1) Why did you become a literary agent? How did you get your start?
I got into the industry quite randomly and first started as an intern for Wunderkind PR based in Hudson Valley, NY. I am so thankful for Elena Stokes for taking a chance on me and giving me my first job in the industry. From there, I became more active and involved in publishing twitter – talking about books, tv/film, and storytelling – and built a rapport with industry professionals (editors, agents, authors) that helped me when I began applying for internships in editorial and agenting in 2016. Amy Boggs brought me in for an interview with Donald Maass Agency and I’ve been with them from internship to acquiring agent.
2) What’s your favorite thing about being an agent?
It has to be connecting with a writer in their shared vision and clicking in that way. To be trusted by a writer to work with them to continue to develop their work into the best version of what they envision.
3) What challenges do you think there are specifically for BIPOC agents that everyone should be aware of?
Sometimes, it feels like there is a pointed lack of inherent trust in the ability of BIPOC agents, from writers or editors alike, to be on the same level as our white peers.
4) How would you like to see the industry change for BIPOC agents in general?
I’d like to see more mentorship programs for BIPOC agents that demystify processes that typically require you to learn on the spot. It definitely feels harder to not know something as readily or as immediately as a white peer and feel that I am not given the same room to breathe and learn because of implicit bias.
5) How would you like to see the industry change for BIPOC authors in general? And how would having more BIPOC agents help BIPOC authors thrive?
I desperately need the industry to financially invest in BIPOC stories of whimsy; especially with black authors. Publish black authors writing whatever the fuck they want, not just the pain of navigating a white world.
6) If you could give a word of advice for those hoping to become agents, what would it be?
Be voraciously reading current titles in the markets you’re interested in selling and work to develop the eye to imagine how those titles will evolve into what you can sell in the future to those publishers.
7) If you could give aspiring authors a word of advice, what would it be?
Center your career aspirations around building your craft. The only thing you can control is the work you create and that is the only consistent thing about this business.
8) What’s currently at the very top of your manuscript wishlist?
I desperately want an Adult Horror novel with queer BIPOC main characters that is tonally similar to the movie Cam (Netflix), the french show Marianne (Netflix) about main character(s) in their twenites. Bonus points if set in a city rather than a small town. The more atmospheric and emotionally visceral the better.