Why I applied for The Scheme

I applied for The Scheme because I was interested in a creative career but didn’t know if I could find something stable enough that I would want to wake up to every day. The Scheme is only 6 months and that felt like a reasonable amount of time to see how publishing works and consider a future in it.

What I got from The Scheme

Exposure. Publishing seemed so insular and mysterious to me. I never realised how collaborative the whole process is, from editorial to sales and marketing. The Scheme also pushed me into genres and writers I didn’t know much about but grew to love. In a way, it moved me past the general texts English grads study into different audiences and voices out there.

What surprised me

What surprised me is how intricate the publishing process is. I was the type of person drawn to books (especially book covers) before but never realised how detailed the whole process is – from the first edit to a copyright and proofreading edit, to a Covers Meeting with design teams and on to the marketing campaign linked to the book. Everyone pulls in together to make sure the work is at its best.

What I’m doing now

I am now an Editorial Assistant for the non-fiction division of Transworld, a division of Penguin Random House. From Bill Bryson and Richard Dawkins to Richard Browning (the ‘Real Life Iron Man’) and Romesh Ranganathan, I am always excited to see what ideas turn to books. I think The Scheme experience definitely helped me get here.

Why should you apply

It’s no secret that Penguin Random House is a reputable institution that needs all the diverse perspectives it can get – that could be you. A few weeks before I applied for The Scheme, someone told me that “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” and that’s probably the best advice I can pass on. Oh, also, this experience may surpass your expectations. If you told me last year that one of my favourite authors would send a handwritten note for me, I would’ve laughed in your face but here we are 🙂

My top tip

Believe in your own sauce. From experience, I remember feeling slightly intimidated by everyone else at the selection day and during the first few months, but remember that your ideas and input matter. Also, never pass up the opportunity to learn as much as possible from everyone around you.