Volunteer spotlight: Literary agent gives current students insight into the publishing world
By Miranda Langrehr '14
"You're gonna write a lot of stuff that's not publishable. Keep pounding the pavement, that's all you can do," says Joanna Stampfel-Volpe '05.
Nearly 20 students gathered in Academic A and listened attentively as Stampfel-Volpe spoke via videoconference about her career as a literary agent. One of her clients is Veronica Roth, the author of New York Times bestseller Divergent.
The student-alumni interaction took place Feb. 26, and was part of the Alumni Association's monthly Cool Connections, Hot Alumni virtual speaker series. The objective is to bring busy and accomplished alumni to campus — to share their expertise and advice with current students — using the power of video technology.
Stampfel-Volpe spoke about her career path and the ways in which Binghamton University, internships and her own drive have contributed to her success. She graduated with a degree in human development, and worked in special education before discovering her passion for literature while working at Barnes and Noble.
She interned at a literary agency and worked her way up to assistant, then became a full-time agent for Nancy Coffey Literary Representation. When Coffey retired, Stampfel-Volpe bought her out and started New Leaf, keeping the same team.
Originally, she thought she wanted to be an editor but found that a literary agent is a jack of all trades.
"An agent edits, but is also an advocate for her authors. We do everything. It's really fun and a good fit for me," she says.
She described the field of publishing, gave students advice on pitching their novels to agents, and shared insights on what she looks for in a prospective client.
"What matters to me is: do I love the project I just read? And after I talk to the writer, do I feel like we have the same goals?"
Stampfel-Volpe also emphasized the importance of communication skills in the publishing field, and said students can build these skills while they are still on campus.
"It's all about networking, conferencing, going to lunches and dinners," she explained. "This is so essential to many careers."
Would you like to share your expertise and experiences with students and/or fellow alumni? We invite you to be engaged with the University as a volunteer. Learn more on our website and get involved today.
B-CONNECTED with other graduates! B-connected is a secure virtual community only for Binghamton University alumni. Update your personal profile, search for alumni, and submit and read Class Notes.
NEW SEASON, NEW JOB? To help you move ahead in your career, the Alumni Association offers two LinkedIn groups. Make new connections in our Professional Network group and search for jobs posted by alumni in our Job Forum group (and share postings if you have them).
SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE WITH US! The Alumni Relations office is asked to recommend alumni who are expert speakers. If you are well-versed, because of your education and professional experience, in subjects including national security, politics, technology, career networking, environmental studies or etiquette, please contact Melinda Holicky, associate director for volunteer engagement. Include your name, class year, and a brief description of your experience and expertise. Supporting material could include a c.v. or link to your website.
The Alumni Association and Uncommon Goods (founded by David Bolotsky '85) offer the opportunity to purchase banks made from mailboxes salvaged from Newing Dining Hall. This can be a great keepsake of your time as a student at Binghamton. Banks also make great gifts! Purchase a bank today.