What kind of books do you most like to read?
I’ve had an obsession with dystopias since the summer I graduated from college. I thought it was a phase, but two and a half years later, I’m beginning to wonder.
I also tend to read a lot of YA, sci-fi/fantasy, and Asian/Asian-American historical and contemporary fiction (think Amy Tan and Lisa See).
What’s the last book you read (not including a submission)?
Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud, but I’m not sure that counts because it’s a BookEnds book and I read it as research for my internship final project. Still, Michelle Painchaud has one of the best YA voices that I’ve encountered in a while and I thought her novel deserved the mention.
MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood is the other most recent book that I’ve read. I didn’t love it, but even a slightly disappointing Margaret Atwood novel contains elements of mastery.
What interests you about a career in publishing (assuming you’d like a career in publishing)?
It took me a long time to decide on a career in publishing. I spent my high school and college years editing friends’ late-night papers and critiquing fanfiction and original fiction on the internet, but for some reason it never occurred to me that I could make a living polishing other people’s writing. I devoured books – acknowledgements pages included – without ever really thinking about the people, aside from the author, who were responsible for producing them.
When I finally noticed the similarities between reviewing and beta reading stories on the internet and editing manuscripts as an agent or editor, I facepalmed (figuratively but possibly also literally). A career in publishing made so much sense for me that I felt stupid for never considering it. My friends had a similar reaction to my newly discovered career ambitions: the word “duh” may have been used.
I want to work in publishing because I’m passionate about stories and storytelling, and although I’m a writer with stories of my own to tell, I find helping other writers refine their work to be equally rewarding.
What led you to BookEnds?
Truthfully? I had to do a reader report as part of the application process for another internship, and while I was researching how to write a successful one, I came across Jessica Faust’s blog posts on the subject. I then proceeded to procrastinate writing my reader report by reading the entirety of the BookEnds blog (oops). Immediately, I was struck by Jessica Faust’s wise yet down-to-earth tone: she seemed real and genuinely interested in sharing her knowledge of the publishing industry with the next generation of aspiring agents and editors. I found myself wishing that I’d discovered BookEnds sooner, so that I could’ve applied for an internship there, too.
Though I didn’t need more incentives to consider an internship at BookEnds, the agency’s convenient (for me) location and the fact that Jessica Faust had an adorable in-office dog named Buford definitely influenced my decision to apply.
Sadly, I didn’t get that other internship, but happily, I landed this one a few months later.
What has surprised you most about your internship at BookEnds?
Honestly, I’m surprised by how much I’ve learned in such a short span of time. Although I’d done research on the publishing industry prior to interning at BookEnds, compared to what I know now, I feel like I knew as much as Jon Snow back then (I apologize for that joke). Perhaps even more surprising, there’s still more to learn, and the more that I know, the more that I want to know.
What have you enjoyed the most at BookEnds?
The weekly company meetings. Not only were these meetings educational and entertaining, but attending them made me feel like a valued member of the BookEnds team.
Buford’s weekly visits to the office were enjoyable, as well, as was talking food with the agents. (Why do people who love books always seem to love food too? Maybe I shouldn’t question a good thing.)
What do you think authors or other prospective interns might like to know about the BookEnds team?
Prospective interns: You’ll never be starved for…
1) knowledge – You’ll be urged from day one to speak up and ask questions, but even if all you do is listen to the agents’ conversations with one another and absorb information about the tasks you’re completing, your knowledge of the publishing industry will increase exponentially.
2) social interaction – All of the agents are warm and welcoming. Even if you’re the shyest, most introverted person alive, the urge to engage in idle chatter is impossible to resist in the BookEnds office.
3) food – The office is filled with candy and snacks that keep mysteriously replenishing themselves. If you’re lucky, you may even snag a recipe or two from Beth or Jessica Faust!
Authors: You want your manuscript at BookEnds. All of the BookEnds agents are devoted to their clients and passionate about the books they represent. You couldn’t ask for a nicer, more capable team to help you build your writing career. If your manuscript has potential, the BookEnds agents will ensure that it’s fulfilled, and if it doesn’t, they’ll be honest with you about it.
After nearly completing your internship, what are your thoughts on being an agent or working in publishing in general?
Being an agent involves a degree of risk: agents work on commission, and as a result, their financial success depends on the financial success of the authors they sign. However, because agents have the freedom to choose which authors and manuscripts they represent, in a way, they have more influence over their income than people in most salaried jobs do. Not many jobs, whether in the publishing industry or elsewhere, allow for the kind of creativity and control that being an agent does.
Publishing is a difficult industry to break into, but I believe that it’ll be worth the effort to have a career that revolves around making more of my favorite things (i.e. books). I love everything about publishing, even the legal and business aspects, and I could not be more thankful to the BookEnds team for giving me the opportunity to explore and expand this love. I’m sad to leave the agents (and Buford!), but with any luck, I’ll continue to move forward in my publishing career.
Thanks for reading! If you’ve read everything up to this point, I’m flattered; if you’ve merely skimmed, I don’t blame you (I tend to ramble). Either way, I’m thrilled to have gotten even some of your attention.
Have a great day! 🙂