Publishing Q&A Answers and Giveaway Winners

The winners are Rayna, Christina, and Wendy. I have sent an email to all three. Below are my answers for the Q&A. If I didn’t answer your question it probably just didn’t go through. Feel free to ask again in the comments of this post and I will get back to you with an answer.

Is it okay to reference 3 comp titles in a query letter? Or is it better to stick with 2? Comp titles are often used as X meets Y and I see this more often than the use of 3 comps, but having 3 comps can work well. Personally my favorite way of seeing 3 comps used is when the author makes it clear why they picked those 3 instead of just X meets Y. As an example, My Awesome Manuscript has the high stakes of X, the atmosphere of Y, and the page-turning mystery of Z.  

I’m very curious about how one gets to be an agent intern or literary assistant, and how often they are able to do it remotely instead of in a particular city.

Internships are often listed on publisher/agent websites or blogs. Sites like bookjobs.com and Publishers Marketplace also list openings. Places that hire interns yearly hire in the spring and fall, think the time new college semesters start. But you want to start searching and applying to openings at least a month ahead of then. If there is a specific house or agency someone wants to intern with, they should keep checking their website/blog and social media for openings. I’ve gotten some of my internships and editing spots by cold emailing places I was interested in. If spots are college students only, listings usually say as much.

My whole career in publishing has been remote including my editing, internships, and assistant position with Holloway. Some agencies are completely remote now with agents scattered around the country. Compared to when I first started looking at internships back in 2013, there are many more remote opportunities now with the industry trending in that direction. Most internship listings will say if they are remote or in-office. Overall I expect more of the industry to turn remote with time. I’ve noticed that for agencies headquartered in NYC, assistant spots are more likely to be in-office, but there are plenty of agencies going remote to make up for that.

Are there ever queries or sample pages you’ve loved but the agents did not?

Definitely as well as vice versa! It’s the problem of subjectivity that causes that to happen. I’ve read samples I loved and was disappointed when my agent didn’t want to request more. It can make reading for an agent a little difficult because you have to consider their tastes and if you have widely different tastes it can be hard to decide what to pass on or not.

And now, have some inspirational writing quotes from the entries.

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” – Terry Pratchett

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” ― Earl Nightingale

“If you fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

Grit is that ‘extra something’ that separates the most successful people from the rest. It’s the passion, perseverance, and stamina that we must channel in order to stick with our dreams until they become a reality. – Travis Bradberry

Finally, the true novelist is the one who doesn’t quit. Novel-writing is not so much a profession as a yoga, or “way”, an alternative to ordinary life-in-the-world. Its benefits are quasi-religious — a changed quality of mind and heart, satisfactions no non-novelist can understand — and its rigors generally bring no profit except to the spirit. For those who are authentically called to the profession, spiritual profits are enough. ~ John Gardner
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