This week was my last as an intern at New York literary agency Writers House. I have so many wonderful things to say about this experience, but first, the logistics.
The internship is meant to teach a select few, lucky people the ins and outs of the publishing industry. But, more than that, it’s a program with the heart and purpose of increasing the number of BIPOC members within the industry. Publishing is overwhelmingly white, and that homogeny has historically been detrimental to creators from marginalized groups. As demographics shift, the need to diversify the industry has never been greater. Writers House and, specifically, program director Michael Mejias have been fighting the good fight for more than 20 years, working to ensure that those entering the industry better reflect the American people.
I’m told my class of 13 interns had more than two thousand applicants. I’m blown away that I was chosen to take part. What’s equally astounding is how amazing the program is structured and executed. You do not walk away from a Writers House internship without learning the skills needed to successfully enter the publishing industry.
I learned so much about assessing manuscripts, providing editorial feedback, and assisting agents. We interns also got to dive deeply into other aspects of publishing, including sales, marketing, publicity, foreign and subsidiary rights, scouting, contracts, production, and more. Michael has honed this program to be one of the most well organized programs I’ve ever seen.
And while the internship is about education — and stellar it is — it’s also about community. Our supervisors work hard to help us succeed, both during and after our time there, seeing to it that we were challenged and grew. And then there were the other intern themselves. They are some of the brightest, most intellectually curious, and fun people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. They are actively on the job hunt and will take the industry by storm. I know someday their names will be spoken with awe and admiration. And rightly so.
In a year full of difficulties, my internship was an unexpected joy and a highlight of my life. I’m grateful to everyone involved. And I love getting to say I got my start in publishing at Writers House.