Sourcebooks announced that a sixth cohort of four interns assumed their responsibilities this week in the Chicagoland publisher’s BIPOC Editorial Training Program. The 10-week remote intensive internship is designed to provide participants with a comprehensive overview of a book editor’s work. Besides an instructional component on the fundamentals of publishing, the program, which provides interns with a stipend, emphasizes hands-on editing experience, with each intern assigned a project to complete under the supervision of a Sourcebooks editor.

The BIPOC Editorial Training Program includes weekly summits from Sourcebooks employees working in all departments, who demonstrate how they work with the editors in shepherding books through the publishing pipeline. The program concludes with a three-week intensive, during which interns work with the production department to gain experience in copyediting, proofreading, and production editing.

“It’s been a longtime mission of mine to expand the pool of BIPOC talent in the publishing industry,” explains senior editor Christa Désir, who ran a BIPOC mentorship program for prospective editors for several years before she started working at Sourcebooks. “When Sourcebooks was reviewing a lot of its DEI policies, one of the things that came up was that BIPOC editor-mentees need opportunities to actually be inside a publishing house. It’s one thing to mentor people outside, and give them advice. But when you see the inside of a publishing company, it changes a lot.”

Désir added: “We want it to go beyond a standard college internship: we’re looking for people who have work experience who want to break into publishing, or people who haven’t gotten an opportunity because they can’t do a three-month program and then an unpaid internship. We want to level the playing field, create more equity by offering a remote opportunity for people who might not be able to get conventional internships.”

Approximately 300 applicants vied to be part of the program’s current cohort. To date, 20 people have completed the program, and most have successfully launched careers in publishing since their graduation.

Sourcebooks, which launched this program in August 2020 as one of several DEI initiatives, has hired one graduate of the program as a full-time editorial assistant. The company also has hired other graduates as freelance copy editors, editors, proofreaders, and sensitivity readers.

“So many doors have been closed to BIPOC individuals for a lot of reasons, and I’m grateful to be part of throwing a few doors open,” Désir said. “The talent pool we’ve seen come through this program is extraordinary, and I hope programs like this one are picked up across publishing. The thoughtfulness and experience that our BIPOC trainees have brought to the books they’ve worked on have been invaluable to us.”