I was at the Nevada SCWBI event this past weekend. By the way I am now an honorary Nevadan, Ellen Hopkins says so and I dare you to tell her she is wrong. Anyhoo, I was asked this question a lot, in a lot of different ways. I mostly answered, because I love books. I mean that is the bare bones of the reason, but there is SO MUCH MORE. Then I started thinking that my reasons are the same as Ellen’s for what she does.
Ellen is a NYT Bestselling author. Her books are amazing and she has a kazilion million fans. Yet every year, she takes on two or three writers and mentors them and their finished book. She teaches them the craft of writing, and spends her time to do so. Not only does she do this, she also invites five or six of her closest friends to Reno and they do it too. People like Holly Black taking on mentees (is this an actual word?) and teaching them how to write.
It is amazing. Then after planning all this stuff, Ellen plans a conference and brings in agents and we all get together and spend the weekend critiquing work and doing sessions and it is SUCH a positive experience and I am convinced now that NV grows the best writers. I have never seen such a concentration of great writing in one place before. It was awe inspiring.
Let us not even get into the fact that I keep fangirling over Susan Hart Lindquist every time I see her. She probably thinks I am nuts.
But I digress, back to the question. Beside the obvious reasons for agenting. Hot chicks, champagne, fast foreign cars, and cold hard cash- I do it because there is nothing in this world (except for my kids, family, dogs and ice cream) that I love more than literature. I want to make a difference and I want to champion the books that I love.
I want to manage careers for my authors, not just book to book to book. I obviously have a hero complex but that’s not important here. The more I think on this question, the more I realize this is the most amazing job I have ever had and I want to continue doing it until I drop over dead when I am 90 (in bed with my pool boy Jose).
So thank you Ellen Hopkins and Nevada, and wine for giving me something to think about and for giving me so much information and teaching me so many things about the craft of writing.
I am a better agent for having been at this conference.