Friday, January 3, 2014

Best colleges for publishing?

Hello! I am a junior in high school and I am starting to look at colleges that I might want to apply to. My hope is to become a literary agent or an editor for a publishing company. Do you have any advice on how I should pick the right college for this? on YA or adult?

This is an excellent question, and you are clearly way ahead of the curve to ask this. I am sure that, given how determined you are, and how early you are starting your search, you will have no problem finding a job.

That said, there is not one particular college that agents or editors recruit from. The best thing you can do to set the stage for a job, possibly even more important than the college you attend, is to have as many internships as you can before you graduate. I would advise lining up internships every year during college (typically during the summer, though could be anytime). Keep in mind, some of these internships may require your applying many months early, for example in the fall for a summer spot. In this regard, it would obviously be helpful if your college was in or close to New York City--unless you are willing and able to travel back and forth to NYC for interviews and internships.


  1. I have a question:
    I am reading your "How to land plus bonus material" You are preaching to the choir in my case and I thank you for the validation and your generosity for making this information available. As a singer song writer who was signed to WEA Elektra in the 80's I can say that much of what you present is similar to the music business and 100% of it is true.
    Here is my question- (I have not read the entire doc yet- so forgive me if you answer this in it) I love the idea of serializing and making ones work available, sharing and getting it out there. Here is my concern- I recorded two albums. The internet sells three. The third is every private demo that I made for record company executives. With the way the internet is, pirating books is a piece of cake. I am concerned in this climate that putting work that I am planning to pitch out there will diminish potential sales to the point where publishers will feel that the value of my intellectual property has been compromised. This is a big subject. Right now I am prepping my first novel - a SciFi- to be pitched. Trust me- I am going to every length to make sure it is a polished finished product before I even crack open the door and talk to the industry. Could you talk a little about how to protect ones work from piracy before it is pitched and how the industry views this? Thanx again. best S

  2. Hi Noah. I have a question. I published my first book on Amazon with the agent-assisted White Glove Program, and recently finished the second in the series. I have not yet given it to my agent, however, because I've lost a tremendous amount of trust in him for various reasons. Because his agency uploaded Book 1 to Amazon for me, they are the ones who access/monitor sales, price, etc., even though I'm technically in control. I had no problem giving up a percentage of Book 1 because he did try (albeit unsuccessfully) to sell it, but he's done nothing to warrant a commission for the second. While I don't want to be agentless, I also don't think I should feel forever obligated to give away a portion of everything I write simply because someone put in effort with my first book. If I decided to publish Book 2 on my own (which I assume requires I break with him entirely) could I seamlessly take over Book 1's Amazon page without losing/resetting all the reviews and sales stats? What are my options?

  3. Hello there! I have a question...

    For the past few years I've been writing fan-fiction and uploading it (for free) online under a pen-name. In the last year or so, I've begun to write my first novel, hoping to get it published one day.

    I was wondering, if I do submit a novel to an agent, would it be better to just not mention the fan-fiction I've written at all? My novel is loosely (and I stress loosely) inspired by some of the ideas I came up with, but perhaps similar enough to recognise they're by the same author, and I wonder if ever I were to get published, my readers might find my online stuff and ask questions. I could of course remove it from the site altogether.

    But since I have a lot of readers (a few hundred), I wondered if instead, it'd be an idea to replace my pen-name with my real name, ask my readers to please follow my ("official" writer's) Twitter account, also under that name, so that'd then be something to mention with an agent: that I do have a fan-base of sorts online.

    What do you think would be better, from an agent's point of view?

  4. Hello Mr. Lukeman,

    First of all, thank you for the service you have given writers by making freely available your books, How to Write a Great Query Letter and How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent. I have found them very helpful as I prepare to query agents after having recently completed my 5th novel.

    My question is about whether to include certain life details and publications in the bio section of my query letter. My previous novels have not been published, so I do not have previous fiction publishing credentials. However, I do have several research papers which have been published in prestigious scholarly journals, and the research is indirectly related to the subject matter of my novel. Would it be appropriate to include these publications in a fiction query letter, even though they are non-fiction?

    Additionally, my novel features many military elements and I have experience handling many different firearms and martial arts training, and I consulted with military veterans to increase the authenticity of my novel's military aspects. However, I have never served in the military myself. Would this information be relevant, or would an agent see these details as wasted words?

    Thank you for your time.

  5. Hi Noah,

    I'm a short story writer with a finished collection. I've published 6 of the 11 stories in literary journals -- reputable journals, but not the New Yorker. What is the likelihood of my landing an agent? Is it highly unlikely? I've been contacted by a few agents when my stories have appeared (a good sign) but they've lost interest when I didn't have a novel in the works. Is this more or less how it will go if I start querying agents? Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for your generous blog!


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