Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Intern Thinks She's Found Something

Hi, I just had a student intern at a very good independent publishing house ask to see a full ms. How much does her input count in the editors' consideration/acceptance of my book?
Zero.

Sometimes we like our interns. Sometimes we like them a lot. Every once in a while we'd strongly like to hire them, but even then they've got years of editorial work ahead of them before they're ready to make acquisition decisions themselves.

So if they reallyreally want us to read a manuscript they found, we will (but maybe not today. Or this week. And if it gets a bit buried it may be a month or two).

Interns are not automatically esteemed, and they shouldn't expect to be. The point of an internship is that they get the opportunity to make a great impression on the people they might work with, and may become esteemed through performance.

Maybe the editor who reads it (eventually) will love it. If so, she'll be the one to argue for the acquisition. And if so, then the intern will have earned several points for choosing something that house might like to publish. Generally we're just looking for interns who will only pass us hypothetically publishable manuscripts, instead of every vaguely cute thing with no hook at all.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

An intern at a top agency just requested 50 pages of my novel, saying he'd be sure that my amazing, dream agent would see it. I'm assuming the request came from the agent, n'est-ce pas? And that the intern just wrote the email request. I'm also assuming that only the agent could request the full from the partial. Right? When I emailed asking the intern if he'd prefer the 50 snail or electronic, he emailed back, saying either way. He sounded really interested, but it's hard to tell if his enthusiasm is the agent's enthusiasm. What do you think, EA?

Editorial Anonymous said...

An intern at a top agency just requested 50 pages of my novel, saying he'd be sure that my amazing, dream agent would see it. I'm assuming the request came from the agent, n'est-ce pas?
No.

And that the intern just wrote the email request. I'm also assuming that only the agent could request the full from the partial. Right?
No.

When I emailed asking the intern if he'd prefer the 50 snail or electronic, he emailed back, saying either way. He sounded really interested, but it's hard to tell if his enthusiasm is the agent's enthusiasm. What do you think, EA?
I think he's telling the truth that he'll show it to the agent. But the enthusiasm is his, not the agent's--at least at this point.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your answers, EA. I assumed these things from the impressions I've gotten from The Rejecter's blog. She's an assistant, more than an intern. And she's said that she's not able to request material, only the agent can. Perhaps it differs with each agency or house. But I've really enjoyed hearing about interns since the subject is so much on my mind right now.

The Rejecter said...

Just because I've never heard of an intern requesting a partial without consulting the agent first doesn't mean it isn't done. Maybe the agent is training the intern to be a sub-agent, maybe he's going behind his bosses's back, whatever. You got a request for a partial. Send the partial in and hope for the best, and meanwhile keep querying.

I certainly don't have the authority to request anything. Once I did push a previous boss into requesting something because I liked it, and she rejected the partial because she didn't like it. I haven't tried that again.

literaticat said...

When I was a mere reader-intern at an agency, I read all the slush, was allowed to reject whatever I wanted and request partials or fulls of whatever I wanted, and if I really truly loved something, the agent would take a look.

(and if they also loved it they'd possibly take it on, and if they took it on AND sold it, I got a bit of commish.)

But, I wasn't an agent, so... whatevs, basically. It is nice but a guarantee of nothing.

unknown said...

Amen!

INTERN have no power! INTERN readingbot.

It humbly read manuscripts. Never seek to rise above station! INTERN proud to be intern!

-anonymous intern

internspills.blogspot.com