Becoming an agent

Oh sage Miss Snark -
How do I become a literary agent? I have a BA in English Lit, editorial experience at college papers, sales experience, a lifetime of reading everything I could get my hands on, plus the desire to combine all of this into a career... So how does one go about it?

You get an internship, or a job as an assistant at an agency.
Publishers Marketplace lists jobs like "agency assistant" and "assistant to head agent".
Internships are generally not advertised and the interns I get my paws on come from NYU or Pace i.e. your college connections.

You'd be better off to start on the other side though and get a job at a publisher. You'll learn a LOT and if you're smart you'll make friends with the folks in contracts, sales and special sales. Everyone always talks about the editorial side of things but I can be of greater value to my clients by knowing how the sales, marketing and pr departments work than helping them unsplit their infinitives.


Anonymous said...

In the meantime, volunteer for your local literary magazine ... the submissions will make you cry (not to mention the query letters explaining how writing has helped the writer's mental issues) and maybe make you think twice about this whole 'reading slush for a living' thing.

Cassandra said...

This might be helpful:


(Without the line break, of course.)

jillie said...

The only downside is that the majority of places won't consider you for an internship because you aren't eligible to receive college credit in compensation. On the other hand, when you do find a non-paying internship, you won't have to pay anyone for the privileged of working for free.

Penguin books offers paid internships, so it's not limited to just students.