Miss Snark, Guidance counselor....not

I like to write and wouldn't mind finding myself on a bestseller list someday. However much greater then my own desire to be an author is my love for books. If I was a multi-millionaire I would buy an extensive library before I bought an expensive car, or an expensive yacht. When I was younger my dream job was just to be around books by working in a bookstore. Now that I am older I am very interested in becoming an agent. I love the idea of representing authors and working with them, as well as publishing houses.

I have a few questions about the field. What is the education level required, is a Bachelors degree sufficient? Also is there a way to break into the field without interning, and if not is it possible to operate outside of New York. I would be more then happy to work in New York, but I am currently attached to Los Angeles. If I had a paying job I could relocate, but I couldn't for an intern-ship.

Is work as an agent as much of a numbers game as employment as an author is, or do definite steps exist which would help?

Thank you very much for your time. I am not sure if this is appropriate for your blog since you tend to deal mostly with writer's there. My reasoning is sound however. I figure anything that might help me get a job in the field would result in a slightly smaller slush pile for you. If I end up in a career unrelated to literature or publishing, there is a good chance that at least two or three submissions of mine will end up in your pile.

Being a literary agent involves selling.
Learn to sell.
This letter is as close to unpersuasive as you can be without being a nitwit.


ScaramoucheX said...

Reading responses like this , Snark, cause me to recall why I fell in love with you in the first place. It is so comforting to see someone put firmly into their place, without concern for their feelings; I only hope that my first agent treats me so respectfully. Your view of certain realities is the cure for idle dreaming. Rock on!

Anonymous said...

There are agents in LA and San Diego. If you're serious, you might start by contacting folks at Sandy Dykstra, Betsy Amster, B.J. Robbins, or any of the other good agents in your home town.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that 1.A number of those questions could be answered easily by spending an hour surfing the web and 2.Having all of the questions is a good argument for why internships and going through a period as an assistant is necessary. Nothing like a new literary agent who doesn't realize selling books involves numbers.

Oops, did I have a snark moment? Looks like you're becoming a good influence on me...

Anonymous said...

Hmm. The poster should first look up the difference between "then" and "than."

It's all well an good to want to be the one to discover a gem of a book, but an agent (aside from selling that gem and keeping track of a zillion other details daily) has to dig through a freakin' mountain of dross to find it.

I'd recommend he or she start working at a bookstore or library to feed the reading addiction.

I've seen my share of slush. Believe me, Miss Snark, you have my utmost and awed respect for what you slog through day after day. (I was ready to go postal and still have the occasional night terror.)

I don't know how you do it, but brava for your ability to do so.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...would rather buy books than (then?) an expensive yacht.

What about an inexpensive yacht?

Anonymous said...


You weren't persuaded enough by the promise of LESS CLIENTS to help this poor soul out! ;>

BitchySmurf said...

As one of the anon said, there are agencies in places other than NYC. See if they're looking for assistants.

But don't use that as your cover letter. I feel alseep half way through.