Jumping in with both feet

We've just taken on our first publishing intern. A lovely sweet girl thing from Cardiff that we call Jess. Because that's her name. She'll be blogging here regularly, and following is her first post. Welcome Jess!

What does jumping in with both feet look like? I have been encouraged with this cliché a few times upon arriving to an internship in the publishing department of Catch the Fire books and after a week of interning I am still uncertain of what it looks like but I’m starting to think it’s necessary.

I was aware that embarking on this internship would be an adventure but wasn’t quite sure what God had in mind or even what Jonathan Puddle (boss man) had in mind but I am aware that there is still a lot to learn, rendering me not yet fully qualified. There’s new software to navigate my way around, there are piles of books to get my head stuck in so that I might recommend them and there’s an industry in which I have had no experience that I need to understand and function in aptly.

I think one of the hardest things about new challenges whether it be a new job, a new relationship or any new responsibility is not allowing yourself to get overwhelmed or bogged down with the amount of things you don’t yet know. When being bombarded with new information every day there is possibility for insecurity and self-doubt to sneak up on you as you can’t help feel helpless and naïve; I have honestly found myself asking the question ‘Why am I here?’ a few times this week already.

 But that’s what makes this whole experience so exciting and I think perhaps that’s what jumping in with both feet looks like, understanding that you don’t know everything (and maybe never will) but embracing the unfolding unknown, remaining positive and keeping a sponge-like mentality, ready to soak up all the things you will inevitably learn and flourish in.

I was reminded of what the internship might look like on the first day and it was sold to me with the words ‘you will basically see the life of a book.’  I’m involved in the beginnings of a book, the rough and raw manuscript filled with spelling mistakes and nervous hope and yet I am also involved in the selling of books.  I’m the smile behind the counter that says ‘that’s $10 please’ once the gruelling process of re-writing, re-fining and re-working has been complete and the shiny book is bought by an unsuspecting customer who’s been enticed by the pretty colours on the cover or the glowing endorsements from the affluent personality.

Onto the horrifying trade secret I have learnt this week about endorsements, they’re not always written by the person who's name is attached. It’s like when you’ve suddenly become aware of all the junk in the food you eat every day and you become awfully stringent in checking the label for the bad stuff; in the same way I have become sceptical of every endorsement on my favourite books and have taken it upon myself to read them all and make assumptions as to whether they're ghostwritten or not. However, after the initial shock of my endorsement enigma I feel privileged to be let in on the secret and hopefully will become trusted enough to learn the rest of them in due time, although having shared it with you maybe not.

The process of a book being published is incredibly interesting and to work in an environment where this isn’t sniggered at but ostensibly relished is an exciting prospect for an avid reader. Every element of a book is thought of, from the design on the front cover, to the editor employed; every decision has been mindfully considered by the publisher and creative team of a book, albeit subconsciously appreciated by the reader. For example the font of the title for both of Steve Long’s books ‘My Healing Belongs to me’ and On the Run’ looks almost handwritten which alludes to the personal character of Steve Long and this was an element which I had never acknowledged before joining the team in the publishing department of Catch the Fire books.

The beginnings of an idea that is God given whether that be in the form of a vision or dream and seeing it evolve into a tangible book that can be borrowed and shared, re-read and re-discovered is, in the words of Jonathan Puddle, indeed ‘rather profound’ and to be involved in this growing and ever-changing industry is daunting and yet overwhelmingly exciting, and so I do not hesitate to make a splash and ‘jump in with both feet.’