What Does a Typical Day Look Like for an Agent?

Everyone says that there is never a ‘typical day’ in their job, but this is also true for being a literary agent. Days are varied, which is part of the fun, challenge, and excitement. For those interested I made a list of what I did one day late last week so you can get an idea:

Boot up my computer, download emails, check Twitter and industry blogs.

Respond to emails in order of importance: my clients’ editors, clients with pending projects, and so forth.

Start to edit client’s manuscript, but emails coming in invariably make me put it down and pick it up in the evening when things are quiet.

Pick up a requested manuscript that I began last night, but didn’t finish.

Respond to an email regarding an offer for a client and subsequent negotiations.

Take a quick look at new requested projects coming in. Saw something that immediately made me make notes for a blog post.

Continue reading the requested manuscript that I’d been reading. (Loving it!) Email the author with questions about previous representation, what style of representation they look for in an agent, and their literary career ambitions.

Email clients with manuscripts out with editors to update them on their status.

Create new 2012 submission spreadsheets.

Tweet DM with a client (everyone has their own communication style!).

Read and comment on a press release for a client’s pending acquisition announcement.

Email co-workers about website update, status on upcoming client projects, and client contract negotiation.

Make a ‘to-do’ list for the weekend (read queries, read client non-fiction proposal, edit client projects) and next week (getting two clients ready for submission this month).

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

16 thoughts on “What Does a Typical Day Look Like for an Agent?

    1. It was a very ‘behind the scenes’ look! I hope it answers some questions about what we do and shows how much we do in the evenings and on the weekends. We do it all to discover and represent fantastic writers out there. We’re always looking.


    1. This is definitely more true for newbie agents. We are in a position to develop a client list and therefore look at more partials and fulls. This wouldn’t be as true for more established agents.

      Glad you enjoyed it!


What do you think? I love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: