von Anna B.
I spent six months as a foreign rights and literary agency intern at 2 Seas Literary Agency. A foreign rights agency acts as an intermediary between publishers from different countries. Our clients publish mainly in French, English, and Dutch. 2 Seas sells translation rights worldwide, but in some territories they work exclusively with a co-agent, so our co-agent specializing in Eastern European markets would promote our titles there and handle any interest from those markets. I started the internship with updating the website and online catalogue, as well as managing our various social media accounts where we share news of recent rights deals, publications of foreign editions we sold and relevant articles or awards. After learning more about the field through weekly meetings with my mentors and reading the agents’ correspondence, I started writing newsletters to let editors know about new titles from our clients, participating in our monthly book review discussion, and researching to expand our network (for example with German queer(-friendly) publishers).
With the Frankfurt Book Fair approaching, I proofread our catalogues and handled the preparation for the agents’ meetings by confirming the dates and sending out individualized materials. That way I experienced the long process leading up to and following the most important industry fair. I also used new software that has prepared me for any future publishing office set-up: a customer relationship management and a project management software, an email-newsletter programme, using csv-files for audience lists, and a rights management database. A sizeable part of my work was behind the scenes or social-media-related, but I also got to prepare meeting follow-up emails, draft simple contracts, write to our clients to ask for title or cover approval of foreign editions and relay their approval or feedback to the foreign publishers.
And: all of this happened online. The agency has been working remotely since 2011, with colleagues in different European and American time zones and interns from all around the world. I had weekly meetings with my advisor to ask any questions about my tasks or the industry and there was always someone working at the same time to ask for help in between those meetings, as well as detailed guides on how to use the different programmes. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this system worked really well for me and I am grateful that I got to work with such an international team and international clients, in English, French and German. This internship was a phenomenal preparation for entering the publishing industry after graduating. I have gained intricate knowledge of the processes involved in selling foreign rights, am comfortable with using publishing software and communicating with editors. The internship was also a good networking opportunity. It is an excellent opportunity for Master students, as you can take on many responsibilities beyond usual internship tasks if you are genuinely interested in the field, able to take initiative, and have good attention to detail.