Monday, February 5, 2018

A Day in the Life of a Literary Agent Intern

Hi, everyone! This week, my blog is being taken over by one of my other interns, the wonderful Bea, with a special guest she is!!

Anyone in the publishing industry probably started out as an intern, whether for a publishing house or for a literary agency. These internships teach you anything from the ins-and-outs of industry trends to the minutia of royalties contracts. Most importantly, they give you real-world experience in the industry by helping you create a network and see where you fit best in the world of publishing.

20th Century Fox / Via (Carrie is not a Miranda Priestly)

I began working with Carrie this past August and I have already learned so much! Being an intern for a literary agent means that you have to multitask, make judgement calls, and love reading. You really have to love reading, seriously. Since August, I have read around 50 manuscripts, anything from partials, fulls, to returned R&Rs. That doesn’t include the hundreds of queries we’ve received during the past several months.

books read GIF
Teen Nick / Via

So, what do I do on a daily basis for Carrie?

  • I evaluate queries that come in the slush pile and send ones with promise to Carrie so she can request partial manuscripts
  • I read and evaluate requested materials (partials, fulls, and R&Rs)
  • After evaluating material, I write Carrie a reader report with a suggested verdict of reject, R&R, request more material, or, if I LOVE a full manuscript, I let Carrie know she should read herself
  • Throughout the week, Carrie might also want help with contracts, submission guides, client work, and anything else in between

Along with all of this, I am a full-time honors college student (Junior) and work as an editorial assistant for an academic journal.

Here’s an average week at the agency:

Mondays are usually pretty busy at the agency. We see a jump in queries on Mondays after a pretty quiet weekend, of course. And publishing wakes up from its weekend hibernation. Carrie’s usually very busy on Mondays, so my job is help make it easier on her however I can. She might give me a big project like creating her full rights guide, which we send to production companies, publishers, and other entities interested in Carrie’s clients’ works. That may take me a week or longer to complete.

On Tuesday, I’m still working on the full rights guide, but the chaos and urgency from Monday have died down a little, so I might sneak my head into the query inbox to read some submissions. I’ll read between 10 and 30 depending on how urgent everything else is, and I’ll star the ones I think Carrie will like. Anything I’m not sure about or want a second opinion on, I’ll tap in one of the other interns to take a look.

Wednesday and halfway through the week, I want to have made significant progress on the full rights guide, so I’ll spend time on that. But I also try to read at least one manuscript per week, so I’ll start on the next MS in my pile. This week I read an amazing #ownvoices manuscript that takes place in India. I read the first 100 pages and like them, so I request the full.

Thursday, I can’t stop thinking about the MS I read yesterday, so I want to pick it back up and finish it (hopefully the author sent it right away). Most likely they didn’t, so I take a peek in another manuscript. I love the concept and the main character, but it also has voice inconsistencies, so it’s not ready for Carrie. I have a couple of ideas for improvement that I think could really make this one worth her time, though, so I write up a reader report and recommend an R&R. I might also have a Skype call with Carrie and the other interns about contracts or royalties.

Friday, I really need to get that project done for Carrie, so I spend most of my time on that today. When it’s done, I poke my head in on queries and flag a few more. I send Carrie the finished full rights guide and she gets back to me with edits.

Saturday/Sunday, if I have time, I might check submissions again or see if that #ownvoices manuscript came in.

If all of this sounds super fun, then this might be the industry for you!!

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If you really want to know what the publishing industry is like....

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