Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

Archive for October, 2015

A Day in the Life of this Literary Agent/Assistant

Posted by Caitie F on October 15, 2015

I have been wanting to do a post like this for a while and today is going to be a pretty busy day, so it is perfect timing!


Wake up for my Masters Swim Team Practice. It is SO early. I haven’t been in two weeks because of a cold, so I am glad I am back!


Get on the bus to get to work. The bus company has been awful lately – my usual bus is at 7:30, but shocker, huge lines and delays for the fourth time this week.

Today, I use my commute to finish listening to the latest This American Life podcast – it made me very happy that they referenced Hamilton twice! I check my email, saw there was nothing that couldn’t wait until I got in. Unfortunately, this is an older bus and is not smooth enough for me to read, so I just go back to listening to Hamilton for the 15th time.


I am the first in the office today, which is happens once every couple weeks. I got my coffee at the coffee shop that opened this week next door (yay!) and check our voicemail as my computer loads.

Send a quick email to my boss because an editor called her back after we left last night. There are a couple of offers on a manuscript, so a lot of today for her will be calling all the editors who have it and letting them know.


I checked my emails and responded to one that was urgent. One of our clients is getting a lot of press this week so I make sure it is all scheduled on twitter. I am submitting audio deal, so I also forward all of that information to the audio publishers as well. I have lots of other emails to get to in a bit.


One of our interns arrives, so I make sure I have sent her a couple of things to schedule on social media.  Time to dive into emails for a while. I have a contract to look at one last time, a post to edit, and so much more


Liza came in just as I finished up with emails. I have a little time before we meet, so time to take a look at some bookish blogs and see if any are mentioning our authors or posting anything fun we can share on social media.

Also want to look into the author of a short piece I read yesterday.


Two of my authors are out on submission right now, so it is a LOT of waiting, which can be frustrating. One has been our for a few weeks, so I am making sure I check in that they are okay and see how their WIP is going. I want to make sure that my authors know they can talk to me about questions, concerns, and frustrations


Time for the meeting with Liza and our intern. Went through what is going on with all of our authors and the to-do list doubled (which happens daily)

I got so distracted by work that I forgot about my coffee until it got cold. So glad we have a microwave. Lots of phone calls today, but good phone calls! So much better than yesterday when we got 7 sales calls. We are now on the Do Not Call list.

Got to spend some time chatting with the agents we share office space with about audio questions and a submission question.

Heading to PT for my hip.


Came back and there is very little mail today. Sometimes, mail takes up half of my day. Some days like today, it is three things I need to process. The intern is gone for the day as well.

We did get a couple of boxes of books – so I have to email the agent on the title and if we have foreign rights on the titles, our foreign rights manager and find out how many they want, then get everything ready for shipping. We keep at least one copy in our office. I have several packages to go out, so that will take a while.

I also need to check social media and see if there is anything I need to tweet or retweet.


I just checked my email and SIX OF CROWS is at my library waiting for me. I am in a serious pleasure reading slump (even though I am reading a great book) and I hope this can help get me out of it, since I will only have three weeks to read it and two more books are coming soon.

I am hoping this contract negotiation only takes one more email.

Then I have to update our publication schedules and enter some contracts into a database we use to track everything and run reports, It is so helpful for all of us.


An author needs lots of copies of older books for a signing this week, so I needed to contact a few different places to get the best price and still get them there in time. This will be a back and forth all day and into the weekend.

Also looking up contact information for some editors to send something to. It is often harder to find than you would think!


Going through my inbox to make sure nothing has fallen through the cracks in the last two weeks and moving everything to the appropriate folders, scheduling tweets of great reviews that we tweeted in September to go out again and following up with audio publishers on contracts we are waiting for.

Also working on a possible update for the website.


Made myself a cup of tea for getting through my entire inbox. I love tea. I went for a nice, calming chai today since it has been so busy. At this point there are only 38 emails there and they all should be. I try to clear it out every couple weeks to make sure I have followed up on everything that needs to be followed up on. Got two contract comparisons, but they are going to wait for Tuesday when our interns are in – we have them take a look so they can see what a contract looks like and how it needs to be gone through word by word. Once they have looked, the agent goes through it again and again before we negotiate specific points with the publisher. I think you learn more about publishing from looking at a contract and asking questions than almost anything else and we haven’t had many before today this session (today, we had 3, one which was urgent that i went through right away since it was an audio contract and I am the audio rights manager).

I will quickly check Liza and my query inbox to see if there is anything urgent, but have so much to do in the next 45 minutes, so it will just be a glance.


Right after updating, I got a big pile of unearned royalty statements back from Liza to send out to our authors. She checks all of them for mistakes. Once everything looks good, I send them to the authors. I got through one agent’s authors, so the rest will come home with me since I work from home on Fridays.

In these last five minutes, I will clean off my desk, take out the trash, and shut down my computer. I can never read on the bus home, far too much stopping and going. I won’t be getting any work down at home this evening since my parents are coming for the weekend and I need to clean. I will be checking my regular work email just in case.

Hope you enjoyed this look into what was a pretty typical day at my work, as much as there can be typical days when every day is different!

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