Friday, July 14, 2006

How to Keep the Interns Happy: Tips for Authors

Why should you care whether interns at a literary agency are happy or not? I'll tell you why: We're the ones who open the mail. We're the first gate you, as an author, have to get through. My job at BookEnds includes requesting proposals and recommending some to my bosses (the agents: Jessica, Kim, and Jacky). Here are a few tips that will make me happy—because a happy intern is an optimistic intern who just might take a chance on requesting your material.

Tip 1: READ THE BOOKENDS WEBSITE! I can't stress to you just how important this is. will tell you everything you need to know when sending in a proposal/query.

Tip 2: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! Research literary agencies before sending your material to them. BookEnds does not take on certain kinds of writings and genres. Also, each agent who works here has her own specialties. Please refer to Tip 1 to find these out.

Tip 3: WHEN ASKING FOR A SASE, WE MEAN THAT THE ENVELOPE SHOULD HAVE YOUR ADDRESS ON IT. If you send in an envelope that has our address on it, instead of yours, please don't e-mail me complaining that you haven't heard a response from us. This also goes for the authors who do not bother sending a SASE at all.

Tip 4: SELF-STICKING ENVELOPES ARE A GODSEND. This is not a necessity, but it does make my job easier, and consequently, makes me happy. It's not fun licking all those envelopes closed; so if you receive a taped envelope instead of a licked one, don't be offended.

Tip 5: PAPER DOESN'T BREAK. This means when you send a proposal or manuscript, bubble wrap is not necessary. Rest assured that your writing will impress me, not the way you package it.

Tip 6: INCLUDE A SELF-ADDRESSED POSTCARD WITH YOUR PROPOSAL. It took me a few days to realize why some people did this, but once Jessica told me, it made sense. I will send you the postcard back when we receive your materials. This will put your lost mail worries to ease and stop the many e-mails that come in daily asking whether we received a proposal or not.

—The Intern


kris said...

Intern! You posted! How good to hear from you!

Thanks for sharing your tips with us. Hope you're having a wonderful learning experience at BookEnds!

Bella Andre said...

Great tips! It must be so fun working at BookEnds!

;-) bella

Jaye Wells said...

Thanks for the tips. The postcard idea is a great one. And it's kind of funny/sad you have to tell people whose address to put on the SASE.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. So my plan to drop a twenty dollar bill in the envelope is probably not the best approach, after all.

Kate Douglas said...

Didn't realize BookEnds had an intern...does Prozac come with the job? This is a terrific article and lots of good points. I'm passing it on.

Bernita said...

Postcards are probably the most easily lost of any mail item, which may account for some writer's reluctance to use them.

Anonymous said...

But the bubble wrap isn't to keep the manuscript safe, it's to amuse the intern and agents while they're reading the proposal. :)