! What I love the most about this project is looking at the differences between new and original editions. I started to think about the reasons why these changes were made, and how would they affect the selling of the books. Is it for keeping up the trends, or for attracting different target readers? Considering these questions made me feel a lot better after being frustrated by Chinese publishers’ websites.
As for our final project, I was asked to do a presentation on Taiwanese publishing industry since Carlton is trying to expand their markets. Being some kind of ‘patriot’, topic like this is totally my cup of tea. I really enjoyed my time doing the research. But even if I tried so hard to make my presentation stay objective, neutral, and centred round books and publishing, instead of turning it into something to promote tourism, or trying to talk people into recognising Taiwan as an independent country, I still couldn’t help myself putting this beautiful picture into the slides,
mentioning Taiwan Association for Independent Bookshop Culture, showing off Eslite Bookstores which I actually have a love-hate relationship with. (The 24/7 branch indeed caused the effect I want 😛 ─feel proud) I even somehow managed to include the Sunflower Student Movements, Anti-Nuclear Protest, and Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade. And of course, I didn’t miss out the chance of inviting people to visit Taipei International Books Exhibition next year.
Anyway, the end of the presentation also means the end of my time at Carlton. The opportunity to learn in the actual industry is so precious. And I’ve learnt so much that is far beyond my expectation. In the past, I thought fiction was my ‘true love’, I didn’t want to do anything but fiction. But after I joined Carlton, I started to think that making illustrated non-fiction was much more interesting. There are so many possibilities in terms of either editing, designing, or production.
During my time at Carlton, apart from acquiring more knowledge of rights, I also took the chance to observe and to ask about the characteristics or skills a ‘rights person’ entails. Hope that in the rest of my time in London, I can get closer to that end, cultivate my commercial eyes, grow my knowledge about different markets, and become a real rights person.
Here are my sincere thanks to my lovely rights cohort─ Chie, Mathilde, Jordi, Laura, Aurelie, Silvia, and Bianca. I’m going to miss all of you (and the sweets) so much. Also, thank you Karen, Collis, Jonathan, Martin, Alex, Carol, and everyone who had rescued us from being trapped in the hallway. Thank you so much for your help, card, gifts and wishes. You guys make me feel like it’s Christmas already.
(Warning for rights department: the pineapple cakes I brought to you taste SO BAD. Trust me, it’s not the best we have. Sorry about that 😛 )
It has been a truly amazing month. I feel so lucky being able to come to Carlton for my first (ever) internship. Hope the next time we meet, I have already become (at least) a rights assistant! I can’t wait for that day to come.
Again, thank you so much for everything. Wish you all the best.