I have had the good fortune to work with some terrifically talented people at the start of their publishing careers. They come in to the office bright eyed and enthusiastic. They take on all manner of tasks cheerfully. They read late into the night and still show up in the morning to open the doors, start the coffee, field the phone calls and sort the mail.
When we advertise for people to fill these positions we say "assistant." We're wrong. The people who do this job are godsends. The office simply could not run at the high volume, brisk pace it does without those people doing their jobs well. They are key players in our success. Every single person at FinePrint knows and appreciates that.
There's just one small tiny(horrible) problem with godsends: They learn. Quickly. They learn how wonderfully fun it is to be an agent.
First they find a manuscript they love. Next thing you know they're wooing a new client.
I'm all in favor of this of course except for one small tiny (horrible) thing: who's going to send my faxes (I'm not actually allowed to touch the fax machine!) and get me mocha lattes in the afternoon now?? Yes, I know it sounds selfish. Ok, it IS selfish. I get that.
It's just that the smarter they are and the better at being godsends, the shorter amount of time till they get that glint for agenting in their eye.
The most recent godsend slinking over to the dark side is our beloved Suzie Townsend. I'm not sure she sleeps. I think she'd probably have made a darn good gunnery sergeant if she'd felt the call to serve in the Marines.
She's one of the most organized, and least flappable people I've ever known, let alone worked with. She's got a keen eye for good novels too.
Fair warning: if Suzie calls to talk about your manuscript and whether you might like to sign up with her, just say yes. She may not have much experience, but she's got exactly what it takes to be a great agent. Dammit.