Literary Agents, Publishing

I Have New Agent News!

Hey all,

I’m overwhelmed by the response to my last post, What Happens When You Lose Your Literary Agent. I haven’t gotten that many views on a post since I announced my first book deal! I guess it shows that losing an agent is a topic writers want to know more about. And by the DMs, emails, and tweets I’ve received, it also shows what sweet readers I have! I’m reminded of something that I’ve always known. This writing community is the absolute best. Thank you for your uplifting words. They mean everything to me!

But now, like I mentioned in that post, I have some good news to share… new agent news!

It’s crazy how things in life sometimes come full circle. By definition that means to return to the original or similar position, situation, or circumstance where someone or something started. For me, my agent quest has definitely done that.

Many of you know, that I signed with my first agent, Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat Literary, after she favorited my tweet about Spin the Golden Light Bulb on #Pit2Pub. But that’s not exactly where my agent story began.

In June, 2015, about a month before Rebecca favorited that tweet, I participated in #PitMad—also a pitching event on Twitter. One of my tweets about Spin the Golden Light Bulb was favorited then too… by several small presses, another agent, and Jessica Schmeidler, the founding agent at Golden Wheat Literary. Jessica requested my first three chapters and I sent them to her imediately. And then I waited. A month later, when Rebecca liked my tweet and requested my chapters, I realized two agents from the same agency were interested in my work. This was a big deal because at that point I had been trying to find an agent for 8 years! Knowing two were interested was a first for me.

In my communications with Jessica, I learned that Rebecca was a new Golden Wheat Literary agent who would be handling their middle grade clients. Therefore, she would be forwarding my chapters to Rebecca. Eventually, I happily signed with Rebecca and even though she was a new agent, I felt comfortable because I knew she would be working under the direction of Jessica until she was more experienced. Jessica had read Spin the Golden Light Bulb as well, and she would be reviewing the submission packet and all contract details. I believed that my book and I were in very capable hands and I was right! They made a great team. Even though Rebecca was most definitely my agent and sold Spin the Golden Light Bulb in a two-book deal (and Pop the Bronze Balloon a few years later), Jessica was always there if I needed her.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when Rebecca stepped away from agenting. I had a difficult choice to make and it appeared I had three options. I could sign with another agent at Golden Wheat Literary, I could leave Golden Wheat Literary and query other agents, or I could go without an agent for my next manuscript and sub it myself to publishing houses who accept unagented submissions.

When Rebecca reached out to tell me that Jessica would be honored to represent me when she stepped away, I was overjoyed and grateful. I mean it wasn’t  a given at all that another Golden Wheat agent would be willing to do so. Literary Agents don’t just take on clients to be nice—even when they know them! But still, I didn’t want to rush into anything. It had been years since I had worked with Jessica directly. Rebecca had handled all issues with Spin the Golden Light Bulb and Flip the Silver Switch—as well as the sale and all contract negotiations for Pop the Bronze Balloon on her own. So, I wanted to be sure that Jessica and I would be a good fit.

We proceeded as though we were starting from the beginning. We had the call.  

We talked (for over two hours!) about communication styles so that we would both know what to expect. We talked about the Crimson Five series and each of the books in it as well as the possibility of future books. We talked about the new manuscript I was working on. We talked about marketing. We talked about social media and blogging. We talked about Golden Wheat Literary. We talked about books. We talked about our families. We talked about so many things and it was energizing. I felt that same excitement I felt when I first had the call with Rebecca five years ago. We had the same great rapport and that certainly was important to me.

But there was something that stood out for me that made me realize that Jessica could be the perfect agent for me going forward. She really got my new middle grade manuscript—the one I haven’t told you much about! She loved the characters and the premise and could see great potential in it. That part was really important to me because an agent doesn’t just sell your books. They offer writing advice/feedback and career direction too. It felt great to know that she believed I was on the right track. She felt that fans of the Crimson Five series would find some similar elements and likely love this new book too—while readers unfamiliar with my books would find something new to love as well. It was honestly so motivating to hear how excited she was about the story—and to work on it with me!

And there was something else too. She said something that left such an impact on me. She probably didn’t even realize it was a big deal! But it was. She told me that way back when—in July of 2015 when she and Rebecca had decided to sign me at the agency, she was a little dissapointed that Rebecca would be the one to represent me—not her. She told me that she had loved Spin the Golden Light Bulb so much, but Rebecca had been equally excited about it and trying to grow her own middle grade list. So even though it was Jessica’s decision (as head of the agency), she was a little sad that she wouldn’t have the chance to represent me directly. If only I had known years ago that someday I would have two amazing advocates for my work, I would have never ever believed it.  

Golden Wheat Literary is where my publishing journey began. Of course I feel a sense of loyalty to the team there. My publishing dreams could still be just that—dreams, if it wasn’t for them. But signing with Jessica felt like it could be the perfect decision for me regardless of that. Still, I needed to know that for sure. So I took some time to think it over. It didn’t take long for me to decide though. The choice for me was obvious and I happily signed with her!

And now, almost five years after she first favorited my tweet, my agent quest does feel like it’s come full circle…

I can now announce that I’m represented by Jessica Schmeidler at Golden Wheat Literary Agency!

I’m so grateful and excited to be working with her, and I can’t wait to see the books we can bring to life together. It feels so nice to have a new advocate and her entire team behind me. The agents and authors there are some of the most talented and wonderful people I know. Golden Wheat Literary feels like family and I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now.

As I was writing this post about things coming full circle though, I had to laugh. Most of you know that the Crimson Five series was inspired by my Odyssey of the Mind team who competed at the World Finals in May 2011, right? Well, in Odyssey of the Mind, the problems the teams solve are given names. Can you guess the name of the problem that my Odyssey of the Mind team solved that year in real life?

It was called Full Circle

Thanks for reading my story, guys. It’s not lost on me that I’m fortunate. Yes, I lost my first agent and you all know that was a heartbreaking thing for both Rebecca and me to experience. But I’m one of the lucky ones. I didn’t have to head back into the query trenches, which is not usually the case. If you find yourself querying again, don’t be discouraged. It’s your opportunity to find your perfect match—your publishing partner. So if an agent is what you want, don’t give up until you find yours. Take your time. Be patient, but determined. It’ll happen eventually and when it does, I’ll be ready to read your I got an agent story too!

11 thoughts on “I Have New Agent News!”

  1. Thanks, Jackie. That is helpful and also makes me feel better. I actually know my books can sell, because my first one, a textbook, did. It sold about 20,000 copies over three editions. The only copies I sold were sold to colleagues at work (it was an industrial relations text and I worked for a union). So this good history is something I can offer an agent.

  2. Any thoughts about how best to get an agent for the first time? I would so love to leave all the business end of the business with someone who knows what they’re doing, and enjoys doing, and leave myself to do what I like best–which is to write. Fed to tears with the self-publishing route. Driving around with piles of books in one’s car gets old awfully fast. . .

    1. Hey JP, thanks for reaching out. I can understand your frustration with the business side of writing. The truth is though that even with an agent, you do need to treat it as your own business. There’s deadlines, book signings, and social media platforms to manage…the list goes on! But you’re right…with an agent, you can leave the royalty statements, contracts, and book deals to them. And with a traditional publisher, you don’t have to worry at all about distribution of book. They have their own sales teams for that. The best way to get an agent is to research literary agents in the age group and genre that you write in. Find one that represents your type of book, and then submit to them. There is no fee and they will list their submission guidelines on their website. Cast a wide net and be patient. It often takes a while. Best of luck!

  3. What a wonderful recap, Jackie! It took me on little bittersweet walk down memory lane, as well. I’m so thrilled we’ll be moving forward through this together!

  4. I am just at the beginning of the process of getting an agent. I can’t imagine what it felt like to lose her. Congrats on getting a new agent and not having to move. Your web site is really well done.

    1. Hi Kimberly, thank you so much! And thank you for reading:) Querying can be so stressful! Good luck in your search. Hopefully it won’t take you as long as it took me the first time!

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