What It’s Like to Be a Literary Agent

Q: Why did you choose this career? What is your work like? Do you like it? -Vicky

All agents come to agenting in different ways. Some (like Kristen Auclair) come after a career as an editor in a publishing house; others (like Nina Graybill) were authors and editors; others (like me) come from the legal profession, as intellectual property attorneys. All of us come with a basic love of books – a real passion for reading and helping authors’ careers.

Our work, these days, seems primarily devoted to two things: talking on the phone (or in person) with editors and authors during the day; and reading at night and on weekends. We tend to get a lot of mail; some read it all themselves and others find assistants to sort through the unsolicited materials. And then there’s the rest of the stuff – dealing with subsidiary rights (dramatic rights, etc.), dealing with crises and just dealing with mundane day-to-day running of an office.

And personally, I love what I do. There’s nothing quite like creating an “Author” out of an unpublished writer.

Jeff Kleinman, Literary Agent
Co-Founder of
Folio Literary Management