Most children’s first word is “mama”; mine was “book.” In preschool, as other kids scampered around Toys "R" Us, I devoured the shelves of Barnes & Noble. Some go weak in the knees at the scent of chocolate lava cake, but the new book smell has always been my aroma of choice.

Briana with an open book

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of working in the publishing world. And so, standing in the entryway of Princeton’s Career Services building at last fall's Communications & Media Meetup, I was rendered a child once more. Somewhere in the crowd, I knew, was a representative from the book publisher Simon & Schuster. Straightening my nametag, I navigated my way across the room until I found myself standing before the Simon & Schuster booth.

“Welcome! You’re my first visitor!”

Later that evening, I emailed the Simon & Schuster representative, thanking her for such a fantastic conversation and mentioning that I couldn’t wait to apply to her company’s winter internship program. A few minutes later, my inbox dinged.

“Let me slip a little note along to HR…”

One week later, I was sitting in an office in midtown Manhattan, interviewing for an editorial position with Simon & Schuster.

I didn’t wind up getting the internship that day. Instead, I walked away with something even more valuable. Midway through our conversation, my interviewer cocked her head and asked me, “Have you ever considered becoming a literary agent?”

I hadn’t. In fact, I had never even heard of the job before. And so, later that evening, I typed the words “literary agent” into Google for the first time. With childlike wonder, I watched as my laptop conjured up descriptions of a dream job I hadn't known existed.

Minutes later, I was scouring the web for internships once more.

It’s now been almost a year since my Simon & Schuster interview, and I just completed my third literary agency internship. Like the others before it, this internship provided me with endless inspiration and insight. But—at its completion—it also gave me one more thing.

A job offer.


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