Well hello there, BookEnds blog. I hope you all don’t mind me taking it over from Jessica for the week, because I’m beyond thrilled to share the work I’ve been doing and introduce you all to the BookEnds Literary Fellowship program.
What exactly is a literary fellowship to us? Well, in all honesty, we’ve sort of been working through that as we processed this past year. I spent so much of my early career (if you can even call it that. I once only wrote freelance and ate grilled cheese every day for weeks) searching for learning opportunities and experience in publishing that just wasn’t offered to me in school. I struggled with having to find my own resources and pick through the internet for how to do basic things I was just never taught. I didn’t have a whole lot of mentorship or guidance, and I noticed how little that sort of support was for people who weren’t already in publishing. So, when I got the opportunity to be secure and in a solid place, I knew I wanted to lift others up along the way.
As a literary agent, I have access to networks and experiences that are oftentimes kept private and not easily accessible. I’d like to open that up. I wanted to bring on literary fellows who were willing to trust me and allow me to be a part of their journey, learning alongside me, meeting people within the industry, and developing projects with me and one of their own. The intent is to create a space that is highly educational, engaging, and a healthy place for someone to explore and experiment with the role they might like to be in in the future.
The fellowship is not an internship or a part-time job. Ultimately, it is a relationship meant to work with you and your goals. You do not work for me. We cultivate a cohort that is inspired to make change in the industry and the panels, workshops, and mock projects are designed with each individual fellow in mind.
My goal was to give as much access as I had to people who may not have your typical publishing journeys or educations. We’ve all sort of heard the usual publishing professional went to an esteemed university, interned in New York, lives on the east coast, and had connections with houses before landing their job. But what about people who don’t have the same resources or wealth? Or what about those who didn’t think of writing or publishing in college and majored in something completely different? I wanted to work with those with unconventional paths or those without the same access.
Throughout our time, each month represents a different “unit” and is broken into themes (agenting, editorial, marketing/publicity, and book selling). Fellows have the room to network and explore career options and learn from people who may have had incredibly similar beginnings. Also, as a small cohort, the community we build from within is invaluable. We learn from each other, our differing lenses and worldviews, and hype up each other’s goals. To rise with a group ensures some semblance of community I hope is transferred throughout your careers.
Each fellow will also work independently on a project that showcases their skills which could potentially jump start a career. Past projects include podcasts, digital writing communities for marginalized communities, pitch event proposals, anthology development, and craft writing resources.
The fellowship is done entirely remotely and welcomes applicants from all backgrounds, especially those who have felt underrepresented in the industry. The fellowship itself begins in February of each year, lasting through July, after which fellows are paired with a publishing professional in the field of their choice in a low stakes mentorship. Mentees and mentors will meet twice a month digitally to hone in their professional development skills and network with people in their desired area.
Applications will open for the 2022 fellowship in December of 2021.