RQLA's new assistant Stuti Telidevara speaks with agent Jacqui Lipton about the publishing industry.
Jacqui Lipton (JL): How did you come to be working as the agency assistant at RQLA? Tell us a little bit about your background.
Stuti Telidevara (ST): I’ve known for a few years that publishing is the industry I want to be in. So to that end, I did a couple of publishing internships in college — one with an agency, Transatlantic, and one with a publisher, Hachette. I also made sure to apply to the formal mentorship programs that industry professionals have started and maintain on their own time.
JL: What are some of your favorite books for children and young adults?
ST: Oh, this is always the hardest question to answer. With the caveat that I can never pin down an absolute favorite, some of the books I have come back to again and again are Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, and White Cat by Holly Black.
JL: Is there a book you’d love to see someone write in the future?
ST: I’m a big sports fan, and though I have mixed feelings about quadrennial tournaments like the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup, I would love to see that kind of grand spectacle in a science fiction or fantasy novel.
JL: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of interning or assisting at a literary agency?
ST: I would say about 99% of the job counts as my favorite parts! I love reading submissions, I love helping troubleshoot clients’ work, and I even love organizational and administrative tasks.
JL: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your publishing industry experience so far?
ST: That it’s important to speak and to listen. So much of this industry comes down to networking, which is a very special chance to listen to the people who have shaped and continue to reshape the business.
JL: Where would you like to be in five years with respect to the industry or in general?
ST: Given the uncertainty everywhere now, I’d love to have a solid foothold in the industry, hopefully working on books I love!