My First Ever Internship at a Literary Agency

I spent this summer at my very first internship at a literary agency. I just completed this internship last Thursday. As someone who aspires to one day work in this industry, I plan to explore all aspects of it. This was my very first step in doing so. Because of my young age internship-wise, it's not that easy to get into a publishing house. Most houses prefer juniors/seniors, you see. So I decided to begin by exploring the agent aspect of the industry the summer entering my sophomore year. Holy crap, I am now beginning my sophomore year of college!

I've decided to just record my general thoughts, a sum of my summer of laughs and learning here on my blog. Since this is my diary and my journey to one day, hopefully, landing a job in the industry that I hold so dear to my heart, I figured there's no better place to do this.

Let me tell you, agents are more important than you could ever imagine. They work 24/7 and my respect for these individuals is through the roof. It takes a certain kind of person to be an agent and work around the clock, constantly on the hunt for new talent while they balance editors and new writers. They're sort of like the middle-men that is often overlooked in the crazy process that is publishing a book. These people don't get half the credit they deserve!

To put it simply, I learned a lot this summer. Nothing I can really describe in a step by step process because you must experience it yourself in order to truly grasp everything. So, really, I can just tell you about my summer...

I learned about the query process and how insane it is. I read over 400 queries this summer! Take a minute to absorb that number. On top of that, I also read and reported on over 5 finished manuscripts and 4 audiobooks. Sometimes a good hashtag is all you need to explain your thoughts and other times you just have to stare at your computer screen screaming "what?!" inside your head for a few seconds. Just do it, people won't judge you for it. Seriously. It happens a lot.

I learned about line edits and the fact that editors aren't the only one who give authors editorial notes. I learned about that random filing day and how important it really is. I learned about auctions and appealing to editors before going to auction. I realized that auctions can be really entertaining if between two publishing enemies that somehow figure out who they're up against. I learned about good writing and watched my taste evolve throughout the entire summer.

Those cons that us bloggers love to go to? I learned how important they are for agents. Not only do they promote their authors alongside the publishers, editors, and publicists, but they also have to go to panels hosted by editors and prospective authors to figure out who to pitch to and if there are any pitches presented to them worth considering.

I learned that romance readers often have Freudian slips of the mind and the entire office will burst into laughter because of this. The best way to diffuse a situation and share a laugh with everyone within ear shot.

Foreign editions of books are always so interesting. The covers are either super exquisite or really strange. Also, the rough translation of their titles can often put a smile on your face.

I learned that books bring people together though I already knew this but never had such a concrete example to share. While I adore the three other interns I worked with for the entire summer--Maura, Kathleen, and Josh--I can honestly say that we all have extremely different personalities and interests outside of books yet clicked immediately from the start. Clearly, the intern table is the place to be. Plus, the interns and I learned that I alone attract the weirdos, and now I've got solid proof and people that'll back me up.

I learned that a really badly written sex scene can be your downfall. I don't want a biology lesson! Also, vikings can be surprisingly sexy. But really though.

I also learned that I DO NOT have a future in coming up with book titles. Seriously, I had to do this once with the other interns and it's safe to say we all sucked. The title that the agency ended up going with wasn't even in the realm of our long list of ideas or buzz words and, trust me, that's a good thing.

Anyone and everyone can bond over homemade goodies while we all secretly wish we could make cupcakes from scratch the way Kathleen can. We also want our boss's sense of style when we're out of college. This woman...she knows how to dress!

But most of all, I learned that you can have fun in this industry. While a position as an agent may not be for me, this industry definitely is. I've found my niche, that's for sure!

I cannot wait to see what else the future holds for me. With a new internship starting this Fall, I know I'll be in for a wild ride. I owe a lot to my literary agency experience. I made some amazing new friends and genuinely had a blast at a job. While I know my future is looking bright and will be full of new publishing endeavors, I will never forget this summer.


  1. I loved reading your post, im so envious of you it sounds like such an awesome experience.

  2. Thanks for telling us about your internship, Lili! I really don't have more to say, except this post put a smile on my face. :)

  3. OMG, the bookish feels right now!! (Eep!) Sounds like you had an AWESOME summer, and everything you did sounded so interesting. Loved the free-flowing format of your post, too. Can't wait to get my own internship!

  4. It sounds like you had a wonderful summer, doing what you love! The best way to finding that out is just to try it and I am really happy for you that you got the chance to do that. I hope that your Fall internship will be just as fun, Lili! Good luck :)