I get these questions frequently from people in my life (among the most obvious "What is a literary agent?"). I realized recently that perhaps my readers would like to know as well. Well, let's start at the beginning.
Intern: As an intern I read queries, rejected queries, requested material, read manuscripts, rejected manuscripts, brought manuscripts to acquisition meetings, and learned why manuscripts I thought I loved would not be represented by the agency. Read an agent blog and you will learn the reasons go from "not right for our agency" to "not ready" to "just doesn't interest me." And no two reasons are ever the same. I learned a lot about writing at this stage, which is amazing considering I don't consider myself a writer. My favorite thing about being an intern, was that I got to make mistakes. At first, you request a lot of manuscripts. Eventually, I learned the hard way to tell from the query if the ms was going to be any good (hence why agents put so much emphasis on the query). Agents do love having interns with different viewpoints than themselves. For example, I requested one ms that the agent would not have given a second look at. I couldn't put it down (that's the goal after all), and the agent couldn't put it down. Every reader who read it couldn't put it down, and to this day I chalk it up to "I didn't have a clue what I was doing." If I had received that query today, I would have rejected it. But that's all part of the learning process. And, as sad as it is, a lot of it has to do with luck (which is why I'm terrified of the next step...)
|This will be my Agent Hat one day
I'll keep you updated on my life as a know-nothing wanna-be agent. Until then, I hope you writers out there keep plugging away and take all the advice you learn on the blogs (of much more experienced agents of course) to heart, so one day I can represent you!
So, as always, happy writing!