An internship in the world of Mennonite publishing

Guest post by Luisa Miller

A few short months ago, I began an internship in the world of publishing at MennoMedia in the editorial department of Herald Press.

Since then, I have:Rachel

The internship was pretty informal; I averaged 2-3 hours a week, and most of my work involved proofreading manuscripts and emailing them from the comfort of my own home.

I’m seriously considering editing as a career path, and everything about this internship confirmed that interest for me. The fact that I was, for the most part, doing pretty boring work and still came away loving the experience helped. It also confirmed for me that this is something I can actually do pretty well, and maybe, just maybe, I could take these talents to a real job someday, a job that I enjoy.

What I wanted to get out of this internship was experience, education about the field of publishing, and a nice little blurb on my resume. And I got all of those things. But I also got a tiny taste of the scope of MennoMedia, an organization about which, before this summer, I knew surprisingly little. I grew up Mennonite, so the MennoMedia logo is a very familiar one: from Sunday school curricula to Amish fiction in the church library, I encountered it a lot. I even worked at a Christian bookstore for three and a half years, and I’m sure I sold plenty of their stuff. But I never really saw it or noticed how much of what I read bore that little dove and olive branch. And since I worked on a lot of nitty-gritty stuff, I still don’t have a great sense of the big picture. But even just in the limited capacity in which I worked, I encountered all sorts of books: Biblical commentary, biography, fiction, cookbook, memoir, VBS curriculum, church resources, evangelism, and more. It’s not surprising that MennoMedia produces such a broad range of resources, but something about seeing it up-close and personal drove home for me how many of the books I grew up reading and interacting with were produced by MennoMedia.

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MennoMedia Harrisonburg staff have an office potluck once a month, here with a grill.

Toward the end of the summer, I participated in a couple of Skype meetings. I have nothing with which to compare it, but it was fun to see editors, designers, and others bouncing ideas off of each other about what cover to use on a book or talking about what projects they were working on. And even in the limited time I spent observing these meetings, I could see that they were friends; there was a certain level of camaraderie, a social aspect that I wouldn’t have anticipated. This was a new perspective for me; whenever I pictured myself as an editor, I saw myself sitting in front of a computer, writing comments on manuscripts and sending them off – something very solitary. But these people were almost like a family. And whatever I end up doing, I’d love to have that sense of community in the workplace.

So was the experience what I expected? Yes and no. Were parts of it boring? Totally. Am I loving how much I learned and how much I enjoyed it? Absolutely. It was time well spent, and wherever life takes me, I’m glad to have had this experience.

LuisaMillerInternship

Luisa Miller is a junior English and music major at Eastern Mennonite University. A member of Slate Hill Mennonite Church in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, she is spending the fall semester in China. 

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Internships–normally for academic credit, are available on a case by case basis and are individually arranged over summers or the school year. Must have strong recommendations of professors or an academic department.

3 thoughts on “An internship in the world of Mennonite publishing

  1. This was beautifully written Luisa. I am so happy for you and proud of your achievements! If we played some small part, I am grateful. Also, grateful to our Father who is willingly and able to take the dreams of a young lady, and make them come true. Bless you always. Love, Vicky

    • Thanks, Vicky! I will post on behalf of Luisa, since I believe she is leaving today to be with her group that is going to China. I’ll make sure that she at least sees your comment here, though, and perhaps she will still be able to respond. I loved having Luisa on board this summer, and she did great work for us here at Herald Press. Thanks for writing!

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