Literary Scout

Literary Scout


New York, NY

Female, 0

Literary scouts work with foreign publishers to help determine which American books they should acquire. We spend our days (and nights!) reading manuscripts, writing reports, meeting with agents and publishers, and speaking with clients to keep them apprised of developments. Scouts don’t make much money, but the perks and fun help make up for that.

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30 Questions


Last Answer on April 11, 2013

Best Rated

Can a novelist achieve success through self-publishing, or is a traditional publisher required to really make things happen?

Asked by Mark over 6 years ago

There is the very rare story of a breakout self-publishing hit like The Shack, but it’s atypical. There are so many self-published books out there that it is almost pointless to spend time trying to weed out the good from the bad. This is why we really only work with agents and publishers. For example, scouts started reading The Shack only after it had been acquired by a large publishing house.

Where do scouts look for new material?

Asked by rossina over 6 years ago

We get all of our manuscripts from agents and publishers. Scouts do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Unless it’s definitely being printed in the US, it is not part of our scope.

What college majors are best for getting a job as a literary scout?

Asked by adm over 5 years ago

Studying literature and writing would be the most helpful. In particular, classes that focus on elements of novels such as constructing plot, developing characters, etc, would be useful for pinpointing the strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript. Your own personal reading experience is the most valuable education, though. Read a range of new and old highly regarded fiction and nonfiction books to familiarize yourself with what is so special about them. It is kind of like learning a language where after a point you can just feel when something is right even before you can use the academic knowledge to point to what exactly that is. Plus when you interview for those invaluable internships, it would be very helpful to be able to actually name books that you admire and show your familiarity with the literary world. Plan to start interning as soon as you can, even freshman or sophomore year if possible. The experience of learning from professionals and making contacts is the most important first step.

I'm an English major in college and I'm very interested in going into publishing. I recently learned about literary scouting and I was just hoping I could learn a little more about it, see if it's something I'd like to pursue

Asked by Hazel about 5 years ago

Do you have a specific question?

Are aspiring writers better off writing full manuscripts for submission, or creating shorter pieces online to get noticed?

Asked by StarvinMarvyn over 6 years ago

That’s probably something a literary agent could answer better for you. My understanding is that you certainly should succinctly include information about other writing in your cover letter to an agent, but the process is to write a strong submission letter about your novel and enclose the first ten pages of the manuscript. Agents (or really the unpaid interns reading through the unsolicited submissions) will ask for more if they’re interested. The best thing of course is if you know someone in the industry. You’d be shocked if you saw the number of manuscripts agencies receive every day. The goal is to look at everything through fresh eyes, but we’re only human.

What kind of perks do you get?

Is there travel involved in your work?

How do you find out what is foreign publishers should acquire?

Asked by Lillian about 5 years ago

Perks include free galleys, business lunches and dinners, publishing parties, and yes, trips to bookfairs and occassionally to visit clients in their home countries.

You spend time getting to know specific editors tastes and what topics do or don't work in specific cultures.

What's the difference between a literary scout and a literary agent?

Asked by The Poe Poe over 5 years ago

Literary agents have writers for clients and represent their work to publishing houses and film companies. Sometimes they will also work out the deals for their work to be sold to foreign publishing houses. That last part depends on whether the US publishing house that acquired the manuscript also acquired the foreign rights. If they did, then the publishing house works out who to sell it to and for how much, etc. Literary scouts have foreign publishing houses for clients and are concerned with finding the right books for them. Agents and scouts will meet regularly and the agent will talk to the scout about the books they're representing. If the agent is familiar with the editors at the scout's houses, he or she will be able to make tailored recommendations. The scout will typically read the recommended manuscript or any others that seem promising and report back to their client. If the client is interested, they typically will then deal directly with the agent to work out the deal. The scout is basically a consultant that keeps a pulse on what is being published in America and reads like fifty manuscripts so that client only has to read the one or two that would potentially be right for them.