STATUS: Way too many things on my To Do list!
What’s playing on the iPod right now? STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER by The Beatles
I’m the first to admit, and as I have mentioned several times on my blog before, that I owe a good portion of my success as an agent to several special gals who are my mentors.
These gals have been agents for a lot longer than I have and were incredibly generous to share their wisdom with me. And over the years, we’ve become close friends. And I’m always so tickled when I learn something new from a unique situation/experience that I get to share with them. Doesn’t happen often but when it does…it’s like I’m giving something in return for the hours of time they’ve given me.
That and a six-month subscription to a gourmet cheese-of-the-month-club can go a long way.
You see, I came from an agency that did 98% nonfiction. The reason I went out on my own was because I wanted to represent fiction—and genre stuff at that. Romance, SF, Fantasy—this just wasn’t my former agency’s cup of tea. So, there was a lot to learn regarding contract specifics unique to these genres—stuff I couldn’t learn at my old job and stuff that I could only learn from mentors in the same field.
And mentor me they did. And success I have.
I believe in the power of mentoring and now that I’m far enough in my career to actually have some wisdom to share, I do pay it forward. I do have a couple of “newer” agent friends who feel comfortable ringing me up to get a perspective or feedback.
We are all learning every day in this job—trust me. A situation arises that’s brand new to even the “old timers” I know because the industry is changing and evolving.
And I think it’s a brilliant human being and agent who is willing to ring up (and potentially look stupid) by asking a question they don’t know just so they ensure they do right by their client.
I’ll take that agent any day over someone who thinks they know everything about the biz.
Besides, to me, mentoring is all about karma in the world. About connecting as human beings. About being committed to helping others.
Do I mentor every “new” agent who comes my way? Of course not. I chose to mentor people for whom I feel that spark of human connection. That’s how the decision to mentor happens and I imagine it’s not much different for an unpublished author looking to a published author as a possible mentor.
And it’s what most of the commenters pointed out. Human Connection is the first step in finding that mentor.