A Happy First

March 1, 2012

The view from my boss's office! I got to work in here one day when there was construction in the intern room.

Today at my internship, I got to recommend my first book!

When I’m not reading queries (aka the letters and samples writers send us in the hopes that our agents will represent their work) from the slush pile (aka unsolicited queries aka letters from strangers…I just love book-world jargon, don’t you?), I get to read entire manuscripts that have made it past the querie level, and then write up a reader’s report explaining why I think our agency should represent the book or pass. Then, an agent reads my report and the original manuscript (unless it’s a clear pass), and decides whether they want to represent the book or not.*

Let’s just say that not a lot of slush-pile queries make it to the manuscript stage, and not a lot of manuscripts get recommended. So, a lot of my day is spent sending rejection e-mails, which can be a downer. It’s really cool (and occasionally disturbing) to see the topics people are willing to spend years of their lives researching and writing about, and really exciting to see that there are still so many genuine and humble people out there who love to write. It’s just not so exciting to be the one who makes their day a little worse with a rejection. (Also, isn’t it crazy that a [never published] 22-year-old intern like myself has the power to reject? Of course, it’s the only way a small agency with dozens of queries a day can stay afloat, but still.)

ANYWAY, today I turned in my first reader’s report recommending our agency represent a manuscript I was in charge of reading! (I have written 7 non-recommendation reports so far). I have been reading this manuscript (a magic-realism novel) for the past few days and was so excited today when I liked the ending just as much as the beginning! Realistically, I would be surprised if the agency ultimately decided to represent this book…not because they won’t take my report into consideration, but because there are so many other factors involved, especially with this particular project. Even so, it feels great to finally do my little part in propelling someone’s dream forward.

*I actually was never clear on the whole how-a-word document-becomes-a-book process until I started applying for internships. Most authors choose to work with agents because agents have much better access to publishers than the average Joe, and will use their connections to find the best fit for a book. Of course, some people just skip finding an agent and send queries straight to a publisher (and then the interns at the publisher’s office sort through their slush pile just like I do).

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