As the newest agent currently at TBA, memories of my very first internship search are still quite vivid. It was time-consuming, exhausting and I got a lot of no’s. But luckily one agent was willing to take a chance on someone who didn’t have any experience, then another agency was impressed that I came back a season later with some newly added experience to my resume, then I had a boss who thought enough of me to recommend me for a full-time position at TBA. So, if you are considering maybe trying your hand in the publishing industry, here are some tips to help get you started:
1. Start your search.
There are a bunch of websites that you can routinely check to keep an eye out for any potential internship or entry-level positions. These in particular were extremely helpful when I was starting my own job search:
Also, it’s a really great idea to keep an eye on agency/publisher blogs or websites because sometimes, like we do on this very blog, agencies or publishers will post openings for internships there.
2. Use Twitter.
The entire publishing world is constantly communicating via the Twitterverse. So follow agents, editors, literary agencies or publishing houses that you might want to work for. You never know when an opening will pop up! Also, don’t be afraid to connect directly with agents or editors you admire.
3. Know your stuff.
It’s always a good idea to keep yourself informed about what’s happening in the publishing world. There are a number of really great industry blogs and newsletters you can subscribe to including Shelf Awareness, GalleyCat, Digital Book World and Publisher’s Lunch.
Also, and this may seem obvious, you need to read…a lot. Figure out what kinds of books you want to be working with and read as many books in those genres as possible. Keep an eye on the bestseller lists and read those titles as well.
4. Are you willing to relocate?
While lots of agencies, including TBA, offer remote internship opportunities for those of you living out of NYC, there are definitely a lot more opportunities available, especially at the early years of your career, to those able to commute into the office. So consider if you’re willing to make the move. However, if you’re not, don’t worry! There are still plenty of literary agencies and smaller publishers located in major cities around the country.
If you don’t get the first few internships you apply for, keep trying. Once you get your foot in the door, subsequent opportunities will be much more within your reach. Good luck everyone!