I figure it’s my turn to explain why it is I do what I do, as Jane, Jim, Lauren, Chasya, and Rachel have—if only to satisfy the clients who keep asking when I’d do one of these!
It all started at the end of the last decade, December of 1999. It was my senior year, and I really needed a job. I had no idea what to do, and was thinking of finding something in retail, as I love a good discount. But my friend Jim McCarthy told me that the literary agency where he was interning was looking for another paid intern. Now, Jim had told me what he was doing, but frankly I never quite understood. These people were agents for authors? Why did authors need agents? And isn’t publishing for rich kids who want a hobby career? Though I didn’t think it was the job or industry for me, I figured it couldn’t hurt to go in and interview.
Like Jim, I was interviewed by Stacey Glick. If you talk to her, she’ll tell you that I had blue hair at the time. This is not true. I had bright, bleached-blond hair. The blue hair came later. (And the blue dye largely ran out of my hair when I had to make a delivery to one of our most important clients in the pouring rain that summer.) I believe she hired me on the spot, and I started working Friday of the same week.
I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. I did what people requested, paid lots of attention, and started asking questions. Slowly, but surely, I came to be very interested and involved in what was going on at the agency. I’d loved books growing up, but I’d not been the same kind of reader in college. It was great to get back to reading things that were fresh, new and contemporary. And, as I looked around, I liked what I saw: a group of smart, creative, engaged, interesting people helping authors manage their careers. Just a few short months later, I was hooked—on publishing, agenting, and DGLM. When Jane and Miriam offered me a job in September of that year, I was honored, and I jumped at the chance.
When I started full-time, I was doing much of what I did as an intern, along with managing royalties and helping Jane with submissions. But quickly, I took on new responsibilities. I began assisting the rights director, learning the ins and outs of the foreign and domestic rights markets. When she left the agency a few years later, I took over the agency’s rights, eventually attending the London Book Fair with Jane and selling rights around the world. At the same time, I was building a list of my own, something Jane encouraged me to do within my first year at the agency. I started representing children’s books at Jane’s suggestion, something I was unsure of at the time(!). But quickly I found that I had a passion for middle grade and YA books, and my career as an agent really took off then. Several years ago now, I became a full agent, and the talented Lauren Abramo took over as our rights director, freeing me up to focus on my own projects.
Last year I was very excited to be promoted to vice president at the agency, and just as pleased this past December when I moved to Los Angeles to open a West Coast office for DGLM. I tell people all the time—I’d never have had these opportunities at any other agency or in any other job, and I’m forever grateful to Jane for that.
Our industry is going through big, drastic, challenging changes, and I’m glad that Jane, Miriam, the rest of the DGLM staff and I are working together to attack them head-on. My ten-year journey with the agency has been full of amazing experiences and opportunities, and I am just as enthusiastic about the ten years to come.