May 7, 2015
Kidlit411 is pleased to feature Linda P. Epstein, an agent at the EMERALD CITY LITERARY AGENCY, an agency that represents children's writers and illustrators.
When did you decide to become an agent?
I decided to become an agent when I was in my 40s. After years of flitting from job to job, raising my kids, freelancing as a writer, I looked around one day and said, "Oh my! I'd better figure out what I want to do with my life!" So I went back to my first love: books. Then I did what I needed to do to get the experience to become an agent (i.e. I was the oldest unpaid intern in Manhattan for two years!). It was the best midlife crisis ever.
What genres do you represent, and do you prefer to see one over another?
I represent picture books, middle grade, and young adult literature, but those are age groups of readers not genres of literature. Within those age groups, I like realistic contemporary, mysteries, magical realism, speculative fiction, light fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, and retellings of folktales, legends and myths. I don't prefer one over another. I truly love them all, for various reasons.
What are the best and worst parts of being an agent?
The best part of being an agent is having a career where I get to read all the time and help make my clients' dreams come true; the worst part of being an agent is having a career where I have to read all the time and when I can't sell one of my client's manuscripts.
What background and interests do you bring to agenting; how do they inform your work?
I grew up in the 1970s in a town with families of diverse racial, cultural, and socioeconomic profiles, in a politically liberal home. This informs my work because I'm very interested in hearing all kinds of voices in the stories I represent. As such, I love GLBTQ stories and stories that focus on other issues of identity. I'm very interested in feminist issues and I would love to be representing more racially diverse stories, too.
What would be your second choice of career if you couldn't be an agent?
If I wasn't an agent I would be happy and satisfied working on the other side, at a publishing house. I'm also a writer, so if I wasn't agenting I'd probably put more time into that. Basically though, I just need to be working with books.
Linda Epstein joined the Emerald City Literary Agency in 2016. Before that she read manuscripts, book proposals, and queries for The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency in New York. She was also an Associate Agent for Folio Literary Management; was Submissions Manager at The McVeigh Agency; did a short stint at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency and a longer stint at Meryl Zegarek Public Relations. Prior to that she was Community Relations Manager at Barnes and Noble, where she set up author readings and signings and organized book groups and book fairs.
Linda is an active member of the New York chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. She graduated from Buffalo University with a BA in English and Environmental Studies and went on for graduate work in Creative Writing at Temple University. She also has a BSN from New York University. Linda is a member of SCBWI and speaks frequently at writing conferences and retreats all over the country. She runs the Writing Yoga Writing Retreat each summer in Long Island, NY, go to http://writingandyogaretreat.com to secure a spot.
Writing Yoga® Retreat – July 9-12, 2015
Writing Yoga Retreat Spend time with poet, librarian, and yoga instructor Stephanie Lipsey and agent Linda P. Epstein, as well as two yoga instructors, for four days of workshops, consultations, and optional yoga. Have dinner with top editors and agents (this year: Justin Chanda, S&S, Jill Davis, Katherine Tegen Books/HC, Naomi Gibbs, Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, and Connor Guy, Metropolitan Books/Mcmillan) (Glen Cove, NY)