Thursday, May 13, 2010

How Interested Do I Have to Be?

I was just wondering, in that vague kind of unfocused fashion that comes after just having had a full meal, what it takes to be an agent?
A lot. Have you read any agent blogs, or is your interest too vague for that?
Is there a course somewhere to prepare you for it?
No.
Is it merely a discerning eye for good stories? For what will sell?
Yes. PLUS a knowledge of WHERE it will sell. Agents know the differences in publishing tastes between one publisher and another; one editor and another. AND they know the ins and outs of publishing contracts. AND they know industry practices and norms. AND they know the terrain of the modern author's career path, and what's best for them.

If those sound like things you'd like to learn, then you could try interning at an agency.
I'm a writing student at the University of Technology, Sydney, in my final semester and I've always loved editing, have always desired to enter the publishing industry in some fashion (be it as an editor or writer) but I've never considered what is required to become a successful agent, hence my question.
If you could give me tips re: the editing front as well, I would appreciate it. I've tried offering myself as an intern for most of the publishing houses in Sydney (though there are probably several hundred I've missed) to no avail, so tips there would be nice.
Knowing something about writing is a definite plus. But what matters more to people in publishing houses is being acutely interested in CURRENT books, and in what's GREAT and what SELLS.

Have you conveyed an acute interest to the publishing houses you've applied to? Or only a vague one?

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