FAQ for the TBL Intern Application
Take a moment to read through these guidelines, describing further the relationship that your internship will carry with the staff of Tethered by Letters.
Only Serious Applicants Need Apply.
What exactly does interning for Tethered by Letters entail?
Every summer, TBL takes on three interns, two unpaid and one paid. While each intern will be working intimately with editors and publishers on the TBL staff, reading and judging submissions, editing, and designing for publication, the paid intern will be expected to take on a greater level of responsibility, including helping authors directly, editing unsupervised, and maintaining aspects of the TBL site. All interns are also able to apply for a permanent editing position on our staff after completion of the summer session.
As an intern for TBL, paid or unpaid, the staff expects only the best work. Deadlines are incredibly important and must be met in a prompt and responsible manner. Any assigned material, documentation, lecture series, or website maintenance is expected to be carried out in a professional and efficient manner.
If selected, an intern is expected to read and edit submissions for our journal, communicate effectively with members, publishing partners, publicists, agents, and other professional connections, participate and/or administer interviews with our celebrity authors, help market and promote TBL and its various activities, and be available for meetings, conferences, or editing sessions with members and staff.
If for any reason, you, as the applicant, are unwillingly or unable to perform any of these tasks, please reconsider your application.
I don’t live in the United States. Can I still apply?
Of course! Although TBL was started in Colorado, we are an international organization with staff members spanning three continents. Much of the workload required of our interns can be done independently (save for the Skype staff meetings), and there is absolutely no advantage given to American applicants over overseas applicants.
I've never published with TBL. Can I still apply?
When TBL was first created, we were only a small group of passionate writers, eager to network to build lasting literary relationships and find allies to lay siege to the walls of publishing houses. It is from this spirit of mutually beneficial relations that the modern-day TBL organization thrives. If you are interested in joining the TBL team, we insist that you are willing to contribute to others’ work, share your own, and are dedicated to kindling others’ passion for the written word. Already being a part of our community is one way to show us that you also hold these ideals, however, you do not need to be an long-time TBLer to apply for the internship.
With that said, if you have extra time, read our publications and join the conversations in the comment sections, submit to our contests or journals, and/or join our group writing project! It's a great way to find out what you are getting yourself into!
I love to read and write, but I’m not very good at grammar. Is this a deal breaker?
The simple answer is: “Yes.” As writers, it is incredibly important to understand the rules of the game we have all dedicated our passions to playing (even if you only learn the rules to break them in your own writing). Since a large portion of our interns’ workload includes editing, it is essential that each applicant understand the grammatical system. While your writing samples will give us an example of your ability to sculpt words, it will also display your grasp of grammar. If you make it to the final round of interviews, our panel of interviewers will throw in a few grammar questions and general questions about their application.
I don’t have a lot of experience with computer software. Should I still apply?
Maintaining the site is only one part of the TBL internship (and a very little part at that). While helping with website publications and maintenance is important for your potential position at TBL, if selected, these skills will all be taught to you in the first week (as much as we like to pretend that we possess superhuman technical skills, we are really all literary geeks who feel more comfortable with our fingers on aging parchment than on cold plastic keys).
If you are interested in designing for publications (all of those beautiful graphics that sprinkle our site), knowledge of Publisher and Adobe would be exceptionally helpful, though not essential.
How will interning for a non-profit organization like TBL benefit me?
If you are looking for an inspirational and extensive exploration into the world of writing, editing, and publishing, then interning for TBL might be the very thing you’ve been looking for! At TBL, our interns gain invaluable knowledge of the publishing world and all of its inner-workings, communicate with established editors at credited publishing houses, network with authors on a daily basis, administer TBL workshops to young hungry authors, and get to spend hours doing what we all love most: reading and writing.
Although we have all played the buff-up-your-resume game, we hope that your desire to join the TBL team stems from your love of literature and not the love of your own future paycheck. An internship with TBL will surely benefit any applicant in acquiring publishing and writing connections, an excellent addition to any CV, and (if exemplary work is produced) glowing letters of recommendation from our staff. However, one must remember that TBL was founded on the belief that the written word is alive and thriving. Anyone interning for TBL must exemplify this same passion, eager to help writers penetrate the stronghold of the publishing world and help change the world through literature.
How many hours a week are interns expected to work?
Generally, our unpaid interns work approximately 10 hours a week and our paid intern works about 10-15 hours a week. These hours tend to fluctuate depending on the influx of submission and publication deadlines.
What is the interview process like for potential interns?
When applying for an intern position, our selected applicants will be invited for an interview with our editor-in-chief, D.M. Hedlund. If you make it to this final round, you will be asked a series of questions pertaining not only to your application but also about your work as an author, student, contributing member of society, and any other applicable traits that will be beneficial to the TBL staff. All applicants are asked to display their passion for the written word and what they hope to contribute while interning for the organization.
For most applicants, this interview will be held over Skype.
Why am I asked to provide References?
TBL only takes on the best and brightest interns for our organization. Forged in passion, our applicants must be equally as ardent as the TBL founders. References (one for unpaid, two for paid) are asked by the TBL staff to fortify your application and afford an air of credibility in your abilities.
TBL will directly contact your provided referee(s), asking for a letter of reference that will be sent directly to the staff of TBL. This letter should explain in detail your grasp of the written word, your passion for literature, and your ability to function as a productive, responsible member of our team.
Selecting a Referee can be at times the most difficult aspect of your application. You want to choose someone who knows you and your abilities, work ethic and (if applicable) writing style. The most common choice is a teacher or professional colleague. Choosing someone who understands your willingness and passion for what you are applying for is incredibly important for any applicant. You should also select someone who cares as much about your involvement and/or interest in the organization as you do!
What are my chances of being selected as an intern for TBL?
Our internships at TBL are highly competitive. We only choose three interns for every session (usually spanning 3 months). We’ve formatted our applications much like an application for an accredited University. TBL is a high functioning organization that is constantly evolving and contributing to the writing world. We want our interns to be just as willing to become involved and passionate about working to better the literary world (which is why we only accept applicants from our own family of members). If you provide a well versed, passionate application that conveys your abilities and available contributions to the organization, coupled with your reference(s), you have a fantastic chance at achieving an internship with TBL and beginning your journey into a fast-paced world of writing, editing, and publishing.
Statistically, one out of every ten applicants are chosen to interview and roughly one third of those that make it to this final round are offered a spot on the TBL team.
Can I submit a short story for my writing sample that has already been published, even if it appeared in The Noteworthy?
Of course! The writing sample section of the application is an opportunity to show the TBL staff how talented you are as a wordsmith. You are welcome to submit any creative or academic writing of your own authorship that you feel most strongly displays your skill (published or unpublished).
I’m only just out of High School. Should I still apply?
As we are constantly telling our members, a talent for writing is something that no amount of schooling can ensure. Many of the most influential literary voices have never even completed their secondary education. While we usually take our interns from the university or graduate levels, we have in the past taken on younger applicants. Remember, our founder wrote her first book at the age of sixteen, and as TBL has burgeoned from her passion, we have never forgotten how much talent can reside in young scholars.
It is for this reason that we ask for more than just your educational and work experience. Often times, it is the writing sample and personal essay that we base our final decision on.