Publishing Jobs – A Literary Agent Describes How He Helps Authors

Publishing jobs include helping authors get published. Here, a Manhattan literary agent describes his job selling manuscripts to publishers and editors.

“I think people are surprised by how much editing an agent has to do,” says New York City-based Jon Sternfeld. “I don’t know what it used to be like, but books have to be nearly perfect to sell. So, an agent can’t just hope that an editor sees potential in a project. They have to be bowled over by it, so an agent needs to spend a ton of time getting a book to that point.”

Sternfeld went to Emory University and has a BA in English/Creative Writing. Currently he works at the Irene Goodman Agency in the Big Apple. Here, he describes his publishing job and offers career tips for people interested in working in the book publishing industry…

Publishing Jobs – A Literary Agent Describes How He Helps Authors

“I find and sign writers with books who are looking for a publisher,” says Sternfeld. “I help the writer get the manuscript or proposal into the best possible condition, and then use my contacts and knowledge of the publishing industry to submit it to editors.”

If the publisher or editor makes an offer on the manuscript or proposal (o happy day!), Sternfeld negotiates the deal and supports the writer through publication. He helps writers transition into life as a published author or novelist.

The Best Parts of Working as a Literary Agent

“I absolutely love the ‘hunt’ – searching for writers or project ideas in literary journals, magazines, radio, newspapers, etc,” says Sternfeld. “I also love the editorial aspect of the job, providing feedback and notes to writers on their work and assisting with revision.”

The Downside of This Publishing Job

There’s not much that Sternfeld doesn’t like about working in the publishing industry. But, he says that it’s becoming very difficult to sell non-fiction projects without the writer having some kind of “celebrity.”

“It’s frustrating because as more and more celebrity books sell, there’s less room for smarter projects,” he says.

Career Tips for Literary Agents and Publishers

Sternfeld advises people interested in a publishing career to read, read, read. “All literary agents have a good working knowledge of what’s out there in bookstores,” he says. “You need to read a ton in order to keep up!”

For more info about Jon Sternfeld, visit Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

If you have questions or thoughts on publishing jobs or literary agents, please comment below.

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