My Dad is one of my favorite people on the planet. He's the one who introduced me to science fiction through Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Stargate. He knows when to let me blabber on about an edit that is giving me trouble and when to throw an idea out there. He listens and remembers a fair amount of the publishing and writing terms I throw at him....
So WHY does he continually tell people I'm an editor???
As an industry, we don't try to be secretive. We're a passionate group of people and most of us will gladly blabber on for hours about the wonderful people and stories we get to work with, but for some reason that doesn't always make sense to the outside world. Even inside the publishing realm, I'm sometimes asked what a "day in the life of an agent" looks like, so here's what the oh-so-glamorous life of a junior agent looks like ....
I typically start my days by going through emails. I read over industry news, respond to any quick emails and add any larger tasks to my to-do list for the day. I prioritize my to-do list based on how long it will take me to do a project. Generally, I knock out the smaller tasks first and build up momentum to tackle the big projects on my list. When I have tasks that will take the same amount of time I will prioritize them like this...
Pretty simple, right? Once I've got my inbox to a manageable level, I'll move on to my actual to-do list…Fair warning, my to-do lists are probably more complex than they need to be, but it works.
In order to keep everything running smoothly and in order to protect myself from my workaholic nature, I have specific days where I have to work on specific things and days when I don’t allow myself to work on others. For example: I have to work in my query box on Wednesday evenings. I am not allowed to read submissions on Fridays. (I specifically read for fun or read nonfiction books about the industry/writing on Fridays) And for those of you who are wondering, I typically read submissions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, time allowing.
When I’m making my lists for the week, I start with my authors’ schedules. If there is anything that is coming up for them, I make sure to include that in my lists. This might include pitches for editors, proof reading, editing, reading, and check-in/update emails. Once I have these written out, I will add in the tasks I continually work on such as networking, researching, reading submissions and going through queries. Finally, I look at my ongoing projects. These are the things that I plan and complete as I come up with them. I just recently completed a huge project of rebuilding my website and updating all of my social media accounts. Up next? A rather large project including compiling all of my notes about publishing houses, imprints and editor interests that I have scribbled on what seems like millions of papers around my desk.
One of my favorite parts of the job is the fact that no day is ever going to be the same as the last. There’s always something exciting brewing on all of my authors’ laptops and there is always more to learn and see and hear. My job is to fall in love with stories and help writers realize their dreams as published authors. Agenting is hard work. Some days I will work from 8am until midnight, but I never get bored and I’ve never once regretted my decision to pursue this career over any other. Maybe someday my Dad will learn to say that I’m an agent.