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Smirkin
09-27-2012, 07:22 PM
I'm curious how a person becomes an agent as a career path.

I did a bit of searching in this forum and didn't find anything related to how to work as an agent (for other authors, not in representing your own work). I'm curious what kind of qualifications and career paths agents "typically" have - ie, the path one would take toward becoming a good candidate for hire as a literary agent. I assume these are hard jobs to come by, as is my understanding of most publishing jobs?

Old Hack
09-27-2012, 08:24 PM
You need relevant experience gained in publishing, usually working for an agency or in editorial departments in a publishing house.

Internships are a common way in but these are usually unpaid, so you have to have money and accomodation in London or New York. There's a huge amount of competition for these intern's positions but they're worth it if you can get one: I recently read an agent tweet that she would much rather employ people from the work experience people who have worked for her than risk interviewing strangers.

The job of agent isn't an easy one to get, it requires years of experience, and much of that experience is gained at low pay. Once one becomes an agent one's pay takes another dip, as it can take three years or more before you start earning anything like a reasonable amount, because of the way publishing contracts pay out.

It isn't an easy route to take.

C.T. Richmond
09-27-2012, 11:32 PM
Mandy Hubbard recently posted on Publishing Crawl about her path to becoming an agent (http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/09/05/how-to-become-a-literary-agent-in-2-easy-steps/). I thought it was an insightful and interesting read!

Good luck!

Gravity
09-27-2012, 11:52 PM
My agent, Chip MacGregor, speaks to this here: http://macgregorliterary.com/about-us/

Smirkin
09-28-2012, 12:38 AM
Thanks! Those two links were both VERY helpful and interesting. Seems like all things point to beginning with an internship. (wait, I think somebody told me that a hundred years ago when I was in college...)

blacbird
09-29-2012, 08:54 AM
Agent travels a path deep into the countryside, at midnight, no moon, to a deserted crossroads, there to meet with Mephisto and make the first of many deals.

caw