If you’re wondering what happens when you send a book proposal to an agent, here’s a great account of the process, by Lauren, an intern at the BookEnds, LLC Literary Agency in Gillette, NJ: How the Intern Reads Your Proposal.
What’s interesting about Lauren’s post is that she turns on its head the feeling that you’re being short-changed if a “lowly” intern is the first person to go through the slush pile and read your proposal. Actually, as it turns out, that could be an advantage for you.
What happens with most agents after a while is that they’ve seen so many proposals – a great many of them quite bad – that they’re just looking for an excuse to discard their latest read and whittle down the pile that faces them. An intern, on the other hand, is still full of excitement and interest, and is more ready to recognize something that might, just might, have the seeds of greatness in it.
When the intern finds something she or he likes, they are going to sing its praises to the agent, who will then probably read it with a less jaundiced eye.
So take heart, all of you who submit book proposals. You’re not necessarily at a disadvantage if an intern is the one who first encounters the proposal, rather than the big agents. That may serve you better, and you might find the agent taking a closer look if the intern becomes your champion.