Lauren Magaziner graduated this month with a relatively rare opportunity. Magaziner recently agreed to a contract with the New York City-based publishing house, Penguin Group. Penguin made the offer after reading Magaziner’s children’s book manuscript.
Magaziner, who had been working at a literary agency in New York City, was able to snag an agent last summer, and they spent the fall corresponding and working together on revisions. In October, after two rounds of rewrites and edits, the story was sent out to publishers. Magaziner received an official offer one week after the manuscript went out to editors. After alerting her other potential editors that they had two days to throw their hats in the ring if they were interested, Magaziner took the offer.
The story is still in the works, and is yet untitled. Magaziner will hear back from her editor next month with a first round of critical suggestions.
The book is a fantastical story about a small settlement of witches—not scary witches, think Roald Dahl witches—who spend their time torturing people in “funky” ways. The book is aimed at the 8- to 12-year-old bracket (the “not-quite-young-adults”) and will be spot- illustrated, meaning that occasional, half-page illustrations will be incorporated as part of the text.
The contract with Penguin is for two books of the same genre, so Magaziner’s next story will cater to the same crowd of children. As she waits to hear back on the next round of revisions for her current project, Magaziner has begun to write the next book, which will be a zany/fantastic story about two kids who steal a wild invention from their mad-scientist neighbor.
Magaziner has been writing since she was 13, when her English teacher told her write her own book if she couldn’t find anyone else’s she wanted to read. She has been writing consistently since then, and says that the amount of practice she had as a teenager has been invaluable in improving her knowledge of the craft of novel-writing, which is very different from short story- and poetry-writing, the skills Hamilton creative writing majors practice. Starting at such a young age, Magaziner thinks, was a way for her to get a bulk of the rookie mistakes—for instance, dwelling on clichés—out of the way early.
Over the course of her summers as Hamilton student, Magaziner has managed to gain a significant amount of experience in the world of publishing. She lived at home in Philadelphia and worked with a local author in the summer of 2009, and, through the Career Center, spent the 2010 summer with an internship at HarperCollins Children’s Books in New York City. Last year, she interned with the literary agency, Writers House, in New York City.
Magaziner’s internship at Writers House, which was funded by the Career Center, gave her an inside look at how agents fit into the complex publishing machine. In addition to reading clients’ manuscripts, she learned how to write pitch letters (a valuable skill for any aspiring author) and, working for three agents specializing in children’s books, had a look at how the industry was responding to what other people were writing.
Magaziner’s experience in the world of publishing—first on the side of the publisher and more recently as an author herself—has been enough to convince her that this is what she would like to do in the future. She says she would love to continue writing, as it’s been a life-long passion, but she is also interested in maintaining a presence on “the other side of the desk” too, as a literary agent or in a publishing house. She thinks that her creative writing major has prepared her for both jobs, as creative writing students spend an equal amount of time writing and critiquing others.
Magaziner was a Writing Center tutor, a residential advisor, and was in charge of Hogwarts at Hamilton. This year, she took over as facilitator of a parent/child reading group at the Kirkland Town Library. She was a philosophy minor, and worked on a historical fantasy/adventure novel for young adults for her senior project.
Magaziner is a graduate of New Hope-Solebury Jr.-Sr. High School in New Hope, Pa.