Confessions of an APA Books Intern

Stevie Davall has a Masters of Professional Studies in Publishing from the George Washington University.  She earned her B.A. in English and Creative Writing from SUNY Potsdam, where she also worked as a marketing intern. 

by Stevie Davall

If you told me a year ago that I would end up as an editorial intern at APA Books, I would have laughed. First because scholarly publishing didn’t have the same exciting appeal to me as trade book publishing. But I have always had an interest in psychology (ever since watching Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island). I’ll even admit to registering as a psychology major at one point in undergrad; I wanted to be a prison psychologist. And second, I wasn’t very interested in editing.  I had assumed all editing was copyediting, with no creative expression—but I was wrong.

APA’s Office of Publications and Databases is big. Alongside APA Books, there is APA Journals, which publishes the latest research in the field of psychology; the PsycINFO suite of online databases; APA Videos, which provides educational training sessions for students and professionals interested in specific topics within psychology; a full Marketing and Sales team, and Magination Press, APA’s children’s book imprint. While I have spent most of my time here working with scholarly books, I have enjoyed sitting in on meetings and getting to know what other types of content the organization produces.

Gaining knowledge of the field through hands-on experience has been invaluable. I must admit, I have learned more in the last few months working at APA Books than I did in the classroom. It became abundantly clear when I first arrived that I would be given a great deal of responsibility.  Despite only being an intern, I was immediately entrusted with formatting manuscripts for development, which impressed upon me that I played a vital role in the editorial process. Once a manuscript is received, the goal of formatting is to make it look as clean as possible, minimalizing any extra white space, to get the page count as accurate as possible. This is especially important for manuscripts that are close to, or over the contracted length. I also notify the production department of any potential design issues.

One of the many perks of an internship is skill-building for my resume. In addition to applying old skill sets to a new professional setting, various assignments have provided me the opportunity to observe, develop, and practice new ones. I have created inventory spreadsheets, sent translation copies to authors, and handled the peer review process.  As a scholarly publisher, we rely on professors, clinicians, researchers, and other professionals to provide feedback on the manuscripts we publish.

I have also worked closely with development editors at APA Books. When a book is transmitted from acquisitions to development, development editors write an editorial review of the manuscript. Rather than focusing on grammar, like a copyeditor would do, DEs focus on broader questions relating to the conception and execution of the work. In other words, they ask, “what are the identifiable issues, and what are their solutions?”

I work with the best, most supportive team of professionals here at APA, and they have provided me with a remarkably memorable experience. I am grateful for the networking opportunities that my supervisors have allowed me to have across the publications department, including meeting and working with other marketing, and production team members, and with other directorates within APA. This internship has provided me with an expansive view of the inner-workings of a scientific publisher.

In the future, I hope APA Books is inspired to continue accepting interns. This is an invaluable opportunity for publishing students in the Washington D.C. area.

APA Books

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