Great news! I'm officially an Agent in training now!!! A lot of my duties are the same, I'm just learning more.
We all know how busy agents can be, especially if they have other things going on: teaching, conferences, editing, training, meetings, life. So they have us lowly interns/agents-in-training wading through their slush pile to dig up the best stuff. We use our knowledge as readers to find what will appeal to a large audience of readers, when a query letter shows us that the writer has not bothered to research the publishing process, when a query letter proves that the writing simply won't be good, and what just works.
So an intern is in charge of all of this stuff, the lacky for the busy agent. I'd like to, however, dispell the notion that we have no lives. Let me walk you through my typical day.
7:30 wake up, eat breakfast, go for a run, shower, dress.
8:30 sit in front of my computer and read my emails, quickly check the agent's inbox for any emergency got-to-get-to-it-now emails. Write a blog, catch up on blogs, check out Twitter and Facebook and publishing news.
9:30 (yes the above step takes that long, usually longer) wade through the queries and read partials.
11:00 (if I'm in the mood) write for an hour. Have lunch.
12:00 read partials and full manuscripts, answer those texts from people that just can't be ignored (I get in trouble if I ignore my best friends too often, even though, technically, I'm at work!)
2:00 (sometimes I switch the schedule depending on urgency of material) work on my long distance learning course in which I learn how to Index. It's tedious and if I'm not careful this time period turns into a nap.
3:00 read more manuscripts, answer emails, get restless (if it's sunny I tan on the porch with a manuscript)
5:00 eat dinner, dress
6:-midnight work at my "real" job where I actually get paid. Minimum wage, but I have bills to pay.
And hopefully I can wake up the next morning early enough to get all my stuff done. I've talked to the other interns, and we are in agreement: if we are not feeling able to focus clearly or are in a sour mood, we will set aside queries and partials until our heads are clear and we can give the attention each submission deserves. Your beloved babies are in the best of hands, I assure you.
So, if it takes us six weeks to get back to you, it is neither good nor bad news. It simply means we were busy. We want to give the best attention to your work. Of course, sometimes I've replied to writers within the hour. It simply depends what is eating away at our schedule.
Don't despair, trust in the literary gods above, and happy writing!