Friday, October 3, 2014

Mentoring My New Agents


I do hope you’ve been following our Agency blog now and can see that we have started writing weekly posts here. I wanted to use this as an opportunity for you to get to know the taste and style of the agents who work here, since there are now six of us!

Three of my agents are fairly new – Tish Beaty, Rachel Brooks and Leon Huscock.  Rachel and Leon did internships with others agents and Tish worked as an editor before she joined the Agency, but by and large they are fresh clay for me to mold.  I have been having a wonderful time teaching them about the business and how it has changed over the years, as well as how it is changing right now as I type this.

I love to teach, almost as much as I love to write (I am actually teaching a class through Writer’s Digest University right now on epublishing).  I began teaching at NYU in 1987 as a 24 year-old journalism grad because I had started a neighborhood newspaper in Manhattan and complained to my Dean that there were no women teaching in the newspaper part of the program.  She said I was right and offered me an adjunct position.  And when I left journalism and went into publishing, I taught at the Center for Publishing for many years.

Mentoring is also important to me.  I was poorly mentored as a young journalism student at NYU.  I was lucky enough to be assigned to intern at one of the leading feminist magazines of the day under the tutelage of a number of women who were legendary in the field.  I imagined I would learn new and fabulous things, but when I sat in on my first editorial meeting and tried to contribute, I was told that I had nothing to offer because I hadn’t even marched on Washington yet. So I sorted through mountains of slush and was told to just reject everything because the editors already knew everybody worth knowing, but I pulled an essay by Candice Bushnell and kept it for a few years because I found her voice so compelling.  If they had paid any attention to me, they could’ve launched her career.

But  I digress. 

I promised that when my turn came, I would take the time to truly mentor and try to match the interests and talents of my protégés with what we could both offer each other.

So I am thrilled to report that mentoring Tish, Rachel and Leon has been really exciting and interesting for me too.  Each of them has enough of my taste to excite me when they take on a new project.  I even wish I was repping some of their books, which makes it even more fun.

Tish is just the queen of erotic romance and erotica and she loves a good dirty story.  It is so much fun to hear her discover new authors and send out their work.

Rachel has a passion for young adult, new adult and historicals that is daunting.  She is discovering new writers every day and I am loving watching her find her clients.

Leon has a terrific passion for sci-fi and fantasy paired with the young adult and new adult wave of books.  I hope he will find this generations’ new voices in two of my favorite genres.

Can you tell how much I am enjoying the teaching process with them?  I am learning things about their style and books through their experiences. And learning things about myself as both an agent and a reader.

If you want to learn about being an agent, please feel free to email me! We have an extensive internship program.

2 comments:

Dean Kutzler said...

I just queried Leon today and came across this post. Imagine my excitement! But now I'm noticing that Thriller isn't one of his genres. I've been working all day and my eyes must be a little tired, not sure.. But maybe I should have queried Sandy Lu? That would be my next question: Are you Sandy Lu? (I'm so resisting the urge to add Who at the end) Forgive my silliness.. I did say I've been working ALL day. But if you are, would you be interested in reading my query and maybe some sample pages?

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