Blogger: Rachel Kent
Recently, I have had a couple of people ask me how I became an agent. It’s a story I like to share because I can see God’s hand in the whole thing.
A favorite book led me to my position as an agent at Books & Such.
Waterfalls by Robin Jones Gunn is a story about a woman who works as an editor. There’s much more to it, of course, including that she falls in love with a movie star and talks to her goldfish, but the editor part is the most important for my journey.
I decided after reading Waterfalls that I wanted to be an editor. The main character of Robin’s book, Meri, was able to work from home in her pj’s and read all day. That sounded pretty nice! She did have to speak at a writers conference in the story, but I was going to pass on that part. 🙂 So at 16-years-old, I knew that I wanted to get an English degree and become an editor. Just about everything I knew about publishing at the time came from that book. I didn’t know anything about literary agents.
During college, I was looking for an internship anywhere because all of the first-time jobs for assistant editors require at least two years of publishing experience. I didn’t really want to move to New York for a summer to work for free as an intern at a publishing house, but that was looking like my best option. I asked a few women at my church to pray for an internship for me, and within days Michelle from our agency contacted me. Michelle goes to my church and was told about me by one of the women I talked with. As a writer herself, Michelle was trying to take off the summers to write; so Janet was looking for someone to fill in for Michelle. Janet was willing to call my work an internship, it was 10 minutes from my house, and she was going to pay me! I still had no idea what a literary agency was, but the job sounded good to me.
I worked at Books & Such as an intern for two summers and then for a year after I graduated from college. At that point, Janet offered me a job as an agent. She had been training me during that time for my agenting job and continues to help out when I have questions–even more than ten years later. Agenting is always full of surprises. Being an agent is different from my original “dream” of being an editor, but I think it’s a great fit for who I am.
And there was frosting on the cake: Janet represents Robin Jones Gunn! I’ve been able to work with Robin on some special projects and we’ve formed a friendship.
God sure knows what he’s doing, and I’m grateful to know he’s in control of my life.
And speaking at the conferences isn’t so bad either! 😀 I love the people I get to meet with at conferences!
What about you? Did a book influence you toward wanting to be a writer?
Is there a special book (other than the Bible) that has shaped your life in some way?