Rachel's Write of Way

Archive for September 2009

NYC skyline

So…I realize I haven’t updated this blog in a month and a half, but it’s for a good reason. Shortly after my last post, I did a lot of thinking and reevaluating about my job search and where exactly I would like my life to go. And I realized that my true passion lies in the publishing industry, so after doing some research I realized that the best way to break into this field is by doing an internship. So I spent several days calling publishing companies and literary agencies, inquiring about internships and trying to get interviews. I applied for dozens of fall internships and heard back from several, much to my surprise, asking me to come for an interview. So I made a few trips to New York and went to four interviews altogether. I was offered three of the internships and picked the one I felt would be best for me.

So I’ve been interning at FinePrint Literary Management and Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation for about 2 weeks now! It’s two agencies that share an office space, and they’ve combined their internship program. There are 5 other interns, and we get to do really cool, hands-on stuff like reading query letters and either rejecting or requesting manuscripts and reading manuscripts the agents have requested and writing readers’ reports on their strengths and weaknesses. I’m also working with one of the agents, a very well respected and incredible talent in the industry, on various tasks. One of my first jobs was to read a manuscript by one of her clients that is going to print soon, and they wanted one last pair of eyes to catch any grammatical mistakes and typos, so I spent the day reading a very intriguing mystery.

I’m convinced this internship and the industry are right for me because I’m absolutely enthralled by every element of this process, and I’m getting to do it all–from reading initial queries for the agents to looking over the first few pages of a manuscript that one of the agents is considering representing to being the final pair of eyes for a book, I love it all. I love the amount of responsibility we’ve been entrusted with; the agents really care about our opinions, and they trust our judgment on the manuscripts we’re assigned to read. I haven’t encountered any tasks so far that make me think of this as a job or as work. It’s what I love to do, and it’s an excuse to live out my passion. This is the type of environment I’ve wanted to be a part of for so long, and my only regret so far is that I didn’t pursue this immediately after I graduated from school last December, but live and learn, right?

So every Tuesday and Wednesday I’m at the office downtown (it’s conveniently located two blocks from the giant Macy’s…I wouldn’t be surprised if I accidentally end up on the shoe floor instead of on the subway one of these days after work without realizing how I got there…) and 3-4 days a week I’m waitressing at a Thai restaurant in Astoria, Queens, which isn’t far from my apartment in Woodside, also in Queens. I love being a waitress so far, although I was really just kind of thrown into the position…I went in about a week ago for an informal interview at 4 p.m., was offered the job on the spot and asked to stay for training immediately. I didn’t leave until after the restaurant closed at 11, and I was actually waiting tables that night. It was very overwhelming for me because I’ve never had a waitressing or even a retail job before, but I think being thrown into it headfirst and being forced to learn everything so quickly was actually really good for me. The shifts are long–12 hours, on your feet the whole time–but I love interacting with customers, taking orders, making drinks, etc. It’s really fun, and I think I’m going to like the job a lot.

I’m going to be VERY busy, between potentially 48 hours a week there, 16 a week at the internship and outside work. They usually give us manuscripts to take home and read, and we have to have it finished plus a report written up by the next time we come in. Last Tuesday, for example, I had to read a 364-page British novel and write a report about whether an American version would work. I don’t get home from the internship until 8 p.m., and I had to have this done by the next morning when I went in. So I stopped at Dunkin Donuts, grabbed an iced coffee and stayed up until 2:30 reading the book, then got up at 7:30 to write the report before going in. I really didn’t mind, though, because for the first time in awhile, I feel like I’m doing something meaningful and worthwhile with my life. The past 8 months of job searching kept me as busy as a full-time job without any visible reward and with a whole lot of discouragement and hopelessness.

Right now, I’m very hopeful. I’m doing what I love and working hard at it so that when the internship is done, I have a much higher chance of landing a paid position in publishing than I did before. I’m working full-time on top of that to pay the rent in this very expensive city, but I’m keeping a positive attitude and making the best of everything that comes my way because right now, everything is an opportunity. I’m so grateful for it all. And I’m going to try my best to update this as often as possible so everyone back home can keep up with my exciting New York life!



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