The description of the literary scout written by Emily Williams in her article Inside the Secret World of Literary Scouts provides a whole new look at the idea of being paid to read. I must admit that, before this article I had no idea there was such a career, and as I finished the first paragraph I thought, “Finally! Now that’s a dream job!” As the article continued, however, the excitement gave way to a reality which, although daunting, still seems to be an exciting and enjoyable profession for graduates looking for a busy but rewarding way to get into the field of publishing.
My dream for work would be in editing for a publishing company, which is far-fetched considering I’ve been in the “run around like someone’s puppy getting them coffee and being stepped on all day” kind of job and would rather not make that my career just to get where I want to be in twenty years. I want to make something of myself now, I want to work with the material and show people why I got my degree. To me, a literary scout is that style of in-the-middle job which, although not right where I want to be, will give me the chance to show people my abilities in the writing and analysis field, but still allow me to have ambitions for the future.
I would not have expected the field to be so social. Williams addresses the essential aspect of social networking for literary scouts. Networking in any way possible, even cocktail parties and lunch conferences, are the hub of where literary scouts get their leads for new pieces to give their agents. The time frames are also much more demanding as would be expected. There is always pressure for personally made deadlines. This is where my enthusiasm began to return. I’m not much of a social person at parties unless it’s about things I have a passion for, and this is the precisely where I would shine. And personally set deadlines are my greatest strength. Knowing I have to get in ahead of the curve, get my work done as soon as possible and I have about three days to get my work done and in to my boss is just how I like it. There is a lot riding on this job, and that is what I am looking for; hard responsibilities to uphold and the deadlines to feel accomplished every day.
Williams’ article is not for the publish-aspiring faint of heart. The difficulties of literary scouting is put in black and white, with little sympathy toward those who would love to be paid to read and nothing else. But if you are looking for tough love, a challenge to do something new and demanding, this article gives nothing but hope.