I have a fabulous new intern and I have prepared for her six month training period. But, to my utter surprise, a second intern approached me.
Now when I was a baby agent, the woman who trained me told me that agents are born, not made. You either have it, or you don't. But I am an optimist, so I didn't believe her. Now that I've mentored more than a dozen people (4 of whom have stayed on this side of the business) I can tell you she was right.
And I knew right away that Jenny Rappaport was a born agent.
So, when someone approaches me about learning the trade, I always want to give them the opportunity, because you can't make an agent out of a sow's ear. S/he really has to want to be one.
But taking on two interns at once (we have promoted our last intern) meant that I had to get a bit more organized and make sure that there was very distinct work for each to do.
So I cleaned my office this past weekend.
Thankfully, the business has grown considerably less paper-intensive over the past five years, but I still have a completely-book lined office and a storage space full of books downstairs. I thought things were in pretty good order, but after diving into the piles of manuscripts and papers, all I can say is I only did half of it in five hours of intensive labor in which four huge garbage bags of paper were thrown out, six feet of boxed manuscripts (copies of books already sold - and already some published), as well as two towers of book catalogs going as far back as the year 2000 were recycled!
Needless to say, I was not able to do any reading this weekend.
So now I have 5 manuscripts and partials that should have been read already, and I promised myself I would watch the Sci-fi network's TINMAN (which although waaaay too long, did have some charm) because I am selling a brilliant Oz fantasy and wanted to reference it in the query letter. Plus I got screening passes to THE GOLDEN COMPASS (truly excellent - see this one) and I really wanted to see THE MIST (possibly my favorite King novella - question, am I imagining it or was there once a p.c. game based on this (not The Myst) and if so, does anyone have any idea where I might get it?) before it leaves theaters. I try to see and read a lot of the "popular" fantasy and horror stuff that's out there so I can keep up with what's selling, otherwise my references would be dated and I would be irrelevant.
But I'm swamped again. And the holidays are fast approaching, which is always an extra layer of work (joyful, but work none the less).
I share all this with you because I had a prospective client who just couldn't understand how I could have told him that I would get to his partial by Thanksgiving. And then when he asked about it after the holiday, I said it would now be during the Christmas break. He told me this was unacceptable. I told him to go elsewhere, but it never ceases to amaze me how some writers feel entitled to an agent's free feedback on their book by a certain time no mater what time of the year it is.
But it is Hanukkah - a truly wonderful holiday, full of hope and mystery. I love the Hanukkah story. Though not Jewish, I always had a lot of Jewish friends, and this is one holiday I am always thrilled to be invited to share. So, let's eat great food and celebrate this terrific time of the year and be so thankful for each other's friendship and inspiration!