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Penelope Belnap ’19 interns in publishing at Penguin Random House

By Chelsea Lehmann on March 5, 2019

This summer I had the incredible opportunity to intern at the book publisher Penguin Random House. I worked for the publicity department of Random House Books and worked under Cynthia Murray, a deputy director of publicity. The publicity departments job is to raise awareness and inspire excitement about Random House books through earned media. Cynthia’s job as a publicist is to develop relationships with media contacts and pitch them books to review, discuss, or feature.

As the publicity intern, I was given the chance to oversee each step of the publicity process through my work with Jeanne Marie Laskas book To Obama. I wrote the press release, researched coverage of similar books, looked into local media outlets, and then developed a pitch list of the most relevant contacts for Cynthia.            

My time at Random House provided me with a wealth of knowledge of the ins and outs of publicity as well as the necessary skills for a career in this industry. In addition, I was able to learn about another side of publishing, the editorial department, through my peer mentor, Emma Caruso, who is an Assistant Editor at Random House. I volunteered to read submissions, write readers reports, and draft response letters for her to send to agents, which we discussed in weekly meetings. This experience taught me that I am not only passionate about and fascinated by publicity, but also by editorial, and I will continue working with her informally this year to continue learning. Thanks to this summer internship, I have the skills and the connections I need to pursue my dream of working in book publishing.