Saturday, February 9, 2013

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Elena Mechlin

Elena Mechlin joined Pippin Properties in June of 2009. Having begun her publishing career in subsidiary rights, moving on to children’s book marketing with a stint in audio, she realized that a position in agenting would enable her to continue to be involved in the many aspects of publishing about which she is so passionate from one place. She had always admired Pippin and those they represented from afar and is looking forward to pursuing her love of children’s literature and the industry from her new position.

Since 1998, Pippin Properties, Inc. has been an integrated publishing and entertainment representation agency. Located in New York City, it is a diverse agency dedicated to maximizing the creative and commercial potential of all its properties. Pippin represents the works of these writers and artists to a wide range of publishing, animation, motion picture, television, and licensing companies. Because Pippin both develops and represents its projects, it is a unique, full-service company that prides itself on attention to detail. Small and discerning in choosing its clientele, Pippin is devoted to maintaining a standard of excellence in content unmatched in the industry.

As always, for more information about Elena Mechlin and other literary agents, I highly recommend my friend Casey McCormick's wonderful blog, Literary Rambles.

And now Elena Mechlin faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

How is anybody who works in publishing supposed to answer this?! If forced to pick three, though, I’d say:

Jane Eyre
One Hundred Years of Solitude

Question Six: What are your top three favorite movies and television shows?

In the movies category, hands down The Princess Bride and Goonies. As far as TV goes, I have embarrassingly low standards. I’ve lost days to the ID Channel. However, I’ve gotten true joy, most recently, from Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, and Friday Night Lights.

And because it felt SO important to me when it aired, in a way that nothing really has since, though I’m sure I’d be horrified by it now, Dawson’s Creek.

Question Five: What are the qualities of your ideal client?

Somebody who is willing to take a chance and dig deeper than they ever thought they could. Someone who is willing to look at a fifth draft and not give up, but try one more time to nail it.
Somebody who is willing to try to write something they never could have imagined five years earlier.

Question Four: What sort of project(s) would you most like to receive a query for?

I’d love to see something that surprises me. So many of the queries that we see are for books that are a variation on a popular theme or riding the coattails of other books that have done enormously well. I’m always attracted to the stories that have come about because they’re worth telling, not because the author thinks they could write something that’s a lot like ______ (fill in the blank).

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about being an agent? What is your least favorite thing?

I love the process. When somebody comes in with an idea, working with them on that idea, then finding an editor who loves it and finalizing a book deal. It’s so incredibly exciting and satisfying. Especially if it’s a first time author. That is the funnest, by far.

My least favorite part is the rejection. I hate getting rejections on a submission and I hate even more sharing that news with a client. It never gets easier.

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

Work hard and take your writing seriously. Treat your writing as a job and give it the respect that it deserves. If you view it only as a hobby, everybody else will view your writing in that light, too.

And be patient. And rewrite. A lot.

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Today, my answer to that question is Charles Dickens. The serialization of his books was mentioned in an article I was reading earlier today about how our consumption of television is changing and I was reminded of just how great his books are. Filled with completely over the top characters that you never question because they’re so well written. My answer will probably be different tomorrow. 


  1. Elena sounds like a fantastic agent. I loved learning who her ideal client would be. And her advice to rewrite often is so right. Thanks for the interview Robert and Elena.

  2. Thanks, Robert, for asking so many agents these basic questions. Authors really appreciate the time you take to keep your blog going. And, of course, we're very interested in what the agents have to say. Thanks, Elena!

  3. Elena sounds like a wonderful agent. I have queried her last week. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  4. She likes The Goonies!! And Dawson's Creek? We are kindred spirits.


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