What the Interns Are Learning at Toho Publishing, a Q&A
The Toho Publishing interns (Grace Tinneny, Claudia Langella, Becca Koestler and Ail Goodwin Dancy) have spent the last two months building the Best Short Stories of Philadelphia—our first-ever anthology! They are so excited that people have been keeping up with this blog, and are eager to share even more insight to their experience at Toho Publishing.
Each intern has brought her own set of skills to the table, which makes for a super vibrant team. They are learning more about the publishing industry each week and are excited about taking the skills they’ve used here to the next step in their careers—whether that’s in the publishing industry or elsewhere. Interning allows one to dip their toes into an industry before setting their sights on specific career goals. Anyone can be an intern, so long as they’re willing to work hard and learn from their mistakes! Today, the Toho Publishing interns are sharing what they’re learned over the past two months of working on this exciting book project!
What is one thing you have learned during this process?
Grace: I know this is cheesy, but it really is true: teamwork makes the dream work. I know that this project could not have progressed (or, honestly, maybe even not come to fruition at all) without such a hardworking team behind it. Not only that, but our team was lucky enough to mesh really well from the beginning. Becca and I came onto this project slightly late, and I think it was really special that we became involved and immediately felt like we were a part of the team. I could truly go on all day about how much this group has taught and inspired me, but then I would be even more over the word limit than I already am!
Claudia: This internship has been a unique experience for each of us given the climate of the country. I am lucky enough to complete a virtual internship, but there are definitely some things that I’ve had to work through while I’m working from home. I’ve learned how to manage my time even more efficiently than I do during the school year. Additionally, I’ve learned that communication really is key to make the work easier on the team.
Becca: My experience interning with Toho Publishing and working on The Best Short Stories of Philadelphia has given me incredible insight into the world of publishing and writing. We have spent hours doing research on topics ranging from the original The Best American Short Stories annual anthologies to publishing contracts. Andrés (Toho Publishing’s founder and intern supervisor) has explained every part of the process to us so we get a full picture of all of the behind the scenes work.
Ail: My involvement with the Toho Publishing internship process has helped me to manage my time more efficiently, which is always a struggle for me, and has pushed me to work on my communications skills. I came onto this internship extremely late, so I feel as though I’m always playing catch up. Despite this, the rest of the team has been responsive to my questions and flexible to my chaotic schedule. I’m definitely inspired by the team’s organization and work ethic.
How will you use what you learned during your time at Toho Publishing?
Grace: I am sure I will be able to practice so much of what I have learned throughout this summer in the future, but to be honest, this internship has made me consider going into publishing in some way! If I end up in publishing, I know that everything I am doing will be the base of my knowledge on this field (which is really cool). I am still really set on attending law school, so I cannot say that this experience has completely changed my plans, but I am excited to now have another area of interest that I could use my major in! I have to say, the giddy feeling I get when I see that we have had more submissions is unmatched. It truly does make me think that maybe something similar to this could come back into my life in the future. I suppose only time will tell!
Claudia: After I graduate, I plan to pursue a career in either the media or publishing industry, and the skills I have honed over the course of this internship will serve me well in both fields. This summer I have improved my communication skills—whether that’s with the rest of the team or with local professionals. I have become more organized than ever and will definitely be using spreadsheets to my advantage. Overall, what I’ve taken away from this position is that in order to be a great team member, you must keep the bigger picture in mind. We aren’t just sending emails all day; we’re creating a book!
Becca: As of right now, I am still unsure of what my future looks like, but one thing I am sure of is wanting to work in media. Toho Publishing has taught me many useful skills in both a broad sense of the professional world (skills that I will be able to apply to any job) and skills specific to the publishing industry, giving me leeway to a future in this industry. This specific project has also taught me a lot about professional projects—publishing a book is a big step up from group projects in class!
Ail: Firstly, I simply adore planning. In fact, I have several life plans should my first dream career not work out immediately after graduating. (I have plans to work in the field of social work with an emphasis on art and music.) Secondly, I am passionate about art, whether that be music, poetry, or the like. So the experience I had here—particularly in data entry, communication, and organization—will be useful in whichever back-up life plan I have.
What skills are you using and developing over the course of this internship?
Grace: One skill I am trying to actively use in every meeting and further develop throughout this internship is becoming comfortable speaking! That may sound kind of silly, but it is 100% true. Although my friends probably would not know it, I find it really difficult to speak in my classes and have always struggled with public speaking. I am definitely more of an introvert! Throughout the remainder of my time with Toho Publishing (and honestly my college career), I want to become more confident in speaking up and accepting when I need to reach out for help/ask questions. I try to push myself during every Zoom conference to be an active listener and speaker by voicing my opinions or ideas and asking questions when need be.
Claudia: I am learning to manage my time by being organized. Each week I write out all the tasks that each person is responsible for, and I set mini-deadlines for myself every day. Whether it’s writing a blog post, researching local bookstores, or texting the team, I feel most accomplished when I get things done in a timely and professional manner. I’m also just learning how to work in publishing, and it’s been such an amazing experience getting to do that at a smaller company. Andrés is a great mentor and explains everything to us so no one is ever kept in the dark about an aspect of the industry.
Becca: I have been so grateful to develop my social media skills in a professional setting while interning with Toho Publishing. This opportunity was the first time I have created a style guide and content calendar on my own! My research helped me develop a better eye for social media design and the task itself gave me valuable experience. As I continue creating and posting for Toho, I am learning more and more about handling a company social media account and how to develop posts to the company’s advantage. These skills also transfer to other general skills including organization, management, creativity, and design and much more!
Ail: Even though I’ve become significantly more organized, I would definitely say that I’ve been cultivating the skill of communicating more efficiently. It really helps that Claudia has been especially helpful in nudging me to speak up about what I can or can’t handle this week. I’m so glad to have met and worked with such awesome souls!