Ever since I joined DGLM, many friends and colleagues have wondered what convinced me to become a literary agent after having worked for the past few years in film development. The truth is that many people who lack direct contact with the publishing world do not have a clue as to what an agent does, and therefore do not even know that this rewarding profession even exists.
I gained exposure to the field when meeting with literary agents during my time at Sony. Filmmakers in
When I worked in film development, the most inspiring thing for me was finding quality stories. But finding a good story is only one aspect of filmmaking, and sometimes it frustrates me to watch a movie and know that the story was not the filmmakers’ top priority. Books appeal to me because the writing is the priority and the focus.
Reading a book is a different experience than watching television or films. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge movie buff and I love watching both good and bad television (unfortunately, I think I may like watching bad television a little more). But books affect me more and stay with me longer. There could be a number of reasons for this. Perhaps it’s because a novel allows you to visualize everything for yourself, and forces you to use your imagination. Or maybe it’s because you tend to read a book over a stretched out period of time, and therefore may associate a book with a certain event in your life (that reminds me, some advice: don’t bring THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING by Joan Didion on your honeymoon, that’s a mistake I wish I hadn’t made).
Finding intelligent non-fiction is equally as exhilarating as discovering good fiction, and I love that I can offer writers the chance to share their work and possibly enlighten people who are eager for some new ideas to contemplate and discuss. I appreciate the opportunity to meet writers with all sorts of backgrounds and build a partnership based on mutual enthusiasm for a given subject matter.
I see the role of a literary agent as being similar to that of a film producer, and I have been able to apply lessons learned from my previous experiences to this job. Like a producer, a good agent will oversee a project from start to finish and make sure to solve any problems that come their way. Ultimately, I became an agent because I simply wanted to help talented writers fulfill their dreams of becoming published, and I try to make the rocky road to getting their work to a bookstore as smooth as possible.