So I was an intern at Dorchester, an independent press that specializes in romance and horror fiction. As someone who used to read tons of romance from the Love Spell imprint, I was very excited to work there. The good thing about working for such a small company (about ten people on the book side, since they also owned a magazine) was that I was able to rotate through editorial, publicity, marketing, and managing editorial. Even more exciting was how I finally got to work on front list titles, as opposed to dealing with the back end of things as I had in reprints, which was quite dull.
In the midst of that internship, I also decided to go back to school; I got into NYU's masters in publishing program, but without financial aid, the costs were prohibitive. I withdrew immediately and took advantage of my student status to later secure internships at Simon & Schuster, Random House children's, and Writers House Literary Agency. I was interning full-time for no pay (with the exception of Writers House, which did in fact pay a stipend), but I thankfully had my parents' financial support to back me up.
I was applying to jobs all the while and getting many interviews, but no job offers. Some weren't the right fit, but I was often shut out by internal transfers and people who already had jobs (sadly, it's easier to get a job if you already have one). It was aggravating. I was on the verge of giving up when it finally happened.
After two-and-a-half years of working for free, I received two offers. It was a tough decision because they're both great places, but I made my decision and haven't regretted it for a minute. I'm now working at a major children's publishing house and I absolutely love it. I'm on the marketing side of things and enjoy peddling kids' books to the masses. I'm not exactly where I'd like to be (I'd like to move into editorial down the line), but I can honestly say I'm happy where I am.
I'm lucky, what can I say?