Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Meet the Intern: James McGowan

Ooh, my first interview. I feel important. I’m coming for you, Oprah.

What's your name?
James McGowan

Where do you go to school?
CUNY- College of Staten Island

What are you studying?

What kind of books do you most like to read?
I’m a big YA reader. I love pretty much all subgenres, from Fantasy to Contemporary. I’ll also take this time to tell you that Harry Potter has been proven to be the best book series on the face of the Earth. Proven by me. Just now.

I also love a good Psychological Thriller. If you can keep me confused for 200 pages and then reveal a killer in the last 50, I’m down.

What's the last book you read (not including a submission)?
So, I’m always juggling reading. The last book I’ve completed was THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu. I’m still on LEGACY OF KINGS by Eleanor Herman, and loving it immensely.

What interests you about a career in publishing (assuming you'd like a career in publishing)?
It took me a lot of sitting and wondering to figure out what I finally wanted to do, and I didn’t even figure it out when I was sitting and wondering. When I finally discovered that there were people behind the books besides the author, I was immediately hooked. I’ve tried my hand at writing a thing or two (and those of you who can do it have been touched by an angel), but to no avail. I began to immerse myself in the publishing industry and researching the logo on the spine of every book. I’m just interested in all that I haven’t read. I want to see the behind the scenes of the things I love most and discover everything I haven’t already.

What lead you to BookEnds? 
Long story or short story?

Short story- I realized no one would hire a college grad without some experience, and did my research into agencies I would like to be a part of.

Long story- I was born on a snowy night in late Decem— I’m kidding. After reading the acknowledgments in Divergent and discovering my career goals, I researched all positions in the industry. I came to the logical plan of applying to internships in the agenting world first, before applying to a House for an internship. I can’t decide where I would rather be. I’ve applied to many agencies before coming across Jessica Faust on twitter. I’ve read every word on the BookEnds website, including the internship post and what made me apply was how nice the posting was. Seriously, go look- so nice. So I applied, and I had a good feeling after polishing my cover letter to as best as I could. The excitement was real when I got an email back.

What has surprised you most about your internship at BookEnds?
Truthfully, I am endlessly surprised by the amount of knowledge that the BookEnds ladies hold in their brains. I am constantly learning new things. I always try to contribute at meetings, but at many of them I just to sit back and watch. Seriously, my head bobbles back and forth from agent to agent. The way they talk about market trends, submissions, contracts, royalties, everything from legal to industry news… it amazes me. I understand an internship is a learning opportunity, but I never, in a million years, would have expected to learn as much as I have.

What have you enjoyed the most at BookEnds?
Okay, two answers.

1. My weekly run-ins with Buford the BookEnds Mascot-Dog. Quite the character.

2. Just being in the office and listening. The one-on-one conversations that I’m able to have with any of the agents, about any topic are truly enjoyable. They’ve allowed me to come into my own more in the publishing world, and I could talk, or sit and listen for hours. 

What do you think authors or other prospective interns might like to know about the BookEnds team?
I think authors and fellow students/interns to be need to know that this is the agency that should be at the top of your list. Everyone here loves their job, clients, and work.

Authors- These agents are some of the most helpful, knowledgeable and creative people that I’ve had the pleasure of working for.

Interns- You’ll never feel uncomfortable in the office. Everyone is down to earth and personable. You’re constantly learning, and if you’re going to spend time interning, at least make sure you are getting the most out of it.

I’m also going to take this time to publicly thank every agent for everything they’ve taught or done for me. I appreciate all the guidance and working opportunities you’ve given me. I’m proud and grateful to have begun my publishing career at BookEnds.

After nearly completing your internship, what are your thoughts on being an agent or working in publishing in general?
After almost finishing (sadly) my internship at BookEnds, I have many thoughts about the field. For instance, Agenting is the most freedom any human could ever have in a professional position. It’s fun and creative and ever changing. You abide by your rules and only take on projects you love.

As far as the industry, in general, I’m happy that I’ve found something I love and am passionate about, and that it is within my arm’s reach.

Hey, if you’ve made it this far into the post without checking Twitter or Facebook, Thank you for reading!

And what’s a self-respecting Tweeter without some self-promotion? Follow me here!

Over and out,


The Other Stephen King said...

Thank you for this!

I know what he's talking about in the discovery that there's more to getting books to read than authors and big black boxes that turn out books. And interns? Wasn't certain those were real people, at all.

Hollie said...

Congratulations on your internship and I hope it leads you to a career that is both rewarding and enjoyable.

AJ Blythe said...

Any office that has a mascot dog sounds like a wonderful place to work. Good luck with your future career, James.

susan furlong said...

Great interview, James! Best of luck with all your career goals.