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My Agent!—a new journey in new times

I wasn’t looking for an agent. I know that’s an odd statement in publishing these days. It’s hard to get your foot in the door of the big publishers without an agent, and, for most people, that’s the first step on their publishing journey. But, for good or for ill, I have always been a weirdo, and my path to publishing is no exception. I’m lucky enough to have gotten ten books into the world unagented and, what’s more, I’ve loved every part of it. So…

Question: Why change now?

Answer: I met Jennifer Laughran

My favorite part of conferences is usually meeting and talking with other writers. Writing conferences usually have opportunities for you to meet with editors and agents, but making writer-friends and hearing writers talk has always been the part of conferences that got me jazzed. But at the Jambalaya Kidlit Conference in 2019, I ended up talking to Jennifer in the food line. At the time she was already working with a number of writers I admired, one of whom, Zetta Elliott, I was lucky enough to know IRL. I liked Jennifer right away. She was funny and smart and, even in the food line, seemed to know an awful lot about books. Over the course of the day I had a chance to hear her speak and to chat with her a few more times and by the end of it I was like, “If I had an agent, I’d want her to be like Jennifer.”

Well, after that it seemed that at least once a month something happened that I said, “Argh! If I had an agent ____ would/wouldn’t have happened.” I said that so much that when Jennifer sent me a friendly note, I wrote a pitch to send her right away. A manuscript tweak and a couple of phone calls later, and we’ve decided to give working together a try. I couldn’t be happier to have someone so cool out there trying to make me look good and get more of my words into the world. I’ll do my best not to embarrass her. Lol.


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