Matthew Miller on Placement

Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Matt Miller and I'm 23 in May. I like writing, anime, manga, and playing video games. I spend a lot of time on Twitter engaging with people who share similar interests.

Where are you doing your placement?
I'm doing my placement from home and working with Pub-Craft: Romance Specialists.

Pub-Craft is a company that gives romance authors more time to focus on their work by taking care of tasks like book launches, advertising, social media, con panels, and sometimes editing.

What is your position in the company?
I am a virtual assistant. I'm like a jack-of-all-trades and do work in a bunch of areas.

 Whom do you report to at your placement? How are your other co-workers?
I mostly report to Marissa Caldwell, the second-in-command of Pub-Craft. The people I work with are very patient, sweet, and accommodating; they made me feel welcome.

Does your placement use a style guide? 
No, there isn't one where I'm working, but I try to emulate Pub-Craft's voice by reviewing their older content.

What types of work are you doing at your placement?
I create social media posts from blurbs on Amazon, conduct research, and write blog posts. I've also reviewed a movie for it's intimacy and romantic tips. If I were working with Pub-Craft in February, I would have helped distribute books at Sexapalooza.

What is a typical day like during placement?
I check my e-mail in the morning for any tasks, which have a 48-hour turnover rate to clients. I usually receive 2-3 tasks that involve conducting research for internal projects, writing social media posts, and blogging. If there’s nothing in my inbox or I’ve completed all my tasks, I send an e-mail just to let them know I’m ready and available for more assignments.

I help authors by conducting research on places that receive romantic content and sites that may become affiliated with Pub-Craft. For social media posts, I'm given 2-3 novels and tasked with creating a set of 5 Facebook posts and 10 tweets for each of them. Each set takes me about 2 hours. Blog posts can take up to 2-3 hours, but their length really depends on the content.

Do you receive feedback on your work? 
Yes, I do receive feedback. My supervisor edits my work, provides comments, and shows me the final draft before it's published online.

Are there any skills from the program that you use at your placement?
I learned how to construct a proper argument and now I can easily put together a 5-paragraph essay to address any issue.

I haven't done any substantive editing yet, but it was an eye-opening lesson. My familiarity with the subject gives me a sense of accomplishment. 

Did you find it challenging to transition from the classroom to the workplace?
It's surprisingly difficult to keep on schedule and finish work in a timely-manner. I also found research difficult at times, especially if the topic is really niche, like specific data on the Kindle Unlimited service.

I wish the program taught us more technical skills, such as managing websites, or helped us become more familiar with programs like Excel and Squarespace.

Has anything about your placement surprised you? 
Not really, but I did learn about confidentiality and that there are many authors who prefer to write without disclosing personal information.

What do you enjoy most about your placement?
I like working with creative content and helping writers achieve their dreams. I don't mind writing for social media because it's good form of writing practice. You have to be careful with your words and make every letter count.

Has there been any memorable moments?
I had fun working on the Scandalous Billionaires series, which is about a bunch of rich people getting up to no good, and the Alpha Bites series, which is about shape-shifters.

What were your feelings about your placement before leaving the classroom?
I was a bit anxious about my daily schedule changing so much, but I was also excited to get work experience.

How do your experiences at placement relate to the field of work you are interested in? 
My work with Pub-Craft doesn't relate to the profession I'm looking at because I'm applying for the Technical Writing Program after graduating. However, I believe it's good to try new experiences and my time with Pub-Craft has been an opportunity to hone my independent work ethic. Working with Pub-Craft also very much relates to my personal goal outside of work, which is to become a fantasy author.

Do you have any advice for future students about placement?
I believe the most important thing a student should focus on is being consistent throughout the school year. Being consistent will help you build trust with your peers, teachers, and yourself.

As for placement, I think it's best to try and find a placement that matches your interests. It's only 6 weeks, so play to your strengths.

That wraps up our interview. Thank you, Matt, for your time!