The Power of the Intern

Literary agencies are the gate keepers to the publishing world. They connect writer to publisher to audience. Fantastic folks who work hard for relatively little pay. Agents are masters of social media, and a good percent are published authors themselves.

From the last few pitch contests, I’ve noticed a trend – interns at literary agencies do well. Not just moderately well. The two top pitches retweet and favorite wise were literary interns for #pitmad in YA fantasy. That’s crazy. What’s more crazy? One had over 50 retweets in a couple hours.

Why? Because they know the business!

A lot of authors when they’re in their late teens and 20s don’t think about marketing or getting into the industry. There’s an assumption a good book will sell itself. That isn’t the case. Like anything else, it’s who you know and what those people teach you.

I’m a ‘split-interest’ author. My day job involves teaching anthropology and working as a doctoral student. This job doesn’t build connections for my writing career, so I empathize with those who aren’t positioned fully in the industry; however, those who major in English, Business, or something of the sort (undergrads especially) who desire to be authors ought to seriously consider taking an internship at a literary agency.

But NYC is so expensive, Eli.

Less expensive as an undergraduate capable of connecting with universities for “summer credits” or other such which qualifies you for campus housing. Less expensive if you consider attending a college already in the area: NYC, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.

But I don’t plan on going to college.

What job are you planning on? Trade school? Consider the locations.

But it’s still expensive, and I got a scholarship elsewhere.

Do what you can where you are. Furthermore, there’s always remote internships. Contact agencies focusing on your resume and business side. Seek on sites such as BookJobs.

I’m not saying you have to – I’m saying it’s a good idea. Really, I’m just saying consider this in your plan.

Good Luck.

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