A literary agent pitches a book proposal or manuscript to an editor at a publishing house in hopes that the book gets published (among other exciting things I will discuss at a later post). Before that can happen, someone has to find the query, or submission, that catches the agent’s attention. One of my responsibilities, an intern at the Doris S. Michaels Literary Agency, is to read queries from authors who wish to be represented by us.
Evaluating queries is one of my favorite things to do at the agency because it is the most challenging. DSM Agency specializes in self–help and business books. The agency is also interested in women’s issues, current events, and strong works of literary fiction.
However, there are writers who submit great proposals that, unfortunately, are not ideal for the agency. I have had to put my own taste aside and develop a keen eye for what best fits our agency and what is marketable. There are times where I am sure a query will not work for the agency but there are times where I am uncertain. When that happens, I let it sit and read it later or go over it with my supervisor. On the other hand, when I find a query that could be a great addition to the agency, I feel a rush of anticipation, hoping that everyone else will like it as much as I do. After reading all of the queries and forwarding the ones I felt had the most potential, I often wonder what I will be reading tomorrow.