We all know that the job market is tough. That makes now a better time than ever to hire a few interns. An intern can be a college student who hopes to go into publishing or journalism and needs some hands-on experience to build a good portfolio to show during job interviews. It might be a college or high school student who thinks that maybe publishing or publicity or marketing is what they want to study, and by doing the job, they might discover they love it or perhaps learn they should look at other career paths.
We have used college students for many years as interns. Some have been great and really took on a lot of tasks that were falling by the wayside as “more important” tasks were tackled. Some have needed a lot of hand-holding and almost seemed to take more time than they were contributing, but I still knew I was helping someone and knew I only had to keep them busy for a few more weeks or months.
Some colleges—and even some high schools—give academic credit for the time they spend as interns.
Students aren’t the only ones who might agree to work for experience or at minimum wage with no benefits. There are young mothers who want to get out of the house for a few hours a week when their children are in school or want to keep up their job skills for when they go back to work full time. And don’t forget the baby boomers or even some seniors who are full of life experience and are looking for a way to stay in the thick of things.
How do you find an intern? Contact the job placement at any nearby college and see about posting a notice with them. Put up a notice on one of the social media sites. Ask friends and family if they know of anyone looking for some part-time (or full-time work). Even your church office may know of members who could really use a part-time job. We have found that since we can be flexible and work around their needs, people are happy to work for us (especially since many employers will say to part-time workers, if you can’t be here when we schedule you, forget it).
To pay or not to pay? Some schools don’t allow interns who are getting credit to receive a salary. In those cases, we would give them a bonus at the end of their semester, which was equivalent to what the course cost them. Most we have paid minimum wage. And a few who actually became full-time were paid a little more.
But companies—or individuals—can set their own rules about the work the interns will be doing and what would be a fair wage.
Many small presses and independent publishers/authors just can’t find enough time in the day to get everything done. Consider some of the tasks that could be assigned an intern and determine if this is a way to ease your load. An added benefit: if you get a high school or college student or recent grad, remember they have grown up on the computer and are often much more comfortable and adept at doing research online or helping get out there via social media.
Get the help you need while helping someone else is certainly a win-win situation.
Kate Siegel Bandos has been doing book publicity for more than 40 years, the past 22 on a freelance basis from KSB Promotions. Over the years she has worked with thousands of books and authors, and can’t imagine how many media contacts she has made during that time. It still amazes her when she realizes she makes a living reading and working with books – the things she loves most (after her family).