I'm sorry to unload on you but amongst us aspiring writers this whole intern thing has us feeling really low. We know they exist but we liked it when they were quietly behind closed doors doing their jobs. Now we have them tweeting like twits, blogging, and ladies like me are seriously pulling back. I'll take my chances nailing an agent at a conference or something.
I wonder now what the point of querying is, agents may never see it. Interns see them first, and they are tactless. Are all interns made of this same douch-baggy quality? The more I see online, I am believing, yes.
Don't believe it. Not for a minute. Most interns I've worked with want nothing more than to learn everything they can and find a job they love.
Acceptance into our intern program at FinePrint is highly competitive. Suzie Townsend and Meredith Barnes (along with Joanna Volpe and Sara Kendall at the Nancy Coffey Literary Agency) regularly receive more than a hundred applications for each intern class. They winnow the list down to the best candidates who are then asked to write reading reports and answer questions. From that group, only five or six are chosen.
As a rule our interns are smart, eager to learn, and a whole lot of fun. I tease them about being bright eyed and bushy tailed but they are balm to my grumpy soul (do NOT ever tell them, ok?)
Many are not kids at all; they have disparate backgrounds and professional experience. Several have had careers in other fields, or jobs in other branches of publishing.
And yes you want them to read your queries.
Why? They aren't jaded. They have more time. They'll read 50 pages when I would have stopped at one. One of the things it's hardest to teach them is "stop reading when it doesn't grab you." They are so eager to find good stuff they come early, stay late, and work on days they are not scheduled.
One thing I admire and respect about our interns is they know they don't know a lot yet. It's why they are there: to learn. They pay attention. When someone (me) says something, they pay attention. They soak up information and ask questions.
When I saw the anonymous tweeter doing queries, I was confident none of our interns were likely suspects. I was confident becuase they read queries here in the office, right under our pointy little noses. I was confident because they respect our agency's stringent rules and expectations of confidentiality. I was confident because our interns understand their job isn't teaching writers how to query, or about what sells. Their job is to learn. And they do it with a grace and enthusiasm that gives me hope for the future of this industry that I love more than I should.
So, don't put our interns in with one bad apple. They're a whole lot better than that. And that is pretty
clear even to the people who don't work here in the office.