Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Things You Wouldn't Think a Literary Assistant Needs to Know

This is week three of being a literary assistant (I just wrapped up my finals on Monday & graduation is on Saturday) and I'm still loving it. Now that I'm getting in the swing of things, the office is getting pretty hectic. Between meetings and client mss, the slush pile is a monster gift that just keeps on giving. I've had four publishing/agenting internships in the past, but I've never handled all the little things that need to get done in an office, you know? The administrative details that assistants are paid to take care of. So do you want to know a secret?

When I get to work in the morning, I sit at my desk, take a deep breath, and ask myself: "What Would Joan From MADMEN Do?"

Overall, though, I think I'm transitioning from College Girl to Working Woman pretty well. I mean, I'm not fired yet, so that's good, amirite or amirite? In fact, I'm pretty proud that I've managed to make myself useful around the office. Let me explain (ahemahem)...


  1. Anime...and by extension, the Japanese language We had a meeting with a Japanese publisher today, who flew in just for BEA, and boy! I think my boss was pretty surprised when I broke out with Watashi wa Judisu desu! Hajimemashte! (I am Judith. Nice to meet you!) The publisher was thrilled and said something back, to which I could only reply "!"

    So thank you to my sensei in high school who taught me Japanese for two years, and of course, how could I forget all those glorious episodes of Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Kenshin, Samurai Champloo, and Saber Marionette J. Naturally, I had to filter through the rolodex of Japanese phrases I picked up from anime shows. I don't think it would've went over very well if I had said "Baka!" (Idiot!) or "Watashi wa battousai desu!" (I am a manslayer!). In any case, arigato gozaimasu to my sensei.

  2. Comics are apparently handy for lit assistants to know. Who knew? One of our clients is working on a graphic novel, so I was able to point out some stuff that could be improved, since I've made comic books in the past.

    Exhibit A: A cartoon I doodled of Descartes boxing Hume during Early Modern Philosophy class.

    Exhibit B: A spoof of Wolverine I photoshopped of me and my friends.

    Exhibit C: Fangirl comics I made for Lisa Desrochers and Kody Keplinger.

    And Exhibit D: An epic graphic novel about the saga that is my love life.

    THUS IN SHORT ULTIMATELY HENCE, these little doodles may have seemed like procrastination in the past, but they're coming in pretty handy now with our client's graphic novel project. PROCRASTINATION FTW.

  3. Francais Everyone said I should just take Spanish because no one speaks French, and in fact, they shut down the French program at my high school, but lo and behold! One of our authors, Jesse Kellerman, won the Elle literary award in France, and guess who researched the details on Google French? Moi.

This turned out to be much longer than I intended. THIS WAS MY THESIS: Literary assistants do a lot of miscellaneous things and this is why we get paid teh $big bucks$.*

*Note: $big bucks$ for me means any salary at all.

Off to read a hilarious client ms that has me giggling in my cubicle. It's so Vonnegut-esque, I will let you know more later.

Have a day,


Sean Ferrell May 19, 2010 at 10:35 PM  

You're pretty brilliant.

Judith May 20, 2010 at 12:06 AM  

A compliment from THE AUTHOR OF NUMB means a lot. Now I can die happy :)!

Shelley Watters May 20, 2010 at 2:28 AM  

Yay French and Japanese! Love reading your blog! I'm glad I 'knew' you when you were an intern, I get to watch you work your way up! Congratulations on graduating!

Oh and just a side question - what does LD (In LD Lit) stand for? I can't figure it out for the life of me! :)


Richard Levangie May 20, 2010 at 8:51 AM  

My Japanese was all absorbed in karate class, and doesn't really seem to be helpful in RL.

Hitotsu! jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto!

We always told new students that koto could be translated as "by golly." A little dojo humor.

Sajidah May 20, 2010 at 11:40 AM  

lol, this is so funny.
and though the love ladder graphic novelette made me weepy, it made me long for more, more, more and ever more, yeah, to descend upon you! sorry:S but it was such a good tiny nibble of an epic saga to come! :)

Judith May 20, 2010 at 9:34 PM  

haha Shelley, I think I'm going to keep the place I work top secret for now lol :)

Richard! You know karate! Teach me please?!?! I also want to hitotsu jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto!!

And Sajidah, you are a sadist! lol SORRY TO TELL YOU, but I made a movie about my current relationship, which is actually quite happy. See for yourself:

Richard Levangie May 21, 2010 at 6:57 PM  


I taught for nine years so I can get you past black belt... Then you'd be able to kick ass like Salander.

But then again... Maybe you already can.

Of course, if I teach you, you have to use your powers for niceness instead of evil.

Judith May 22, 2010 at 9:20 AM  

Richard, I am azn so there's a possibility I have latent ninja powers. But we will never know unless you try teaching me first! lol SALANDER IS EXACTLY THE REASON WHY I WANT TO KICK @$$!!! You know me too well hahaha

Umm and yes of course...niceness. not evil. tee hee

Lisa R May 22, 2010 at 10:42 PM  

Sounds like your are enjoying your new job. That's half the battle.Oh, and isn't Joan the best administrative assistant ever. Can't wait for the new season!

Meredith May 24, 2010 at 8:36 PM  

You are so awesome. I am planning a master merging coup of FPLM and THAT PLACE YOU WORK THAT WE AREN'T NAMING--YET. Just to get you back in the office.

Judith May 25, 2010 at 2:56 AM  

Oh Meredith that would bring tears to my eyes--tears of unadulterated joy.

Sajidah May 26, 2010 at 7:19 PM  

Judith, i watched your movie. your happy movie.
sigh, now there's a big smile on my face that won't go away. :(